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54 Scecina students receive President’s Academic Excellence Awards

The top 10 students of the Class of 2015 and recipients of  the President's Academic Excellence Awards.

By Beth Murphy

At this year's President's Academic Excellence Awards Night in May, President Joe Therber recognized 54 Scecina students who attained the highest academic honors during the 2014-15 school year. The special evening included the top 10 seniors each honoring a special person who served as a mentor during their schooling.

The awards recognize students who are either in the top 10 of their respective classes or whose grade point average is 4.0 or higher. The freshmen, sophomores and juniors receive a plaque from the school.

In addition, each senior who meets this academic criteria selects an influential person in his or her life and writes a brief reflection about that mentor. The mentors are asked to do the same for the student. We invite each student to come forward with his or her mentor, and President Therber and Principal John Hegarty read their reflections. Each senior receives a plaque, the mentor’s written reflection, and a ring from the school. The mentors receive the senior’s written reflection.

(Visit the President's Academic Excellence Awards page to view more photos and also lists of winners from previous years.)

The following are excerpts from the senior President’s Academic Excellence Award recipients’ letters to their mentors. These letters were read aloud during the awards ceremony:

Kennedy Bouvier to Paul Kortepeter, his Latin teacher at the Oaks Academy: “I think it's safe to say that at the end of the day, we're kindred spirits -- we both care for local café atmospheres, enjoy long discussions about the universe's biggest and smallest points of contention, and can agree to disagree while acknowledging the value of sound argument.”

Abigail Crump to Scecina art teacher Paul Sinclair: “I will never forget the story of how your teacher asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, and you answered ‘Paul Sinclair.’ And now I understand. Why be someone that you're not? … So when I go to college and prepare for the real world, I can now be Abigail Crump, not a copycat of someone else.”

Erin Flynn to her mother, Debra Flynn: “A mentor is somebody who empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained. You have always been a constant advocate of my future. You have constantly supported my decisions, given me counsel in times of need, and you have been my best friend since I was born, probably because you read 'Baker, Baker, Cookie Maker" to me a million times.”

Luke Frain to his brother Ryan: "From kicking, to school, and my social life, I really owe my success to you. You included me when you weren't obligated to when I came to Scecina, and continue to pass on your wisdom though you're two hours away. Thank you for all the fun times and for being the best brother anyone could ask for.”

Chuqing Gao to Summer Li: "Not many people understand what life is like to be a foreign exchange student. It tastes like bitter dark coffee. But your presence is like the cube of sugar in the cup, which makes everything sweet and memorable. I feel so fortunate that I can find a friendship that helped me become a better person and become strong and firm to get through the hardest time in this foreign country. This three-year journey at Scecina will always be one the most important times of my life. And you will always be the most beautiful encounter in this journey"

Elizabeth Gallagher to her grandmother, Jane Roembke: "I will always cherish our Monday night dinners, coffee dates, long car rides, and texting conversations when only crazy people, like us, would actually be awake. She has influenced me to chase after my dreams and to be the change I want to see in the world. My nanny is my best friend and I couldn't imagine a better choice for my mentor.”

Robert “Bo” Leszcynski to Scecina math teacher Natalie Leonhardt: “Thank you again for all you have done, and all you continue to do, to support me. You truly exemplify all of the Marianist values along with ‘giving that little extra’ to all of your students. And I will forever admire you for that.”

Yuyang Ma to Scecina track coach Ryan Keen: “You are not only able to build a connection with each athlete but also able to understand each athlete as individuals and push them to be the best they can be. As a good mentor, you have a passion to educate and nurture. You are understanding and flexible. You inspire rather than mandate, require rather than discipline.”

Jacob Okerson for his brother John: “He has set a great example for me both academically and socially. John was the salutatorian of his class here at Scecina, and I remember being at the graduation thinking it was so cool even though it was nerdy. “

Caroline Sausser to Scecina music teacher Donnie Glowinski: “I’m so glad to have known Mr. Glowinski these past three years, and more than anything I’ll miss my time in band when I’m gone from Scecina. I’m thankful to have had the privilege of being his student and hope just a bit of his positive attitude has rubbed off on me.”

The following students are recipients of the underclassmen President’s Academic Excellence Awards:

Class of 2018: Anthony Battles, Athan Christopher, Henry Egan, Molly Giffin, Liberty Joson, Phillip Kozenski, Holden Martin, Emily Vazquez Quinn, Kristen Sitzman, Samuel Traylor, Abigail Woida.

Class of 2017: Jonathan Card, Andrew Clegg, Rachel Cox, Isabel Dailidonis, Z’Nya Banks-Donaldson, Natalie Donlan, Christopher Duncan, William Ferree, Lauren Gray, Jacqueling Hurt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Jacob Lenne, Mary O’Connor, Dominic Petrone, Margaux Rasp, Robert Lee Sims, William Therber, Grace Wright.

Class of 2016: Abigail Brown, Zachary Burck, Katharine Coffey, Bridget Delaney, Madeline Gray, Michaela Heil, Mitchell Kozenski, Yunjie Li, Corinne Maue, Margaret Mayer, Jenna Nosek, Alexandra Rebein, Lauren Ryan, Lea Thompson, Andrew Tucker.

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