“The opening line of our Portrait of a Graduate begins this way: A Taft education prepares its students in a community devoted to lifelong learners, thoughtful citizens, and caring people,” Head of School Willy MacMullen ’78 told the Taft community during the annual Upper Mid Awards Ceremony. “There’s a lot there; I find it a beautiful and aspirational sentence. Today is really about that statement. It is about celebrating scholarship and character in the upper mid class.”
Watch the ceremony at the end of this article.
Join us in celebrating all of the upper mid honorees.
CERTIFICATES OF ATTENDANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Vikte Bartninkaite (Lithuania): ASSIST student
Kotaro Wato (Japan): Keio student
NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
The following students took the 2022 PSAT and with their high performances have shown outstanding academic potential. From more than 1.3 million program entrants, each of these students is among the 50,000 highest scoring participants who will receive recognition in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program as either Semifinalists or Commended Students in the fall:
Lachlan Abbott Fengping (Michael) Ren
Vincent Chen James Sansing
Finn Gateley Trevor Stellmach
Bryn Gavigan Sara Takanabe
Yawen (Helen) Liao Isabel Yang
Nikas Lukyanov Hei Yu (Maggie) Zeng
Sabrina Moffa Zi (Damian) Zhu
THE CITIZENSHIP AWARD
This annual award goes to upper middlers who have contributed significantly through their volunteer service in the community. Congratulations to Erin Butler and Annabel Izmirlian.
THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER BAUSCH AND LOMB HONORARY SCIENCE AWARD
This award is presented by the Bausch and Lomb Company to that member of the upper middle class who has been outstanding in their work in science. The recipient this year is Hei Yu (Maggie) Zeng.
THE BROWN UNIVERSITY AWARD
Presented to that upper middler who best combines a high degree of ability in English expression, both written and spoken, with those outstanding personal qualities which, in the words of the Brown Charter of 1764, give promise that they will become one of the succession of students duly qualified for discharging the offices of life with usefulness and reputation. Congratulations Sabrina Moffa.
THE RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE MEDAL
Given this year to Shane Mettler for excellence in mathematics and sciences.
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award
Presented to the member of the upper middle class who has demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues; leadership and dedication to community action; strong grades and rigorous courses taken in the humanities and social sciences. This year the award goes to Theresa Alves de Oliveira.
THE FRAKER FAMILY AWARD
This award is given by the Head of School, to the upper middler who has distinguished themself in creating a close and diverse global community. Congratulations to Theresa Alves de Oliveira.
FEIDELSON FAMILY LEADERSHIP AWARD
The Feidelson Award is awarded annually to a rising Taft Senior who has shown great strength of character, acts quietly as a mentor in the Taft community, and sets an example of civility and leadership for others in the dormitories, on the playing fields, or in the classroom. Congratulations to Maya Lewis.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO BOOK AWARD
The University of Chicago Book Award is given to that student whose challenging coursework, intellectual engagement in and out of the classroom, ability to draw connections across academic disciplines, and commitment to the community to mark them unique. Congratulations to Sabrina Moffa.
THE DARTMOUTH BOOK PRIZE
Presented to an upper middler who has demonstrated intellectual leadership and made a positive contribution to the extracurricular life of the school. This year’s recipient is Shane Mettler.
THE HARVARD BOOK PRIZE
Awarded to a student whom the Head of School, after consulting with the faculty, shall deem most worthy by result of high scholarship and character. The award goes to Lachlan Abbott.
BOWDOIN BOOK AWARD
Awarded to a high school junior who has demonstrated extraordinary service to the common good and an unusual passion for inquiry, discovery, and innovative thinking. Congratulations Olena Rukkas.
THE PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRIZE
Awarded to a member of the upper middle class whose high honor roll standing and commitment to learning exceeds classroom requirements. This student’s good character is evident in community service activities and outstanding contributions to the extra-curricular life of the school. The award goes to Ivy Kargman.
THE SMITH COLLEGE BOOK AWARD
Presented to an outstanding upper middler who exemplifies the academic achievement, leadership qualities, and concern for others that characterize the thousands of women who have graduated from Smith College. This year, the award is presented to Caiya Niewinski.
THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA JEFFERSON BOOK AWARD
The Jefferson Book Award Program was established to recognize outstanding high school students during their upper middle year. The award is presented by the School’s Committee representative to the student whom the high school considers to best represent the Jeffersonian ideals of scholarship, leadership and citizenship. Congratulations to Finn Gateley.
NOTEWORTHY ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS (2023)
The Science Olympiad went to UMass Amherst to compete in their invitational science olympiad tournament. The team placed 20th out of 30 teams. Michael Ren and Michael Xu placed fourth in the code-busters event.
Taft finished first in the region during the 6-month New England Math League competition (beating Hotchkiss), 2nd in the state, and 13th overall in New England out of more than 200 competing schools. Michael Ren placed first overall in New England with a perfect score for the season.
Four Taft students participated in two rounds of the National Economics Challenge sponsored by the Council for Economic Education. Their performance qualified them to compete in the finals in New York City, where they finished second. Congratulations to Lachlan Abbott, Rina Kurihara, Nikas Lukyanov, and Michael Xu.
The following students were recognized for their work on the National Latin Exam:
Summa cum Laude/Gold Medal: Matthew Romero
Maxima cum Laude/Silver Medals: Daniel Deng, Conrad Lynch, Michael Ren
Magna cum Laude/Bronze Medals: Theo Charrington, Grace Deng, Chip Furman
Cum Laude/Honorable Mention: Sky Comfort, Owen Grow, Madeleine Hsu, Brady Morris,Trevor Stellmach, Ashley Triumph