Applauding the Class of 2020 at Virtual Senior Night

Although our seniors finished out the last bit of the school year virtually, we wouldn’t let their time at MICDS conclude without Senior Night, albeit a virtual Senior Night. On Friday, June 12, we recognized the incredible accomplishments of the individuals of the Class of 2020 and the successes of the class as a whole. Congratulations to the following Senior Night awardees!

Benjamin Hollander-Bodie '20 - Valedictorian

Each year, we celebrate a graduating senior for earning the title of MICDS Valedictorian, which takes hard work, determination and talent. Valedictorians achieved the highest GPA over their Upper School academic career at MICDS.

Jon Zhang '20 - Class of 2020 Salutatorian & Mitchell Science Award

Each year, we celebrate a graduating senior for earning the title of MICDS Salutatorian, which takes hard work, determination and talent. Salutatorians achieved one of the highest GPAs over their Upper School academic career at MICDS.

Jon Zhang is a very strong, independent learner and an exceptional leader in Science Olympiad. He excels in all of his science classes, and he has taken many! In all he does, whether in the classroom or as the co-leader of Science Olympiad, Jon strives for excellence and has a true curiosity for science. Jon also excels in his detailed attention to his work and strives to make multiple connections that help him understand even more deeply.

Ryan Ahn '20 - Nadia Danett Foreign Language Prize

Ryan’s remarkable achievements in French remind us what we’ve known all along: regardless of talent, success comes from diligent effort, lots of practice and a passion to learn. Ryan makes it look easy, but it’s because he’s put in the miles. Fittingly, he’s ending his French career on a high note, placing fourth in the nation in this year’s National French Contest and undoubtedly crushing the AP exam. Félicitations, Ryan!

Gerald Bentley '20 - Benecke Award

During his years at MICDS, James Andrew Benecke, Class of 2006, distinguished himself as a scholar and a student leader. An individual of great integrity, Andrew inspired the student body by confronting adversity with courage and by leading a life of purpose and service. Highly revered by the MICDS community, he had been the only student elected for two consecutive years to head the Honor Council. The James Andrew Benecke award is presented to a senior who embodies the values of the honor statement by acting with respect, responsibility, honesty, and compassion. Through leadership and dedication to the MICDS community, this individual has consistently modeled integrity and mental fortitude. Congratulations, Gerald!

Jessica Brooks '20 - Faculty Award

Because one of the most important relationships at a school is the one existing between faculty and students, it makes sense to have an award where the Upper School faculty collectively recognizes a senior for contributions to the MICDS Community. This award is given to a senior who is responsible and prepared to meet the challenges of life with confidence, a student who has shown respect and compassion, a person of purpose and promise, one who has stood up for what is good and honorable and represents the best that this institution strives to instill in its students.  While our School has strong ties to the past, with this award we bring to mind hopes for the future.  By the vote of the full MICDS Upper School faculty, Jessica Brooks was named the Faculty Prize recipient in the Class of 2020.

Nicholas Clifford '20 - Spirit of Learning

Given to one student in each class who has shown remarkable growth during this school year. This award recognizes that student’s courage, integrity, persistence and achievement.

Nick is a strong thinker, respectful in an argument, tactful in action while being honest in his discipline. He quickly proves to be ready for any and every challenge. Nick yearns for the truth behind each answer, and absorbs and digests every topic that comes his way. Imagine a student of his intellectual caliber, beautifully singing his harmony or melody, then moving to translate the recent reading in AP Chinese class, then minutes later solving the most difficult of Vector Calculus or AP Physics questions; Nick possesses that type of agile mentality. He understands the importance of information gathering and how that collection of thoughts might influence people. He shows great interest in learning for the sake of absorbing knowledge. Nick’s approach to life, work and study is sincerely tactical in his style, focused on the outcome, but modest in his timbre. He is consistent and purposeful in his thought, meaningful in his relationships with his peers and adults alike, and always seeking to know more about what may be obvious. Nick’s intellectual curiosity is unparalleled! 

Cecilia Cohen '20 - Kalish History Award

Ceci loves Social Sciences – she loves learning about the past, its significance and how it matters to the world today and our own lives. Her enthusiasm for learning comes through in everything she does and infects others. For Ceci, it’s not enough to know about what happened before; it’s equally important to take time to reflect on those events or ideas, and then do some research on them, and then discuss them with others, and then maybe do a little bit more digging, and have three or four additional conversations…all as she works to connect them to the present and better understand our world. Through it all, Ceci raises the bar when it comes to intellectual conversation and engagement. Her insights and comments in discussions and in her writing are sophisticated and precise and demonstrate not only her depth of understanding but her polymathic proclivities. Ceci makes those around her better, and for that, we are all grateful.

