Nearing the end of the 2017-18 school year, students in grades 9-12 were honored for academic excellence, active community service, athletic achievements, and other accomplishments across the board. Please see Head of Upper School Blair Peterson’s opening remarks at the end of this article.
The salutatorian and valedictorian awards are determined after the 2nd semester midterms from the students holding the highest weighted core grade point averages. The medals will be worn during the baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies. We are incredibly proud of the academic accomplishments of these individuals and could not be more excited for their future.
Salutatorian (second highest weighted core GPA): Mia Whitney and AJ Whitney
For the first time in history, Mount Vernon has two students tied for Salutatorian. These co-salutatorians have worked alongside one another for their entire lives and for the first time will be parting ways to attend Vanderbilt University and Duke University, respectively.
Valedictorian (highest weighted core GPA): Steven Butz
This scholar, athlete and musician has worked tirelessly over the last 18 years and his dedication shows! He will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall.
EXCELLENCE IN ENGLISH
Humanities 9: Grace Keller, Harriet Middleton
Grade 10: Katie Thompson
Grade 11: Grace McCarthy
Grade 12: Maggie Mixon
EXCELLENCE IN MATH
Grade 9: Lauren Waters
Grade 10: Maddy Long
Grade 11: Cam Bennett
Grade 12: Kate Thomsen
EXCELLENCE IN SCIENCE
Grade 9: Dhailijha Dubique
Grade 10: Maddie Long
Grade 11: Cam Bennett
Grade 12: Chris Smith
EXCELLENCE IN SOCIAL SCIENCE
Grade 9: n/a
Grade 10: Jill Parker
Grade 11: Abigail Emerson
Grade 12: Mia Whitney
EXCELLENCE IN FRENCH
French Award: Gabby Wilson
French Honors Society: Dani Mulunda
EXCELLENCE IN LATIN
Latin Award: Arial Strode
National Latin Exam: Anna Weber “cum laude”
Latin Honors Society: Jacob Buck, Steven Butz, Emily Moseley, Anya Roman, John Traurig, Emme Watkins, Andie Weathers
EXCELLENCE IN SPANISH
Spanish Award: Colton Matovina
National Spanish Exam Honors: Townsend Phelps, Ruthie Roberts, Luka Kapeskas, Sofia Lew, Madeline Jakes, Katie Jones, Josie Meade, Charlotte Nickell, Katieanne Peterson, Skyler Tiffin, Daniela Jimenez, Ivan Mo (Honor), Carter Thompson (Honor), Maxine Peterson (Honor)
Bronze: Alex Thomas, AJ Whitney (Bronze)
Plata: Nick Piecre
Orzo: Eliza Bruno
Spanish Honors Society: Ian Cox, Grace Griffin, Sam Lovejoy, Marisa Mecke, Emmy Scheaffer, AJ Whitney, Mia Whitney, Brittany Whitstine
EXCELLENCE IN THE ARTS
Grade 9: Katie Goodwyn
Grade 10: Shannon McCarthy
Grade 11: Will Sharkey
Grade 12: Marisa Mecke
Overall Artisan Award: Anya Smith Roman
National Thespian Honor Society Honor Cords: Emily Moseley, Anya Roman, Michael McConnell, Sam Lovejoy, Mao Mao Guo, Kaylyn Winters, Will Armstrong
Honor Thespian Award + Artisan Award: Anya Roman
Harvard Book Award: Arial Strode
AP SCHOLAR AWARDS
AP Scholars: Ian Cox, Jack Hale, Jay Middleton, Anya Roman, Chris Smith, Daniel Ward, Andie Weathers, Brittany Whitstine
AP Scholars w/ Honors: MaoMao Guo, Marisa Mecke, Emme Schaeffer, Luke Waller
AP Scholars w/ Distinction: Jacob Buck, Steven Butz, Wells Maley
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program offers several AP Scholar Awards to recognize high school students who have demonstrated college-level achievement through AP courses and exams. Only 22 percent of the 2.2 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a level high enough to earn an AP Scholar Award. The AP Scholar designation is awarded to students who earn scores of 3 or above on three or more AP exams. The AP Scholar with Honors designation is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. The AP Scholar with Distinction designation is awarded to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen Award: Emme Watkins
The Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award is a nationally recognized scholarship competition. Each year, a Mount Vernon faculty committee chooses one senior based on these criteria: dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism. For the second year in a row, Mount Vernon’s award recipient went on to represent the Sandy Springs Chapter in the district-wide competition.
