Courage and Confidence since 1880


Newton Country Day Honors the Class of 2024 at Graduation
Newton Country Day’s 144th Graduation Ceremony was held on Thursday, June 6. The rain held off as faculty, staff and the families and friends of the 62 graduates of the Class of 2024 gathered under the tent in the Sunken Garden to celebrate the accomplishments of the senior class.
After the procession into the tent, Interim Head of School Nicole Noel welcomed everyone and introduced Class President Maille Hickey '24, who gave the Invocation, followed by Mary Quinlan Prize recipient Devin Walsh '24 who took the stage to deliver the Salutatory Address.
“Goal I, Criterion 3 calls our community to reflect 'an ethos of joy, hope and celebration.' When I look back on the years we've spent together, I think this criterion highlights some of our grade’s defining characteristics: our irrepressible joy, our support for one another, and our celebrations of unity,” said Walsh.
“In every tear shed and every success celebrated, our grade has shown that our bond as Sacred Heart Sisters is one of unwavering support, genuine joy, and deep love for one another.”
Graduation speaker Nelly Coleta Xavier '96, Managing Director at HighVista Strategies, then addressed the crowd with the Graduation Address, reflecting on her own experience at Newton Country Day. "When I first arrived, I felt like an outsider because I was one of the few black girls from the inner city and one of the few with Cape Verdean immigrant parents," explained Xavier. "The diversity gap was real." 

Xavier gave credit to the encouragement of her advisor, Ms. Noel, along with other teachers, her classmates, and her classmates' parents for helping to bridge the gaps, paving the way for her to take on a leadership role as student body president. "As I’ve grown to senior roles in the investment management industry with more leadership responsibilities, I have been intentional about creating the space and community that welcomes more women, people of color, and folks who historically didn’t have access to the investment management industry," she explained.

She left the Class of 2024 with an ask: "Take the responsibility to bridge the gap for yourselves, and for others. As you decide on your professional pursuits and identify your paths to success, ask yourself if you can widen the path and bring others on your journey with you; others with less access... I promise you will see that you will be the biggest beneficiaries of these actions because your lives will be enriched with diverse perspectives and approaches."

After the conferring of the diplomas, Alice Husson Prize recipient Margaret Murphy '24 took the stage to thank the faculty and staff.

“Being a student at Newton means so much more than just the academics. It means the chance to grow in all aspects of our lives–emotional, spiritual, communal, and personal. And the faculty and staff have been with us at every turn," said Murphy. "So as we say goodbye to those who have helped us become the best versions of ourselves, we say thank you."

Following the distribution of prizes, Gabriella Hernandez '24 delivered the Janet Erskine Stuart Valedictory Address. Hernandez reflected on the Class of 2024's remarkable camaraderie through their years at Newton Country Day. "We gave ourselves permission to love each other and our school without reservation or hesitation. We found ways to bring light into the everyday, celebrating our teachers, and celebrating each other’s achievements at every turn."

She went on to share her hope for the future for the Class of 2024. "NCDS has shown us what it means to respect the human dignity of others, to stand alongside vulnerable communities, and to walk a path of solidarity, centered in the universal love of God. My hope for the future is that we enter the coming stages of our lives with the same open hearts, minds, and hands we used during our time here," she said. "Let us take this all-encompassing education—the love we have shared, the lives we have led, and the ideals we believe in—and use our extraordinary gifts to serve others."

The inaugural Cor Unum Award was given to Sister Barbara Rogers for her extraordinary contributions to Newton Country Day in her 34 years as Head of School. After the Sacred Heart Awards were distributed, Chair of the Board of Trustees Maura T. Murphy ’99 thanked Nicole Noel for her year of service as Interim Head of School and delivered the closing prayer. Families then joined their graduates for photos and celebration as they were welcomed into our alumnae community.


Alice Husson Prize: Margaret Murphy '24
Mary Quinlan Prize: Devin Walsh '24
Janet Erskine Stuart Prize: Gabriella Hernandez '24

Art: Devin Walsh '24
Chinese: Nicole Hemm '24
Computer Science: Amanda Rivers '24
Dance: Moyo Ogungbadero '24
English: Grace Brucato '24
French: Hannah Mulligan '24
History: Carys Anderson '24
Instrumental Music: Saydee Straub '24
Latin: Emily Aslett '24
Mathematics: Gabriella Hernandez '24
National Honor Society: Courtney White '24
Performing Arts: Madeline MacDougall '24
Religious Studies: Emma Walsh '24
Scholar Artist: Shira Arokiaraj '24
Scholar Athlete: Caitlyn McCarthy '24
Science: Isabella Adarme '24
Senior Project: Audrey O’Neill '24
Spanish: Meghan Gavin '24
Vocal Music: Nora Grimes '24
Writing: Madeline Brogen '24

Pamela Donovan Prize: Rosemary Pagliano '24
Sarah Jones Prize: Caroline Meckel '24
Collins Mazzio Prize: Autumn Rivers '24
Clare Pratt Prize: Skylar Herrmann '24
Virginia Schumann Prize: Charlotte Wagner '24
Barbara Rogers Prize: Carys Riffe '24

Clare McGowan Prize: Ms. Ashlie Swallow
Cor Unum Award: Sister Barbara Rogers

Sacred Heart Awards

Goal I: A personal and active faith in God: Nora Donovan '24
Goal II: A deep respect for intellectual values: Isabella Adarme '24
Goal III: A social awareness which impels to action: Farrah Coleman '24
Goal IV: The building of community as a Christian value: Devin Walsh '24
Goal V: Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom: Sydney Hajjar '24

St. Philippine Duchesne Prize: Kaelea Severino '24
St. Madeleine Sophie Barat Prize: Gabriella Hernandez '24

Photo by Miller Studio