Cum Laude inductees recognized

Alden Detmer and Alexander Dinh

58 seniors in the top 20% of the class were inducted into the National Cum Laude Society in its annual ceremony, History Teacher and Cum Laude Chapter President Lilas Lane announced May 15.

President Rick Commons named Jack Austen ’23 Valedictorian and announced that Austen will speak at graduation alongside the Salutatorian. Austen said he was excited to receive the honor, but that he was not actively pursuing the award throughout his time at the school.

“Being valedictorian should not be the goal,” Austen said. “It wasn’t my goal. I just really enjoyed my classes, and I think that actually enjoying the work you’re doing and being interested in the classes you take is the most important thing.”

Lane said  students are chosen for the Cum Laude Society based on their weighted and unweighted grade point averages, as well as their academic integrity.

“In the last couple of years, we’ve done a weighted average between the weighted and unweighted grades, but it’s basically just an average of their rankings,” Lane said. “We look at the top twenty percent, and see if there are any kids who had an honor code violation. That’s really the only thing that would disqualify somebody.”

Cum Laude Society inductee Brandon Aghnatios ’23 said he felt excitement and accomplishment after he was inducted.

“It was probably one of the greatest moments of my life,” Aghnatios said. “I knew, for a moment, what it was to be a god. There is a particular satisfaction in reaping the fruit of your toils in such a public forum.”

Cum Laude Society inductee Sophia Rascoff ’23 said she managed her busy schedule by putting her academics first.

“I’m just someone who likes being busy and packing my schedule with lots of different things,” Rascoff said.  “I was always able to find time to squeeze in homework or to find time for both. I didn’t really do anything specific to achieve Cum Laude, [but] I think I did always prioritize my schoolwork.”

Rascoff said she was delighted to be inducted into Cum Laude and that being inducted was a result of all the hard work she put into her classes.

“It was definitely very exciting and very rewarding to be [inducted],” Rascoff said. “I wouldn’t say getting Cum Laude was a goal of mine, but I’m someone who cares very deeply about my academics and my schoolwork. It was just something that happened along the way as I worked really hard to excel academically.”

Xin Guan (Karen Wu ’23) said she was proud of her daughter for being inducted into the Cum Laude Society.

“I’m really happy for Karen,” Guan said. “She works really hard, so I’m happy that she got this milestone and she is going to a college that she really likes.”

Manu Markman ’23 said Cum Laude does not necessarily indicate someone’s intelligence.

“It feels good to have been recognized for my academic efforts,” Markman said. “However, it’s important to note that many worthy classmates were not inducted, underscoring that GPA isn’t indicative of a person’s intelligence.”