Joe Condie '20 - Baur Athletic Award

The James A. Baur award was established by the Class of 1969 to honor James Baur. It honors a student athlete for their sportsmanship and selfless dedication to school athletics, and for having made an outstanding contribution to the School. Congratulations, Joe!

Amarah Friedman '20 - Ryan B. Guilliams Creative Writing Award

Amarah Friedman wears her love for both the consumption and production of literature on her sleeve. Always smiling, always inquisitive, always bubbling over with news of her recent endeavors, Amarah’s full and unreserved commitment to our English community has made her a charming and valuable student during her time here. Her writing has always revealed a love of language and a propensity towards the sorts of stylistic flourishes that evince an erudite playfulness, yet here, at the close of her high school journey, we see a new depth and breadth that could only be the result of persistence and effort. Whether writing analytical essays on the nature of happiness, conquering the realm of public speaking with her 2019 Prize Speaking award or taking the reins of The Green Leaves Review, Amarah has managed to find success in every nook and cranny of the literary world of MICDS.

Charles Huber '20 - Excellence in the Arts Award

Charles Huber is truly a Renaissance man, directing all his artistic talents towards having the most professional, creative and beautiful productions in the Theatre Department. Whether on stage, backstage, building or designing, Charles can always be depended on to do stellar work and create true works of art for an audience. Over the last four years in Sculpture, Charles has developed into a true sculptor. Starting from his foundational work to his completion of the AP 3D Design portfolio, Charles has never been afraid to question and search for answers he doesn’t immediately know. His recent work in figurative sculpture has truly shown an elevation of his artistic abilities. He pays close attention to detail and reworks his pieces until they are exactly where they need to be. Charles has truly embraced the creating process and it is wonderful to see. He has been a fixture in the MICDS Fine & Performing Arts department and we are really going to miss him.

Palmer Mihalevich '20 - Burlingame Athletic Award

The Burlingame Award, named for a well-respected athletic teacher from Mary Institute, Mary Elizabeth Burlingame, is presented to a student athlete for their determination, leadership, sportsmanship, and dedication to the athletic program, and for the outstanding contribution they have made to the School. Congratulations, Palmer!

Chase Nwamu '20 - Morse Award

The Morse Family Twelfth Grade Award was established by Mr. Lucas Morse and the Class of 1952 in honor of Meredith Baker Morse. The award is chosen by the members of the senior class and given to someone because of his or her respect for others, generous nature, devotion to the School and for making significant and lasting contributions to our community. Congratulations, Chase!

Sandra Polanco '20 - Eagleton English Award

Sandra Polanco is a young woman who makes an impression, and in the English classroom, this is beyond a statement of fact but a call to action. When she speaks up in class, her peers know to listen. Her esteem for other people’s stories, especially the marginalized and disenfranchised, commands respect. That said, she refuses to be the only voice in the room; she encourages her peers to engage and lean into difficult conversations because she understands that learning doesn’t exist in a vacuum—we must all participate. Sandra consistently strives to draw connections between texts and the lived experience, and her adoration for English is both palpable and inspiring. Most importantly, Sandra’s humble belief in the humanities reminds all of us of the power of the written word, and our classrooms and roundtable discussions will miss her greatly.

Arjun Ramakrishnan '20 - Aurelian Prize

The Aurelian Honor Society of Yale awards a prize each year to a student who is outstanding in sterling character, high scholarship, and forceful leadership. Congratulations to this year’s recipient, Arjun Ramakrishnan!

Lisa Speegle '20 - Werremeyer Mathematics Award

Lisa is a wonderful student of mathematics, with strong problem-solving skills and a superb work ethic; her work this year has been outstanding. She has a wonderful attitude towards learning and mathematics and is a leader in our small group work. Students seek her out for her help and guidance because Lisa does a great job of explaining the concepts to her peers. She asks very good questions in class which demonstrates her desire to master the material.

Anna Speller '20 - Wood Humanitarian Award

The Wood Humanitarian Award was established by the class of 1961 to honor their classmate, James Schendler Wood, who gave his life in service to our country. With this award we, too, honor those students who have made sacrifices in the service of others. Congratulations, Anna, and thank you for your service!