(Graphic by Emma Boersma)

High school awards announced through newsletter due to school shutdown

On May 26, Country Day sent out a newsletter with a list of all award recipients. Teachers wrote speeches to each recipient in Google documents linked to the email. To view these speeches, click on “Award announcement.”


Sophomore Symposium Awards

First place: Elliot Crowder

Second place: Sanjana Anand

Third place: Miles Morrow

Award announcement:

Since 2009, the Sophomore Project has celebrated academic creativity, careful research, and public speaking. Challenging, interesting, and inspiring, this project shows us how our students can perform real, scholarly research and present original ideas of strength.

This year, our sophomore class explored a wide range of local Sacramento issues, engaging in primary research and presenting some of their most interesting talks at our Sophomore Symposium, presented via Zoom to our larger community. For a first-hand look at these exceptional projects, please visit the Octagon’s coverage here.

We now honor the top three presentations as determined by our panel of judges – teachers Patricia Jacobsen, Glenn Mangold, and Jane Bauman;  and previous year winners Ming Zhu, Elijah Azar, Spencer Scott, Larkin Barnard-Bahn, and Jackson Margolis.

In third place, Miles Morrow moved us with his personal family history and critical understanding of ”The History of the Japanese in the United States.”

In second place, Sanjana Anand gave us great hope in our struggle against cancer with her work “Immunotherapy: The Ultimate Answer to Cancer.”

Finally, in first place, Elliot Crowder laid bare the discriminatory practices that shaped the demographic and economic layout of Sacramento in his work, “Sacramento: A Study of Racial Housing Patterns.”

Congratulations, Elliot, Sanjana, and Miles!


Rachel Carson Book Award: Meghan Kaschner

Award announcement:

The Rachel Carson Award is presented by Chatham University to a junior who, like Rachel, demonstrates a fervent passion for the advancement of science. Rachel Carson graduated from Chatham University in 1929 and is best remembered for her seminal work, Silent Spring – a detailed account of the detrimental effects of indiscriminate use of pesticides on the environment. 

Meghan Kaschner just might be the next Rachel Carson. In her short time at Country Day, she has impressed us all with her dedication to the environment, particularly the fragile ocean ecosystem. She competed in the 2019 National Ocean Science Bowl Regional Competition and put her ocean knowledge to the test during the Sea Lion Bowl held in Monterey, CA. She has volunteered her time on a Global Leadership Adventures community service trip to Guadalupe, Mexico. Meghan also helps locally, volunteering  at Soil Born Farms to help plant fruit trees in food insecure areas of Sacramento, growing and harvesting crops to donate to the local food bank. Meghan “walks the walk” and we are excited to see the good she continues to do in her life both locally and globally. 

Meghan will receive a special edition of Silent Spring, an invitation to Chatham’s Summer Sustainable Leadership Academy, a $5,000 scholarship and preferred consideration for a competitive full-tuition scholarship if Megan is accepted and chooses to attend Chatham University. Congratulations, Meghan.

University of Rochester Awards

Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award: Pragathi Vivaik

Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Humanities and Social Science Award: Anna Fluetsch

Award announcement:

The Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award is presented to a student based both on high achievement and rigor in science and math classes and on the positive contributions that the student makes to their school and larger community.

Pragathi Vivaik has demonstrated a clear ability to succeed in challenging math and science classes, tackling AP classes, Anatomy and Physiology, and an internship at Sacramento State University. She has also proven to be a strong leader in her school and home communities as a teacher’s aide and as both a teacher and student at her dojo. It is our pleasure to present this award to Pragathi, who embodies both its letter and spirit. Congratulations, Pragathi!

The Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award Humanities & Social Science Award is presented to a student who demonstrates commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues through leadership and dedication to community action.

We are proud to announce Anna Fluetsch is this year’s recipient. Anna has proven herself a well-rounded and high-achieving student who is deeply engaged in the humanities. She’s not afraid to take on difficult social issues and handles them with grace. Anna tackles these issues both on and off campus through education, inclusive community engagement, and active listening. Anna embodies the leadership qualities that every community needs. She is sensitive to the needs of other people and likes to help. On a visit to the Dyer Kelly School to drop off donations, some students, including Anna, got to tour the school’s brand new library. When they arrived back on campus, they told Ms. Melinson that we needed to do a book drive to help fill the shelves of this lovely space. Anna was one of the students who accompanied Ms. Melinson to the Lower School Book Bonanza to choose some books for the new library so the kids would have more of a selection of books. Her empathy is just one of many leadership qualities that we benefit from. Congratulations, Anna!

