NCHS junior Molly Keshin wins the Dartmouth Club of Fairfield County Book Award at the NCHS Recognition Assembly, held May 25, 2016. Credit: Michael Dinan
Hundreds of New Canaan High School parents, students and faculty members on Wednesday morning gathered in the auditorium to honor more than 130 seniors and juniors at the annual Recognition Assembly.
A day to recognize the achievements of NCHS students—and to recall members of the school and wider community, some deceased, as several awards are named for them—the event marks “one of those days where these kids make us look very, very good,” said Vice Principal Ari Rothman, who emceed the ceremony.
“We are all very proud of their accomplishments,” he said.
Many stood to deliver an ovation during the presentation of the first-ever Kelly Devine Award, named for a recently deceased and widely loved NCHS teacher, at the NCHS Recognition Assembly, held May 25, 2016. Credit: Michael Dinan
What follows is a list of all awards, with descriptions where available, and recipients:
OVERALL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
National Merit Finalist: Each year more than a million high school students participate in the National Merit Scholarship testing program. Of this group, only one-half of one percent in each state is recognized as “National Merit Finalists,” a designation that comes only as a result of a record of distinguished achievement and a high potential for continued academic accomplishment.
National Hispanic Scholar: The National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) identifies academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students. Each year, the NHRP honors nearly 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from the approximately 235,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT
Fairfield County Association of Secondary Schools Principal’s Scholar Leader Awards
Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Student Leadership Award: An ability to recognize the needs of others, a willingness to take on difficult challenges and a capacity for making difficult decisions, ability to work with and direct others, and the ability to honor commitments – these are the attributes for which this award was established.
AAUW Awards for Distinguished Academic Performance
The Harold S. Kenney Awards (Scholar/Athlete)
Principal’s Leadership Award: Students are selected as recipients of this award who have a record of exemplary academic accomplishment and leadership to the school and/or the community.
Principal’s Achievement Award: Students are selected as the recipient of this award who have, over their years at New Canaan High school, a demonstrated record of high academic achievement
Principal’s Service Award: Students are selected as recipients of this award who have a record of high academic achievement and exemplary service to the school and the community.
Connecticut Association of Schools Fine Arts Scholar Awards
Connecticut Association of Schools Governor’s Scholar of CT Award: The Governor’s Scholars Program recognizes academically talented high school juniors in schools throughout the state.
Fritz Eager Memorial Purchase Awards: To establish and expand a permanent collection of high school student art that will inspire young artists, the Purchase Award recognizes excellence in the visual arts by acquiring the work of graduating seniors “from the whole range of media,” For her digital illustration, “The Best Question”
For her digital illustration, “New York Abstraction”
For her mixed-media collage, “Transition”
Fritz Eager Merit Award: Given to student artists whose work embodies both quality and originality. This award acknowledges an outstanding body of work exhibited in the Annual Senior Art Show.
Jennifer Ann Zucco Award for Achievement in Visual Art: Recognizing the art of a graduating senior, this scholarship honors the essential traits of Jennifer: a brilliant vision, a curious mind, a generous and creative spirit.
Arthur Szyk Award for Commitment to the Arts: Named for a distinguished New Canaan illustrator and artist whose work sought to advance social justice, this award recognizes a talented individual whose work in art addresses the school, community, or world.
Pennyweights Award for Achievement in Arts: The owners of Pennyweights in New Canaan have established a very generous award to be given annually to a senior who, in the judgment of the Art faculty, has displayed “learning, zeal and know-how which transcends the school and its classrooms and extends into real life.”
Caren Forbes Award for Achievement in Photography: This award is given to the student who has demonstrated excellence in the photographic medium, not only documenting the world around him/her with clarity and skill but also using the photographic process creatively to communicate personal voice.
Peter Kingsbury Award for Film: This award is in honor of Peter Kingsbury, a dedicated teacher and filmmaker at New Canaan High School who inspired a generation of students in the art of storytelling through film. The recipient of this award is a film student who has an appreciation of the Arts and has excelled in creating original content through film.
BUSINESS EDUCATION AWARDS
Lions Club Award for the outstanding business student
New Canaan Board of Realtors Award for distinguished achievement in business
Reynolds & Rowella Strength in Numbers Scholarship: The Reynolds & Rowella Strength in Numbers Scholarship awards $500 to two New Canaan High School graduating seniors who have a strong interest and aptitude in accounting or finance. The program was established to support the firm’s belief in giving back to the communities they serve.
The Kiwanis Club of New Canaan in Memory of Peter B. Linden: Peter Linden was a loved and respected member of the Kiwanis Club of New Canaan who left us too early after a long battle with cancer. His passions were art and the theatre and in recognition of this, the Kiwanis Club has established the following New Canaan High School award in Peter’s memory for the benefit of these promising drama students.
Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre
The Court Miller Award for Achievement in Acting JENNIFER DALY
The Court Miller Award for Musical Theatre
Outstanding Achievement in Dance
The V. Donald Hersam, Sr. Memorial Award for Excellence in English
The V. Donald Hersam, Sr. Memorial Award for Excellence in Journalism
The Mary R. Smith Award for Literary Exploration
Department Award for Excellence in the Study of American Literature
The Spectator Award for the Literary Promise Reflected in Original Work Submitted to Spectator
FAMILY and CONSUMER SCIENCE AWARDS
Outstanding Achievement in Child Development
Shirley Frank Award for Outstanding Achievement in Family and Consumer Science
Outstanding Achievement in Culinary Arts
Excellence in Family & Consumer Science Award
Departmental Award in Mathematics: This award recognizes the individual who has made significant contributions to the study of mathematics at NCHS.
Norman Ricker Award: Norman Ricker graduated from and taught at New Canaan High School for over 37 years. For over 25 years, he served as Department Chairman. His love for teaching and learning along with his sense of humor and creative wit earned him the respect and admiration of many. The award recognizes creativity in the field of Mathematics.
The A. K. Littlefield Award: Established by the NCHS Class of 1938 to honor the memory of their advisor, Mr. Keith Littlefield, who served as chairman of the Mathematics Department for more than 35 years, the award is given to the senior who is outstanding in mathematics.
PERFORMING ARTS AWARDS
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC AWARDS
Outstanding Contribution to the Band
Louis Armstrong Award for Excellence in Jazz
Excellence in the Field of Music
John Philip Sousa Band Award
Outstanding Achievement in Orchestra
VOCAL MUSIC AWARDS
Outstanding Contribution to the Vocal Music Program
Outstanding Student in Music Theory
MUSIC TECHNOLOGY AWARDS
Outstanding Achievement in Music Technology
Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition
The Richard Serbagi Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts: This award and scholarship, named for the great maestro and music educator, Richard Serbagi, recognizes the individual whose contributions to the study of music and the performing arts and commitment and concentration has brought about growth as a musician and performing artist.
Department Award for Excellence in Biology
Department Award for Excellence in Chemistry
Department Award for Excellence in Physics
Bausch & Lomb Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science by a Junior
Intellectual Curiosity in the Study of Science Award
Pennyweights Award for the Outstanding Student in Science: The owners of Pennyweights in New Canaan have established a very generous award to be given annually to a senior who, in the judgment of the Science faculty, has displayed “learning, zeal and know-how which transcends the school and its classrooms and extends into real life.”
SOCIAL STUDIES AWARDS
The Robert Gardner Award: This departmental award is given to the senior who has exhibited passion and commitment to the study of History during his/her years at NCHS.
New Canaan Historical Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in United States History
Veterans of Foreign Wars for Excellence in United States History
World Affairs Forum Future Global Leader Award: This award is given to the junior at each participating high school for outstanding leadership on global issues including academic studies, extracurricular activities and/or community service. The recipient of this award is eligible to compete for the WAF $10,000 Merit Scholarship for college which will be awarded to Fairfield County’s most outstanding Future Global Leader.
League of Women Voters of New Canaan Award: Awarded to the student who has excelled in the study of Government and demonstrated a commitment to motivating other students to become responsible citizens
TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION AWARDS
Outstanding Achievement in Woodworking
Outstanding Achievement in Engineering
Perannos Yearbook Design & Publication Award: For outstanding leadership, dedication and editorial integrity while producing a yearbook of the highest possible quality
NCTV 78 Television Broadcasting Award: For their outstanding work and dedication to the broadcasting field
Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design
Departmental Award in Career & Technical Education
WORLD LANGUAGES AWARDS
Excellence in Spanish
Excellence in French
Excellence in Chinese
The Carl Howard Memorial Scholarship: Given in honor of the beloved Department Chair in World Languages in the 1970s to a senior continuing the study of a world language in college
The Celine Berliet Memorial Award in Classics: The recipient of this award is distinguished by exceptional academic aptitudes and achievements, with a special interest in and commitment to the Classics. Céline Berliet, New Canaan High School, Class of 1996, graduated, magna cum laude, from Columbia University with a BA in Classics, taught Classics in Arizona and Maryland and pursued graduate studies in Classics at New York University.
The Richard P. Bond Award: Dick Bond was New Canaan’s First Selectman from 1996 – 2003. While controversial at times, there is no question that Dick had a significant impact on the town. Today it bears dozens of marks directly attributable to him and his administration. One is our own Dunning Stadium, the building of which would have been abandoned had Dick not personally stepped in and revitalized the project. A great friend of New Canaan education, Dick got started in town politics as a citizen fighting for a school budget that was under threat of deep cuts. He firmly believed that education was New Canaan’s “secret sauce”. The award we give today in his name is intended to recognize someone who, like Dick, has made a difference. It goes to the graduating student, who during his/her NCHS career has had the greatest positive impact on NCHS – the student who, more than most, has made what is already a wonderful institution even better. Additionally, the recipient will have demonstrated strength in academics and in one or more non-academic areas.
