On Monday, April 17, KO formally inducted 17 seniors into the Cum Laude Society at the annual Cum Laude dinner.
The evening began with the induction ceremony, which took place in Alumni Hall, a new location for the event. This year, the Cum Laude Society inducted the following seniors: Abigail Baier, Elias Brandt, Sophia Brunalli, Mckenzie Campbell, Tess Chapman, Kyra Dunnirvine, Maggie Dwyer, Michael He, Annabelle Jacobs, Aman Kumar, Johnny Kung, Aidan Ladewig, Benjamin Margolis, Lucia Martinez-Castro, Rajan Patel, Keira Sullivan, and Bella Theodorou.
These seniors were honored for both their high grade point averages and their commitment to schoolwork. In Alumni Hall, a quick speech was given from President of the KO Cum Laude Chapter and French teacher Ryan Brodeur, and Head of School Thomas Dillow additionally congratulated the seniors for their hard work.
While the students ate dinner in the cafeteria, they listened to a speech from this year’s guest speaker Alia Ornstein ’98. Ms. Ornstein has a background in law and currently works for Brooklyn Grange, an urban farming initiative. She talked about her experience at KO, and how the lessons she learned have impacted her career. “Her message to the inductees was to remember that you know how to work hard and that you can do hard things.” Mr. Brodeur said. “It’s important to define happiness in a way that makes sense for you and not let the outside world define it for you.”
Mr. Brodeur also highlighted the significance of the dinner for the seniors. “It marks the beginning of the end of the celebration of their time here and the success that they found,” he said, “so I just love that feeling of celebration that comes.”
Many students noted the speech as a highlight of the event. “I thought it was really cool to learn about somebody else’s experience, and getting the chance to hear their story of how they approached college and life after,” Aidan said.
Mr. Brodeur also found the speech to be engaging for the seniors. “I love the fact that we get to connect with an alumnus who comes back to speak, which shows the affable connection between generations of KO students,” he said, “which is just cool to think this thread carries throughout the school’s history.”
Michael agreed with Mr. Brodeur. “It gave me a new perspective on how success is not in wealth, but how you can change the world and treat other people,” he said.
Another highlight of the event was the connections formed between the present parents, students, and teachers. “I love being able to connect with parents.” Mr. Brodeur said, “especially moments when it’s like outside of the process not directly connected to class, because at the end of the day, parents and teachers are very much working towards the same goal.”
Michael agreed, noting how the seniors had good conversations with the parents and teachers.
Overall, the Cum Laude dinner was a success. Everything went smoothly, and everybody was able to learn something new, while celebrating all of their hard work. Congratulations to the inductees and we wish them the best of luck in college!