A senior class of 77 students, including five students from the Greater New Milford area, recently graduated from The Gunnery, a private school in Washington.

Head of School Peter W.E. Becker broke with tradition by delivering the commencement speech, which is usually delivered by a former student who has made a mark in the world.

“We have traditionally had an alumnus/alumna give the speech and they have succeeded admirably, but I know this class and I care about these students, and I want to take part in launching them on their next journey,” he said.

Becker took over the leadership of the independent secondary school, which marks its 165th birthday this year, in 2012, when these graduating seniors were in their sophomore year.

Four top honors were awarded at commencement in the meetinghouse of the First Congregational Church on the Green, following other awards made at Prize Night the day before.

Ebrahim Faisal Alhaddad, from Bahrain, received the honor of top scholar in the class, and Julia Evangelina Reid Bermudez, from the Dominican Republic, won the Brinsmade Prize for unselfish and sympathetic interest in people with a purpose for citizenship and social responsibility.

Qi “Jessica” Xu, a native of China, won the Head of School Award for constant excellence and dependability in studies and extracurricular activities, and Logan Allan Adams, a resident of Mercersberg, Pa., won The Gunnery Cup, the school’s highest honor for the student whose character and achievement has contributed most largely to the success of the school year.

Head Prefect Nate Joslin, of Brookfield, encouraged his classmates to take advantage in the future of The Gunnery’s having taught them how to realize their unique selves.

He closed with a quote from Teddy Ebersol, of the Class of 2008, an inspirational freshman who tragically lost his life in an airplane crash, “The end is just the beginning of a whole new race.”

Head Prefect-elect Ataman Ugur, Class of 2016 and a native of Turkey, opened his remarks with a story about his nomadic start as an elementary and middle school student in his home country, failing in leadership, sports and academics.

Board of Trustees Chairman Gerrit Vreeland, of the Class of 1961, gave approval for the granting of the diplomas.

Becker joined Chapin Miller, associate head of school and academic dean, in handing out diplomas to the seniors.

Local graduates and their commencement prizes, if earned, are Courtney DiBenedetto (Pam Taylor Award for Courage in the Classroom) and Olivia Sproviero, of Bridgewater; Alexander Ireland and Colin Kanuch, both of Roxbury; and Laura-Delight van Tartwijk, of Washington (Excellence in Photography, Jerome McCarthy Arts Award and the School Poetry Prize).