National Honor Society Cords (20): Presented to members of the class of 2017 who have earned a weighted core GPA of 3.5 or higher through the first semester of their senior year, and maintained academic honor during that time.
EXCELLENCE IN ATHLETICS
Outstanding Athletic Performance Award
Female Winner: Emma Edmonson
Male Winner(s): Alan Harris
Three-Sport Athlete Award: Steven Butz, Jonathan Gardner, Gabriela Gonzalez, Brooks Langley, Kippy Ngeny, JT Traurig, AJ Whitney, Mia Whitney
Scholar-Athlete: Mia Whitney
Mustang Spirit Award: Brittany Whitstine
The Mustang Spirit Award is given to the senior student who best exemplifies school spirit and represents the heart of the school through character and a positive attitude. This student embodies enthusiasm, involvement, genuine interest in others, and a support and love for Mount Vernon that runs deep.
This eminently qualified senior is the ideal recipient. She displays genuine enthusiasm for school activities and has been highly supportive of her peers as shown in her regular attendance at art events, sporting events, admission events, and other school functions. She exhibits concern for others and is always willing to help out her peers.
She has volunteered her time giving tours to prospective families, speaking to current families about the value of Mount Vernon, and working many hours on homecoming dances, making videos to promote school events, and anything that was needed. This young lady does whatever is asked of her with no complaints. She is the kind of person that makes our school a better place because of her maturity, dependability, and willingness to serve others.
One faculty member states “ she has consistently exhibited initiative, drive, diligence, creativity, and leadership. Every bit of it delivered with a smile. And all this on top of a tough class schedule, playing multiple sports, painting in the art room, and being a friend to everyone.”
Teachers, staff members, and peers all have great respect for this student. She is someone who has made a difference at our school, and she will be missed. Leaving everything she touches better than she found it– this young lady has worked tirelessly in the classroom and our greater community to make all of us, and this place, better. It is my distinguished honor that I present this year’s Mustang Spirit Award to Miss Brittany Whitstine.
The Colt Club is compiled of a group of students who have been continuously enrolled at Mount Vernon since Kindergarten: Jacob Buck (PK), Steven Butz (3’s), Jack Goins (KG), Connor Hughes (3’s), Michael McConnell (KG), James McGuire (KG), Marisa Mecke (KG), Madison Mitcham (KG), Emily Moseley (KG), Grant Nickell (KG), Parker Smith (Y5), Tommy Stupek (3’s), Megan Taylor (3’s), David Thomas (KG), John Traurig (KG), Luke Waller (KG), Daniel Ward (KG), Emme Watkins (KG), A.J. Whitney (3’s), Mia Whitney (3’s)
Innovation Diploma Stoles + Awards: Maclean Peterson, Anya Roman, Emmy Schaeffer, Kaylyn Winters
Prefect Award: Emme Watkins
Prefects for the 2017-18 year
Head Prefect: Meg Lienau
Outreach: Jill Parker
Environmental: Hannah Hagenau
Student Events: Grace McCarthy
Student Spirit: Sarah Traurig
Spiritual Life: Julia Willingham
Communication: Nina Toller
Ambassador: Maquie Weiss
Unity: William Mitcham
AJC Cup: Jacob Buck
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been helping schools recognize outstanding seniors in the metro area for over 75 years. It is meant for a student who excels and shows leadership abilities across many disciplines including community activities, arts, athletics, and academics. We consider this award the Best All Around Senior. Mount Vernon Upper School teachers and administrators vote on this award each year.
This year’s honoree is a steadfast and singular friend to his peers, a leader in the classroom and in the arts, and quite literally, the face of Mount Vernon. As Ambassador Prefect, many new families cite interactions with him as a reason they love Mount Vernon so much. He can be seen on campus year round volunteering his time to support school events or supporting his friends in their endeavors. He works collaboratively with his peers, teachers, parents, and the community.
