In The Schools

Summit's Johnson, Basmajian, and Sylva Among Thirteen Students Inducted into Oak Knoll Chapter of Cum Laude Society

Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child inducted 13 juniors and seniors into the school’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society Credits: Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child

SUMMIT, NJ - Summit's Grace Johnson, Class of '17, and Kaela G. Basmajian and Antonia Sylva, both Class of '18, are among 13 Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child juniors and seniors inducted into the school’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society.

The students, recognized "for their willingness to pursue academics at the highest level," were heralded for their academic achievement in secondary schools for the purpose of promoting excellence, justice and honor.

The students, representing the top 10 percent of their respective classes, were inducted in the Mother Mary Campion Center for the Performing Arts in front of parents, classmates, faculty and staff.

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In addition to Johnson of Summit, inducted seniors included Caroline D'Aliso ’17, of Morristown; Janelle Drake ’17, of Basking Ridge, Margo Ganton ’17, of Verona; Carly Pompei ’17, of Roselle Park; and Christine Tomasi ’17, of Mendham.

Along with Basmajian and Sylva of Summit, juniors inducted include Elizabeth Denehy ’18, of Essex Fells; Madison Dyer ’18, of Short Hills; Christina Nguyen ’18, of Watchung; Juli Porto ’18, of Berkeley Heights; and Isabel Sangimino ’18, of Chatham.

Addressing students was Madeleine Colavita ’08, associate editor at Hachette Book Group, who said the group of professional women authors and editors she’s been welcomed into remind her of the community of support at Oak Knoll.

“Both communities believe that the future is female and that, by empowering women with choices and opportunity, they can change the world,” said Colavita, encouraging the seniors in particular to seek out independent women like themselves after they depart from Oak Knoll.         

Before the students were inducted, Michele Proia, academic dean and Upper School foreign language teacher, reflected on the historic origins of the Cum Laude society and its Latin meaning of “with praise” or “with honors.”

“This unbroken line of academic and linguistic tradition that stretches back over two millennia leads us to today when Oak Knoll acknowledges those students who pursue academics at the highest level not for a grade, not for the glory, not for renown or fame, but out of a genuine love learning,” Proia said.

She praised the students for their commitment to keep alive a tradition of learning and knowledge that extends to the very origins of recorded time.

“Much like the ancient scholars, the students being lauded today have a relentless need to understand, the curiosity to extend themselves, the endless joy of scholarship and they never stop asking the right questions,” added Proia. 

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