BLOOMFIELD – Thirty-seven students from eight Catholic high schools have been honored with Superintendent’s Summa Scholar Awards in recognition of their superior intellectual ability and academic performance.
It is the highest academic honor a student can receive from the Archdiocese of Hartford, said Dale R. Hoyt, archdiocesan superintendent of schools.
The awards were presented in April at a ceremony at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary.
The award requires a minimum cumulative high school grade point average of 4.3, or 98 percent, in grades nine through the second quarter of 12th frade in a Catholic high school in the archdiocese.
Students who receive the award typically are exceptional achievers. They are accustomed to being recognized for their academic success and have received other awards acknowledging their accomplishments, said Ann Pratson, principal of Lauralton Hall.
The award ceremony is unique, though, she said, because it provides the award winners with the chance to recognize a teacher who has been influential in the student’s success.
Each student selects one teacher from a Catholic elementary or secondary school to be recognized for dedicating his or her life to Catholic education and for making a significant impact on the student’s accomplishments.
During the ceremony, scholars described how or why the teacher they selected inspired, motivated or encouraged them in a variety of ways. Some expressed appreciation for teachers who incorporate current events and faith issues into classroom subjects. Students described the teachers they selected as talented, gracious, kind, supportive and compassionate.
One student admitted that receiving a zero grade on a quiz from her favorite teacher sparked her awareness of the connection between effort and achievement.
Students described the teachers they selected as talented, gracious, kind, supportive and compassionate. They characterized the teachers as positive influences inspiring courage, confidence and passion.
A majority of students recognized their science or mathematics teachers. English teachers as well as those who teach such subjects as government, French and neuroscience were also lauded.
More than anything else, the students credited teachers with inspiring or encouraging personal growth.
In addition to the opportunity to honor teachers publicly, the Summa Scholars were presented with bronze medallions. The medals display the crest of the archdiocese along with the inscription, "Give me truth, through faith, wisdom, and knowledge."
"Wisdom and knowledge are two of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit," said Dr. Hoyt to students, educators and families who filled the auditorium.
He said that in this Year of Faith, each of them is called to be a witness to the Gospel.
Dr. Julia M. McNamara, president of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, was the guest speaker. She described the award-winning students as a testimony to the quality of teaching in Catholic schools. She provided the students with both philosophical and practical advice.
"Hold onto your values," she said. Amid the freedom and myriad social and academic options, she went on, "Choose what’s right for you."
Dr. Hoyt also acknowledged parents for the contributions and sacrifices they have made to provide a quality Catholic education for their children.
"Behind each of these successful students is a family that has supported, encouraged and nourished the child," said Dr. Hoyt.
"They richly deserve recognition for their contributions to the student’s success."
The following students earned the awards:
Maryelizabeth Henderson, Ariel Hlavaty, Grant Marsden and Kelly McKenna, East Catholic High School in Manchester; Hailey Morneault, Matthew Santovasi and Olivia Singler, St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol; Sarah Gillespie, Emily Kearney and Ryan Murphy, Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford; Anna Guay, Candace Smith and Abby Carissimi, Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury; and Jason Abate and Edward Vogel, Notre Dame High School in West Haven.
Also, Kiley Cappetta, Maria Flores, Lauren Lichac, Michelle Martire, Alison Miles, Jessica Napolitano, Jessica Recce, Rebecca Sherrick, Gabrielle Shkreli and Katherine Wilcoxson, the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy in Milford; Haley A. Barnum, Tess Cersonsky, Christina Jiang, Raeanne Nuzzo and Lindsey Seyfried, Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden; Michael DeCortin, Ryan Holub, Meghan Leger, Ashley Lopez, Natalie Moreau, Lauren O’Loughlin and Mikaela Rice, Holy Cross High School in Waterbury.