At the end of the 2017-2018 year, students in grades 5 – 8 are honored for their academic, athletic and artistic achievements. Emphasizing the Mount Vernon Mind, awards are earned through the lens of Collaborator, Solution Seeker, Creative Thinker, Ethical Decision Maker, Communicator, and Innovator. Other awards including National Junior Honor Society, DUKE TIP recognition, and language exam scores were also presented.
Grade 5 Mindset Awards
Locke Dimmock: This student is highly engaged and leads by example. He is an attentive listener and respectful of other students’ insights and opinions. He possesses a unique ability to ignore the distractions in a classroom setting and completely focus on his assignment. He is an avid rule follower and because of this, he continues to make wise choices. This young person can work efficiently in a collaborative setting as well as an independent one. He is able to evaluate and make connections across the curriculum which contribute to interesting discussions in class. He approaches everything he undertakes positively and patiently.
Emily Levitan: This student approaches all tasks with an inquisitive mind and a desire to not only learn but to gain deep understanding of the topic. She puts great effort into all she sets out to do. She works beautifully as a collaborator and independently, knowing when to push on and when to seek aid. The Solution Seeker Mindset is evident in the meaningful questions she asks. Just the other day, she wanted to better understand something her changemaker had said to her, and so she took the initiative to reach back out to him. She sees the best in everyone and treats others with respect.
McKenzie Seefeldt: This young lady is very adaptable and is eager to learn. With her positive attitude and strong work ethic, she accomplishes all she sets out to do with a smile on her face. She possesses strong communication skills as she showed during her e portfolio conference when she showcased and delivered her classroom work in a way that was very professional. She exhibits kindness and respect to her peers and is one of those students who can collaborate well with anyone; in fact, her kindness towards others is an example to us all. Her attention to detail and precision is very strong as well; in writing about a fireman as a changemaker for our local community, she continued to re-listen to the recording of her interview of him in an effort to represent him as accurately as possible.
Zachary White: This young man has been gifted with the ability to work quickly, retain information and then apply it to any given assignment. Each writing prompt that he attacks is done with fervor, demonstrating the communicator mindset. He is able write a topic sentence, add supporting details, and seamlessly transition his thoughts which allows him to convey his points clearly and concisely. Although his strong academic ability is evident, it is his work ethic and integrity that truly distinguishes him from others. He is consistently an ethical decision maker and person of integrity, so regardless of the actions of those around him, he is respectful and kind and attentive to any task at hand.
Grade 6 Mindset Awards
Phillip Adams: This student is the epitome of the Mount Vernon Mind. In math, he exudes the Communicator, Critical Thinker and Innovator mindsets. Not only does he address peers and adults respectfully, his presentations during class and explanations in solving problems are succinct, organized and logical. During the Cross Country project, he was helpful in setting objectives and showed perseverance in seeing the project through to completion. In all classes, this student does not settle for the mundane. He enjoys the challenge of trying his best, and confidently strives in all his pursuits, whether it is biking, climbing, writing a 30 page fiction story, or reading entire series from multiple authors. We love his mature approach to education, his constant reflection on learning and improving, and the role he plays amongst this sixth grade class.
Ben Barber: Our next mindset award recipient is a renaissance man. He is intelligent, quirky, funny, caring, respectful and responsible. In the classroom, he excels in the Innovator Mindset by seeing his projects through to the end. He was a terrific presenter and leader in his Space Colony project. Whether it be his 30-page fiction story, his video tape of colonizing Mars or his acting performance in Greek Mythology, he is never daunted by a challenge, and instead, exceeds beyond it! In addition, he shows the Ethical Decision Maker Mindset; EVERY DAY without fail: he will open the doors for students and teachers, as well as sweep the floors during lunch clean up–a job that not many want to do. Not only will he step up to serve, he does it humbly with a smile. His involvement in school drama productions, as well as his own, and his aspirations to compete in climbing, show how he sets his own goals and doesn’t just follow the crowd.
Leighton Batcheller: Our next student puts a smile on all of our faces every time she greets us personally. She is a real Solution Seeker – her genuine curiosity and enthusiastic connections with other topics inspires compelling discussions in the classroom. For example, as she worked on her Science Fiction story in Literature, she transferred insights from Earth Science lessons into her writing to create a realistic graphic novel. There is no student in sixth grade more grounded in Christian values than this student. She shows incredible maturity and humility in both leading and sharing with her classmates during Christian Ed. As a host to potential new students, she has been a positive representative for Mount Vernon to guests on campus. Overall, we love how this learner gives our class balance and demonstrates integrity, determination, and perseverance, regardless of recognition.
