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Class of 2023 Celebrates Commencement

On May 26, 2023, the air was filled with excitement and anticipation as the Class of 2023, consisting of 131 graduating seniors, along with their proud families, teachers, and friends, congregated in the newly built Harris Performance Gym to commemorate their remarkable achievements during the 62nd Commencement ceremony. The event marked by a beautiful spring day was a memorable milestone, signifying the beginning of their next chapter while always remaining a Buc for Life. 

The conferring of a Charlotte Country Day School diploma is so much more than a piece of paper acknowledging the completion of courses required for graduation. It signifies a young person who has learned the value of commitment and hard work, who knows how to solve problems and overcome difficulties, who possesses the ability to think critically and express oneself clearly, and who knows how to seek help from others while readily giving of themselves for the public good. It means Country Day Ready...ready to keep growing and making an impact on college campuses and beyond.

Class of 2023 Graduation


View Graduation Photos

Senior Oscar Bao was selected as the speaker for the class, and JG Bailey, Lower School Guidance Counselor, received the Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award.

Highlights of the Class of 2023

  • The class of 2023 was admitted to 161 different colleges and universities. 

  • They will attend 67 different colleges and universities in 24 different states, Washington, DC, and Scotland.

  • 68% of the class will attend colleges and universities outside of North Carolina.

  • 49% of the class will be attending private universities; 51% will be attending public institutions.

  • The class has received nearly $7.8 million in scholarship offers based on academic merit, athletic abilities, or special talent.

  • 12 seniors will continue their sports careers in college athletics.

Collegiate Athletes

12 seniors will continue their sports careers with the following athletic programs:

  • Fletcher Bigham (Men’s Basketball – Sewanee: The University of the South)
  • Ciara Farrar (Softball – South Carolina State University)
  • Dallas Gardner (Men’s Basketball – University of North Carolina at Pembroke)
  • Laila Hankerson (Women’s Track – Xavier University)
  • Julia McGovern (Women’s Swimming – Kenyon College)
  • Spencer Mermans (Football – Yale University)
  • Pete Pignetti (Men’s Track/Cross-Country - George Washington University)
  • Mack Sommerkamp (Men’s Lacrosse – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)
  • Zella Thomas (Field Hockey – Sewanee:  The University of the South)
  • Jakob VanderHave (Baseball – United States Military Academy at West Point)
  • Mikenna Williams (Softball – South Carolina State University)
  • Malik Wood (Baseball – West Virginia Wesleyan College)

Fine Arts Accomplishments


  • Lance Toppin: Blumey Award Top Six Best Actor, Outstanding Achievement in Acting, SETC All Star Cast
  • Graham McPhail: Blumey Award Top Six Best Stage Manager, Barbizon Tech Award for Stage Management
  • Annabelle Hernick: Outstanding Achievement in Design and Production
  • Something Rotten!: Blumey Award Nominee Best Musical, Best Ensemble, Best Choreography


  • Graham McPhail (percussion) was selected to represent Country Day at the 2022 NCAIS Honor Band Clinic.  Over 70 talented high school band musicians were selected to perform at this year’s event at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  Graham performed under the direction of Dominic Talanca from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
  • Oscar Bao (trumpet) – Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra – membership by audition
  • Jenson Taylor (trombone) – Youth Orchestras of Charlotte – membership by audition

Graduation Awards

During the Commencement Exercises, a total of 16 senior awards were announced, honoring students for their outstanding scholarship, dedication, leadership, and impactful contributions to the school community. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the following students who were deserving recipients of these prestigious honors:

Senior of the Year Award: Lance Toppin
Katy McCanless Underwood Spirit Award: Darcy Keller
Athlete's Cup Award: Spencer Mermans
Victora Ludorum Award: Ciara Farrar      
Top Scholar for the Year Award: Everett Norton
Cumulative Top Scholar Award: Samantha Agisim
Mary Allen Todd English Award: CeCe Broadfoot
Emma Watts Pickens Classics Award: Graham McPhail
Mary Nicholson Goddard French Award: Cam Fagan
Suzanne Pardee Hynes Spanish Award: Logan Yuhas
Charlotte Country Day School Chinese Award: Arushi Banerjee
J. R. Williams History Award: Casey Scott
Dolly S. Hickman Science Award: Samantha Agisim
Charles Heisler Bodine, Jr. Mathematics Award: Everett Norton
Outstanding Cultural Contribution Award: Lance Toppin
Head of School's Award: Michael Lugo, Mikenna Williams

Senior Awards

Other senior awards presented during the Baccalaureate ceremony on May 24, include:

West Point Appointment Recognition: Jakob VanderHave
Mark E Reed Opportunity Book Award and Scholarship: Grace Tingen
IB Senior Award: Eliza McCurdy
Mildred Dalton Cox Global Citizenship Award: Tianning Hu, Siddhant Mody
Country Day Citizenship Award: Elle Thompson
Country Day Honor Award: Katie Fleischli
Win Robinson Leadership and Service Award:12th Grade: Jeffrey Harrick, Caroline Lostetter, Pete Pignetti
Jason Walls Award: Jakob VanderHave
Scholar Athlete: Dillon Kercher, Lela McMichael

Click here to see a full list of departmental awards.