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SMES Inducts 22 into the Cum Laude Society

26 April 2013 admin 3,775 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Cum LaudeThis year, 10 juniors and 12 seniors, who joined the nine current seniors inducted in 2012 as juniors, were instated into the Cum Laude Society, an international honors organization for which only a small percentage of high school juniors and seniors are qualified. These 22 students are now part of a longstanding tradition of academic honors that includes more than 300 St. Margaret’s inductees. Celebrating 27 years as a Cum Laude school, St. Margaret’s became a chapter school in 1986. St. Margaret’s is one of only 370 chapters throughout the world, and the only Cum Laude school in Orange County.

Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut, Chapter President Robert Parker and Chapter Secretary Dr. Robert McDaniel inducted these 22 new members into the society in a ceremony in the Chapel on Friday, April 19.

Mr. Hurlbut addresses those in attendance saying, “Our purpose this morning in this Cum Laude Ceremony is to honor a select group of juniors and seniors who have distinguished themselves in the classroom during their Upper School careers. These moments provide depth and definition to what we do, and give us an important opportunity to acknowledge our participation in a century-old organization that is deeply respected in the world of education.

“Today, the Cum Laude Society has 370 chapters located in some of the finest schools in the country and around the world, some of which are public but most of which are private or independent like St. Margaret’s. Not only do students have to qualify for admission to the Cum Laude Society but so, too, do schools. This morning’s ceremony therefore is both an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the work of our most outstanding students as well an occasion to honor St. Margaret’s and the great work that has been done here these past 34 years.”

He went on to introduce the ceremony’s keynote speaker Academic Dean Dr. Jeneen Graham.

Dr. Graham said, “Congratulations to our Cum Laude members! You have worked hard, made sacrifices and ultimately distinguished yourselves as some of the highest achieving scholars in the nation. You have much to be proud of and I am honored to address you today. As a researcher and educator, I have great respect for numbers and the clarity of thought that is communicated by a well-crafted mathematical analysis. Your GPAs are a good example of this mathematical clarity. Your GPA, or any test score for that matter, is meant to be a proxy of all that you have learned. It is not the sum total of what you have learned, but the combination of assessments and products that are meant to represent what you have learned. I want to remind you today, that your GPA is a wonderful reflection of your hard work and capability, but it does not define you. You are the beautiful accumulation of knowledge and experience that has been purposefully acquired in the classroom, the sports field, the Hurlbut Theatre, The EDGE, the Chapel and myriad other places. You could never be boiled down to a number, and please don’t ever allow that to happen.

“Today, I’d like to spend a little time discussing the concept of academic honor or integrity. When we think about academic honor and integrity, our mind immediately jumps to the cheating scandals that so frequently hit the media. Every time it happens, I experience the same sinking feeling, the same disappointment, and the same frustration that we are failing to communicate what really matters in our schools. Researchers around the nation have made the statement that cheating is an epidemic in our high schools and universities. The evidence to support this claim is everywhere. In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, over 3,600 surveyed high school students yielded some very interested findings. Only 11 percent of students said they placed a high or very high value on academic integrity policies. Twenty-four percent claimed that it was ok to cheat if future success is at risk. Even more interestingly, 60 percent of students said it was morally wrong to cheat, but only 40 percent of students said it was morally wrong to cheat on school work. What does that mean? Why is there a 20 percent gap between regular cheating and academic cheating? Why is academic cheating considered different than regular cheating? I believe it is because our nation has failed to focus on the process of learning and moreover, failed to understand the true meaning of learning. It seems to me that cheating is actually a symptom of our misunderstanding of the relationship between process and product, and where the emphasis needs to lie. Professor Susan Ambrose has the following to say about learning: “One: Learning is a process not a product. Two: Learning is a change in knowledge, beliefs, behaviors or attitudes. Three: Learning is not something done to students, but something that students do to themselves.” Click here to read Dr. Graham’s speech in its entirety.

To be eligible for this honor, juniors must rank in the top 10 percent of their class, and seniors must rank in the top 20 percent of their class. In addition, each inductee must be approved by the Cum Laude committee, consisting of school faculty and administrators who evaluate whether they strive for perfection in their coursework and set high academic standards among their peers. In addition, each Cum Laude chapter school has been carefully evaluated for its academic rigor, especially the academic strength of the top 20 percent of the senior class in its college-preparatory curriculum.

Grade 12 Inductees:

• Madeleine Bidmead

• Joseph Carpenter

• Austin Foley

• Jennifer Jung

• Emily Morton

• Melisa Osborne

• Samuel Rubenacker

• Elliot Schwartz

• Karly Thomas

• Ashley Torok

• Katherine Wechsler

• Harrison White

Grade 11 Inductees:

• Kelly Burk

• Julianna Coleman

• Tessa Hurr

• Soo Kim

• Carolyn King

• Seokwon Lee

• Delanie Melbon

• Kian Shakerian

• Phoebe Van Duinen

• Mathew Williams

Nine current seniors were inducted into the Cum Laude society in 2012, as juniors:

• Timon Amirani

• Robert Deng

• David Freed

• Victoria Lee

• Arin Melkonian

• Brandon Price

• Justin Ren

• James Yorke

• Emily Venable


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