By Nicholas Sathi ’20
Each year, Chaminade students study diligently, committing themselves to their rigorous academic obligations. At the end of September, the student body and faculty gather in the Activity-Athletic Center to recognize the many academic achievements of the previous school year. An annual and significant tradition of the Chaminade Family, this assembly congratulates honorable students for their efforts in the past year and works to inspire students to reach their full potential in the upcoming year.
The Academic Awards Assembly of 2018 took place this past Thursday on September 27. The talented Gold Band led by Mr. Brian Lewis performed several pieces while people took their seats. The event officially commenced at the band’s playing of “The Prince of Denmark’s March.” Senior members of the National Honor Society took the spotlight, walking down the center aisle to their front row seats. Afterward, Fr. Garrett Long, S.M. ’62, Chaminade’s chaplain, led the entire assembly in prayer. Mr. Robert Paul ’92, Assistant Principal of Academics then took the podium to begin recognizing students.
The first group of accolades distributed acknowledged the students in each grade who attained the highest average during the course of the 2017-2018 school year. The John T. Darby Award, which honors the current senior with the highest junior year average, was awarded to Daniel Garcia, who finished his junior year with an impressive 100 average. Derek Lekhwani, Thomas McManus, and Michael Samaritano all ended their sophomore years with a 99.83 average and shared the Albert Kozar Award. Sophomores Owen Serkes and Callum Smith tied with a 99.5 freshman year average and both won the Louis J. Faerber Award. Lastly, the Thomas J. Powers Award, for the senior with the highest three-year average, was given to Daniel Garcia, who maintained a whopping 99.81 three-year average.
Reflecting on his incredible achievement, Garcia exclaimed, “Because all Chaminade students strive for greatness and always put forth their best efforts, being individually recognized is an incredible honor. Going forward, the most important thing is for all of us to continue working hard. The faculty has put us in a great position to succeed now and in the future.”
Lekhwani looked ahead to this school year with optimism, remarking, “Receiving the Albert Kozar Academic Award for my sophomore year’s work was truly an honor for me. Starting this year with that distinction is encouraging and highly motivating for me.”
To achieve status as an honor roll student of Chaminade, one must finish the school year with at least an 89.5 average. Students who qualified three years in a row received gold pins; students who qualified two years in a row were given silver pins, and students who qualified for the first time received bronze pins. The massive number of students who now don these shiny pins on their blazers is indicative of Chaminade’s academic excellence and the devotion of the entire student body.
While academic success is of great importance to the Chaminade Man, service and involvement in the school community must also rank high among one’s priorities. Juniors and seniors who value these activities are eligible each year for nomination into the National Honor Society, an organization that recognizes students’ academic achievements and efforts to become well-rounded individuals. They are deemed to be the ideal representatives of the school. Mr. Vincent Jeffrey ’04, Assistant Dean of Students, led the induction of new members into the society. He also announced the new president, James Pham ’19, and the new vice president, Daniel Garcia ’19.
Mr. Daniel Petruccio, Assistant Principal of Guidance, handed out the last of the awards. He began with the announcement of Chaminade’s semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program: William Dean ’19, Colin Dunn ’19, Drew Kuroda ’19, Michael Rinaldi ’19, and Jacob Wood ’19. After receiving impressive PSAT scores, these students are now eligible as finalists to win a scholarship.
Drew Kuroda ’19 excitedly shared his thoughts on his accomplishment, saying, “The feeling of becoming a National Merit Semifinalist is amazing. I treat all of my work with the same sincerity and effort, and the payoff is huge. As a senior aiming to enter an Ivy League school, I encourage others to set high expectations for themselves; I promise that you will achieve far more than you ever thought was possible.”
Lastly, Mr. Petruccio announced the scholars of the National Hispanic Recognition Program: Nicolas Biondo ’19, Matthew Meneses ’19, David Mollon II ’19, Jose Pena ’19, John Plumeri ’19, and Michael Rinaldi ’19. These seniors with Hispanic heritage all performed exceedingly well on the PSAT last year and were recognized among only 5,000 others nationwide through this particular College Board program.
To conclude the assembly, Brother Joseph Bellizzi, S.M. ’78 reflected on the meaning of the word “excellence.” He quoted Aristotle, who defined excellence as a habit and not just an act. This definition left students with a renewed sense of motivation to continue pursuing their academic goals and not retain a sense of complacency with last year’s success.
With another year of hard work commencing, Chaminade students will continue their tremendous efforts to grow as individuals, especially in an academic sense. The future is bright, and these young men’s motivation will enable them to continue their success.