North Salem, South Salem Students Graduate From Ridgefield Academy

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Twenty-three members of the Ridgefield Academy Class of 2016 proudly graduated on June 15, during a sunny, outdoor ceremony held in the school’s Graduation Garden.

Audrey Craighead (South Salem), Beylie Ivanhoe (North Salem) and Eliza Heaton​​ (Waccabuc) recently graduated from Ridgefield Academy.
Audrey Craighead (South Salem), Beylie Ivanhoe (North Salem) and Eliza Heaton​​ (Waccabuc) recently graduated from Ridgefield Academy. Photo Credit: Margaret Cissel

Graduates from Westchester County are Audrey Craighead (South Salem), Beylie Ivanhoe (North Salem) and Eliza Heaton​​ (Waccabuc).

As is tradition at commencement, each graduate walked to the stage with his or her “kindergarten buddy,” and addressed the audience by sharing thoughts about their educational journey. Eleven of the graduates were “Lifers,” students who have attended the school since their kindergarten year.

Head of School Jim Heus addressed the audience, which included the entire student body, along with family and friends: “We are here today to celebrate all the young men and women seated on this stage. At Ridgefield Academy we do not determine a Valedictorian; we do not sponsor honor roles; lead roles in school plays are often shared; we do not have season-long athletic team captains. This is simply our way of doing business and the culture it produces challenges us to focus on all students, to measure progress and accomplishment by different standards and to recognize and cherish their individual journeys. “

The Distinguished Service Award, which is given “In recognition of long-standing dedication and commitment to Ridgefield Academy,” was given to long-time trustee and Ridgefield resident, Jerry Garavel. Both of Garavel’s sons were “Lifers” at the school, and Jerry served on the Academy’s Board of Trustees for 8 years, and acted as its president from 2012 - 2105. “Few have ever been more grounded and invested in the welfare of our school,” Heus said.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Heus challenged the graduates to “embrace the schools mission of caring service to others” and to “Go forward, share your talent, and challenge your mind, body and spirit.”

Graduates are moving on to their local public high schools (8), area independent day schools (7), and boarding schools (8).

Ridgefield Academy is a coeducational, independent day school for students in grades K – 8. Founded in 1975 the school cultivates a love of learning and preparedness for advanced academics. For more information, visit

Picture caption: Front row: Morgan Nolan and Gianni Gorham; Middle row:Balca Eryilmaz, Mark Garavel,Ryan Taylor, Paige Pucel, Max Crook,Noah Babala-Money; Back row: John Burke and Luke Hruska

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