Harvard Book Award: Bri Davies

Award announcement:

The Harvard Prize Book Program was established by Harvard alumni in 1910 as part of an effort to attract the attention of talented students to Harvard College. The Harvard Book Award is presented to an outstanding student in the junior class who displays excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievement in other fields.

When Ms. J. first began teaching Bri Davies in her 9th grade year in Algebra II Honors, she could have predicted that Bri would be nominated for this award. Her attention to detail and willingness and patience to really ponder the problem at hand are remarkable. She’s not just getting through the material; she’s experiencing it thoroughly.

But it’s not just math classes in which Bri excels. She earns high praise from her teachers across academic and extracurricular disciplines and she stands up for herself, advocates for others, and treats everyone with compassion.

Outside of the classroom, Bri’s impact on our greater Sacramento community is immeasurable. In 2018, she set out to honor the legacy of Dr. Carroll Cooks, founder of No Youth Left Behind, by starting Generation Great. By offering one-on-one tutoring and mentoring, Bri and her team of volunteers from many area high schools have, without doubt, had a positive and lasting impact on the lives of many children and their families.

Bri’s compassion isn’t limited to helping kids with homework. On any given day, you can ask her how her kids are doing. She knows them all by name, shares pictures of them on her phone, and beams with pride when she reports how they’ve learned to read or started behaving better in school. She also does her best to help her students and their families by providing snacks, school supplies, warm hugs, and a lot of other necessities.

Bri, through your intelligence, strength of character, and variety of achievement, you exemplify Harvard’s commitment to excellence. On behalf of the Sacramento Harvard Alumni Association, we are honored to present you the Harvard Book. Congratulations, Bri!

Kenyon Book Award: Olivia Chilelli

Award announcement:

The Kenyon Book Award is given to the member of the junior class who best embodies the central tenets of the liberal arts – a high level of intellectual engagement, creativity, and commitment to community.

We have developed a tradition of granting this honor to a student with a strong, vibrant, unique, artistic voice. This year, the winner is an artist, writer, thinker, and community builder. This year’s Kenyon Presidential Book Award recipient is Olivia Chilelli

When Jane Bauman asks students to create a map of the characters in a Shakespeare play, she often gets a two-dimensional diagram with colorful faces. That’s not Olivia’s style. Instead, for As You Like It, she made a three-dimensional storybook with characters that pop up, carefully drawing and coloring each character by hand. 

In Dr. Kellie Whited’s AP Biology class, students create a model of transpiration, usually a poster. Not Olivia. Hers was a three-dimensional paper-mâché model of a tree complete with leaves and flowers that accurately portray the process of transpiration. For another project, Olivia’s drawings showed how a real animal, in this case a peacock, could, theoretically, evolve into a Dr. Seuss character. Her drawings are full of whimsy and delight. Olivia loves using art as much as she loves learning and always takes her projects to the next level. 

Olivia’s adviser, librarian Jo Melinson, related that it’s so rewarding to see Olivia finding her voice as both an artist and a writer. Ms. Melinson loves hearing the excitement in Olivia’s voice as she talks about the essays she’s writing. We all can attest to her outstanding work, filled with original thinking and beautifully crafted sentences. 

If there is an art event, Olivia is there. She did a live art demonstration for a Breakthrough fundraiser last summer. She joined her classmates at Chalk It Up. And every year, she creates the murals for the haunted house at her local Boys and Girls Club. Olivia integrates her artistic vision in everything she does; we so admire her for that. It’s with great appreciation, respect, and affection that we present Olivia Chilelli with the Kenyon Book Award. Congratulations, Olivia!

George Washington Book Award: Lilianne Brush

Award announcement:

The George Washington Book Award recognizes high school juniors who embody the “GW” drive and spirit, specifically with their academic excellence, leadership outside of the classroom, diversity of thought, and ability to put knowledge into action. 

