Proctor Academy Celebrates its 176th Commencement

Class of '24 saw 94 students graduate

By Scott Allenby
Proctor Academy celebrated its 176th Commencement on May 25 as 94 graduates matriculated from the school. Alum Dr. Stephen Alli ’09 returned to campus to give the Commencement address. Photo: Lindsey Allenby

Perfect weather, a well-orchestrated weekend of activities, and a commencement ceremony that was a splendid mix of happy, emotional, funny, and serious surrounded the 94 graduates of the Class of 2024 as we celebrated their class alongside family, friends, alumni, and guests.

Stewarding a community like Proctor is never the task of an individual, but rather the responsibility of all those whose lives intersect the school. This weekend’s celebration of the Class of 2024 at Proctor’s 176th Commencement exercises was a reminder of how the collective work of everyone in the Proctor community, past and present, shapes Proctor into the perfectly imperfect school it is today.

Valedictorian Carly Solomon ‘24, Salutatorian Brice Bendixsen ‘24, and Senior Speaker Will Lunder ‘24 gave excellent student speeches before Commencement speaker, alum Dr. Stephen Alli ‘09, shared a powerful address to the more than one thousand in attendance. Currently the Director of Professional Development for the University of Florida Athletics, Dr. Alli ‘09 shared lessons from his time as an athlete and professional mental health expert. Speaking directly to the graduates (a refreshing approach for a commencement speaker), he implored the class to keep three actions front of mind as they stepped into the real world: seize your opportunities, find your balance, and know that your actions are contagious.

As campus quickly quieted down, we reflected on the past four years that the Class of 2024 was a part of our lives. High school is hard work. Not just the academic courses and challenges faced on the athletic fields or stage or studio, but the life part. The concept of growing up, of emerging from a global pandemic and a disrupted world into the vastness that lies before this year’s graduates can feel overwhelming, but as Dr. Alli ‘09 challenged us, we have a say in how things unfold. When so much of the world feels as though it is spinning out of control, we have the opportunity to grab the wheel, and to steer ourselves and our communities toward a better future. That is our challenge and our opportunity. Let us move ourselves and this remarkable school we love toward something even better.