Much has changed over the past year at Brooks, with pandemic safety measures in place, students attending classes virtually alongside in-person classmates and "regular" routines turned upside down. On Thursday morning in Chapel, however, our spring tradition celebrating a new group of Cum Laude Society scholars remained intact.
Students and faculty in person and online — joined by loved ones on Zoom — gathered for Brooks School's annual Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony at 9 a.m. on April 29 in the Frank D. Ashburn Chapel to hear from a faculty speaker and applaud the presentation of certificates.
Cum Laude Society, a 115-year-old honor modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, is dedicated to recognizing scholastic achievement in secondary schools and welcomes around 4,000 new student members annually. Each induction at Brooks is an event and an opportunity to get inspired.This year's featured speaker, Chair of the Science Department Randy Hesse, didn't disappoint on that front. Humorous and emotional, at times, his musing on the power of music to foster new ways of thinking and deeper empathy was inspiring from start to finish.
"The massive leaps of understanding and imagination that gave birth to modern astronomy, chemistry and quantum physics might never have been achieved were it not for the ability of great scientists to think like musicians," he said. "The study of music, or for that matter, any of the arts, invites you to think differently. Looking at problems with new perspectives, and cultivating solutions through unique approaches. Practicing the arts carves new neural pathways into the fabric of your brain, accessing modes of cognition not normally activated in the study of other disciplines, almost literally broadening your mind and making you a more flexible, more nimble problem solver."
"This, in turn, can make you a more capable engineer, a more insightful analyst, a more dynamic surgeon," he continued. "...According to two of the ancient world's greatest thinkers, Socrates and [retired faculty] Doug Burbank [H'98, P'11], music can make you a better critical thinker. It can make you a better pediatrician. It can make you a better stockbroker or a better CEO, and therefore it can make you mo' money. 'Nuff said. Mic drop."
Following Hesse's remarks, Head of School John Packard awarded certificates to each of the inductees below by hand and by virtual shout-out, as required (View the ceremony program):
- Linden Adamson
- Abigail Charlamb
- Minho Eune
- Emma Fleischman
- Jack Frimet
- Gabriella Garozzo (shown at end)
- Catherine Ingram
- Delia Johnson
- Tanay Kommareddi (shown below)
- Connor Lang
- Tin Yan Lau
- Elizabeth Packard
- Nina Rossbach
- Caroline Samoluk
- Anya Sanchorawala
- Jason Silverman
- George Smith
- Emma Tiedemann
- Tristan Witz
- Tianyu Yang
Dean of Academic Affairs Susanna Waters has described Cum Laude Society induction as "one of our most meaningful ceremonies," and after the event on Thursday she explained why.
"It provides our community with the opportunity to celebrate students for their depth of inquiry, their exploration into every corner of our curricula, and their demonstration of our core values: engagement, passion and creativity," said Waters. "In line with our mission, this occasion highlights the meaning our students have derived from their Brooks education, which we take great joy in honoring!"
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