Cum Laude Induction and Upper School Awards

Upper School students capped out their year with this morning's Cum Laude induction and Upper School Awards ceremony. Conducted as a live stream from the Performing Arts Center (PAC), the presentation led with inductions into the St. Johns chapter of the prestigious Cum Laude Society, an organization that honors superior academic achievement at the high school level.

The 62nd Annual Cum Laude Induction was kicked off by Upper School English and Latin teacher, Cum Laude member, and Chapter President Mr. Harrison Sepulveda.

"Students selected for membership are not only great students," said Mr. Sepulveda, "but are also great people, with mature senses of justice and self discipline." 

The following members of the Class of 2020 were inducted last year as juniors:

Valerie Cabrera
Sheila Hodges
Jordan Noble
Jordan Sabo
Lindsey Sabo 

In accordance with the Cum Laude constitution, this year St. Johns is proud to induct five new members of the Class of 2020 and seven members of the Class of 2021. 

These include:

  Class of 2020 Class of 2021
  Carolina Hollis Ethan Albright
  Sahaj Patel Lexi Drumm
  Joshua Soffler John Linge
  Elizabeth Stoeber Abbey Lantinberg
  James Woolard Julia Nichols
    Isabella Richardson
    Sims Wulbern

"I congratulate this year's inductees not only for their fortitude and intrinsic motivation but also for their relentless intellectual curiosity and seeking minds," said Sepulveda. "Cum Laude membership is much more than an academic accomplishment; it's a recognition of these young men and women's lifelong commitment to learning beyond the four walls of the classroom." 

Passing of the Gavel

After a ceremonial (virtual) passing of the gavel from outgoing Student Council President Anthony Morris to incoming President Maggie Kent, Mrs. Fisher introduced the Upper School Awards.

Upper School Awards - World Languages Recognition

Mrs. Fisher thanked and commended students and faculty for an outstanding-- if unusual-- year, and introduced Mme Lebet for the first of the language awards.

Mme Lebet first introduced those students who received honors in the National French Exam, Le Grand Concours, a test sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French.

The following students earned a Certificat d’Honneur (honorable mention) for their performance:

Level 2:  Susannah Goodwin
Level 3:  Lauren Correia
Level 4:  Julia Schildberg

Two Upper School students qualified as medalists:
At Level 3, Sean Gregson earned a bronze medal by scoring 12th in the state and the nation.

In Level 4, Ali Korahais earned a bronze medal by scoring 13th in the state and 20th in the nation.

Next, Mme Lebet introduced La Société Honoraire de Français-- the National French Honor Society-- which recognizes students who have completed 3 years of French while maintaining an A average throughout all of those years. The following students have been invited for membership:

Lauren Correia
Mary Beth Garrison
Sean Gregson 
Kinley Hall
Noelle Sanford

Next, Latin awards were presented by Mr. Sepulveda. Upper School Latin students took the National Latin Exam in person in March, prior to the School closure, and this year St. Johns is proud to recognize a National Silver Medalist, Senior Emily Serrano

Additionally, five Upper School students have earned entrance into the National Latin Honor Society by completing 3 years of Latin study with an average of B+ or higher. These include:

Paul Allen
Amelia Dyer
Mary Beth Garrison
Julia Nichols
John Nowicki

Next, Sra Murphy took the stage to introduce new National Spanish Honor Society members. Criteria for membership in the National Spanish Honor Society include maintenance of a grade of B+ or higher in Spanish 3 Honors, or a grade of A- or higher in Spanish 3. This year St. Johns' World Language department is pleased to announce 19 new members:

  Angie Arellano Jonathan Moore
  Avery Baskin Mia Morin
  Julia Boaventura Robert Morris
  John Cabrera Luke Pardo
  Abbie Campbell Nate Rowan
  Lily Croft Ariel Sauer
  Evelyn Hanson Emma Stasiak
  Hannah Lemieux Callum Steiner
  Abby Mencner Jordan Taylor
  Jack Minners  

Students who study Spanish also took a national exam, but those results will not be available until mid-June. 

The World Language Department would also like to recognize those seniors who go above and beyond in their language study by studying two different languages beyond the required 2 years each. This year there are two seniors who embarked on double language studies. These are Lilly Peterson and Emily Serrano.

Unsung Spartan Award

Mrs. Fisher introduced the Unsung Spartan award, which is presented by the Rotary Club of Orange Park. This award recognizes a St. Johns junior whose outstanding and consistent service to the school has not enjoyed the limelight of public recognition, yet without whose efforts, the school would not be the same. 

This year's recipient of the Unsung Spartan Award is Jona Kats.

Senior Scholarships

Ms. Beresik assumed the podium to announce several senior scholarships:

National Merit University of Florida Scholarship, and
Benacquisto Scholarship: Valerie Cabrera
Philippine Medical Society of Northeast Florida:  Delaney Payton
National Merit Vanderbilt University Scholarship: Lindsey Sabo 

Visual Arts Awards

Mrs. Pam Ayres next took the stage to present several visual arts awards.

Student Art Collection

Each year, St. Johns adds selected pieces of student art to its own collection and displays these noteworthy works in key locations throughout the campus. This year, St. Johns is honored to select two works of art for this prestigious collection, including:

“Thought” by Kyla Hartwell, and
“Touch” by Lea Hartwell

Next, Mrs. Ayres presented the Visual Arts Department Book Award, which is given to a senior who exhibits great effort and achievement in the visual arts, demonstrates strong academic growth, and puts forth great effort in the studio process. This year’s winner is Delaney Payton.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, the Scholastic Art & Writing awards celebrate teen artists and writers from across the country.

