STRATTON -- Stratton Mountain School graduated 15 students on May 31 in the Burtscher Fieldhouse on the SMS campus. U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) President and CEO Gale "Tiger" Shaw addressed the class as the keynote speaker.

Shaw urged the student athletes to pursue their success incrementally. As a former U.S. Ski Team athlete, he told the SMS graduates, "Once you figure out what you want to do, you must pursue your goal as you have by chipping away and plowing ahead. Follow your passions. Just breakdown your goals, and take them by incremental steps."

Shaw is a two-time Olympic alpine ski racer and was named Chief Operating Officer of USSA last summer and took the helm as President and CEO on March 3 of this year following the Sochi Winter Olympics. Shaw, a native of Stowe, Vt., graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was the NCAA slalom champion. He is a two-time Olympian, competing in Sarajevo in 1984 and Calgary in 1988. Shaw spent a term at SMS in 1979, before graduating from Stowe High School.

"We are so proud of the Class of 2014 graduates," said SMS Headmaster Chris Kaltsas. "They are such hard workers, both in the classroom and in their chosen winter sports. They have been admitted to top colleges, and their future is bright."

Two speakers from the graduating class addressed their peers as well. Class of 2014 Valedictorian Tess Braddish of Peru, and Student Body President Holland Doshier of El Dorado Hills, Calif.

The SMS Class of 2014 includes: Tanner Barrett, West Chesterfield, N.H.; Tess Braddish, Peru; Holland Doshier, El Dorado Hills, Calif.; James Duddy, Ridgefield, Conn.; Noelle Edwards, Stamford, Conn.; Jack Elder, Yarmouth, Maine; Leah Fowler, Basking Ridge, N.J.; Jack Griffin, Franklin Lakes, N.J.; Kazia Karwowski, Richmond, Texas; Karen Kobayashi, Rye, N.Y.; Kazui Kusumi, Stratton Mtn.; Lara Lathrop, South Londonderry; Thomas O'Hara, Little Silver, N.J.; Gillian Serels, Westport, Conn.; Sydney Shaffer, Bondville.

The SMS Class of 2014 graduates have gained admission to top colleges and universities throughout the country including: Boston College, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, University of Vermont, Wesleyan College and Williams College, among many others. Graduates have earned several Merit Scholarships and admission to Honors Programs.

Several awards were given during the ceremony. The school's most prestigious award, the Founder's Award, was presented by SMS Headmaster Chris Kaltsas and 2013 Founder's Award recipient Brittany Lathrop. Lathrop finished her freshman year at the University of Vermont, and skis on the UVM Carnival Alpine Ski Team.

The 2014 Founder's Award was presented to Lara Lathrop. Lara, an alpine skier, will attend Williams College in the fall.

Class of 2014 Awards

Founder's Award: Lara Lathrop.

Faculty Awards: Holland Doshier and Tess Braddish.

Lisa Tuttle Award: Kazui Kusumi.

SMS Alumni Association Award: Leah Fowler.

Vermont Principals' Association Awards: Jimmy Duddy, Kazia Karwowski.

Jay Leach Award: Jack Elder.

Academic Achievement: Tess Braddish.

Vermont Scholar Award: Tess Braddish.

High Honors (all quarters): Tess Braddish, Jack Elder, Lara Lathrop, Sydney Shaffer.

Honors/High Honors (all quarters): Kazia Karwowski, Thomas O'Hara, Gillian Serels, Noelle Edwars, Leah Fowler.

Athletic Awards

Alpine Men Coaches' Award: Jimmy Duddy

Alpine Women Coaches' Award: Leah Fowler

Nordic Women Improvement & Perseverance: Tess Braddish.

Snowboard Women Achievement: Karen Kobayashi & Noelle Edwards.

Snowboard Men Improvement: Thomas O'Hara.

Snowboard Men Achievement: Tanner Barrett.

Freestyle Improvement: Gillian Serels.

Freestyle Achievement: Sydney Shaffer.

Stratton Mountain School is a ski and snowboard academy located at the base of Stratton Mountain. SMS serves students in grades 7 through 12. The SMS community of students, faculty, coaches and staff share the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.