Lilianne Brush clearly exemplifies academic excellence. Ms. J tells how Lili struggled for the first week or so of Algebra II Honors in her sophomore year. She knew she didn’t want to struggle, so she began taking color-coded, detailed notes and asking more and more questions. She put all of those ideas into practice immediately and did so well that she qualified for the  summer Pre-Calculus Honors course. In all subjects, none of her teachers recall her ever missing an assignment, making an excuse, or complaining about the workload. She’s a very “no-excuses” kind of learner. 

Lili is also one of the founding members of Fan Club. Even before it was an actual club, Lili was very good at coming up with a plan to show school spirit by decorating lockers, making goody bags, and posting signs in the gym. Part of her plan is delegating responsibility, which she does firmly but patiently. She sets expectations pretty high for herself and expects others to do the same if they are on her crew. 

She ran her first half-marathon in her freshman year (March Shamrock’n) and came in very close to the top female in her age group without even training to race. She trained to finish, since it was her first. But she was so dedicated to her goal that she rarely missed a run – even over Thanksgiving and winter break.

Lili Brush contributes so much to our classroom and our campus. She makes Country Day a brighter place, every day, and it is an honor to recognize her with the George Washington Book Award. Congratulations, Lili!

Barbara Lazar Excellence in Music Award: Allie Bogetich

Award announcement:

From 1980 to 2006, Barbara Lazar brought light to the Lower School through her rich and vibrant music program. She nurtured young children to have a love of music and to share their joyfulness for music with others. The award is presented to a student who demonstrates a passion for music and learning, tenacity in practice, performance and growth; who demonstrates musical leadership, shares knowledge and inspires others; and who is cooperative and always willing to help. It is our pleasure to present the Barbara Lazar Excellence in Music Award to Allison Bogetich. 

As a music teacher, Mr. Ratcliff  works with students using standards based on a teacher/student relationship. This relationship revolves around things such as study skills, preparedness, work ethic, grades, and classroom behavior. At Country Day we also value integrity, kindness, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. 

However, in the world of professional musicians, the standards are a little different. The traits most musicians look for are; are you easy to work with, are you reliable, are you talented, and are you versatile? These are the traits that determine whether or not you get called for a second gig. Allie has both the student standards and the professional standards covered. 

In class, she is an excellent student. She is knowledgeable about music and did exceptionally well in AP Music Theory. She can be trusted to run a sectional, keep things moving forward and also give help and support to those around her. She is meticulous, yet gets her work done on time. When needed, she will ask timely and insightful questions, but is also willing to do the research herself. She has been a member of the high school jazz band since 7th grade and is one of the original members of the Garage Band class. She has played with the concert band, the orchestra and the choir. She plays rock, jazz, and classical music on a variety of percussion instruments and does them all very well. Allie is also one of only a handful of students that in Mr. Ratcliff’s 20 years of teaching, he actually hired to play a paying gig. 

Barbara Lazar would have loved to have had Allie in her classes. Congratulations, Allie!

Rensselaer Medal: Ming Zhu

Award announcement:

The Rensselaer Medal is awarded to a high school junior who excels in advanced math and science with significant extracurricular activities. 

Ming Zhu is one of the students in AP Chemistry who others look to if they are struggling with a difficult concept. He does his work quickly and accurately. He also asks very good questions.

In AP Calculus BC and 9th grade Physics, Ming has been one of the strongest students in his grade. His particular strength may be his skepticism. He doesn’t believe something is true just because a teacher with 30 years’ experience and a Physics degree says it, or because it is in the 7th-edition of a world-renowned textbook that is the standard resource for college calculus courses. No. Ming will question and probe until everything is proven to his satisfaction. It’s really fun to watch.

He also taught in the Chinese Language club that met in Ms. Jacobsen’s room. In that class, his manner was kind, patient, but also funny. He would tolerate other students’ hijinks and inability to pronounce words correctly, yet he relentlessly worked with students until their pronunciation improved. Just as in his science classes, Ming’s smile and kindness garnish a deep commitment to getting things right. Not just for him, but for those around him. 

In line with that is his confidence in trying to figure out on his own, a quicker and better way to solve problems, all around our campus. He’s involved with the county band, likes to go to SacAnime, plays D&D, is a member of the Mock Trial team, and on Octagon staff. He makes our school better for many other students. 

