October was filled with celebration as dozens of Byram Hills High School students were recognized for their accomplishments through induction into the Cum Laude Society, the World Language Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Twenty-two seniors were inducted into the Byram Hills chapter of the Cum Laude Society in an evening ceremony on October 25. The students comprise the top 10 percent of the class based on their weighted GPAs.
Principal Christopher Walsh congratulated them for their tremendous accomplishments as their proud family members and teachers looked on in the cafeteria. He noted that while the requirement for induction is easy to calculate, the students’ educational journeys have been anything but simple.
“Behind each GPA, there are stories of perseverance, struggle, growth and enlightenment, late-night studying, weekends spent with schoolwork, extra time with teachers after school and many other sacrifices that helped them get here,” he noted. “This induction is just a small acknowledgment of all of your hard work, dedication and sacrifice.”
Mr. Walsh told the audience that the students were encouraged to invite the adults who have influenced their education, and he recognized the many educators in the audience.
“This tradition of inviting past teachers, coaches and administrators to be part of the celebration represents the best of Byram Hills,” he said. “I was asked by this group of inductees to extend invitations to more faculty than in any class before them, which says a lot about them.”
The Cum Laude address was delivered by special education teacher Joy Reynolds, who recalled being inspired by “The Miracle Worker,” the biographical movie about Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
“Helen understood that Annie was the key to her escape from darkness and isolation,” Mrs. Reynolds said. “She finally understood the power and the beauty of effective communication. She finally understood what it meant to have a teacher and a friend.”
“My wish for all of you sitting behind me is that you learn the value and the impact of your words, that you exercise your strong minds, that you forge ahead with persistence and resilience and that you rise above to discover, build and celebrate the unique abilities of all people,” she told the students.
The students inducted into Cum Laude were: Samantha Abbruzzese, Ellen Amico, Abigail Binder, Alan Chang, Zachary Cogan, Rahul Gupta, Tyler Harp, Isabelle Ilan, Elyse Kanner, Emma Lucchino, David McDaniels, Sydney Nepo, Pietro Perez, Brent Perlman, Lindsey Perlman, Griffen Rakower, Jonah Schwam, Hayley Siegle, Dylan Starker, Nicole Tissot, Zachary Tuzzo and Spencer Weinhoff.
The faculty inductees were Jennifer Laden, the Social Studies Chairperson, and Christopher Lewick, who teaches math.
The Cum Laude Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1906 that honors academic achievement in secondary schools. It has 382 chapters, primarily in independent schools. The Byram Hills chapter is one of about two dozen public school chapters.
On October 10, 64 seniors who study French, Italian or Spanish were inducted into the World Language Honor Society. These students were honored for their consistent academic excellence, maintaining an A or A+ average for three consecutive years of the same language. (See box for names of the inducted students.)
At the induction ceremony, World Languages Chairperson Melissa Stahl praised the students’ language and communication skills and encouraged them to continue growing into global citizens.
“As you continue through this final year at Byram Hills, be daring, seek out and embrace differences among people, learn about yourselves through the eyes of someone else, and lastly, speak up,” Ms. Stahl told them. “Use your language, whichever one you choose, to improve the world around you for all of us.”
Nine students were inducted into the Tri-M Music Honor Society in an October 4 ceremony filled with beautiful music with several student performances.
“We recognize these young adults not only for their wonderful talent, but for their dedication to their communities, their academic achievement and for their leadership in our music program throughout the years,” said Deepak Marwah, the Director of Fine Arts.
The inducted students were: Christina Ferrari, Emma Keatley, Caroline Kelly, Elena Lowe, Seth Morrison, Sydney Nepo, Ethan Resnik, Jake Wild and Adam Zeng. Superintendent Jen Lamia received an honorary membership into the society, and a posthumous honor was given to Michele Delamonico, the beloved math teacher who died last spring.
At the ceremony, Dr. Lamia called her induction one of her proudest moments, an honor that reflects her love of music and support for Byram Hills students.
“Music has always been the greatest gift to me,” Dr. Lamia said. “It’s why I’m passionate about supporting our students in Byram Hills music programs. It’s a lifelong gift we give to our children.”