The 2021 Rams Recognition Night Ceremony was ground-breaking, marking the first time W+H students and parents gathered for a meal and celebration on campus since the start of the pandemic. Holding the event under a tent on the back fields was also novel. Those changes were appropriate for a year in which rules, schedules and championships were redefined constantly by our governing organizations, in keeping with the evolving response to the virus.
In another way, this year’s RRN followed a recent tradition: a pair of keynote speeches by seniors Ariana Di Landro ’21 and Zane Lee-Briggs ’21, who were nominated by their peers in the Captains’ Council to represent the athletic experience of the Class of 2021. Like their predecessors, they did not disappoint. Zane, a 12-letter winner and an All-Division selection in cross country and track, had previously been honored as W+H’s male GMC Scholar-Athlete, and also took home the Chambliss Award, which goes to the outstanding male athlete in the senior class. Ariana earned All-Division honors in soccer, where she was a 4-year letterwinner, while also bolstering our basketball team with her competitiveness and defensive skills. She has honored by the NJSIAA on National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and by the GMC, who named her the Rams’ female Scholar-Athlete.
After keeping the audience laughing with a self-deprecating description of his basketball talents, Zane zeroed in on the support of teammates, coaches and family as the most important takeaway from his high school athletic career. He emphasized how the familial bond he felt with his teammates allowed them to both strengthen and challenge each other, making each other better.
Ariana also began with an admission of her athletic shortcomings (she cannot ride a bike, she says) and transitioned to a crystallizing thought from Gina Greenlee about the deep significance of creating human connection through shared experience. Like Zane, she sees the value of sports reaching far beyond the wins and losses, and she urged the students to keep appreciating and creating those connections in their lives.
To hear these thoughts in their own words, click here *Zane’s video clip was a rehearsal version, because the audio will be easier for our readers to hear, while Ariana’s was taken from the RRN.
To drive home their ideas, both Ariana and Zane concluded that it was the support and bonding with teammates, coaches, and parents that truly make it “a great day to be a Ram.”