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Armonk's Byram Hills HS Students Inducted Into Cum Laude Society

A group photo of the new members of the Byram Hills High School Cum Laude Society.
A group photo of the new members of the Byram Hills High School Cum Laude Society. Photo Credit:

ARMONK, N.Y. – At an induction ceremony, the 21 new members of the Byram Hills High School Cum Laude Society were urged to develop their leadership skills and remember that “good failures” can contribute to success.

The seniors inducted on Tuesday, Oct. 28, into the prestigious society, which honors high scholastic achievement in secondary schools, were also congratulated for their accomplishments before an audience filled with beaming parents, teachers and friends.

“These students have not simply excelled in a given course or a specific area of study, but rather have pursued excellence in all that they’ve done,” said Principal Chris Borsari. “As a result of their dedication to learning and personal growth, they are at the top of a very talented senior class.” The students’ accomplishments go beyond their impressive GPAs, said Borsari, noting that they had also excelled individually as actors, debaters, varsity athletes, science researchers and artists.

The new inductees are Nolan Abramowitz, Alison Bidjarano, Elise Briody, Gregory Carlin, Nicholas Contillo, Alisia Escobar, Katy Gallagher, Samantha Gold, Eden Gordon, Lucy Greenwald, Nicole Hoffman, Catherine Jankovic, Amos Jeng, Bessie Jiang, Elizabeth Kingsley, Payton Levine, Guinevere Mesh, Brian Schoenfeld, Ella Taubenfeld, Kyle Vacco and Ross Weinfeld.

Along with the students, music teacher Marna Weiss was also inducted as a faculty member of the society during the Oct. 28 ceremony at the high school.

Last year’s faculty inductees, Director of Athletics Michael Gulino and social studies teacher Joanna Lewick, offered advice to the new members.

Gulino said that the students have already demonstrated leadership in high school and would likely continue on that path. “You will eventually be leaders in our country in the various areas you choose,” he said. He urged them to become the type of “humble leaders” who do not look to attract followers, but rather to develop future leaders.

Lewick told the students that showing resilience and grit in the face of failure was an important lesson to learn. “Good failures” help people in various ways, perhaps challenging them to work harder or try another approach, or even realize that they need to turn their talents to another area. “With each failure, we grow and we learn and we develop our own resilience and become grittier people with even greater potential,” said Lewick.

Sandra Abt, the chapter president, also congratulated the new members, advising them to learn from each other, stay on track, get a good education, and train their minds to think. In the words of rapper Jay Z, “Dream big, be unrealistic,” she said.

“Your future lies before you. Make the most of it,” she said.

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