Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Baccalaureate of the Class of 2019

by Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
Seventy-two seniors, their families and friends gathered in the Janet Root Theatre for Baccalaureate on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Eight students spoke, reflecting on their Shorecrest experiences.

Trevor Bernstein and Ethan Seltzer welcomed students, their families, faculty, staff and guests. Trevor later joined the group of 30 students who received Longevity awards for being students at Shorecrest for at least 12 years, known as Lifers. Mr. Paige, Head of Upper School, and Mr. Schneider, Assistant Head of Upper School, joined Mr. Murphy for the traditional presentation.


Next to address the crowd was Outstanding Senior Jordan Tralins. Jordan noted some memorable firsts she and her grade had, starting with first friends. "When I moved to Shorecrest in fourth grade from the tiny Pinellas County Jewish Day School, I was painfully shy and I knew absolutely no one. But, over the course of just a few days, I began to feel at home. Shorecrest has a special way of fostering forever friendships. It’s crazy to think that the same people I once played four square and ball tag with are the people who I am still standing beside today. The singer who just wanted me to accompany her on the piano at the Middle School Variety Show in fifth grade, turned out to be my best friend (Thanks double-O), and some of the people I met during high school know me better than anyone. Over our time here at Shorecrest, we have all grown together, and I have no doubt that we will keep the friendships that we have built forever."

Jordan was followed by Legacy Lifers Cole and Emma Savitsky, who expressed their amazement at being accepted at the University of Florida, where their "genius brother" is a student. They were referring to Zack Savitsky, Salutatorian of the Class of 2017. They showed their gratitude to their extended family, which has been part of the fabric of Shorecrest for many years as students, Trustees, faculty and staff. "It’s the sacrifices they have made for us every day that have made us who we are and allowed us to be where we are." Emma said. "You have given us the confidence to form our own opinions, to make mistakes and to grow up, and to take chances at becoming who we truly are...  after it all we want you to know that nothing you did, or do, for us goes unnoticed." the twins sincerely expressed.

Students voted on a faculty speaker, and this year it was Upper School Spanish Teacher Teresa Andres-Coryell. Sra. Andres, as she is more affectionately known, is retiring this year after teaching at Shorecrest for 39 years. She compared the seniors moving on to her own journey into retirement.

"This crossroad is bittersweet for all of us. The excitement for new prospects on the horizon are anticipated, but at personal cost. There are 72 members of the Class of 2019. I have taught 61 of you, sponsored 15 of you in a Great Explorations Service Week and have been the advisor of 10 of you. While I have had many new beginnings, so will you... Because communication back in the day was very limited, during my freshman year I would write my mother from college every day. Yes, every day... No one expects you to write to your parents every day. However, please keep them in your back pocket. They will thrive on any phone call, text, email that you send their way. Please share your life with them. As you probably already know, they want the best for you. Your future is bright indeed, and so is mine. We both have the chance to experience new opportunities. It really doesn't matter if you or not so young. Life has a way of showing us paths on which to embark. We just have to look for them with eyes wide open."

The senior members of the Upper School Vocal Ensemble followed with a performance of "Upside Down" by Jack Johnson. 


The crowd next heard from Legacy Lifers Jake Freedman and Ashton Reynolds. They introduced the crowd to the concept of graduation bingo. Faculty around the country print up bingo cards for graduation ceremonies and check off cliches they may hear in speeches throughout the weekend. They boys listed 19 cliches for the Class of 2019, and noted that some have special meaning for their class.

"We have left our mark on the school. The sports teams have accomplished great things and had tremendous seasons. Many of us have done fantastic community service and been leaders in things like Relay For Life. We are taking a step into a bigger world. Both of us are Lifers, and many of our fellow graduates have been here for the majority of their lives too. Now we are all entering into a bigger world. Some of us are staying in Florida, others going as far as California. Either way, we are all going into a bigger world. Everyone has been knocked down at some point, but everyone graduating this weekend has gotten back up. There have been injuries in sports, stress in classes, and drama in personal lives. But every one of us has persevered. And most importantly, we will go on to do incredible things!"


Finally, Walker Willis gave the closing address. As Honor Council President, he tied together the many honors the Class of 2019 has been given and could continue to focus on.

"The education we have received at Shorecrest has been an honor of privilege. We have all been honored by the attention of teachers who believed we were important. Given who we have become, each member of the Class of 2019 can be an asset and an honor to the colleges who welcome us. We can bring honesty and effort into an uncertain future, and we can be a person others feel hnored to know. Thank you for being my classmates. It is an honor to be associated with a class that has a reputation for being gifted and kind. May we always count ourselves as friends, and may we gather again somewhere down the road."

The families of the Class of 2019 departed the Shorecrest campus to enjoy a celebratory dinner at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, where graduates were presented with gifts and viewed the Class of 2019 slideshowThank you to class liaisons Emily Elwyn and Elizabeth Samuelson and their crew of diligent volunteers for organizing such a lovely evening for our students and their guests! Thank you Shorecrest Parent Jennifer Stenger for contributing photos from the weekend. Congratulations Class of 2019!
  • Read about Commencement here.
  • Read more personal stories from the Class of 2019 and find links to all of the photos from the weekend here: Meet the Class of 2019.
  • Professional photos from Commencement are now available online for viewing and ordering. The deadline to order photos is June 2. Please share this link with any friends or relatives who may be interested in seeing the pictures:

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.