By Stella Heo and Tom Bequette, Online Editor-in-Chief and Online Sports Editor
// Cheering and applause turned into YouTube comments. Certificates of achievement transformed into video messages. Students and teachers in the stands became faces behind a screen, witnessing the first virtual senior awards ceremony at Acalanes High School.
The Acalanes staff and community came together at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, to recognize the stand-out seniors of this year’s graduating class for their accomplishments throughout their time in high school.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many students believed that the community would find a way for the ceremony to take place, mainly because of Acalanes’ efforts to find alternatives to previously in-person events.
“I definitely knew that Acalanes would find a way to hold the awards ceremony. Even [with] all of the obstacles that have come our way, the administration and Leadership have done their best to make our senior year closure as normal as it could possibly be,” senior Mila Mathias said. “Given the virtual talent show and Time of Reflection, I knew a similar thing would work for senior awards.”
Many seniors were still grateful for the staff’s efforts to replicate the event.
“The main difference would obviously be the ability to go on stage to accept the award from teachers and applaud for classmates. The video was still very meaningful and it was nice to hear the messages from all teachers nevertheless,” senior Jamie Bishop said.
Additionally, many seniors found the award ceremony as a good way to appreciate their fellow classmates, who would have otherwise gone under-appreciated.
“I think it’s a great way to recognize students and lift the spirits of some. Everyone who won was so well-deserving, and I think it highlighted a ton of students who don’t get nearly enough credit for how much they’ve given to Acalanes,” senior Maddie Wilson said.
Acalanes Parents Club (APC) Award: Nate Sherman and Anubhav Dawadi
Matt Lynn Memorial Scholarship: Carson Burrill, Cole Murgia, Lauren Kobashigawa, Zoe Benisek
Acalanes Memorial Swim Scholarship: Anna McCarthy
Perseverance Award: Olivia Aaron
Kiwanis Club of Moraga Valley Award: Lauren Kobashigawa
Ole Chavin Leadership Award: Riley Nicosia
Leadership Awards: Cat Acuff, Erin Hemmenway, Maddie Wilson, Beth Daughters, Aidan Mosely, Madi Risch, Mila Mathias, Anna McCarthy, Ishaan Saha
Michael Masdeo Memorial Scholarship: Chontelle Williams
APAB Scholarship (Acalanes Performing Arts): Kara Mickas
American Association of University Women (AAUW) Award: Lynn Wolfe and Marielle Riesner Hansson
Georgia Dimick Busch Memorial Award: Aidan Mosely
James A. Garvey Award: Eitan Feiger
Steffen Ryge Memorial Scholarship Award: Stephanie Liu
Joan Portello Minton Scholarship: Lauren Kobashigawa and Kara Mickas
Norma and Harry Radcliffe Award: Anubhav Dawadi
Most Outstanding Male Senior Athlete Award: Nick Kresnak
Most Outstanding Female Senior Athlete Award: Jewel Roemer
Most Valuable Male Senior Athlete Award: Tommy Thrasher
Most Valuable Female Senior Athlete: Kaylee Pond
Booster Male Scholar Athlete Award: Carson Gragg
Booster Female Scholar Athlete Award: Jordan Pratt and Brooke Westphal
Lafayette Water Polo Foundation Scholarship: Scott Murphy, Mary Beth Heffelfinger and Zoe Benisek
Excellence in Computer Science Award: AJ Hesby
Ernie DeMartini Excellence in Math Award: Jamie Bishop
Excellence in Statistics Award: Georgia Carpenter
Science Department Award: Isabelle Liu, Yicheng Yao, Mary Beth Heffelfinger
Innovative Scientist Award: The Matt & Blake Award (Mulvaney): Beth Daughters and Kara Mickas)
Social Studies Department Award: Yicheng Yao, Charlie Keohane, Chontelle Williams
English Awards: Sydney Christensen, Rebeca Starr
AP English Awards: Seth Bobrowsky, Liam Varela
English Honorable Mention: Will Easley, Jessica Larrick and Niko Figone, Jessica Larrick, Kaylee Pond, Kate Stelzer
AP English Honorable Mention: Maia Neuman, Anne Thiselton Dyer
Most Outstanding Achievement in Automotive Technology: Riley Richmond
Bay Alarm Practical Knowledge Award: Eddie Gray, Jimmy Harrington and Eizak Sanchez
Rex Kaufman Award: Riley Richmond and Jake Wixsom
Charles Mori Ford Award for Automotive Excellence: Nick Hutson and Jared Stueber
Excellence in Scholarly Journalism: Anne Thiselton-Dyer, Charlotte Glass, Zoe Cate, Nelson Rogers, Claire Mueller, Demetri Leones, Fin Soto, John Kalil, Riley Labrosse, Ryan Owens, Shreekar Pandey, Sofia Olsson, Stephanie Liu, Jenna Evaristo, Natalie Seiler, Nicole Prozan
Drama Awards: Brady Sugrue, Blake Levinson, Chloe Parmalee, Jaedyn Boynton, Joel Braunstein, Sabrina Lin
Shelli Francis Memorial Scholarship: Hannah Hoffman
Arion Award for Outstanding Choral Musician: Kara Mickas
Arion Band Award: Liam Varela
Arion Orchestra Award: Sophia Larsen
Lafayette Rotary Arthur D. Bridges Memorial Scholarship: Thomas Judson and Tommy Balmat
Louis Armstrong Jazz Award: James Cain
Director’s Award: Hannah Johnson and Harrison Seymour
Spanish Award: Steven Mak
Mandarin Award: Laura Bertolami and Nelson Rogers
French Award: Phoebe Wandell
Friend of World Languages and Cultures: Eitan Feiger
Acalanes Citizenship Award: Maddie Wilson and Anubhav Dawadi
Academic Excellence (Seniors who maintained a perfect 4.0 unweighted GPA): Murphy Baker, Seth Bobrowsky, Nathan Enrici, John Kalil, Lauren Kobashigawa, Demetrios Leones, Isabelle Liu, Mila Mathias, Kara Mickas, Rachel Minden, Sydney Paulsen, Emma Philips, Nelson Rogers, Cooper Smith
Click here to watch the full video!