Upper School Honors Night: Celebrating Academic and Extracurricular Achievement

On Thursday, May 16, faculty, students, and parents joined together to celebrate the academic achievements of our Upper School students at Honors Night.

Mr. David Bernatavitz, Assistant Head of School and Dean of the Upper School, introduced the hosts for the evening: Ms. Candace Dietrich, Math Teacher, and Mrs. Kristy Tubbs, Art Teacher. “Math and art, I bet you’re all thinking that doesn’t add up,” they said. “But every artist is a mathematician understanding quantity, depth, angles, shapes, and more. And every mathematician uses inspiration and creativity to solve problems. Tonight, we gather to celebrate the exceptional achievements of our students in the realms of mathematics, language, history, and creativity.”

Ms. Dietrich and Mrs. Tubbs first welcomed the Night for the Cure Sponsor, Mrs. Kristine Walsworth, to the stage. Mrs. Walsworth, along with Night for the Cure’s Student Directors Sophie Ressler, Gracie McClain, Brianna Monahan, Madison Casaburi, and Leonard Polcaro, presented a check to Carol Felder of the Greater Clermont Cancer Foundation for funds raised at the 2024 Night for the Cure event.

Mrs. Kimberly 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-up was Sophie Plank, the first runner-up was Khaleel Abukhardrah, and the winner of the Senior Speech Award was Vivian Iwuchukwu.

Academic Awards were presented in the areas of English, ESL, World Languages, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Educational Technology & Innovation, Art, and Music.

Competing academic teams, including the Academic Team led by Mrs. Walsworth and Dr. Michelle-Taylor Sherwin, the Mathlympics led by Ms. Candace Dietrich and Dr. Anne Browdy, the Programming Team led by Mr. Matthew Parets, the Robotics Team led by Ms. Chris Burrell, and the EagleMUN team led by Mr. Robert Burke and Ms. Marca Hoyle, were recognized for their hard work and success throughout the schoolyear.

Mr. Bernatavitz thanked the members of the Head of School Leadership Institute (HLI) for their service during the 2023-24 school year. The incoming HLI committee members, comprised of the Arts & Athletics Leadership Committee, Disciplinary Committee, Eagle Ambassadors, Honor Council, Student Government Association, and Prefects, were then introduced.

Mrs. Brauman recognized this year’s Distinguished Scholars and welcomed 34 new inductees, of which 24 are in the Upper School.

Mr. Allen Lane, former president of the Lake Sumter Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, presented the Sons of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award to Zac Knight.

Mrs. Margaret Price, Assistant Dean of Students for Multiculturalism, Leadership, and Student Programs, presented a $2,500 scholarship to the most deserving Key Club seniors at Montverde Academy: Catherine Emilcar and Muskaan Bisht.

Mr. Bernatavitz presented the Roxy & Elizabeth C. Martin Charitable Trust to Thomas Merchan and the Gleaner Life Scholarship to Sara Zona and Amy Zona.

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 127 Montverde Academy students as AP Scholars. College Board recognized 30 students for either the National Rural Small-Town Award, the National Hispanic Recognition Award, or the National African American Recognition Award. Mr. Jeffrey Wexler, Associate Director of College Counseling, presented those 30 students with their awards.

Mr. Bernatavitz recognized Asa Newell for obtaining his associate degree through Montverde Academy’s dual enrollment program from Northwest Florida State College.

Mrs. Brauman introduced Vivian Iwuchukwu as the Senior Speech winner, and Vivian then delivered her speech.

Mrs. Marcia Bernatavitz, Director of College Guidance, presented the Ronald Regan Leadership Medal to Adaejah Hodge.

Mr. Bernatavitz presented the Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award to Michelle Smith and the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year Award to Liam McNeeley.

Mr. Walter Eksteen, Dean of Students, presented the Outstanding Female Boarder Award to Jaloni Cambridge and the Outstanding Male Boarder Award to Robert Wright.

Mr. Dean Bell, Director of Arts, presented the Female Conservatory Student of the Year Award to Hanan Geda and the Male Conservatory Student of the Year Award to Jason Tejada Chancey.

Mr. Bernatavitz introduced the Anabella Munoz as the Salutatorian of the Class of 2024 and Madeline Xie as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2024.

Mrs. Emilie Fracker, Associate Dean of the Middle School, recognized the following Upper School faculty members for achieving Master Teacher status: Mrs. Kara Hymel, Mr. Robert Burke, Mr. Adrian Wright-Ahern, and Mr. David Jones.

Mr. Jon Hopman, Head of School, introduced Mr. Robert Burke as the 2023-24 Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Bernatavitz closed the ceremony with a recognition of over 500 Citizenship Award Winners for the 2023-24 school year.

Congratulations to all students and faculty on their great achievements this school year!