These students join the ranks of celebrated Scholastic alumni including artists Andy Warhol and Kay Walkingstick, writers Sylvia Plath and Truman Capote, and filmmaker Ken Burns.

More than 110,000 students submitted work and nearly 320,000 works of art and writing were submitted to the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. 

This year's national medalists are:

Noelle Sanford, Silver Medal
Zoë Roberts, Gold Medal

"Were it not for the coronavirus," said Ayres, "Zoë would be visiting New York City’s Carnegie Hall next week to receive her medal, and her work would be on display at Parsons School of Design for a year. Instead, there will be a virtual ceremony."

Quill & Scroll Journalism Society

Yearbook co-sponsor Mrs. Hope Dorman assumed the podium for inductions into the Quill & Scroll Journalism Society, which accepts students who have a cumulative GPA of B or higher and have demonstrated superior work in high school journalism. Two students who were inducted last year, including seniors Sheila Hodges and Claire Trammell.

One student will be inducted this year for her dedication and work devoted to the student yearbook, the Chalice. This student is Junior Julia Nichols

Thespian Honor Society Awards

Drama teacher Mrs. Kim Cadley-Mach next presented Thespian Honor Society Awards and elevations in status as follows.

New inductees include:

Stephanie Constantino, 3 Star Thespian Scholar
Abigail Maierhoffer, Thespian
Abby Mencner, 2 Star Thespian
Elizabeth Stoeber, 1 Star President List Scholar Thespian

The following students will receive updates on their status and receive stars, ribbons, or honor pins:

John Cabrera, 3 Star Thespian
Lily Croft, 3 Star Thespian
Keira Moisan, 5 Star Honor Thespian
Emma Stasiak, 2 Star Thespian
Serenity Williams, 1 Star Thespian

Maggie Kent, 5 Star Honor Thespian President List Scholar 
Gaby Loustau, 6 Star Honor Thespian President List Scholar 
John Nowicki, 5 Star Honor Thespian Scholar
Jace Thomas, 3 Star ThespianVice President List Scholar 
James Wilson, 3 Star Thespian Vice President List Scholar 

Ryan Croft, 5 Star Honor Thespian Vice President List Scholar 
Ian Duncan, 8 Star Honor Thespian Vice President List Scholar
Jack Hodges, 3 Star Thespian Scholar
Parker Robbins, 3 Star Thespian Scholar
Courtney Sage, 3 Star Thespian President List Scholar

Upper School Male and Female Athlete Awards

Director of Athletics Traci Livingston next presented the Upper School Male and Female Athlete Awards.  “Champions do not show up to get everything they want," Livingston quoted, "Champions show up to give everything they have,” which, she said truly represents the athletes among the Class of 2020. 

This year's Top Male and Female Athletes are:

Top Male Athlete: Ryan Croft
Top Female Athlete: Kendall Sage

Rensselaer Medal Science Award

Presented by Science Department Chair Ms. Tina Sachs, each year the Rensselaer Medal is presented to a junior who has the potential to be successful in a challenging science and math academic environment and has excelled in their science and math courses. This year's Rensselaer Medal goes to John B. Linge.

Kevin Waite Whitelaw Life of Light Award

Presented by Upper School Dean Mr. Mike Hilliard, the Kevin Waite Whitelaw Life of Light Award is given each year in honor of Kevin Waite Whitelaw ‘11, and presented to a junior who exhibits love of life, commitment to fellow man, service to school, and dedication to excellence in every area of life.

This year’s recipient is Ellie Rosenau.

Laurie Anne Richards Scholarship

The Laurie Anne Richards Scholarship is new this year and created by Sophomore Hannah Lemieux in honor of her aunt, Laurie Anne Richards, who was known for her compassion and loved for her independence and her caring nature. 

This year’s recipient is Kendall Sage.

Ashley Cowie Award

Presented by Jordan Robbins Rechcigl ‘10, the Ashley Cowie Award was brought to life last year by Diana Shaykh ‘19 in honor of Ashley Cowie '09, who accepted people for who they were and befriended those who were overlooked.

“Her caring, selfless character and constant smile illuminated any room and situation,” said Rechcigl. “Ashley did more than exist, she thrived. Ashley did more than listen, she inspired.”

The Ashley Cowie Award is given to a member of the senior class who best demonstrates vitality, selflessness, and kindness. This year’s recipient is Emily Serrano.

I Dare You Leadership Award

Presented by Mrs. Fisher, the I Dare You Leadership Award was first offered in 1941 by William H. Danforth, who was a successful businessman who dared young people to achieve their highest potential and to influence others through a life of leadership and service.

"At St. Johns Country Day School we always tell the recipients of this award that it comes with a very high bar-- a very high standard to look up to," said Mrs. Fisher. "This award was awarded to Mr. Roddey Fisher at his high school graduation in 1963 and to Coach Mike Pickett at his St. Johns graduation in 1983. So there are very big shoes to fill!"

St. Johns is honored to announce that year’s winner is Liam Bielik.

Please view the video of this ceremony to hear all the tremendous things St. Johns faculty and administration had to say about these award winners.