Students recognized for excellence, inducted into Cum Laude Society

Austin Seigel

New Cum Laude Society inductees stand in front of their parents following the awards ceremony. Each inductee has two carnations in their hands as tradition follows. The students are encouraged to give these carnations to two people who have helped them to reach their level of success.

Amber Falkner and Devon Tallman

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13 students were inducted into Cum Laude Society before a full chapel of Upper School students, faculty and parents. Cum Laude is the highest honor awarded by independent schools that recognizes academic achievement, character and overall excellence.

Cum Laude advisor Mr. J.B. Wolcott said students who exemplify academic excellence and a true love of learning are the standard for Cum Laude.

“The baseline is a 3.67 cumulative unweighted GPA, and then there is a faculty vote. However, the vote is anonymous, and none of their names are associated with the votes,” he said.

Wolcott made it a point to emphasize Cum Laude as an honor for Saint Stephen’s.

“Cum Laude is an honor for the school itself. Very few schools are allowed to have their own chapters of Cum Laude, considering the school itself has to have certain standards of excellence.”

This year’s inductees are juniors Hannah Martell, Connor Lynch, Jennifer Sundstrom, Sarah Johnson, Benjamin Israel, Brian Gentry and Alex O’Dell, and seniors Nate Carr, Victoria Stadlin, Katie Carrington, Jay Rampertaap, Ishpaul Bhamber and Elizabeth Djinis.

Below is a list of the inductees, mentioning some of their notable achievements:

Hannah Martell:

– Active member of Latin Club since 7th grade

– Member of the National Honor Society

– Attended the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program last summer

– Captain of the Girl’s Varsity Basketball team

Connor Lynch:

– Award-winning competitive golfer in the state of Florida

– Enjoys reading about science and physics

– Saves a special place in his heart for animals

Jennifer Sundstrom:

– President of the Global Awareness Club

-Has traveled to six out of the seven continents and has spent two summers in Spain by herself

– Takes an additional online class to maintain her first language, Swedish

– Captain of Girl’s Varsity Tennis team

Sarah Johnson:

– Has been selected as a part of the State Latin team since 9th Grade

– A member of the American Sewing Guild

– 4-H Sewing Teacher during the summer

Benjamin Israel:

– Was Class President during his Freshman year and is the Class Treasurer as a junior this year

– Volunteers at Manatee Memorial Hospital and Mote Marine

– Has participated in Boston Model UN over the past three years

– Plays both Varsity Golf and Baseball

Brian Gentry:

– He has been on the Head of School’s List each semester since 7th grade

– Was awarded the Wake Forest University Book Award last year as a sophomore

-Is an active member in Math Club and attends competitions on the weekends

– Led his Varsity Cross Country Team to states in 8th grade

Alex O’Dell:

–  Is a member of both Latin Club and Academic Team

– Volunteers at Manatee Memorial Hospital, LightHouse for the Blind and Boys and Girls Club

– Can speak four different languages

Nate Carr:

– Participated in the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Conference during the summer before his junior year and was a group director before his senior year

– Was chosen as 1 of 50 students in the U.S. to attend an economics and leadership course at Vanderbilt University last summer

– Has participated in two Saint Stephen’s mission trips to the Dominican Republic

– Has participated in lacrosse and cross country throughout high school

Victoria Stadlin:

– President of S.M.I.L.E. Photography chapter this year at school, which is dedicated to capturing photos of non-profit organizations

– Artwork has been featured in the Alexi Tucker Memorial Art Show and the St. Petersburg Times

– Chosen to travel to Ireland on the James Joyce trip last summer

– Distributed “SharkMode” T-shirts to her fellow AP United States History classmates as a congratulatory gift

Elizabeth Djinis: 

– Volunteers at Cat Depot in Sarasota

– Chosen to represent her Greek Church in Atlanta, Georgia where she was awarded “Outstanding Member Under 35”

– Leader of Student Ambassadors, Editor of Tabula Rasa and a member of Congreso

– Has been a participant in the All-School Musical since 8th grade

Ishpaul Bhamber:

President of Student Council

– Has volunteered at Manatee Memorial Hospital

– Was Photo Editor of Yearbook during his junior year

– Has played both Varsity Golf and Tennis throughout high school

Jay Rampertaap:

– Is currently Co-Editor-in-Chief of Yearbook

– Has participated in LeadAmerica Leadership Conferences at American University and Georgetown University during the summer

– Graduated from Leadership Manatee his junior year

-Has played varsity golf, basketball and tennis throughout high school

Katie Carrington: 

– Has participated in Mock Trial since her junior year

– Has volunteered at both Southeastern Guide Dogs and the Community Thrift Shop

– Attended a mission trip to Spain last summer


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Students recognized for excellence, inducted into Cum Laude Society