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Wayland Academy Commencement Celebration for the Class of 2024

Class of 2024 Celebrates the Completion of the Capstone Fair

Wayland Academy will honor 56 graduates from across the United States and 21 different countries at its annual Commencement exercises on Sunday, May 19.

Head of School Jason Warnick will preside over the ceremony, with remarks from several students, including Class of 2024 Valedictorian Javan W. Hirwa of London, England, Salutatorian Victorious Dabelunachi Nnenne Ezeh of Milton Keynes, England, and Student Council President Osayande Osarumwense Sule of Minocqua, Wis.

In addition to his academic prowess, valedictorian Javan Hirwa is the president of the Math Club, a class representative on the Student Council, a captain for soccer and track and field, and a Prefect—the highest student leadership position on campus. He came to Wayland as a sophomore boarding student in 2021, and leaves behind these words of wisdom for his classmates, “You have unlimited potential, so take advantage of the opportunities that you have around you at Wayland. Make meaningful connections with as many people as you can.”

Javan is originally from Rwanda and currently resides in London with his parents, James Wizeye and Eppy Izere. He plans to study computer science at Washington and Lee University (Lexington, Virginia) in the fall.

Salutatorian Victorious Ezeh plans to major in computer science at Columbia University (New York, New York) in their School of Engineering, and will minor in linguistics at Columbia College. She is the daughter of Chinyere Ezeh.

Victorious came to Wayland as a junior boarding student in 2022 and has made a huge impact on the community during her time on campus. She is the president of Wayland’s Black Student Union (BSU), a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Board, and a manager in the Wayland Writing Center. She served on special teams for the varsity football team, was the captain of the cheer team, and is also a member of the track and field team. Her many roles as a student-leader and -athlete at Wayland have taught Victorious to encourage her classmates/teammates to do their best, find their unique qualities, and share their culture, traditions, and experiences with their community. Her advice to future students: “Appreciate the supportive community at Wayland and make the most of the many opportunities. Try everything, even if you initially suck at it!!!”

Beaver Dam native, Jim Janik, Wayland Class of 1974, will be this year's commencement speaker. Janik grew up in Beaver Dam and spent most of his career in Milwaukee, serving as president and CEO of Douglas Dynamics—North America’s premier manufacturer and upfitter of commercial work truck attachments and equipment. While CEO, Jim took Douglas Dynamics public on the New York Stock Exchange, completing the initial public offering (IPO) in May 2010. During his tenure, Jim was an Ernst and Young, National Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist (2016), and through his leadership, the company was ranked #5 in Fortune Magazine’s “100 Fastest-Growing Public Companies” in the world in 2016 (Facebook was #3) and was recognized in the “Top 10 companies to work for” list by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 15 years in a row, amongst many other accolades. In 2019, after nearly 30 years at Douglas Dynamics, Jim retired as president and CEO and continues to serve as the Chairman of the Board.

Wayland Academy's commencement festivities kick off on Wednesday, May 15, with a cherished tradition known as Senior Chapel. Despite its name, Senior Chapel is not a religious ceremony; rather, it serves as a heartfelt celebration of the senior class, led by the seniors themselves. This beloved event brims with laughter and the occasional tear, featuring touching videos highlighting the seniors' time at the Academy, inspiring speeches, musical numbers, and other performances.

Additional time-honored events celebrating our seniors include the Senior Breakfast, Baccalaureate, and Senior Recital. These events lead up to the pinnacle of the weekend: the 2024 Commencement ceremony held in Lindsay Auditorium on Sunday, May 19, at 11 a.m. During the ceremony, distinguished honors are bestowed upon deserving seniors for their outstanding achievements in academics, athletics, and character.

As the Victory Bell resounds throughout the week, we invite the community to join in the jubilant celebration by cheering or honking their horns in recognition of our graduates' remarkable accomplishments.

This year’s graduating seniors come to Beaver Dam from 21 countries: the Bahamas, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (England), Vietnam, and the United States. Wayland’s class of 2024 will be heading off to colleges and universities across the U.S. and around the world, including Amherst College, Boston College, Bowdoin, University of California (Irvine), Carthage College, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Lawrence University, Michigan Tech, Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, The Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Ripon College, Rutgers, and University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Wayland also elects four junior marshals from the junior class to lead the school’s faculty and seniors to commencement. They are selected based on the same high standards used to select the valedictorian and salutatorian. The marshals representing the Class of 2025 are Ssanyu Nambeguya of Kasanga, Kampala in Uganda; Madeline Clark of Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; AnnaSophia Schultz of Beaver Dam, Wis.; and Mathias Seufzer of Beaver Dam, Wis.

  • Class of 2024
Class of 2024 Celebrates the Completion of their Capstone Fair

The Class of 2024 Celebrates the Completion of the Capstone Fair with advisors Mr. Donovan and Ms. Steuer. 

Salutatorian Victorious Ezeh and Valedictorian Javan Hirwa

Salutatorian Victorious Ezeh and Valedictorian Javan Hirwa

2024 Commencement Speaker Jim Janik `74

2024 Commencement Speaker Jim Janik `74
Chairman of the Board, Douglas Dynamics
Wayland Academy Trustee