Ming’s commitment to academic excellence and to improving our community make him an outstanding recipient of the Rensselaer Medal. Congratulations, Ming!

The James W. Weatherholt, II Excellence in History Award: Layla MoheyEldin

Award announcement:

The James W. Weatherholt II Excellence in History Award was established in 2010 by family and friends to celebrate the memory of James, a graduate in the Class of 2006. This award also acknowledges Country Day’s contribution in developing James’s great love of history. 

Layla MoheyEldin, this year’s recipient of the award, shares James’s passion for history. She has a sharp, probing mind, always attuned to the nuances of a particular document or connections between past events and the present. She contributes enthusiastically to class discussions and role plays, and her questions consistently reveal fresh insights that elevate the level of inquiry in class. 

Layla is a wonderful student of history, and it is an honor to present her with this award. Congratulations, Layla!


Cum Laude Society

New inductees from the class of 2020: Larkin Barnard-Bahn, Héloïse Schep and Spencer Scott

New inductees from the class of 2021: Connor Pedersen, Sarina Rye, Kaelan Swinmurn and Ming Zhu

Award announcement:

The Cum Laude Society was founded in 1906 by Dr. Abram W. Harris, director of the Tome School in Maryland. Dr. Harris was determined that scholastic achievement in secondary schools should be recognized the way it was in college, so he organized an academic scholarship society modeled on Phi Beta Kappa. From then on, Cum Laude chapters were established only in schools of superior academic quality; schools had to be granted permission to establish a new chapter. The top 20% of each senior class may be elected, but in accordance with the rules, the Sacramento Country Day School chapter elects the top 10% of the junior class each year with the remaining 10% of that class chosen senior year. Election is based solely on weighted cumulative grade-point-averages.

Members from the Class of 2020 inducted last year include: Jackson Crawford, David Situ, and Anu Krishnan.

New members from the Class of 2020 are Larkin Barnard-Bahn, Héloïse Schep, and Spencer Scott.

New inductees from the Class of 2021 are Connor Pedersen, Sarina Rye, Kaelan Swinmurn, and Ming Zhu.

Congratulations to all of our new Cum Laude Society inductees!


National Merit Scholarship Program

Finalists: Larkin Barnard-Bahn and Anu Krishnan

Commended students: Emma Boersma, Héloïse Schep, Garrett Shonkwiler, David Situ, Rebecca Waterson

Award announcement:

In October of each year, high school sophomores and juniors across the country take the PSAT, also known as the National Merit Qualifying Test, to help prepare the SAT. After the junior year, results are tabulated and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation selects 50,000 top-scoring students for recognition. A little more than two-thirds of those students are recognized as “commended.”

In 2020, the following students were commended: Emma Boersma, Héloïse Schep, Garrett Shonkwiler, David Situ, Rebecca Waterson, and Shimin Zhang.

Additionally, two members of the class of 2020 scored in the top 15,000 nationally and moved on to become finalists of the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The 2020 finalists were: Larkin Barnard-Bahn and Anu Krishnan.

Congratulations to commended students and finalists!

Distinguished Scholar Awards

Larkin Barnard-Bahn

Emma Boersma

Emme Bogetich

Kaitlyn Canepa

Jackson Crawford

Anna Frankel

Anuradha Krishnan

Jason Li

Yumi Moon

Héloïse Schep

Spencer Scott

Darius Shahbazi

Garrett Shonkwiler

David Situ

Charles Thomas

Ming Hang “Bill” Tsui

Alyssa Valverde

Rebecca Waterson

Christopher Wilson

Maddie Woo

Shimin Zhang

Shiyi “Ted” Zhou

Award announcement:

Congratulations to the aforementioned students, who have made the Honor Roll each year they have attended Country Day. Every day, these students came to every class prepared and ready to make our classrooms soar with creative insights and critical thought. Thank you for making Country Day such a magical learning environment. 

Congratulations, distinguished scholars!

