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Acalanes Holds Senior Awards on YouTube

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.

Award Winners:

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!

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