This student’s spirit is unmatched. While his path has not been without it’s twists and turns, this student has taken each twist as an opportunity to grow and he has embraced every turn as the chance for a new adventure. When he hits a road block he doesn’t turn around or give up. He stands back and figures out the best way to make a ladder with the tools in front of him. That attitude and creativity are just a few of the things that will make him an amazing mechanical engineer after his time at Georgia Tech.
A Prefect, honor student, Eagle Scout and executive team member for the National Honor Society, Jacob Buck is a student who pushes himself to go beyond expectations and has proven to be a hard-working, exceptional student.
Blue/Gold Award: Every once and awhile, a student comes along whose contributions to our community deserve special recognition. The Blue & Gold award was established 4 years ago for that very purpose. We do not award it every year, but this year two students stood out as being extra worthy of our praise and gratitude for all that they are and all that they’ve given to Mount Vernon.
Alan greets everyone he sees by their name. He approaches all parts of his life– academic, athletic, spiritual– with a fierce determination that sets him apart from his peers. That determination is matched by an equally loyal heart that makes others gravitate toward him. He always is ready to lend a helping hand and is described by his coaches as ‘the kind of guy you build a program around’. When confronted with switching positions going into his senior year of football, his ‘anything for the team’ mentality and unmatched work ethic won him our region’s defensive player of the year.
During her years at Mount Vernon, Emily has proven herself to be the most intellectually curious student. When she speaks of learning, she is process-oriented and excited. In an education system that is increasingly outcome oriented, this young woman’s sincere love of learning is refreshing. Over the course of her high school career, she has served as a graphic designer, a market strategist, an inventor, a theater tech, a Governor’s Honors participant, and a featured student on Huff Post. While her determination to expose herself to our most rigorous classes is certainly impressive, I’m more in awe of the mark she has had on our student body over the course of her high school career. A high-level thinker and doer, this student’s intellectual curiosity leads her to explore many projects outside the walls of our school. Engineers solve problems to benefit society; Emily Moseley’s existence at the intersection of engineering and empathy has earned her the Blue/Gold award for the 2016-2017 school year.
Head of Upper School Blair Peterson’s opening remarks:
It is my honor and privilege to welcome you to the 2017 Upper School Honors Ceremony. While the January ceremony is based solely on grade point average, today we will be recognizing students for overall excellence, outstanding performance in core academic courses, the arts, World Languages, Advanced Placement exams, national exams, athletics and 20 Colt Club members will be recognized for their longevity here at the school. The Mount Vernon that they joined 12+ years ago is much different that today. They have helped to shape and define the school over the years. Today is definitely a time of celebration for our entire community but it also serves as one more rite of passage event for members of the class of 2017.
This is a celebration but it should also be noted that today is the last time that we will all be together in this gym. The 78 seniors will be moving on as of May 20. Those 20 Colt club members that I mentioned, they will be moving on to only their second school ever. There are also a handful of students and several faculty members who will be leaving at the end of the school year. Some are moving to schools within the Atlanta area, including Georgia Tech. Others are moving throughout the country to join university communities and three are actually relocating to the African Continent. I think that Robin wins the award for farthest destination. It is important for us to remember that these transitions can be emotional for those who are leaving and those who are staying and seeing friends and siblings depart.
For example, you may have noticed that the seniors have started to emotionally detach from the school, their parents, siblings, teachers, and friends. Let me ask the seniors directly, “Should we take this personally?”
I encourage you over the next three weeks, before you head your separate ways, to consider the following. Take time to reconcile any differences that you’ve had with a person who you will be missing next year and let that person know how much they have meant to you. These are important steps to continue healthy relationships, no matter how far apart you’ll be.
After all an unknown author stated, “We don’t meet people by accident. They were meant to cross our paths for a reason.”
For whatever reason we were all brought together into the MVPS family and we share a common bond. Let’s enjoy this end of year event and the coming weeks as we prepare to finish up the 2016 – 17 school year.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!