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Honors Convocation Celebrates Student Excellence in Upper School


Ravenscroft Upper School celebrated student accomplishments during the annual Honors Convocation on Thursday, May 25. School leadership, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends all gathered to recognize students for their distinguished academic, character, service, athletic, arts and spirit-related achievements.

The prelude was performed by Hunter Scholars Tul Cherukuri ’24 (clarinet), Benya Wilfret ’25 (violin) and Sam Caplan ’26 (cello), accompanied by S.K. Chipley of the Fine Arts faculty.

Rowan Thomas with advisor Maria Rodriguez and Head of Upper School Aaron Sundstrom

Clarke Worthington Award recipient, Class Valedictorian and Senior Scholar Rowan Thomas ’23, at center, with advisor María Rodriguez and Head of Upper School Aaron Sundstrom

Head of Upper School Aaron Sundstrom opened the presentation. “Over these past nine and a half months, students at Ravenscroft have been challenged, they have grown and they have succeeded. Our program today allows us to recognize the accomplishments of many Upper School students; however, this program does not encompass the many talents and achievements of our students. Many more have been recognized during other programs for their excellence in academics, athletics and in the arts,” he said.

For the first time in recent memory, Ravenscroft’s three highest honors — the Clarke Worthington Award, Class Valedictorian and Senior Scholar Award — were awarded to one outstanding student, Rowan Thomas ’23.

The Clarke Worthington III Outstanding Character Award honors the senior whose character, integrity and treatment of other people exemplify leadership by example. In presenting the award, Rowan’s advisor, María Rodriguez, shared the following:

This year’s recipient is not just a scholar, but a role model, a leader and a source of inspiration for us all. Throughout the four years I have known them, I’ve seen them grow into a person of great self-awareness, never shying away from challenges but, rather, embracing them head-on with resilience and fortitude. Their love for learning is not confined to their personal growth but extends to their peers and to the entire Ravenscroft community.

Rodriquez shared many of Rowan’s contributions to the community and then offered this summation:

Those achievements alone are worthy of recognition, but what truly sets this individual apart is their consistent commitment to treating others with kindness, respect and dignity. It's in their everyday interactions, their thoughtful contributions toward a more inclusive and curious world, and their commitment to the well-being of others that we see the true embodiment of Mr. Worthington’s legacy. 

Head of School Doreen Kelly then announced that Rowan is also the valedictorian of the Class of 2023 — the student in the class who has demonstrated the highest level of academic achievement and will address the student body at Commencement.

A grid of photos from Honors Convocation (2)

Clockwise from top left: Sophomore Class Dean Jim Martin prepares to present Academic Achievement Awards to members of the Class of 2025; Associate Head of Upper School Angela Miklavcic Brandon gives Tul Cherukuri ’24 the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal; Athletic Director Ned Gonet presents Jack Pruden ’23 with the Diamond Raven Award; Associate Head of School for Academic Affairs Justin Brandon gives Cashier Brooks ’26 the ninth-grade Scholar Award.

Associate Head of School for Academic Affairs Justin Brandon announced the Scholar Awards, given to one student per grade level who is considered by the faculty to be the most scholarly student. In addition to grade-point average, the awards are for creativity, love of learning, and ability to reason and be analytical and objective. The awards were given to the following students:

  • Cashier Brooks ’26

  • Henry Zhang ’25

  • Tul Cherukuri ’24 

  • Rowan ​​Thomas ’23

In addition, Head of Upper School Aaron Sundstrom recognized the following Ravens with the Outstanding Student Awards. This award honors two students at each grade level who have maintained a high scholastic average and have been actively involved in school activities. The Outstanding Student Award encompasses superior achievement in every discipline and supersedes the division’s other academic awards. This year’s recipients are:

  • Conner Andrews ’26 and Cole Mackinnon ’26 

  • Nola Clifford ’25 and Jai Gupta ’25 

  • Sophia Hopper ’24 and Grace Petrov ’24

  • Carter Anderson ’23 and Lilja Gudmundsson ’23 

Associate Head of Upper School Angela Miklavcic Brandon then announced the following Honor Awards:

  • A grid of photos from Honors Convocation (3)

    Clockwise from top left: Head of School Doreen Kelly congratulates Rowan ​​Thomas ’23 for their outstanding achievements; Director of Fine Arts David McChesney presents the Senior Strings Award to Bennett Gillespie ’23; and Elijah Smith ’25, Sara Baende ’23 and Alexa Gillon ’24 return to their seats after being recognized. 

    Class Speaker, Class of 2023: Dakota Gordon ’23

  • Robert P. Holding Memorial Scholarship: Olivia Rivera ’25 and Will Robbins ’25

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal: Tul Cherukuri ’24

  • Ravenscroft School Cliosophic Society 2023 Book Award: Mike Hollingshead ’23

In addition, Latin teacher Jonathan Avery shared the names of those students whose academic record has earned them a place in the Cum Laude Society. A complete list of members and new inductees can be viewed in the full program for the 2023 Ravenscroft Upper School Honors Convocation.

Academic Achievement Awards were then presented by the grade-level deans. These awards recognize students in each grade who have demonstrated academic excellence in various disciplines taught at Ravenscroft. Please see the full list of awards by viewing 2023 Ravenscroft Upper School Honors Convocation program.

Director of Fine Arts David McChesney and Athletic Director Ned Gonet then recognized members of the Class of 2023 for achievements in their respective departments:

  • Senior Visual Art Award: Jae Ramsey ’23

  • Senior Dramatic Arts Award: Madison Anysz ’23

  • Senior Band Award: James Milburn-Pyle ’23

  • Senior Choir Award: Jenna Seidenfrau ’23

  • Senior Strings Award: Bennett Gillespie ’23

  • TISAC Sportsmanship Award: Jack Pruden ’23, Mia Strazzella ’23

  • Scholar-Athlete Award: Deacon Adams ’23, Connor Aschman ’23, Owen Fincher ’23, Michael Griffin ’23, Jackson Gring ’23, Tyler Henderson ’23, Tayla Nargassans ’23, Jack Pruden ’23, Mia Strazzella ’23, Bryce Tascher ’23, Lila Wilson ’23

  • Rusty Lewis Sportsmanship Award: Hodge Burkhardt ’23

  • Athletic Achievement Awards: Deacon Adams ’23, Tayla Nargassans ’23

  • Ravenscroft Triple Play: Tayla Nargassan ’23, Jack Pruden ’23

  • Diamond Raven Award: Jack Pruden ’23 

Congratulations to all of these students and all of our Upper School Ravens whose hard work and dedication have made this school year successful!

Enjoy more Upper School highlights shared on the Class of 2023 Senior Success webpage and photo albums on Flikr.