The Henry Coleman Memorial Award: Henry S. Coleman was a former Dean of Financial Aide, Director of Admissions, and Dean of Students at Columbia University. While living in New Canaan for over 50 years, he chaired the Board of Education and was one of the founders of the New Canaan High School Scholarship Fund, serving on its Grant and Aide committee until his death in 2006. His lifelong passion was to ensure that every student had access to a good education. This fund, set up in honor of his memory, gives the award in his name to the student or students who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to helping others, but who also possess the character and skills of leadership that make them role-models among their peers.
Bradley Fetchet 9/11 Memorial Award: Established by the Fetchet family and supported by their friends and community to honor the memory of their son, Brad, an NCHS graduate among those lost at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the award – presented annually – to both a male and female member of the graduating class who embody the spirit of Brad: his enthusiasm, compassion, love of life, commitment to family and community, and especially those in need.
Team Jim Scholarship: Established in memory of Jim McKennan, the selected students are seniors who have played Varsity Soccer and embody Jim’s passion for the sport of soccer as well as his qualities of caring, kindness, humor, teamwork, sportsmanship and confidence to follow their own path in life.
The John Leslie Award: John Leslie, a member of the Class of 2012, passed away in August 2007. To preserve his memory through the promotion of activities and organizations in which John had been active during his lifetime, his family and friends created the John A. Leslie Fund. John’s family continues to honor him by awarding a scholarship to a graduating boy and a graduating girl who have been active in interscholastic athletics and embody John’s passion for athletics as well as the preservation of the ideals of good sportsmanship, community awareness, healthy families and educational excellence that were dear to John during his life.
The Kelly Devine Award: Given by the faculty of NCHS in memory of our friend, Kelly Devine, English teacher and Reading Specialist who was respected and admired by her colleagues and adored by her students. Kelly was always there for all students and has had a most profound impact and influence on the growth and success of many. She is also singularly responsible for several in this class making it to graduation. To honor Kelly, her work, her infectious spirit and her passion for literature and reading, we would like to recognize
New Canaan Community Foundation Community Impact Award: A student with a history of volunteerism on behalf of non-profit organizations whose volunteer service to the community has made a significant difference in the lives of others; a student who believes that community service can be a means to improve our community for all residents. NCCF will present the recipient with a plaque and the student will recommend a non-profit organization to receive a grant in his/her name.
Leo E. Karl Sr. Community Service Award: In 1927, Leo E Karl Sr. opened a Chevrolet auto dealership on Railroad Avenue (now Elm Street) here in New Canaan. One of the company’s hallmarks is Community Service. This memorial award is presented to the student who has demonstrated a commitment to make his/her community a better place to live and work.
Jack Jacobs Congressional Medal of Honor Award for Citizenship: The selected student has demonstrated selfless leadership and service to others during his/her four years of high school in an area where his/her contribution made a significant difference to others, the town or the United States.
Young Philanthropist Award: This award is presented to a graduating senior who has participated for multiple years in the New Canaan Community Foundation young philanthropist program and has demonstrated commitment and leadership in this student group. The winner shows true dedication to learning about philanthropy and shows compassion for others in our community.
The Edwin Bennett Dixon Memorial Award given by the Gridiron Club of New Canaan: Ed Dixon was a 1971 graduate of NCHS who returned home after college as the Audio Visual and Technical Theatre Director. He loved teaching and sharing his talents with his students for over 12 years before losing his battle with cancer. This award, given in his name, recognizes a student’s achievement in communication, technical and audio-visual crafts.
Western Connecticut Military Officers Association Young American Leadership Award: Awarded to a member of the senior class who is strongly supportive of the United States and has a demonstrated love of country, the Young American Leadership Award recognizes outstanding leadership potential and a keen interest in spreading the concepts of democracy through service to the community and others.
The Pheidippides Award: Pheidippides was an Athenian courier sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon. He ran 150 miles in two days and, when the battle was over, ran 22 miles back to Athens shouting along the way: “Rejoice! We conquer!” In selecting the recipient of this award, we look for a graduating student who always brings a distinctive effort to everything he/she does and perseverance to his/her high school career.
Melanie Weeks Sammarco Memorial Award: This is in loving memory of Melanie Weeks Sammarco, a woman who followed her dreams by continuing her own education beyond all expectations. The recipient personifies Melanie’s values: “love, heal, realize, inspire and evolve” and it hoped that he/she follow his/her dreams.
