In early April, a highly select group of seniors was inducted into the School’s Cum Laude Society at a special dinner in Hajjar Auditorium. An annual ceremony that is traditionally one of the more memorable of the academic year, the Cum Laude Dinner featured personal remarks from D-E faculty and administrative staff members about each of the student honorees.
The mission of Cum Laude is “to recognize academic achievement in secondary schools for the purpose of promoting excellence (Areté), justice (Diké) and honor (Timé).”
“These students are exceptional examples of young men and women who practice these values every day, in the classroom, in their activities, and in their communities,” noted faculty member Peter Bograd, D-E’s Cum Laude Chapter president.
Alumnus Hugh Baran ’05 was the keynote presenter. A Yale University graduate with a long history of political activism and community organizing, Baran is a second-year law student and Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar at NYU, where he is the editor-in-chief of the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. Maintaining his commitment to active engagement with social-justice issues, he is a student attorney in NYU’s Family Defense Clinic and spent last summer helping the National Employment Law Project advocate for the rights and interests of low-wage workers.
In his remarks, he acknowledged the role D-E played in his growth. “My time at D-E was among the most generative periods for me of my life, both on an intellectual and personal level,” he said. “The mentors you have here, the close friends you’ve made— you’ll have them for the rest of your life.”
He also spoke with tremendous humility about overcoming self- doubt. “When Peter Bograd emailed me with the invitation to speak here tonight, with the goal of providing an inspiration to all of you about where your lives could take you after D-E, I was genuinely quite surprised,” he said. “What was Mr. Bograd—Peter—going on about? What ‘accomplishments’ did he think I really had to bring to the table?”
This feeling of perhaps not being worthy or good enough was something Baran wanted to share with students: “[What that] really highlights for me is how important it is for everyone here to recognize that the biggest challenges you will face as you leave this place, will be the challenges that come with believing in yourself: [Getting] over your fear of being an imposter—with not thinking so much about how other people are going to think about you or feel about you—and that’s a lot easier said than done…What I’m here to say to you all, is that it really does get better… and you’ve got to believe that, deep in yourselves.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2016 Cum Laude Society Honorees:
David M. Aaron
Christopher Lee Anton
Casey Leigh Danoff
Savannah Hailey DiGiovanni
Samuel Zachary Garden
Jason Tyler King
Ku Chien Casper Lin
Nien Yin Nasrin Lin
Isabella Rosa Monaco
Estella R. M. Muro
Katherine S. Park
Malcolm Malek Rakshan
Michelle Anna Rowicki
Tara Lynne Satnick
David Evan Schulman
Matthew Louis Waltman