Morgan Park Academy seniors and other Upper School students received a host of annual awards at Awards Night, Senior Breakfast, and our 149th Commencement.


Hadyn E. Jones Cup: Maanav Kaistha

Presented to the class valedictorian, based on cumulative high school grade-point average. Named for Lt. Col. Haydn E. Jones, who helped lead the Academy’s reorganization as a military school a century ago after separation from the University of Chicago. The campus quad is named in his honor. To be eligible, a student must have attended the Academy for at least three years, including 11th and 12th grades. The winner receives a gold plaque and has his or her name inscribed on the cup.

Harry D. Abells Award: Tiffany Chen

Presented to the class salutatorian, based on cumulative high school grade-point average. Named for Col. Harry D. Abells, superintendent from 1917-1945. The winner receives a silver plaque.

Scholarship Award: Celia Echols

Presented to a graduating senior in recognition of scholastic excellence, citizenship, and participation in school activities.

Jean Landon Taylor Alumni Award: Ignatius Gathman

Presented on behalf of the Alumni Association to a graduating senior in recognition of academic achievement, citizenship, and participation in school activities. Named for Jean Landon Taylor, the head of the English department at the Academy from 1929-1945.

Martin J. Wolf Service Award: Christian Ikediobi

Presented to the graduating senior with the most outstanding record of service to the school and the community. Named for Martin Wolf, the Academy’s longtime director of service learning.

Global Scholars Award: Tiffany Chen and Maanav Kaistha

Presented to graduating seniors who have demonstrated a profound interest in and passion for international affairs during their time at the Academy.

Cum Laude Society: Tiffany Chen, Celia Echols, Maanav Kaistha, Lydia Liu, Merlin Mo

Awarded to seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence by ranking in the top 20% of the graduating class. Students in the Cum Laude Society receive pins and certificates and wear gold caps at Commencement to signify their membership.

Illinois State Scholars: Celia Echols, Ignatius Gathman, Maanav Kaistha, Merlin Mo

These scholars are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank. Eligible students must also be U.S. citizens who reside in Illinois. State Scholars rank in approximately the top 10 percent of high school seniors, representing hundreds of high schools across the state.

Christine Linnerud ’01 Alumni Association Best Female Athlete Award: Ayanna King

Dan Naklicki ’98 Alumni Association Best Male Athlete Award: D’J. King

Selection is made on the basis of total “points” accumulation during four years of varsity and junior varsity participation. To receive this award, a student must have attended the Academy for at least three years of high school and must have played on two varsity teams.

Drown Family Character and Citizenship Award: Elijah Davis

Recognizes a senior who embodies the best of the Academy, demonstrating good character and integrity, enthusiasm for and involvement in student life, a positive attitude, and a strong academic success. The scholarship award is to be used at the discretion of the graduating senior to enrich his or her college experience.

Senior Art Award: Ignatius Gathman

Awarded to the senior with the most outstanding record in art, based on artistic activities and production, as determined by the Upper School art instructor.

Senior Music Award: Solana Delgado (Vocal) and Jackson Glanton (Instrumental)

Awarded to the seniors with the most outstanding record in music, based on musical activities and productions determined by the Upper School music instructors.

Senior Drama Award: Anya Haynes

Awarded to the senior with the most outstanding record in drama, based on dramatic activities and production, as determined by the Upper School drama instructor.

Senior World Language Awards: Chelsea Dunlap (French), Celia Echols (Mandarin), Mia Wallace (Spanish)

Gold plaques are awarded to the seniors with the highest cumulative academic averages in each world language during Upper School.

Senior Social Studies Award: Maanav Kaistha

A gold plaque is awarded to the senior with the highest cumulative academic average in social studies and humanities, including at least one social studies elective, during the four years.

Senior Journalism Award: Hannah Sipich

Awarded to the senior with the most outstanding record in journalism, based on journalistic endeavors, as determined by the humanities curriculum leader in conjunction with the sponsors of the various journalism activities.

Arthur A. Baer Senior English Award: Elijah Davis

A gold plaque is awarded to the senior who has shown the most diligence, talent, and passion for English and has maintained an excellent cumulative average over four years.

Annie E. Heath Mathematics Award: Tiffany Chen

A gold plaque is awarded to the senior with the greatest initiative, work ethic, innate abilities, achievements, and passion in the study of mathematics over four years.

Dr. Larry Brown Science Award: Maanav Kaistha

A gold plaque is awarded to the senior with the highest cumulative academic average in science over four years.

Illinois Science Teachers Association Science Award: Tiffany Chen

Awarded to the student who most clearly demonstrates outstanding leadership, academic achievement, and interest in the field of science. The recipient is selected by the science faculty.

“We’ll Never Forget You” Award: Ignatius Gathman

Awarded to the senior judged “most unforgettable” by the Upper School faculty.

