Morgan Park Academy seniors and other Upper School students received a host of annual awards at Awards Night, Senior Breakfast, and our 150th Commencement.
Hadyn E. Jones Cup: Michaela Olimene
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: Andrew Cabrera
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: Arnav Paluri
Presented to a graduating senior in recognition of scholastic excellence, citizenship, and participation in school activities.
Jean Landon Taylor Alumni Award: Oriella Ortiz
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: Justin Harris
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: Arnav Paluri and Cassandra Ruizesparza
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: Andrew Cabrera, Niki Chen, Selena Eng, Olivia Fitch, Michaela Olimene, Arnav Paluri, Nora Perry
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: Kaleb Bandele, Andrew Cabrera, Niki Chen, Selena Eng, Joshua Kirksy, Michaela Olimene, Arnav Paluri, Nora Perry
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: Sheridan Harris
Dan Naklicki ’98 Alumni Association Best Male Athlete Award: Eric Fullilove
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: Kioni Green
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.
Mario Ortiz “Make a Difference” Memorial Scholarship: Justin Harris
Marquette Education Foundation Scholarship: Oriella Ortiz
Senior Art Award: Nora Perry
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: Sean Sutton (Vocal) and April Liao (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: Cole Jackson
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: Andrew Cabrera (French), Kioni Green (Mandarin), Michaela Olimene (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: Kaleb Bandele
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: Taylor Brooks, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz
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: Marie Norkett
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: Andrew Cabrera
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: Andrew Cabrera
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: Niki 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: Sean Sutton
Awarded to the senior judged “most unforgettable” by the Upper School faculty.
Head of School Book Awards: Christian Cunningham and Oriella Ortiz
Mrs. Sheppard selects a few seniors for special recognition.
Scholar Awards: Michaela Olimene (first), Andrew Cabrera (second), Niki Chen (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: Lilith Vandyke (9), Chase Cannonie (10), Morgan Cherry (11), Michaela Olimene (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: Erin Harris and Seth Turner
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), Heaven Jenkins (Drama), Seth Turner (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: Alex Coe and Kioni Green
Awarded to the student(s) judged as the best thespians for the school year.
National Honor Society: 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, Sean Sutton, Morgan Cherry, Gia Crawley, Sydni Fullilove, Erin Harris, Navin Nielsen, Kayla Ollie, Kaylie Schmidt, Annie Thompson, Seth Turner, Mariama Barry, Chase Cannonie, Sophia Hasan, Oriah Hill, Zulema Jaime, Tesneem Krad, Madison Olimene, Tonya Tollison
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: Chase Cannonie, Morgan Cherry, Christian Cunningham, Rayne Fields, Sydni Fullilove, Kioni Green, Erin Harris, Cassandra Ruizesparza, Sean Sutton
Spanish Honor Society: Maya Adams, Taylor Brooks, Olivia Fitch, Danny Huss, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz, Arnav Paluri, Nora Perry
French Honor Society: Andrew Cabrera
Book Awards: Mariama Barry (French), Chase Cannonie (Mandarin and U.S. History), Erin Harris (English), Tesneem Krad (Biology and Spanish), Madison Olimene (Math), Lilith Vandyke (Chemistry and World History)
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, Gia Crawley, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz
Awarded for outstanding journalistic endeavors.
Student Council Civic Achievement Award: Scott Zhou
Awarded by Student Council to for outstanding contribution in school activities outside of Student Council.
Parents Association Art Award: Erin Harris
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: Gabby Cooper
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.
House Cup: Norton 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.