- Cap & Gown
Embracing their passion for scholarship, service, civic and global engagement, and leadership, these standouts have left their mark on Ravenscroft — and prepared themselves well for what comes next.
As members of the graduating Class of 2022 cross the stage, diplomas in hand, and prepare for the time-honored tossing of mortarboards that signifies the conclusion of their commencement ceremony, some will take a moment to reflect on the journey that has brought them here. Others will be looking ahead, imagining the many new experiences that await them in college and the wider world. Indeed, that is the balancing act for all students as they approach the end of their time at Ravenscroft: what they are doing to get to this moment, and what comes next.
For many students and their families, the years they’ve spent at Ravenscroft are all about getting the most out of the many courses, programs and opportunities the school and the community provide. Here, we highlight four graduating seniors who have been visionary in identifying their passions — for scholarship, service, civic and global engagement, and leadership — and strategic in both learning and doing as much as they could in their time on our campus.
By Stacy Calfo
According to Google, a well-rounded student is one who is involved in a lot of different activities and is pretty good at all of them. Lindsey Carter ’22 could possibly be part of Google’s newest definition. While she describes herself as “most definitely a STEM girl” who took full advantage of “math classes all the way up to Multivariable Calculus and AP Biology, Chemistry and Mechanical Physics,” this National Merit semi-finalist has excelled in her classes across the board — and more.
“Lindsey has touched many facets of Ravenscroft at the highest possible level,” Mike Ramel, varsity girls basketball coach, said. “She thrived in academia and was involved heavily in the arts and chorus” — including being selected to attend All-State Chorus this year — “all while being a three-sport athlete in cross country, soccer and a four-year starter on the varsity basketball team.”
Lindsey emphasized that it’s because of the support of the Ravenscroft community that she has been able to do and excel at so much.
“Ravenscroft gave me the freedom to do everything,” she said. “The flexibility and understanding of students’ priorities between their different extracurricular activities certainly relieves stress and prevents restriction.”
But it was Lindsey who made it work.
“While Lindsey is clearly brilliant, she also has an unparalleled work ethic,” Upper School Math Department chair Michael Erikson, who is Lindsey’s advisor, said. “To be the top performer in your favorite subject is an accomplishment worthy of celebration. To be the top performer in your fourth-favorite subject — that’s unprecedented!”
This fall, Lindsey is heading to the University of Chicago, where she will major in molecular engineering and play basketball for the Maroons. Her hope is that the legacy she leaves behind will inspire others to shoot for the stars.
“I want the school community and younger Ravens to remember that I did do it all, that I could do it all, and that I did all of it well,” Lindsey said. “I also want them to remember that I found my own balance, the balance that was right for me. My balance is entirely different from someone else’s. Point yourself in the direction you want to go and plow down those roads. And if something doesn’t work out, if you find out that you really don’t like something or you’re stretched too thin, then change directions. Failure is okay.”
Lindsey Carter ’22
By Stacy Calfo
The Levine Scholars Program is UNC-Charlotte’s most prestigious merit scholarship program, with only 20 scholarships awarded each year to extraordinary high school seniors based on scholarship, ethical leadership and civic engagement.
Those who know Jairus Cook ’22 well understand why he was selected for this scholarship — the first Raven to become a Levine Scholar. Over the next four years, he will receive a full-tuition scholarship and a grant to implement a service project — plus enjoy summer intensives that further develop his leadership skills, social awareness and international perspective.
“I nominated Jairus for the Levine Scholarship not just for his excellent academic work but also because of his sincere dedication to giving back to both the Ravenscroft community and the city of Durham, where he lives,” Co-Director of College Counseling Lia Prugh said. “Jairus is an ethical, wise leader whose voice is greatly valued in the classroom.”
Jairus has also distinguished himself through his work in Innovation, Design and Engineering, taking electives focusing on entrepreneurship and serving as president of the local chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers Jr.
