Team Detail

End of Year Awards 2024

The entire Vermont Academy Community assembled in the Nita Choukas Theater in  Horowitz Performing Arts Hall on the last day of classes to celebrate the end-of-year award recipients and the Class of 2024’s final days at VA. The bricks for each member of the Class of 2024 that would soon be placed on Long Walk were laid out alphabetically on the edge of the stage.
Head of School Dr. Jennifer L. Zaccara welcomed the community by acknowledging our motto, “Be True to Your Best Self.” “What does it mean to ‘strive?’,” she asked. “There are your aspirational goals for a project or a paper or in your extracurriculars, but there is also a bigger commitment captured in the German word, Streben. This word indicates your long-term vision for how you will stretch yourself, and how you will engage in the pursuit of something beyond what you thought you might be able to achieve.”

Afterward, department chairs, advisors, and class deans took to the podium to present awards to students in all classes.

Saint Anselm Book Award
Presenter: Caitlin Wilkins
The Saint Anselm Book Award honors a member of the junior class who exercises a capacity for academic achievement and continued education, has a strong awareness of social responsibility, displays leadership qualities, and possesses a strong character. 
This year's recipient is Ruby Besson ’25.

The University of Rochester George Eastman Young Leaders Award
Presenter: Caitlin Wilkins
The University of Rochester presents this award to a junior who shows strong leadership experience at school and in their community. The student must have high grades, take challenging courses, and be involved in extracurricular activities. This award seeks to recognize future leaders who may have an impact on our world today. 
This year’s recipient is Sydney Shaw ’25.

Dartmouth Book Award 
Presenter: Caitlin Wilkins
The Dartmouth Book Award is given to a junior who demonstrates particular strength of character, intellectual curiosity, and personal growth. 
This year’s recipient is Andy Darcy ’25.

The University of Rochester Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award
Presenter: Jake Miller
This award recognizes a student who has demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing complex social issues, leadership and dedication to community action, and outstanding academic achievement in the humanities and/or social sciences. 
This year’s recipient is Maya Sbardelatti ’25.

The Harvard Book Prize  
Presenter: Jake Miller
The Harvard Book Prize is awarded annually to a rising senior whose achievement in academic, extracurricular, and citizenship areas has been exemplary – a student of high personal standards who gives promise of sound leadership in later life.
This year’s recipient is Ana Hernandez-Merkle ’25.

The University of Rochester Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology
Presenter: Joe Echanis ’79
The University of Rochester presents this award to a junior who shows a strong interest in innovation and/or information technology and a high level of achievement in this area in coursework and outside of school. 
This year’s recipient is Yuliang “Raymond” Feng ’25.

University of Rochester Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award
Presenter: Joe Echanis ’79
In recognition of outstanding academic achievement and superior intellectual promise in the field of science, the recipient will be eligible for consideration for the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Scholarship if accepted to the University of Rochester. 
This year’s recipient is Luis Yunta Valente ’25.

Society of Women Engineers Awards
Presenter: Joe Echanis ’79
This award is given by the Society of Women Engineers to young women who have completed three years of mathematics and three years of science with distinction, and who have made significant contributions to the school and community. 
Achieving Highest Honors: Maya Sbardellati ’25
Achieving High Honors:  Alyson Lantz ’25
Achieving Honors: Aubrie Adair ’25 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal
Presenter: Joe Echanis ’79
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer is the oldest technological institution in North America, and it is located in the Capital Region of New York State. This prestigious award has been given since 1916 to recognize promising secondary school juniors who have distinguished themselves in mathematics and science. 
This year’s recipient is Yuliang “Raymond” Feng ’25.

Saint Michael's Book Award 
Presenter: Adrian Diaz ’14
The Saint Michael’s College Book Award for Academic Achievement & Social Conscience recognizes outstanding students who demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism and leadership in their communities. Book Award recipients must be strong academically and demonstrate concern for social justice issues and a sincere commitment to service through opportunities in high school or community organizations. 
This year’s recipients are Yuliang “Raymond” Feng ’25, and Iris Adamoli-Puchalik ’25.

Grade 9 Academic Award 
Presenter: Peter Ahlfeld
This award is given to a student in the 9th grade who has shown remarkable dedication to their studies and whose end-of-the-year grade point average reflects this devotion to the pursuit of academic excellence.       
This year’s recipient is Alvaro Vega Martin ’27.

Grade 9 Wildcat Award 
Presenter: Peter Ahlfeld
This award is given to the student in the 9th-grade class who has earned the respect of their peers and teachers and who exemplifies Vermont Academy’s core values, while also pursuing excellence in their academic studies.  
This year’s recipient is Callie Spaulding ’27

Sophomore Academic Award 
Presenter: Harry Burnham
This award is presented to a member of the sophomore class who has displayed significant dedication to their academic success at the Academy. Through hard work and diligence, the student has not only earned outstanding marks but has also earned the respect of their teachers and peers.       
This year’s recipient is Aloycia Deogratias ’26.

Sophomore Wildcat Award
Presenter: Harry Burnham
This award is presented to a student who exhibits all the traits of a great community member. By displaying exemplary character and acting as a positive force within the school, this student has helped to make Vermont Academy a better place.        
This year’s recipient is Honora Walsh ’26.

Samuel B. Pettengill Class of 1904 Prize 
Presenter: Greg Martin
The Samuel B. Pettengill Class of 1904 prize is awarded to a Vermont Academy student who has distinguished themselves by their work in American History. 
This year’s recipient is Chris Eineberg ’25.

Francis Parkman Writing Award
Presenter: Whitney Barrett
This writing award is given to members of the junior or senior classes in honor of Francis Parkman, a gentleman whose tenure at Vermont Academy as a teacher and administrator inspired both students and colleagues. Each year the humanities department chooses the best entries in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry categories. 
This year the winner of the poetry category is Carley Tendler ’25.
The fiction category winner is Taylor Edwards ’25.
The winner of the non-fiction category is Andy Darcy ’25.

Will Curtis Class of 1938 Humanities Award
Presenter: Amanda Hodgson
This award is for a student whose love for books and reading has contributed to academic growth and understanding. 
This year’s recipient is Delaney Cox ’24.

The ESL Program Prize 
Presenter: Amanda Hodgson
This prize is awarded to the student who excels in English and History within the ESL program. 
This year’s recipient is Carmen Traba Chacon ’26.

Senior Brick Presentation
Presenter: Brian Gilloran
The tradition of laying bricks on the Long Walk began in 1993 with the dedication of the walk to the former Headmaster and faculty member Bob Long who was at Vermont Academy from 1974 to 1994. Members of the graduating class receive a brick with their name on it and then proceed to the walk as a group to place their brick along the path, thus becoming a part of the Long Walk forevermore.

After Mr. Gilloran described the meaning and tradition of the bricks, the Class of 2024 was called up to take their brick and proceed to Long Walk for the ceremonial placing. The rest of the VA community remained seated, as the underclassmen were congratulated for a successful year. Mr. Gilloran called next year’s Vermont Academy Student Association (VASA) co-presidents, Ruby Besson ’25 and Cole Robinson ’25, to the podium to briefly address the student body they will be serving next year and to give their first official “Go V-A!” 

Concluding the ceremony was the tradition of having the junior class move their auditorium seats down to the front row, marking their transition to becoming seniors. This final send-off provided a glimpse of the school year to come and led the Class of 2024 into their final celebrations.

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.