Aubrey Ellis: Our final sixth grade mindset recipient has been a pleasure to have this school year. She has been one of the most empathetic students in the entire class. She exemplifies the ethical decision maker mindset through the way she not only works with others, but gets along with them and makes them feel special. For example, when she was performing in a Greek Mythology play, her connections to the other students inspired them to do their best. In addition, she gives great feedback to students’ writing, and shows complete enthusiasm in projects. She notices things about students individually that encourages them to proud of who they are. As she, too, is confident, engaged, and curious, when she tries her best, she spreads that attitude wherever she is–a quality of a true Mount Vernon role model. Her impact on not only students but teachers is unprecedented.
Grade 7 Mindset Awards
Amelia Anderson: This student is humble and gracious, and though she exemplifies leadership by her ability to suspend judgement, ask meaningful questions, collaborate, and coach and influence others, she asks for nothing in return. She treats everyone in her presence with kindness, warmth, and respect.
Ashley Burke: This talented communicator has interpersonal skills way beyond her years. She treats others with such kindness, shows empathy at every turn, and is always willing to help anyone who needs it. With her willingness to work hard and lead by example, we feel she demonstrates the MV mindsets beautifully.
Sam Lin: This young man is full of integrity and courage. He is someone that all of us feel so much pride in- his bravery and courage is inspiring to his peers and the adults in his life as well. He gave a sermon at chapel that blew us all away and left us thinking. He is honest and empathetic and not scared to stand solidly in his faith.
Russell Lucas: This creative innovator is a hardworking, high-performing language and science student who works diligently in groups to challenge others to reach their potential. He is fair and respectful and communicates in a way that ensures other people feel heard and understood. A natural optimist, others in his presence leave uplifted and smiling.
Grade 8 Mindset Awards
Thomas Andersen: In order for a student to develop the Mount Vernon Mindsets, he or she must have a craving to learn. This young man relishes the inquiry associated with being a creative thinker and solution seeker. One of his teacher’s shared, “He is an enthusiastic learner who wants responsibility and follows through with it. Always taking great pride in his work, this young man showcases the finesse to work equally well in both independent and collaborative settings. As a communicator and collaborator, he shares his good ideas effectively through both writing and speaking. And, on top of it all, his teachers identify him as being thoughtful and kind.
Alma Merchant: Driven to excel, this young lady is very well-rounded in the Mount Vernon Mindsets. Creative and steadfast, she has shined in creating her performance tasks this year. Highlights include: maps she created replete with textual support, a diary she wrote from a different character’s point of view; an expertly produced short story video and a unique body biography. Additionally, she is an effective collaborator and a talented writer. Of her writing, one teacher observed, “She routinely demonstrates her ability to project fluent, clear and forceful language in her writing.” In all of her pursuits, this young lady works tirelessly towards both her short-term and long-term goals.
Anusha Merchant: This young lady is so reflective of the Mount Vernon Mind. She shines as a solution seeker who is committed to personal growth and self-improvement. Her teachers all cite her considerable leadership ability and her tremendous potential as a leader. This reveals itself in group projects and in social settings. A strong communicator, this young lady listens attentively and speaks articulately. Embodying the principles of the ethical decision maker, one teacher notes “she takes the thoughts and feelings of others into account before she speaks or acts.” Bright, driven, and kind, this young lady aspires to work as an attorney for the United Nations one day.
Susanna Soelberg: The manner in which this young lady represents the Mount Vernon Mindsets is so very impressive. Her teachers marvel at her commitment to creative thinking when completing projects. Specifically, her literature teacher applauded her creative efforts in her Romeo and Juliet scene performance and her strong portrayal of Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. Additionally, this young lady is an expert collaborator working well with everyone and communicating clearly and effectively. She can always be counted on to make ethical decisions, and her teachers unanimously recognize her her spirit, cheer and joy which brightens the classrooms she’s in. Her daily smile is an inspiration to many.
Visual and Performing Arts
At Mount Vernon, we recognize that each student has creative and artistic abilities. Our teaching artists work alongside student artists to cultivate creative skills and discover talents each and every day. The following students have passionately pursued their creative skills in multiple genre from visual art to theatre, music and dance. We want to recognize these outstanding MVArtists for their passion, creativity and pursuit of artistic excellence. This group of middle school students has such a wealth of talent and potential and have stepped up to stand out in amazing ways this year. While hundreds of students have been showcase throughout the year at talent shows, plays, visual art showcases, concerts, and events on campus and off campus, we want to take a moment to mention some students who the arts team agree have gone above the call in multiple ensembles, art classes, and/or performing opportunities.
Mary Hannah Martin: This student is a visual and performing artist. Described by her teachers as someone who goes “above and beyond” “takes initiative,” “gives her all,” and is “always prepared”, this student has been a consistent model of excellence and does not shy away from new challenges. She has excellent musicianship and her artwork is both thought provoking and executed with a high level of skill & beauty.
Laney Whiting: This student has a creative spirit that allows her to come up with original ideas and explore new opportunities with confidence and success. She has had success in the art studio, in theatre, and with various performing ensembles. Her directors say that she is “always prepared and helpful with younger students”. She seeks opportunities to perform outside of school and creates her own music at home.
