Chesapeake Academy graduates Class of 2020

Chesapeake Academy’s Class of 2020 from left are (front row) Rya Marie Struse, Layla Grace Leo, Skylar Mary Latell and Madison Sterling Ritter; (next row) Martin Grable Sergey Smith, Albert Clarkson Pollard III and Leyton Edward Dew. Jackson Olsen Pyles also is a member of the Chesapeake Academy Class of 2020.

Chesapeake Academy held socially distanced commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 on Tuesday, July 7, under the school’s historic pin oak tree and spreading across the school’s soccer field.

After an invocation by 2019-20 Student Council president Leyton Dew, head of school Julianne T. Duvall warmly welcomed the school community.


Michele T. Faulkner, chairman of the board of trustees, awarded the Norma Jean Edwards Volunteer Award to Rosetta Struse and Janet Smith. This award, established in 2004, was named for one of the school’s all time great volunteers, Norma Jean Edwards, and recognizes parent volunteers who have worked tirelessly without hesitation, without reward, always putting the good of the Academy and children first.

Rya Struse was awarded the C. Jackson Simmons Award. The C. Jackson Simmons Award for Excellence in History and English was established in 1999 in memory of one of Chesapeake Academy’s founders, attorney C. Jackson Simmons.

The Pamela I. Herrell and the J. E. Bouis Athletic Awards are given to a girl and boy respectively for outstanding athletic achievement. This year’s recipients were Layla Leo and Jackson Pyles.

The Catherine E. Schroeder Award was established in 2001 by the alumni association to honor Catherine E. Schroeder. It is awarded to a deserving student, Martin Smith, who represents a fantastic work ethic, strong academics, high levels of participation and a big heart.

The Excellence in the Arts Awards, established in 2006, are given at the discretion of the school’s arts team to students excelling in aspects of the fine and performing arts. Art teacher Sonja Smith presented this year’s Excellence in Visual Arts award to Skylar Latell. Performance teacher Robin Blake presented the Excellence in Performing Arts to Leyton Dew. Director of curriculum and instruction Kimberly Dynia presented the Excellence in Arts & Innovation to Ap Pollard.

Maddie Ritter is the 2020 recipient of Chesapeake Academy’s Schroeder Cup, the school’s highest honor, which was established by Capt. and Mrs. William A. Schroeder to recognize a middle school student who fully gave his/her all to school life: academically, athletically and socially.

The Salutatorian Award is awarded for achieving the second highest academic average in grade eight. The recipient meets or exceeds expectations for conduct and work habits. This award is bestowed on Jackson Pyles.

The Head of School Award is awarded to Layla Leo, for achieving the highest grade point average in the eighth grade. The recipient of this award must also meet or exceed standards for conduct, citizenship, and work habits. 

Final Roll Call

As the commencement exercises drew to a close, dean of students Hillary Smith joined Duvall for the Final Roll Call and presentation of diplomas. The following students, after successfully completing the requirements of the Chesapeake Academy curriculum, officially matriculated to become Osprey alumni:

Leyton Edward Dew, the son of Katie and David Dew. He received his diploma from his mother, alumna Katie Horsley Dew.

Skylar Mary Latell, the daughter of Andrea and Jerry Latell.

Layla Grace Leo, the daughter of Lauren and Ben Leo.

Albert Clarkson Pollard III, the son of Mariah Mears and Albert Pollard. He received his diploma from his sister, Mears Pollard, and father, Albert Pollard, both Chesapeake Academy alumni.

Jackson Olsen Pyles, the son of Kimberly Olsen and Donald Pyles.

Madison Sterling Ritter, the daughter of Michelle and Matthew Ritter.

Martin Grable Sergey Smith, the son of Janet and the late Rev. Craig Smith. He received his diploma from his sister, alumna Emma Smith.

Rya Marie Struse, the daughter of Rosetta and Charles Struse. She received her diploma from her brother, alumnus Noah Struse.

Duvall addressed each of the matriculating students individually, noting personal highlights, growth, aspirations and fond memories from their time at Chesapeake Academy. Most importantly, she conveyed the school’s affection for the graduates and confidence in the preparation of the graduates as they move on to their next schools.