“My future aspirations are to become an engineer and entrepreneur who invents products to better people’s lives,” he said. “I took these electives at Ravenscroft to get a sense of what these subjects are like in the real world, and they did just that. The academic rigors and resilience I’ve learned at Ravenscroft have set me up for success.”
Jairus’s leadership in the Upper School affinity group My Brother’s Keeper, service as a peer facilitator for Dialogue Across Difference — where he’s learned how to hold a space for others to respectfully discuss their ideas — and his volunteer work at the Durham Arts Council’s summer camps have also fueled his dedication to helping others.
“I have a passion for leading and guiding those younger than me to ask questions and listen, really listen,” Jairus said. “I believe this is how I achieved my own success: by actively engaging with whatever material I was learning and constantly asking questions. Thank you to all of my teachers who pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to go above and beyond.”
Jairus Cook ’22
By Kevin Flinn
Now in its seventh year, the senior speech program is the primary Lead From Here vehicle for Ravenscroft’s 12th-graders. Seniors reflect on their journey through this lens, then they write and present speeches to their advisory, whose members vote on the best speech. Next, those dozen winners give their speeches to the entire Upper School, and the seniors elect one of those students to speak at graduation.
It will come as little surprise to anyone who knows Ethan Erickson ’22 that his peers in the senior class elected him as their graduation speaker. His speech, which was about anachronisms, exemplifies his thought process: reflective in considering the past while perceptive about what’s still to come. It’s the perfect combination for a milestone event imbued with shared history and nostalgia while simultaneously humming with anticipation.
Ethan credits Ravenscroft’s International Diploma and Youth and Government programs with helping him shape his plans for the future. The former’s required reading, in fact, made a particular impact on his ambitions at Boston College. “I plan on double-majoring in history and physics so that I can translate heightened awareness into technology,” he said. “Farther down the line, I’ve imagined NGO-, intelligence- or State Department-related careers. I am very thankful for this program.”
Similarly, Ethan’s participation in YAG has changed the way he thinks about the world around him. Ravenscroft Co-Director of College Counseling Sean Kennedy, who serves as the YAG advisor, said, “Ethan has been one of the most enthusiastic and engaged members of the YAG delegation since he joined in ninth grade. He graduates having left an incredible impact on our program.”
“What fascinated me most was the immersion it created,” Ethan said of YAG. “You’re at the Raleigh Conference Center, participating in a modern product of a complex social system whose progenitor existed 2,500 years ago. It is normally difficult to reconcile all that has come before with the present moment. The YAG program environment simplifies this connection.”
When asked what advice he’d give current Ravenscroft students, Ethan responded simply, “Read. Don’t be satisfied with passed-down knowledge. Never think you’re an expert on any topic, because a new angle will always emerge.”
Ethan Erickson ’22
By Kevin Flinn
Since arriving in the Upper School, Delaney Washington ’22 has used every tool at her disposal to change her world for the better. “It’s all about using opportunities to be passionate about creating things,” she said, “not only for my peers but for the people who will follow me at Ravenscroft.”
A Middle School passion for STEM led her to found the Girls Who Code club as a freshman. She has also served in a number of roles in student government — including SGA president this year — and is the grade-level representative for the Nubian Queens affinity group.
Delaney will also graduate with Ravenscroft’s International Diploma. Although she primarily joined the program for the travel options, one of the biggest takeaways she identifies today was the Global Issues course she took during her junior year. “It let me have conversations and dialogues I’ve never had before,” she noted, “and I got to learn about different experiences from other young student leaders around the world.”
Melanie Spransy, Director of Global Education and Delaney’s advisor, said that through the ID program Delaney “has transformed into a knowledgeable global citizen who can see issues from multiple perspectives and effectively advocate for human rights. I have no doubt that she will make the world a better place.”
