Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony 2024

On Tuesday, April 23, Vermont Academy held its Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony at the Warren Chivers Ski and Outdoor Education Center where nine new members were honored and inducted.
The mission of the Cum Laude Society is to promote learning and sound scholarship in secondary schools. The Cum Laude Society was established in 1906 by Dr. Abram W. Harris of Tome School in Maryland. He modeled the society after Phi Beta Kappa, envisioning a society that would encourage true scholarship. Vermont Academy received its charter in 1939.

For students to be considered for membership in the Cum Laude Society, they must demonstrate good character, honor, and integrity in all aspects of their school life. Academic excellence in coursework is of primary importance, as is participation in advanced or honors-level coursework. The selection process is shepherded by the current faculty members of the Cum Laude Society, Mr. Jim Frey ’66, Ms. Laura Frey, Ms. Whitney Barrett, Dr. Jennifer L. Zaccara and Mr. Peter Ahlfeld. These members gathered to discuss and weigh the merits of the student and faculty applicants to determine who met the criteria for the distinction. 

The ceremony began with opening remarks from chapter faculty member Laura Frey. She discussed the history of the Cum Laude Society and the qualifications that new members possess that earned them the honor. In transitioning to the next part of the ceremony, she thanked the candidates’ advisors, Mr. Jonathan Barron ’96, Mr. Charles Butler, Ms. Amanda Gilbert-Hodgson, Ms. Caitlin Holton ’96, Dr. Greg Martin, Mr. Jake Miller, and Mr. Brian Schilling ’11 for writing personalized speeches about the character and achievements of their advisee. Current student Cum Laude members delivered those speeches and Mr. Frey presented the new inductees with their stole. 

Once the speeches were read and the new inductees donned their stoles, chapter faculty member Ms. Whitney Barrett read the charge of the Cum Laude Society to the new members, prompting them to give their verbal agreement. She recited the society’s motto and concluded with the presentation of the membership certificates and society pins, given by Academic Dean Ms. Lorna Schilling. Head of School Dr. Jennifer L. Zaccara closed the ceremony with remarks about the new members and the esteem of VA’s chapter.

It was a ceremony filled with pride and honor, as family, friends, and peers watched the new members get recognized for their devotion and hard work. 

Congratulations to the new student members: 
Iris Adamoli-Puchalik ’25
Delaney Cox ’24
Andy Darcy ’25
Yuliang “Raymond” Feng ’25
Ana Hernandez-Merkle ’25
Lucas Hoffman ’24
Khiêm Nguyen ’24
Kiersten “Pinky” Rasmussen ’24
Bowen Xiao ’24

Current members:
Cole Allen ’24
Sofia Bianconi ’24
Patrick Pajcic ’24
Sydney Palmiotto ’24

Current chapter faculty members:
Mr. Jim Frey ’66
Ms. Laura Frey
Ms. Whitney Barrett 
Dr. Jennifer L. Zaccara
Mr. Peter Ahlfeld

Photos from the event can be found here.
Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.