MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Of the 372 seniors who graduated from Mamaroneck High School Wednesday evening, Diego Duhrssen was the only one to receive an award, as the 2014 recipient of the Boothby Award.
Named in honor of Arthur Boothby, who served as school superintendent from 1917 to 1941, the award is given to the student that best exemplifies the values of public education.
Duhrssen has rebounded from losing his teenage sister in his native Puerto Rico, and then his mother after moving to America and settling in Yonkers, to become a stand-out student.
“It was then that he left the comfort and familiarity of his life in Yonkers to start over yet again with his grandmother and uncle in Larchmont,” according to a faculty member who introduced him at the graduation on the baseball field. “And it was then that we were blessed to receive one of the most courteous, tenacious, gracious, inspiring students who has ever walked the halls of Mamaroneck’s middle and high schools.”
The Boothby Award winner will attend Columbia University in the fall.
The ceremony culminated just as rain began to fall in Mamaroneck Wednesday evening. Before that, teacher Aaron Shansky, who some students call "Shank the Tank," talked about the beauty of the unknown.
Referring to the oft quoted Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Less Traveled," he said, "All roads are less traveled for you."
"What you will find is opportunities that are completely oblivious to you," he said.
High School Principal Elizabeth Clain cited the recent passing of Nelson Mandella, a man who she said believed in the power of the group. Looking out at the 372 graduating seniors, she said she, too, knows the power of the group, even in an age of the individual.