Students and Faculty Awarded for Outstanding Achievements at Upper School Honors Night

On Thursday, May 11, faculty, students, and parents joined together to celebrate the academic achievements of our Upper School students at Honors Night.

The hosts for the evening were Mrs. Kara Hymel and Mr. Adrian Wright-Ahern. They opened with a humorous bit where they pretended to be ChatGPT, an AI language model, a current, highly-debated topic in academic circles and beyond, and then they welcomed the Class of 2023 and their parents.

They first welcomed the Night for the Cure Sponsor, Mrs. Kristine Walsworth, to the stage. Mrs. Walsworth and Srishti Tandon, one of Night for the Cure’s Student Directors, presented a check to Carol Felder of the Greater Clermont Cancer Foundation for funds raised at the 2023 Night for the Cure event.

Mrs. Kim Brauman, Associate Dean of the Upper School, presented the Senior Speech Awards. Every twelfth-grade student is invited to give a Senior Speech, and all members of the Head of School Leadership Institute (HLI) at Montverde Academy must present a speech. A committee of faculty and administrators then vote on the Senior Speeches and select three students to present their speeches at Honors Night. This year, the second runner was Kady Bills-McCoy, the first runner up was Alec Lipscomb, and the winner of the Senior Speech Award was Ryan Peterson.

Academic Awards were presented in the areas of English, ESL, world languages, mathematics, social studies, science, technology, and the arts.

Competing academic teams, including the Academic Team led by Mrs. Kristine Walsworth and Mr. Mike Samide, the Mathlympics led by Ms. Candace Dietrich and Dr. Browdy, the Programming Team led by Mr. Matthew Parets, and the Robotics Team led by Mr. Stephen Whitfield, were recognized for their hard word and success throughout the schoolyear.

Mr. Burke and Ms. Hoyle presented officers of the Model United Nations with a book commemorating their service.

College Board is a nonprofit organization that clears a path for all students to own their future through the AP Program, the PSAT, and the SAT. Early this year, College Board identified 109 Montverde Academy students as AP Scholars. College Board recognized the 13 students who have been recognized by the College Board for either the National Rural Small-Town Award or the National Hispanic Recognition Award. Mr. Bernatavitz, the Dean of the Upper School, presented those 13 students with their awards.

The Sons of the American Revolution award was presented to Kendal Walsworth, and the Kiwanis Club of Clermont awarded $2,500 scholarships to two Key Club seniors, Natalie Babinski and Victoria Vivaldi.

For the Specials Awards segment of the awards ceremony, Mrs. Marcia Bernatavitz presented Natalie Babinski with the Ronald Regan Leadership Medal. Mr. Bernatavitz and Mrs. Khrystal Phiri presented Mia Hornberger with the Female Scholar Athlete of the Year Award and Riley Novack as the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. Mr. Walter Eksteen and Mrs. Kirstin Coffman presented Mjracle Sheppard with the Outstanding Female Boarder Award and Stephen Annor Gyamfi with the Outstanding Male Boarder of the Year Award. Mr. Dean Bell presented Gia Parker with the Female Conservatory Student of the Year Award and Josue Torres with the Male Conservatory Student of the Year Award.

Imen Nasser, a Music Conservatory student, then played “My Way” on the violin.
Mrs. Kim Brauman’s presented the Distinguished Scholars with an honorary pin. This year, we have a total of 36 new inductees into the Distinguished Scholar Program, 26 of which are in the Upper School.

In the Upper School, we have seven student leadership groups representing the student body in various aspects of service to the Academy: Arts & Athletics Leadership Committee, Disciplinary Committee, Eagle Ambassadors, Honor Council, Student Government Association, Prefects, and Head of School Advisory Council. These groups together make up the Head of School Leadership Institute. Mr. Walter Eksteen and Mrs. Margaret Price recognized the members who served this year.

The Valedictorian and Salutatorian from the graduating class each year are determined by the length of time the students have attended the Academy (minimum of two years), the students’ Grade Point Average, national test scores, conduct, community service participation, and involvement in extracurricular activities. This year’s Valedictorian is Trevor Turnquist, and the Salutatorian is Siddhartha Somani.

Mrs. Emilie Fracker presented Master Teacher certificates to Mrs. Kristy Tubbs and Mr. Jonathan Stalma. Then, Mr. Hopman presented the 2023 Teacher of the Year Award to Ms. Marca Hoyle. The Teacher of the Year practices the highest standards of the profession in their classroom, places great energy into their teaching, uses multiple resources to teach, provides a comfortable learning environment, varies their teaching technique, is prepared, responds effectively to student inquiries, upholds the highest standards in the delivery of their teaching method, and most of all has inspired the learning process. The recipient receives a $1,000 stipend toward the professional development activity of their choice.

Natalie Nesmith then read her essay on the uniqueness of the Class of 2023, which will be published in the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer on May 25.

Mr. Bernatavitz then closed the ceremony with a recognition of over 500 Citizenship Award Winners for the 2022-23 schoolyear.

Congratulations to all students who worked hard to earn these awards at Honors Night.