June 12, 2024

Class of 2024 Shines at Prospect Park


With the turn of a tassel and diplomas in hand, Bay Ridge Prep’s seniors became the newest Bay Ridge Prep alums On June 6th at our 26th Annual Commencement at the Lefrak Center inside Prospect Park. Despite bursts of rain and passing storms, the sun broke through the clouds as they tossed their graduation caps towards the sky, a metaphor for how brightly they shone during the years they spent with us. This graduating class was full of incredible talent, passion, and enthusiasm, and they will be missed!


Several of our graduating seniors were honored with academic distinctions of cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, the last of which delivered sentimental and moving remarks at the graduation ceremony.


Owen Gallagher reflected on the challenging hybrid learning days of the pandemic, which bonded the Class of 2024 in a unique and unforgettable way, as they were first introduced to one another over Zoom calls. He told his classmates to “remember to lean on that driving force that never allowed you to abandon hope or relinquish your emotional fortitude during our dystopian transition to high school” before quoting the renowned 19th century philosopher and psychologist, William James: “Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”


Matthew Betro told his fellow graduates that “we are in the process of taking the next big step in our lives,” with “more responsibility and independence.” He reminded everyone to “treat yourself and others with kindness” because “the world needs more of it” and “our actions can brighten the lives of those around us.”


Andrew Betro reminded his classmates to “take all that you have learned these past few years with you into college and beyond” and to “always keep your mind open to learning more.”


After optimism, another dominant theme of commencement was the meaning of family.


Remembering the loved ones that could not be there to celebrate the special day, Phoenix Ward ‘24 shared how school became her “happy place” after losing a parent during the summer between sixth and seventh grades. Phoenix recalled that “returning to school was so liberating,” and told her classmates “I’m so grateful that Bay Ridge Prep took care of me and my family during such a difficult time…and if anyone else is feeling like there is someone missing here today, I just want to say that they’d be so, so, so proud of you.”


Ryder Nuesell assured his audience that despite moving in different directions, that “this family, the class of 2024, will always be a part of us.”


Ryan Parcell spoke fondly of her friends and family, stating “Whoever they are: A parent, a teacher, a friend….Don’t forget to tell them the impact they’ve had on your personal evolution.” 


One of the things that makes Bay Ridge Prep so special is that it feels like a home away from home: the small classes create special friendships and stronger relationships between students and teachers, which is why everyone looks forward to coming to school every day. And the 

Class of 2024 truly embodied this phenomenon.


Seniors recognized for academic distinction at Commencement included:

Cum Laude (with honors): Edan Amos, Samantha DeBrusk, Alexander Foroohar, Annie Kang, Stephanie Stathoudakis, and Alina Stoll

Magna Cum Lade (with high honors): Derin Aksoy and Sophia Feder

Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors): Andrew Betro, Matthew Betro, Owen Gallagher, Ryder Nuesell, Ryann Parcell and Phoenix Ward


Congratulations to Bay Ridge Prep’s Graduating Class of 2024! We wish you a lifetime of success and can’t wait to hear all about your new adventures in college and beyond.


VIDEO: Watch the full ceremony


PHOTOS: View the photo gallery