Awards of Excellence

Art: Jewel Turner

Communications: Larkin Barnard-Bahn and Maddie Woo

Computer Science: Emma Boersma

English: Héloïse Schep

History: Jackson Margolis and Spencer Scott

Mathematics: Spencer Scott

Music: Max Kemnitz

Physical Education: Emme Bogetich

Science: Emme Bogetich

World Language: Alyssa Valverde and Shimin Zhang

Award announcement:

Country Day celebrates the academic achievements of our seniors by giving Awards of Excellence. 


This year the art award goes to a person who never stopped trying and she never slowed her creative drive — Jewel Turner. Her exquisite work on the Medallion yearbook was another outlet for her abundant creativity.  Jewel designed and coordinated the Chalk it Up mural downtown and coordinated a student art show here on campus.  She was never afraid of trying something new and always had new artwork to show. 

Jewel’s strength, dedication and tireless drive will serve her well in UOP’s art studios.  Nice work — keep up the creative flow. Congratulations, Jewel!


We are honored to  present the Award of Excellence in Communications to Larkin Barnard-Bahn and Maddie Woo.

As Octagon’s online co-editor-in-chief, Larkin Barnard-Bahn amazed Mr. Bauman with her writing, editing, and dedication. Larkin wrote outstanding stories for the print issues, and her online and print editing was exceptional. In addition to helping post at least one story a day, Larkin designed pages for the print edition and stayed late almost every night during paste-up weeks. Larkin’s reliability throughout the year was invaluable. Almost invariably, she responded to Mr. Bauman’s messages about myriad subjects within seconds. As if all that isn’t enough, Larkin kept the Octagon solvent as its business manager. Larkin has worked on the Octagon for countless hours, and we don’t know what we would have done without her. Congratulations, Larkin!

Maddie Woo was invaluable in bringing both the Medallion yearbook and The Glass Knife literary magazine to life this spring, even as the school year was turned upside down. According to The Glass Knife advisor Joanne Melinson, Maddie was “instrumental in getting The Glass Knife blog started when we realized we needed to pivot from a print publication to an online magazine. She quickly created a site on Squarespace and began building it. She has been doing a phenomenal job of updating the site with new content each week. Her willingness to just jump right in and get it done has been appreciated by the whole staff.” 

This same can-do attitude was apparent in her accomplishments as one of the Medallion’s editors-in-chief. Throughout the year, Maddie contributed to every aspect of the yearbook, and her dedication and talent is apparent throughout. She came up with solutions to problems that could be fixed and alternatives to those that couldn’t. Her quiet confidence and selfless dependability were essential as we completed the book remotely during the weeks after school closed. Maddie is an incredible team player who is more concerned with the happiness and productivity of the group than with her own interests. She patiently mentored our younger staff members, sometimes spending the entire elective period on her feet helping others, then coming back during her free time to finish her own projects.  Maddie, you’ve earned this Communications Award recipient, one hundred percent. Congratulations, Maddie! 

Computer Science 

We are honored to present the Award of Excellence in Computer Science to Emma Boersma. Emma has excelled in all areas of the computer science field, and Ms. Hinson has had the privilege of teaching and working with Emma in many areas over the past year. It was clear from the start that Emma was extremely strong in the computer science field. Not only did she receive an A in the Computer Science AP A, but she also did many personal digital projects on her own. Emma is also a leader among her peers —  she has not only helped her classmates when called upon, but has come to Ms. Hinson’s rescue on occasion. Actively involved in the new SWAT team, Emma has even gone so far as to collect hours helping teachers during this unusual time of online learning. We could not be more proud of the progress and interest she has shown in the field of Computer Science. Congratulations, Emma!


Simply put, Héloïse Schep is an exemplary student of literature. She is not only passionate, hardworking, and engaged in her studies, she is also an uncommonly insightful and astute reader. Héloïse understands what she reads at an expert level and expresses her understanding with consistent clarity, precision, and grace. She is a superb reader, and she is also a superb writer. Héloïse’s writing is sophisticated, nuanced, and confident. She writes brilliantly for both The Glass Knife and The Octagon, and her classwork is likewise extraordinary, from the powerful and timely sonnet she wrote about the current state of immigration and xenophobia in the United States, to her compelling and articulate essay about the essential differences between the protagonists of Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. Congratulations, Héloïse!


We are honored to  present the Award of Excellence in History to Jackson Margolis and Spencer Scott.