Jack Dempsey Award: This award was established by the Ceresa family and has been supported by The Marine Corps Foundation, as well as friends and classmates, in honor of Kevin “Jack” Dempsey. Jack transferred to New Canaan High School in the fall of 1997 as a member of the Class of 1999. After overcoming many stumbling blocks, Jack graduated with the Class of 2000 and attended the University of Connecticut. The tragic events of September 11, 2001, fueled his life-long determination to join the U.S. Marine Corps. Jack was killed in action during the battle for Fallujah (Iraq) on November 13, 2004. His actions on that day saved the lives of several Marines on this mission. The award is presented annually to the student who most exemplifies the qualities of heroism, loyalty and sacrifice in the face of adversity.
The Kay Timmis Award: “She was everyone’s grandmother” – Kay Timmis or “Miss Timmis” as she was called, was a beloved substitute teacher at both the high school and Saxe Middle School. She began working as a substitute teacher in the district in the late 1970’s. She touched hundreds of young lives with her rare, unflagging kindness, smile, and generosity of spirit. The Miss Timmis Award is given each year to a graduating senior of New Canaan High School who embodies Miss Timmis’ legacy of kindness, warmth, generosity of spirit, loving acceptance of others and unwavering support for fellow students.”
The Suzanne Farrell Memorial Award: Given by members of the Class of 1980 in recognition of the characteristics that define their late friend and classmate – leadership, character and service.
The Daughters of the American Revolution Award: For Outstanding Citizenship and Patriotism, as nominated by the school and selected by the Local Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Richard Frisbee Memorial Award: From a Gift of the Class of 1992, awarded to a student who has set out goals for him- or herself and shown outstanding initiative in pursuing those goals without losing sight of humanity and sincere compassion for others.
The NCHS Buddies Award: These students are recognized for their commitment to fostering friendships between typical high school and special needs students with intellectual disabilities.
Gary Field Coalition Award for Outstanding Service
Outstanding Leadership by a Junior Member of the Student Coalition
NCHS Parents and Faculty Association Award for Outstanding Service and Loyalty
Student Advocates Award: Honoring a single upperclassman that has demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the Student Advocates by demonstrating self respect, respect for others, respect for differences, and an active commitment to ethical, responsible behavior, this award represents an understanding of the components of community and citizenship as evidenced by the recipient’s interactions with and on behalf of others. As both peer and mentor, this student is dedicated to the NCHS culture as one who nurtures growth, personal integrity and mutual respect.
The CIAC Achievement Award: This award is presented to New Canaan High School athletes who have achieved at a very high level in their chosen sport. The recipients of this award have devoted countless hours of training striving to elevate their game to the highest levels attainable. More importantly, these are individuals who are exemplary in sportsmanship, ethics and integrity.
Bob’s Sports – The Don Guenin Award (Outstanding Athletes}
The Silver Hill Hospital Health Care Scholarship: This award is provided annually by the hospital in support of a New Canaan High School student who is pursuing their education in the health care field.
The TechXpert Service Award: The TechXpert Service Award is given to the senior who most demonstrates superior problem-solving and technical skills while practicing the qualities necessary for excellent customer service, such as initiative, approachability, perseverance, and patience.
DARRELL JARRETT VALENTI
JUNIOR BOOK AWARDS
The Yale Club of Lower Fairfield County For Outstanding Personal Character and Intellectual Promise
College of William and Mary Leadership Award: For leadership in the school and classroom and for personal leadership qualities
Wellesley College: Presented by the Southern Connecticut Wellesley Club to a female student whose academic record and character are exceptional and who has also made a significant contribution to her school and/or community
University of Virginia Jefferson Book Award: For the outstanding, well-rounded junior who possesses the Jeffersonian ideals of scholarship, leadership and citizenship
Vassar College: For excellence in the Humanities
Trinity College For Scholarship, Dedication and Service to the School
Smith College: For Academic Excellence, Leadership, and Concern for Others
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: For outstanding achievement in Mathematics and Science
Princeton Alumni Association of Fairfield County: To a Junior Who, in the Faculty’s Judgment, Most Clearly Demonstrates Creativity of Mind and Vitality of Spirit
Oberlin Club of Westchester and Southern Connecticut: To a junior who demonstrates excellence in English
Mount Holyoke Club of Fairfield Villages: For an outstanding academic record and qualities of leadership and service in the school and/or community
University of Michigan For Excellence in English
College of the Holy Cross: For Exceptional Academic Achievement and Sincere Concern for others
Harvard Club of Fairfield County: For an outstanding junior
MICHAEL ST. GEORGE
Gettysburg College: For excellence in the study of United States history
Dartmouth Club of Fairfield County: To a junior who has excelled both academically and in his/her extracurricular activities, making a positive contribution to the school community
Cornell Club of Fairfield County: For Academic Excellence, Innovative Thinking, and Leadership
Columbia University Club of Fairfield County: For outstanding academic achievement
Brown University: For an Outstanding Junior in English