Cum Laude Society Welcomes New Members

Earning the distinction of Cum Laude is not easy. Yet, on Monday, April 28, the prestigious Cum Laude Society, a national honor society recognizing academic achievement and character, added 13 more members from the Class of 2014 and 15 students from the Class of 2015. McDonogh, one of 18 Maryland schools with a Cum Laude chapter, has been a member since 1955.

The 2014 Cum Laude keynote speaker Amy John, the executive director of BEST (Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust) began her speech by explaining that she immediately said “yes” when Headmaster Charlie Britton asked her to speak at the ceremony. But, as the date approached she became more apprehensive. Eventually, she determined that the best wisdom she could impart to the McDonogh scholars was about street smarts. Following are her words of wisdom:

“Own your mistakes and tell the truth—always. Everybody makes mistakes. Some mistakes are big and some are small. Our work is to own our mistakes and learn to tolerate the range of emotions people will have as a result of our mistakes. Our greatest growth comes when we do this. When you tell the truth it is freeing.

“Next, put work into every relationship in your life. Mankind thrives in community and being around others. We do best when we surround ourselves with those who bring out the best in us, and those that we bring out the best of. Well, if that is true, then we MUST take care of the relationships in our lives. Relationships are then the basis of who we are as a community of people. Take care of relationships and work on relationships. Never be cavalier about them. Appreciate them and respect them. Be conscious of what relationships do for your life.

“Finally, be conscious and awake. This might be the hardest thing I am asking of you. Let’s start with McDonogh. I have been at this school several times, and each time I am conscious of the tree lined drive, beautiful chapel, and the space in which you learn. Today, I got out of my car and heard laughing kids out front, witnessed the hustle and bustle of students in the hall, and was appreciative of the hands I was shaking. I am conscious and I am awake. McDonogh is an incredible place. You are learning how to be independent learners, critical thinkers, and people of character and integrity. You also need to know that the world needs you. You need to see yourselves as global citizens. As you seniors go off to your college campuses, take everything that is happening here and be conscious and awake.”

She concluded by mentioning the upcoming graduation season and the many speakers who will encourage students to follow their dreams. She agreed with that advice adding, “I say take it further—follow your dreams and touch the world while you do it. The world needs you—touch the world.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2014 initiates: Pegah B., Paget B., Mae C., Andrea C., Jessica F., Ilana G., Jake H., Judy L., Sherry L., Carolyn M., Rachael M., Kelsey N., and Victoria R. and to the Class of 2015 initiates: Quinn A., Anne B., Ethan B., Jack C., Rachel C., Andrea F., Elizabeth G., Tyler J., Antoan K., Andrew M., Harini R., Sophie R., Alyssa R., Sara S., and Barrett S.

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