No student over the past six years at Country Day has brought more passion, dedication, and sheer energy to the study and celebration of history than Jackson Margolis. From his turn as lord of the 7th grade Renaissance Faire to his Hamilton-inspired rap about John D. Rockefeller in 8th grade to his impassioned arguments in AP classroom debates to his three-time award-winning state-championship-qualifying National History Day performances, Jackson has used his talents as an orator, dancer, and performer to bring history to life. At the same time, his classroom work has consistently revealed a mind alive to the complexities of his world, showcasing nuanced, sophisticated analysis and a strong appreciation for historical narrative. It is an honor to present Jackson with this award. Congratulations, Jackson!

Spencer Scott has a historian’s heart. Unabashedly “geeky” when it comes to his scholarly interests, he delights in talking about medieval manuscripts and gushes when sharing about seeing the actual caves out of which Sibyl spoke in “The Aeneid.” Tour guides at both Gettysburg and Normandy went out of their way to compliment Spencer on his thoughtful and relevant questions. And, two years ago, on the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the church door, Spencer awoke early and posted copies of the Theses to every door in the high school. When reminded kindly by the administration that posting signs on classrooms without authorization was forbidden, Spencer apologized, but also pointed out that in 1517 Luther had not sought the Pope’s permission either. For moments like these — and for so many others in which he similarly shared his passion for history with our community — we are delighted to present Spencer with this award. Congratulations, Spencer!


Spencer Scott was the top student last year in Advanced Placement Calculus BC, in a class of 15 of our best math students. He could be a professor of mathematics, if that were his desire. Or a first-rate scientist or engineer. He is blessed with an accurate memory, and he wants to know everything from proofs (which bore many students) to applications. 

This year, Spencer took the heavily mathematical AP Physics C class, which is, from the student’s point of view, the hardest class science Mr. Mangold has ever taught. He certainly didn’t need to take it, but there he was. And he was one of the best students in the class. 

Spencer  insists on tackling new problems first completely on his own — trying to invent his own approach. But then, if a teacher points out an error in his method, or a reason why it was inferior to the traditional method, he has no ego about it. He was concerned only with getting things correct.

Spencer Scott is truly deserving of the Award of Excellence in Mathematics. Congratulations, Spencer!


The music award is presented to a Country Day senior who has excelled within and contributed to the music program. It is our pleasure to present the music award to Maximilian Cooper Kemnitz.

Mr. Ratcliff has been working with Max off and on for almost seven years. He has always been a passionate, interested music student. In the jazz and concert bands, Max played mostly baritone saxophone, but also spent some time on alto. He has a strong sense of melody and a good rhythmic feel. He has always been a reliable improviser, creating very melodic driven solos.

Max was instrumental in getting the Garage Band elective happening. It was a chance to play guitar on Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, and Radiohead songs, among others, and to use all the guitar gear he was acquiring. With this group, he received recognition within the school community, and was even interviewed by KCRA for a news piece about the class and the recording studio.

Last summer, he attended a summer program offered by the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. This year Max was accepted into the School of Music. Max has excelled musically at Country Day and has not limited himself by genre, style, or musical knowledge. Congratulations, Max!

Physical Education 

The high school physical education award is granted to a student who exemplifies and demonstrates an understanding of health, physical education, teamwork, citizenship, positive role modeling, and the importance of an active lifestyle. 

Emme Bogetich has taken P.E. ever since Pre-K, including all four years of high school. Emme has developed a mastery in certain sports like Ultimate and Football, but you could also find Emme in the weight room, or walking the track.When teammates couldn’t design a new strategy, or a play wasn’t working, Emme would always take the time to suggest a new option. Even with  broken  fingers, Emme always gave 110% to the skill, the play, or her teammates. It has been a pleasure to teach, watch, and observe Emme grow into a young adult who has shown us many talents on the fields, the courts, and on the scooters! Congratulations, Emme!


We are proud to present the Award of Excellence in Science to Emme Bogetich. Emme excelled in science not only academically at Country Day but also professionally during her summer research internship at Sacramento State University. This was a tremendous opportunity for Emme to grow as a scientist, develop advanced laboratory skills, and represent Country Day in the scientific community. Emme also helped to train the next generation of scientists by assisting with the Lower School science program. Emme will attend UC Davis in the fall as a biology major and will no doubt make significant contributions to their scientific community as well.  Congratulations, Emme!     