It was during a virtual conference hosted by the Global Education Benchmark Group that Delaney was struck with a new idea, one that may ultimately define her legacy at Ravenscroft: the Student Diversity Advisory Council. “I didn’t want it to be a club, because it felt more important than that,” she said. Noting that Ravenscroft already has a number of student leadership groups — Student Government Association, Community Service Board, Honor Council — she said SDAC “felt like another way to pour my identity into something I’m passionate about.
“I wish I could’ve had this 10 years ago, five years ago,” she said of SDAC, adding that she knows “future students will have the benefit of it.”
While she has certainly left her mark on Ravenscroft, the school has also helped Delaney develop her leadership abilities. “More than anything, Ravenscroft has given me advocacy skills that I’ll definitely take to Georgetown,” she said. “You might as well propose something — the worst they can say is ‘no’!”
Delaney Washington ’22
Read about more accomplishments and aspirations of the Class of 2022 on our Senior Success webpage!
More Senior Standouts
We asked other members of the Class of 2022 who’ve been involved in courses in Innovation, Design and Engineering, the International Diploma program, and Youth and Government to share how their participation in and growth through these opportunities has shaped them. Here’s what they had to say!
Innovation, Design, and Engineering
The courses in Innovation, Design and Engineering have been really open-ended in their projects, which allows me to focus my efforts on projects of my own interests. Specifically, the Innovations course allowed me to work on my video game over the past semester, which I really enjoyed. It helped progress my knowledge in the Godot game engine that will help with my future majors and career.
— Ethan Carter ’22
The honors engineering class at Ravenscroft taught me a lot about the different types of engineering that exist. Through class activities, I learned that engineering is what I want to study in college.
— Amelia Krafft ’22
Participating in the International Diploma program has definitely inspired me to expand my worldview and challenged me to think more intersectionally about causes I care about by helping me recognize just how interconnected our world really is. The program has helped me recognize that issues are not only created and influenced by international conditions and cross-border technology use but also that their solutions can be found within the global community.
— Davis Anderson ’22
Sometimes, we can get comfortable in the bubble we create for ourselves. This bubble could be social, cultural or even our thoughts and opinions. The International Diploma program allowed me to step outside my bubble, challenging my thought process and educating me about the world’s events. It also led me to want to engage in the world outside my bubble. Thus, I am going into the School of Foreign Service at my university and dedicating my studies to the mission this program started me on.
— Rachel Mason ’22
My participation in Ravenscroft’s International Diploma program has challenged me to think more critically about the enhancement of my global perspective and to build a foundation for delving into the complexities of global matters. Furthermore, I have been inspired by my International Diploma endeavors to create meaningful connections with people around the world and continue my exploration of international events after my time at Ravenscroft.
— Mavi Sandhu ’22
My favorite experience was joining the American Field Service program to cover my travel abroad opportunity. I learned about different perspectives, how they’re shaped by various cultures and how our differences do unite us. This allowed me to view how I communicate with my friends differently and helped me express my thoughts differently so problems caused by differences in communication and perspective could be brought to a minimum.
— Deya Singh ’22
Youth and Government
Participating in YAG helped me find my passion and grow a new love. If it wasn’t for YAG, I wouldn’t have decided to major in political science and be excited for the future. I probably would’ve applied to schools as undecided. YAG also pushed me to put myself out there and not be afraid of public speaking, to navigate new spaces with unknown people and make new friends.
— Simone Baldwin ’22
In my sophomore year, I decided to join YAG and participate in the Mock Trial program. In preparation with my peers from across the state and in my own delegation, I developed an invaluable teamwork skill set that will stick with me for the rest of my educational and professional development. Learning the inner workings of America’s governmental system has pushed me to become a more active social justice advocate and citizen voter in the future.
— Sunishka Deshpande’22
Innovation, Design and Engineering: Ethan Carter ’22 and Amelia Krafft ’22
International Diploma: Rachel Mason ’22, Davis Anderson ’22, Mavi Sandhu ’22 and Deya Singh ’22
Youth and Government: Sunishka Deshpande ’22 and Simone Baldwin ’22