Honk for the Class of 2020!

The Saint Joseph Prep Class of 2020 and their families gathered in the School parking lot on Thursday, June 25, a beautiful summer afternoon, for the conferral of diplomas amid decorated cars and plenty of honking. Preceded by a virtual presentation that included speeches by the Valedictorian, Salutatorians, and special guest Nancy Frates, the graduates and their families came to SJP in two groups, to preserve social distancing, and were called from their vehicles to the stage for diplomas and special awards. Faculty and staff were on hand to cheer their students one last time.

Despite being such a departure from the usual graduation proceedings, spirits were high and many families seized the opportunity to celebrate their graduates with balloons, signs, and messages written on their cars. In place of the air conditioning and formal surroundings of Boston College's Robsham Theater, the parking lot at SJP came alive with cheering and a genuine sense of joy as students, families, faculty, and staff came together, many seeing each other for the first time since March 13. 

All of the speeches during the virtual ceremony made reference to the importance of community, but it was the student speakers (Valedictorian Terrence Nolan (Villanova University), Salutatorians Cecelia Morello (Trinity College) and Sanaya Panthaki (Marquette University)) whose words no doubt reverberated most with the Class of 2020, a group of 71 students whose final months of high school changed so drastically. Though separated long before the departure for college, the identity of this year's Class is stronger than ever. 

A surprise addition to the virtual presentation included a unique performance of the Jackson Five's "I'll Be There" by an SJP alumni choir, arranged and compiled by SJP faculty member, mr. shiner. The choir included participation by Isabella Belarmino '19, Joseph Coughlin '13, Sophia Pappas '19, Megan Peterson '13, and Gabriella Ribeiro '19.

At the live ceremony, in addition to diplomas, academic and athletic awards were also conferred to the graduates, including nine special recognition glass sculptures with the recipients' names engraved on them.

For Advancing Tradition through Faith and Service: Allison Rose Wallace Burke
For Modeling Integrity through Character and Virtue: Olivia Grace Lynch 
For Embracing Excellence through Courage and Compassion: Aisha Concepción Veras
The Faculty Award for Quiet Leadership and Positive Attitude: William Daniel Miguel
The Head of School Award for Devoted Scholarship and Authentic Spirituality: Gabriel Samir Hanna
The Sisters of Saint Joseph Award for Promoting Unity and Forming Community: Nikolas Anthony King
The Yawkey Foundations Award for Relentless Commitment to Learning: Hannah Elizabeth Zolock 
The Peter & Carolyn Lynch Award for Creativity and Ingenuity in STEAM: Aidan Hughes Wech
And the Phoenix Spirit Award for School Pride in All Endeavors: Aine Mary O'Toole

The athletic awards given include:

Iron Phoenix (12 seasons at Varsity level) 
Katelynn O"Connor, Maria DiFelice, Colleen Dooling, Briana Hamilton, Lindsey Freeman

Phoenix Athlete of the Year 
Katelynn O'Connor, Samuel Wright

Phoenix Award 
Ellen Cotton

Scholar Athlete 
Terrence Nolan, Sanaya Panthaki

The Academic Department awards are distinguished by two categories: Academic Achievement and Pursuit of Excellence. The Academic Achievement awards go to one student in each core discipline whose academic record, by virtue of GPA, demonstrates high achievement over the student's entire high school career. The Pursuit of Excellence awards recipients are chosen by members of each academic department. These award winners may or may not have earned the highest grades in each course, but their accomplishments, work ethic, attitude, participation and commitment over the course of their entire senior year demonstrate their willingness to pursue excellence at the highest level. Winners identified include:

Academic Achievement - Sanaya Panthaki
Pursuit of Excellence - Havilland Clark

Foreign Language
Academic Achievement - Kathleen Tierney (Spanish), John McNulty (Latin)
Pursuit of Excellence - Shannon Daly (Spanish), Maria DiFelice (Latin)

Academic Achievement - William Kang
Pursuit of Excellence - Shu Jun Liu

Academic Achievement - Hannah Zolock
Pursuit of Excellence - Gabriella Rizzo

Social Studies
Academic Achievement - Cecelia Morello, Hannah Zolock
Pursuit of Excellence - Kyasha Ambroise

Academic Achievement - Olivia Lynch, Terrence Nolan
Pursuit of Excellence - William Miguel

STEM, Fine Arts & VHS - each awarded the Pursuit of Excellence
STEM - Aidan Wech
Fine Arts - Brian Hobin
VHS - Aisha Veras

Distinguished Scholar Award (for having all A's for both junior and senior years)
Adalyse Escobar, William Kang, Olivia Lynch, Meghan McCarthy, Zhizhen Yu, Hannah Zolock (with Excellence)

Several other award recipients include: Dalela Andrade (Catholic Schools Foundation Scholar); Adalyse Escobar (Perfect Attendance K-12); Nazaneen Shokri (Servant to the Dear Neighbor).

Ms. Gipson presented Engineering Certificates to students who met the rigorous certification requirements involving four years of science, four years of math, the STEAM course, Mechatronics, at least one fine arts class, and a season on the Robotics Team. The elite scholars recognized were Gabriel Hanna, Thomas Hanna, William Kang (with Distinction), Minsang Lee, Terrence Nolan, Aidan Wech, Benjamin Wheet, Jaeyoung Yoon, and Hannah Zolock (with Distinction).

Finally, highest academic accomplishments were celebrated in the awarding of Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, the Salutatorian, and the Valedictorian of the Class of 2020. Magna Cum Laude is the remarkable achievement of completing the entire high school career earning no grade below a B. Summa Cum Laude is the extraordinary effort of completing the entire high school career earning no grade below an A-.

Magna Cum Laude
Minsang Lee, Terrence Nolan, Gabriella Rizzo, Melissa Vallucci, Aidan Wech

Summa Cum Laude
Cecelia Morello, Sanaya Panthaki, Yujia Zhang

Cecelia Morello, Sanaya Panthaki

Terrence Nolan

We are so proud of our graduates and, while we will miss them, we know they are bringing the very best of themselves into the future and will continue to make a positive difference in the world.