Students Honored for Academic Excellence
by Nicholas O'Toole on Friday, June 5th, 2015
On Tuesday, May 26th, the annual induction ceremony of academically excellent students took place in Wigglesworth Hall. This ritual honors perhaps Milton’s most prestigious group of students, annually accepting the top twenty percent of the senior class by grade average over the course of their time at Milton. The Class II student with the highest grades in his or her class is also inducted. These extraordinary individuals gathered for the unveiling of the plaque with their names in Cox Library, which cements them into the highest academic fraternity amongst high school students: the Cum Laude Society.
The Cum Laude Society is a nationwide organization amongst high schools that honors the outstanding academic achievements of students and is modeled after the Phi Beta Kappa Society at the university level. Their dictum, in Greek, is to celebrate “Areté, Diké, Timé,” or in English, “Excellence, Justice, and Honor,” attributes which this year’s inductees fully embody.
Out of a graduating class of about 180 students, only “about 36 students” will graduate Cum Laude, according to Ms. Bonenfant, Academic Dean. The challenge of graduating Cum Laude, Ms. Bonenfant noted, seems to have become steadily more difficult over the successive years, making this year’s inductees all the more impressive. Every spring, seniors with academic excellence receive Cum Laude based on their grades in Class III, II, and the first semester of Class I, regardless of the courses that they took. A Class II student with the highest grades also receives the honor.
This year’s senior inductees were Richard Dionne, Nicola Young, Emily Bosworth, Steven Char, Neekon Vafa, Caroline Wall, Ellen Askey, Conor McManamy, Alison Garber, Katie Berry, Alexander Garnick, Josephine Wilson, Isabel Licata, Adam Friedberg, Sophie Lenihan, Colby Parsons, Harry August, Alexander (MinhAnh) Day, Claire Huffman, Max Kliman, David Mercier, Yoav Segev, Davis Tantillo, Juliet McCann, Hari Patel, William Strang, Nicholas DiGiovanni, Laura McManamy, Lily McCarthy, Julia Grace, Leah Daniel, Kathryn Kehne, Ruting Li, Hannah Hoffman, Siyu (Shirley) Lu, and Nicole Swirbalus. The one junior inducted into the society was Tianyu (Christina) Lin.
Many of the new members expressed a feeling of gratitude and pleasant surprise upon being told that their hard work had earned them the honor of Cum Laude; Nick DiGiovanni (I) says that he “was both honored and humbled to be inducted into Cum Laude,” and Caroline Wall (I) says that graduating Cum Laude “was pretty awesome.” Caroline also expressed a feeling of accomplishment after being inducted, saying that “[graduating Cum Laude is] something more cool than the abstract concept of my hard work at Milton.”
Tianyu (Christina) Lin, the sole Class II inductee, said she felt “very honored and really, really surprised” to join the ranks of seniors graduating Cum Laude this year. She went on to say that “she felt especially honored” as the only junior inducted this year, stating, “I look up to many of [the senior inductees] very much.”
The inductees also spoke briefly on the amount of work they did to achieve Cum Laude, with Nick DiGiovanni saying that he “had to spend just about every free minute [he] had from freshman to junior year doing my work.” However, Ms. Bonenfant urges that underclassmen do not specifically aspire to join Cum Laude but instead thinks that “a student’s motivation for learning [is] intrinsic and not extrinsic… in [her] ideal world, students would be engaged in their classes and would want to learn because they love ideas and collaborating with others’ rather than striving to achieve Cum Laude just for the title status.”
Regardless of whether their motivation was for Cum Laude or for a love of learning, the work this year’s inductees have done has certainly paid off for Cum Laude students: with a “sea of A’s,” according to Ms. Bonenfant, the new inductees managed to distinguish themselves enough from their classmates and earn a spot along the Cox Library wall.
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