Underclass Prize Assembly Celebrates Student Achievement
Suzy Logan

As the 2016-2017 school year came to a close, freshmen, sophomores and juniors gathered in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts to celebrate their accomplishments at the Underclass Prize Assembly. To watch the assembly in full, click "play" below.

The May 30 ceremony is an annual event that includes the presentation of subject prizes and major department prizes, junior-class cum laude induction, and the installation of prefects for the following school year. The hour-long event included presentations from Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni, Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto '97, heads of seven academic departments, president of Blair's chapter of cum laude Robert Merrifield, Associate Dean of Students Andee Ryerson, Dean of Students Carm Mazza, Head of School Chris Fortunato and chaplain Russell Powell.

"This assembly traditionally marks the end of the school year," said Mr. Molteni, as he opened the ceremony. "So, too, do the exams you are taking and preparing for each night. I'll let you in on a poorly kept secret tonight: It is a bit of a fake ending. These things are one end, but they are the end. I see so many of you deeply invested in ending the year in the right way, and for that, you have my congratulations on learning in the best of ways. In celebrating the names we call today, we celebrate the journey alongside the destination."

After presenting special student prizes, Mr. Fortunato addressed students and encouraged them to finish strong over the next two days.

"You can bring the best, not just of what we saw here today, but the best of your experiences at Blair, your own versions of the Blair bubble, to all that you do," he said. "You will return in the fall for your first day of classes in our 170th year refreshed and with stories and a commitment to work every day in this place to honor the promise of the people around you. So, when exams are done, enjoy. Learn, relax, have fun, do something new and interesting, or go back and do the things you love to do this summer and enjoy a well-deserved break. To end this year, to stand before you today, is truly my honor. Congratulations and have a wonderful summer."

Following a benediction from Mr. Powell, students watched the class of 2017 video at the end of the assembly, which marked the last time they will convene as a group this school year.

Congratulations to the students who were recognized at the Underclass Prize Assembly, including:

THE JOAN AND FERNANDO MARCIAL PRIZE, awarded to that foreign student who in the first year at Blair, overcoming difficulties and deficiencies in knowledge and use of the English language, has shown meritorious improvement in adjustment to life in an American boarding school as well as in the pursuit and fulfillment of academic responsibilities: Onome Akinbode-James

THE STEPHEN CURRY PRIZE, awarded to a first year student who has made dramatic progress both socially and academically: Apaar Singh Anand

THE PHILLIPS-JAMES-ROSEN TROPHY, awarded to those members of the junior class whose records have been marked by devotion to the School, and who have, while performing creditably as students and citizens of the School community, displayed uncommon leadership: Elisabeth Catherine Pinkerton & Ronan Timothy Smarth

THE JOHN KINCH LEACH MERIT AWARD, awarded to those members of the sophomore class whose records of scholarship, participation in activities and general citizenship have been a special credit to the School and an example for others to follow: Madison Ann Jones & Jacob Harrison Leddy

THE DAVID AVERY-JONES FRESHMAN PRIZE, awarded to those members of the freshman class who, while maintaining satisfactory academic records, have participated actively in and made significant contributions to School activities: Alexandra Leigh Kirby & Aidan Gilmore Riano

THE PETER L. AMERMAN RELIGION PRIZE, awarded to that student of religion who has been most challenged by the material encountered and who has demonstrated an effort to re-evaluate the philosophy of life accordingly: Cleary Ruth Waldo

THE HENRY B. COWAN PRIZE, awarded to members of the junior class for outstanding achievement in the study of English: Ethan Nicholas Amato, Ernst Lippert & Rebecca Eve Xi

CUM LAUDE SOCIETY membership is awarded to students having achieved good character development and high academic standing:
Ethan Nicholas Amato
Alexa Marie Bazsa
Savannah Rae Doelfel
Nami Caroline Hoffman
Seth Sehyun Kim
Seung Min Lee
Ernst Lippert
Grace M. Miller
Huong Thi Nguyen
Sienna Isabel Tipton
Rebecca Eve Xi
YiJin Zhang

The PURCHASE ART PRIZE, awarded to an underclass student for the purchase of their artwork to be displayed at the School: Seung Min Lee

Freshman English: Cameron Goodwin Bentley & Chloe Liquan Axelson Rayer

Sophomore English: Eleanor Marie Haines & Anthony Augustus Moore

Freshman Science (Bio H): Noah Xavier Bryan & Cameron Goodwin Bentley

Sophomore Science (Chem H): Hai Thanh Phan & Jessica Lee Schable

Junior Science (AP Chem): Seth Sehyun Kim

Global Issues: Priscilla Arpana Sharma

Western Civilization: Ryan L. Green & Linda Kaihua Tong

U.S. History: Rebecca Eve Xi

Pythagoras Prize for Geometry: Timothy M. Launders

Gauss Prize for Algebra: Anthony Augustus Moore

Euler Prize for Analysis: Rebecca Eve Xi

Vocal Music: Savannah Rae Doelfel & Emma Jayne Mohlmann

Instrumental Music: Glenn Everett Bechtler & Rebecca Eve Xi

Theatre: Ernst Lippert & Siena Isabel Tipton

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