Aidan Ray: This young performer uses his creativity, improv skills, and quick wit to enhance his characters and performances on a regular basis. He is a masterful communicator and knows how to engage audiences of various ages. Not only a visual artist, this student also uses his creative skills to explore the culinary arts and cook incredible cuisine. We are so excited to see where his skills and passions in music, acting, visual, and culinary arts will take him.
Miller Woodall: This student exploded on the scene this year starring in theatrical roles, participating in visual art classes, and playing an instrument. She is described by her teachers as kind as a kind & giving actor who comes prepared and is always looking to improve. This student identifies as an artist and embodies the characteristics of not only a creative student, but a professional performer & future leader.
Jackson Aull: This student is described as a quadruple threat for his skills in music, theatre, dance, and visual art. He is always prepared, has an incredible attitude, has participated in both middle school and upper school theatre and grew in his craft this year. He is being honored for being bold enough to try new things, for being kind & considerate to his cast members, and for his creative abilities.
Sydney Carroll: This student is forward thinking, creative, kind-hearted and always looking out for others. She explores various genres of music and is also a talented visual artist. I have the privilege of working with this student in class and can attest to her professional and positive attitude, encouraging spirit and genuine concern for others. She is a leader who builds up the people around her and has grown tremendously in her confidence and skill level.
Jake Lortz: This student has gone above and beyond before, during, and after school helping with lower school, middle school, and upper school productions, being the technician on call for all of our productions. Helping with everything from focusing lights to mixing sound, helping with scenic design & even making sure the air conditioning is on during the performance.
Tabitha Nagy: This student pushes herself to achieve and goes above and beyond in all her arts classes. She plays multiple instruments, sings, and has been seen on stage. Mr Grove tells me that if given music one day, it is prepared the next day. She is remarkably talented and we look forward to seeing her continue to develop her enormous musical and leadership potential.
National Junior Honor Society
The National Junior Honor Society recognizes academic excellence that is consistently displayed through several semesters of hard work. To be eligible, students are required to meet the following criteria: at least three semesters of attendance at Mount Vernon, a cumulative average of an 85 or higher over the past three semesters, and competence in the following areas: scholarship, character, service, citizenship, and leadership.
We would like to recognize the students who participated in the 2016 Duke University Talent Identification Program’s 7th Grade Talent Search. Candidates are invited to take the ACT or the SAT college entrance exams as seventh graders, and at this time, we would like to recognize those students who qualified for state recognition for their performance on the SAT or ACT. Today’s honorees have earned an award by scoring approximately at or above the national average of recent high school graduates on at least one part of the ACT or the SAT.
National Language Exams
This year, our seventh and eighth grade students learning a world language participated in the National French Exam, National Spanish Exam, and National Latin Exam. These exams, given across the country, help promote proficiency of communication in another language, and we are excited to recognize students’ outstanding achievement in learning a world language.
National French Exam
Honorable Mention (50th-70th percentile)
Zack Van Putten
Bronze (71st-80th percentile)
Ella Grace Pickering
Silver (81st-90th percentile)
National Latin Exam
Certificate of Honorable Merit, Cum Laude
National Spanish Exam
Honorable Mention, (50th-74th percentile)
Bronze, (75th-84th percentile)
Silver (85th-94th percentile)
Gold (at or above 95th percentile)
Susanna Soelberg – 5th in GA
Tabitha Nagy – 3rd in GA
Nicole Hedrick – 1st in GA
Aqil Merchant: The Prefect Award is a great honor bestowed upon an eighth grade student. The student must demonstrate exemplary leadership, dedication, and represent the highest ideals of Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. Without a doubt, the young man selected for this award embodies the criteria associated with this award. One teacher said, “He is one of the most goal-oriented and meticulous students I have ever had the privilege to teach in my career. He does not rest until the job is done. He continuously exceeds expectations and looks for ways to improve.” Another teacher shared, “This young man is an active participant in small group discussions and has many insightful ideas to share with the class. Analytical thought is evident in his work and he has a knack for gracefully choosing the right words. He truly is a great communicator.” A dedicated leader who represents the very best of Mount Vernon, this young man has earned the respect of his peers and his teachers.
Jane Brooks Blair (4)
Mary Hannah Martin
Grace Westmoreland (4)
Jack Uhde (4)
Luke Van Putten
Ella Ruth Campbell
Spencer Corley (4)
Landry Kruep (4)
Avery Grace Messner
Kendall Slayden (4)
Austin Taylor (5)
Ian Erickson (4)
Zack Van Putten
Head of Middle School Award
This award is presented to the student at each grade level who demonstrates academic excellence by earning the highest cumulative grade point average during the first three quarters of the school year.
Kate Tudor (for the second year in a row)
Aqil Merchant (for the fourth year in a row)
Outstanding Mount Vernon Parents: