Twenty-nine members of the Classes of 2021 and 2022 were welcomed into McDonogh School’s Cum Laude Society at the 60th annual ceremony on Sunday, April 25 in the Horn Theatre. They joined 16 seniors who were inducted in 2020. The national honor society, which recognizes academic achievement grounded in character, honesty, and integrity, is modeled after the Phi Beta Kappa collegiate honor society.
Addressing the students and a limited audience of parents was McDonogh alumnus, former parent, and trustee Dr. Shawn Robinson ‘79, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center where he specializes in Cardiovascular Medicine. After congratulating the initiates and briefly describing his own McDonogh journey, Dr. Robinson offered three pieces of advice.
Challenge yourself. “For the introverts among you, the challenge may be to step out of the shadows to lead a project you were born for, or for the math wizards to take a writing class to help you find your voice. Whatever it is, strive to become better than you are now. Your role models and mentors along the way will help you define what that looks like, choose them thoughtfully.”
Choose a profession. “Having the attributes to be inducted into the Cum Laude Society identifies you as someone capable of meeting this standard and thriving in whatever part of this precious planet you are drawn to serve. Being a professional means you will never stop learning, and never stop trying to make the world better with your knowledge.”
Maximize the present. “Make the most of now. Life from a distance seems so fickle, strong, and durable one minute and incredibly fragile the next. None of us are promised tomorrow. No doubt you are all making plans to do great things one day. But don’t wait for tomorrow to do something “great”. You can do something great now. Helping that fifth grader on your bus with their homework makes you great in their eyes. Fifth grade may seem like just a year or two ago but to them you are giants.”
“Get involved. Be that person," Robinson continued. "I have interviewed for the med school admissions committee for over 20 years now and the most interesting, balanced, and mature applicants tended to be the ones that took brief detours before applying.“
In closing, Robinson reminded the students, “You have a precious gift that many do not, please share it for the betterment of our planet.”
The inductees from the Class of 2021 are Maycie Blair, Rachel Cherry, Gabriel Gordillo, Sebastian Gordillo, Mary Huber, Alyssa McCarthy, Leena Rai, Paige Sawyer, Connor Smith, Gibson Smith, Joshua Spector, Sarah Talbert, Destiny Wiggins, Suzanna Wright, and Sophie Yoon.
The inductees from the Class of 2022 are Julia Atherton, Maura Beatty, Kibir Elias, Sarah Kim, Mia Li, Jack Long, Ella McChesney, Abby Schuster, Hayley Sciubba, Hannah Shiels, Dakota Uy, Jake Wang, Alexis Wu, and Stuart Zhu.
The members from the Class of 2021 are Ellye Alperstein, Lily Ates, Caelah Cross, Vance Degen, Kailin Hawes, Sydney Holton, Noa Lotan, Olivia Miller, Zoe Noor, Cecily Pokigo, Akash Puvvala, Adam Snyder, Noah Spector, Natalie Sung, Avinash Thakkar, and Deryck Yin.