Head of School Book Awards: Dylan Hagan and Hannah Sipich

Mrs. Sheppard selects a few seniors for special recognition.

Scholar Awards: Maanav Kaistha (first), Michaela Olimene (second), Andrew Cabrera (third)

Gold, silver, and bronze medals given to students with the highest academic averages in the Upper School this school year.

Academic Distinction by Grade: Chase Cannonie and Madison Olimene (9), Erin Harris (10), Michaela Olimene (11), Maanav Kaistha (12)

Awarded to the students in each Upper School class with the highest academic average for the school year. Their names are placed on the honor plaque hanging in Alumni Hall.

Jerome A. Thrall ’44 Junior Class Leadership Award: Andrew Cabrera and Kioni Green

The most prestigious award given to students at the end of their junior year rewards faithfulness to the MPA tradition of excellence in citizenship, scholarship, and dedication to the enhancement of the common good. Recipients receive a $4,000 scholarship for their senior year at the Academy. Named for Jerome A. Thrall ’44, a member of the MPA Hall of Fame who generously supported the Academy and many other philanthropic causes.

Arts Achievement: Annie Thompson (Art), Navin Nielsen (Drama), Walter Lopez (Music)

Awarded to students with the highest achievement in the areas of art, music, and drama, based on academic achievement, activities, and performance.

Thespian Award: Cole Jackson and Kennedy Sims

Awarded to the student(s) judged as the best thespians for the school year.

National Honor Society: Tiffany Chen, Elijah Davis, Celia Echols, Ignatius Gathman, Dylan Hagan, Maanav Kaistha, Lydia Liu, Merlin Mo, Hannah Sipich, Kaleb Bandele, Elijah Brown, Andrew Cabrera, Niki Chen, Selena Eng, Olivia Fitch, Kioni Green, Rianna Kingra, Joshua Kirksy, Marie Norkett, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz, Arnav Paluri, Nora Perry, Kyra Rosen, Cassandra Ruizesparza, Joshua Sun, Morgan Cherry, Gia Crawley, Sydni Fullilove, Erin Harris, Navin Nielsen, Annie Thompson

Membership in the Morgan Park Academy chapter of the National Honor Society is an honor bestowed upon deserving students by the faculty based on the criteria of Scholarship, Service, Leadership, and Character. Eligible candidates must: be sophomores, juniors, or seniors; have been enrolled at the Academy for at least one semester; have a minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.70; and be strong in areas of service, leadership, and character.

National Chinese Honor Society: Inductees: Morgan Cherry, Christian Cunningham, Kioni Green, Cassandra Ruizesparza; Members: Celia Echols, Anya Haynes, Maanav Kaistha, D’J. King

Spanish Honor Society: Inductees: Taylor Brooks, Olivia Fitch, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz, Arnav Paluri, Nora Perry

French Honor Society: Inductee: Andrew Cabrera

Book Awards: Orla Desmond (Biology), Erin Harris (Mandarin and U.S. History), Sophia Hasan (French), Oriah Hill (World History), Madison Olimene (Spanish and World History), Agathe Pons (English), Gg Rabadi (Chemistry), Joshua Sun (Math)

Awarded to students who have demonstrated the greatest interest or who have had the highest academic average this school year in various subjects. In case of a tie, the student in an honors or AP section or the student in the higher grade will be given preference. Selected by curriculum leaders.

International Quill and Scroll Honor Society: Taylor Brooks, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz

Awarded for outstanding journalistic endeavors.

Student Council Civic Achievement Award: Gg Rabadi

Awarded by Student Council to for outstanding contribution in school activities outside of Student Council.

Parents Association Art Award: Chelsea Dunlap

One piece of art is selected by vote of the Parents Association as most outstanding for this school year. A copy of the print is made, with the artist receiving one copy, framed, and the other assuming a place of honor on display in the Arts Center.

BLASE Scholarship Award: Morgan Cherry

Made by possible through the generosity of MPA alumni Carol Harewood, Shaneah Taylor, Michele Jeffrey Batkins, Tialyr Winters, and Dr. Lauren Lewis, the BLASE Scholarship Award (Black Ladies Achieving Success & Equity) goes to a Black girl who is finishing her sophomore year, as chosen by the Upper School faculty. In addition to a $2,500 scholarship award, the winner receives mentorship and support from five alumni who have found professional success in medicine, education, journalism, public health, international development, and culinary arts.

Veterans’ Legal Aid Society Scholarship Award: Henry Jenkins and Kimora Pannell

House Cup: Theodore House

The MPA house system provides a framework for intramural, athletic, charity, fundraising, and community competitions. Students win points for participation in all facets of school life, including academic achievement, co-curricular involvement, good deeds, and volunteer work. At the end of the year, the house with the most points wins the cup.

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