Brooks School's Cum Laude Society grew by nine members yesterday morning, when sixth-formers recognized for their academic success were inducted into the organization with a thoughtful ceremony in the Ashburn Chapel in front of the whole student body and invited friends and family.
"These students' dedication to their studies has not gone unnoticed," Academic Dean Susanna Waters told all those gathered for the event.
To the inductees — the class of 2018's Stephen Chung, Madison Dunn, Sally Jong, Max Kemper, Luke Muther, Callie Scala, Nate Smith, Logen Witz and Victor Wong — the history teacher added: "As you pursue your education, it our hope that you will accept the honor of membership in this society as a responsibility to make a contribution to the ongoing search for greater understanding of humanity and society."
There is a great honor in the society's selectivity, Waters later said of the 112-year-old organization, modeled after Phi Beta Kappa and dedicated to recognizing academic excellence in secondary schools. "The expectation associated with induction is not a directive to be taken lightly," she explained. "I have no doubt our newest members will do their best."
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Ceremony speaker Justine Rooney, who teaches physics and all levels of Environmental Science at Brooks, declared a similar confidence in the inductees during her address to the audience.
After sharing her personal story of struggling in high school, when she discovered that she experiences executive functioning challenges, Rooney praised the scholars.
"All of the individuals earning the distinction of Cum Laude today have had their own academic struggles along the way," she said. "That being said, they have all persevered. They have all put passion into what they have done, and excellence has followed." She added, looking at the honored students, "I am so happy for each and every one of you."
She also offered advice to the audience as a whole. "I would encourage you to not let your G.P.A. define you, to become instead, a lifelong learner," said Rooney. "Let your brain shed any inkling that you're not smart enough to do something, set goals for yourself and do what you need to in order to accomplish them."
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The scholastic success of the Cum Laude inductees, after all, is about more than just grades. "These students' scholastic achievement is representative of their curiosity, dedication and passion for their course of studies while at Brooks," said Waters.
The students' willingness to go the extra mile is what set them apart, she added. "They could not have reached such heights without maintaining sight of their goals in the smaller day-to-day moments...staying after class to ask another question, choosing to study another hour when peers may not have, and pursuing their interests to the point of mastery," said the dean. "I believe these students found meaning in their studies and that they were inspired by a love of learning."
After the ceremony, the honored students celebrated with a luncheon with previously inducted Cum Laude members, their families and faculty and many more moments of congratulations.
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