Conard Junior-Senior Awards
By: Andrew Maglio
One night each Spring, we here at Conard honor the achievements of some of our students in our Junior and Senior classes with an awards night. Like many events in the past two months, this one was adapted, too. Ms. Barry, Mr. Duarte, and Mrs. Hickey were faced with the challenge of honoring the students in a special way despite the challenges posed by the school’s closure. Most of the nominations and selections had occurred before we all left school on March 13, so selections ran rather smoothly. Ultimately, they decided on a video that features pictures of the winning students along with a caption of the award(s) they’ve won. The intent of the slideshow video was twofold: to celebrate each winner and to allow members of the community and the donors that support specific awards to “put a face to name.”
The awards are also listed on the home page of the Conard website in an easy-to-access and easy-to-read PDF. The list runs 23 pages long, a combination of Juniors and Seniors representing a diverse array of interests and accomplishments. Most award recipients are nominated and/or chosen by staff. A few honors are selected by objective achievement on tests (such as the American Math Competition or National Merit Scholarship Awards). Then some are chosen with help from a donor or community scholarship organization. In these cases (sponsored awards), students can be nominated by staff, but the ultimate decision rests with the sponsor. Ms. Barry, the faculty member tasked with coordinating the program, noted in an interview with me that she has “had a few outside donors reach out to me with their interest in implementing an award” recently. She remarked, “I enjoy connecting with them and see[ing] their vision come to life when the first student is selected!”
There are also a handful of awards that are named after Conard alumni or faculty. Honors like the Jeffrey Carples Memorial Award (won this year by Senior John Zehr) recognize students for their commitment to an extracurricular while others like the Mimi Hostetter European History Award (won this year by Junior Nora Wilson) seek to highlight students who have shown a deep interest in an academic field. One thing that remains common among alumni/staff-inspired awards is that “faculty and staff often consider the characteristics of the person when choosing an award recipient.”
Despite the challenges posed to our community during these trying times, the annual awards program has continued. As always, it has allowed us to honor the Conard alumni who have come before us, the donors and programs that contribute to our school, and recognize members of the Conard community for their achievements.