World Languages 

We are honored to  present the Award of Excellence in History to Shimin Zhang and Alyssa Valverde

In the annual National French Contest, Shimin Zhang earned one Silver and two Gold medals – one from this spring. This year, Shimin’s schedule didn’t allow her to join the French 4 class with her classmates from the previous years. This, however, did not deter her from pursuing her interest in French. She spoke to Mr. Day about her dilemma and they decided to meet independently every other day for tête à tête French 4 lessons. Their actual contact time was, therefore, limited. Her dedication, diligence, easy-going attitude, and wonderful wit made it a truly successful endeavor – as witnessed by her Gold medal, and by the outstanding progress she’s made. Shimin, your last composition on a misunderstanding that got out of control was stellar! It was our distinct pleasure to work with her throughout her high school career and we’re thrilled to offer her this foreign language achievement award. FELICITATIONS, Shimin!

Alyssa Valverde studied four years of Spanish. Dr. Portillo relates: “It has been an immense pleasure to have her in class. Alyssa always came to class prepared, with dedication, enthusiasm, openness, courage, and an overall appreciation for learning Spanish.” Even as a senior, Alyssa did not let senioritis get in the way of moving forward and being thorough in her work. Indeed, she taught herself sign language, started the ASL club, and taught other students how to sign. Congratulations, Alyssa!

Alice and Herbert Matthews Scholarships: Anu Krishnan and Héloïse Schep

Award announcement:

The Alice and Herbert Matthews Scholarships, created in 1985 and named in memory of two of the founders of Country Day, are given to students who excel in and show a “true appreciation” for Creative Writing and Mathematics.  

Creative Writing 

Just before her Freshman year, Héloïse Schep took a summer creative writing class with Ms. Melinson. Here Ms. Melinson discovered just how clever, but also deep her writing could be.  Héloïse has been a vibrant, reliable, and creative member of The Glass Knife literary magazine staff and has risen through the ranks of the Literary Department from copy editor, to associate editor, assistant editor, and this year she is one of the Literary Editors. Her love for the written word, attention to detail, and creativity all help her perform this job well. (She also bakes a lovely spice cake for our annual bake sales!) 

Every time the school is on break, Ms. Melison can expect to get at least one email from Héloïse that includes some creative writing that she has just done. Often there will be a follow up email that says, “Here’s some more writing.” Most of the time in the text of the email Héloïse will give a little glimpse of what inspired her. Ms Melinson will miss those emails, but maybe they will continue! Congratulations to the girl who can’t stop writing. Congratulations, Héloïse!


In the classroom, Anu Krishnan sits up front, hangs on every word, catches mistakes, and works every second. She dots all the i’s and crosses every t, and then some. After checking everything and clearing up problems by discussing them with teachers or her classmates, she turns in near-perfect work. Then she asks if the next handout or assignment is available for her to start. 

Anu trusts her teachers. For example, if you say to her, “Well, you could use that short cut for this problem, but you will need the full algorithm later,” she will learn the full algorithm now.

Anu led the class in asking and answering questions. She sat in the front, took precise notes, and paid attention to every single word. If Mr. Mangold threw out a question to the class, she was always willing to speak up and try to answer it. She set an example to her classmates in two important ways. First, she took everything seriously. Second, along the same lines, she was able to recall even minor mathematical details that we covered weeks or even months before.

Although she is a serious, model student, Anu is anything but a humorless drudge. She is always respectful to her teachers, but she can give as good as she gets when it comes to teasing her friends. 

After all of the above, what may be most impressive and distinctive about Anu is that she has been the driving force behind the school’s “Math and Science Tutoring Club.” She took time several days each week to help struggling students in their STEM courses. Congratulations, Anu!

J. Wesley Jamison Scholarships: Aaron Graves and Chris Wilson

Award announcement:

The Jamison Awards in Science and Drama were established in 1990 by alumni parent Mrs. Joanne Easter in memory of her father. The scholarships honor the achievements of seniors in two fields of special interest to Mr. Jamison.


Aaron Graves progressed very quickly in his acting abilities. His freshman year he was full of nerves and very stiff, but serious, hard-working, and always asking what he could do to be better. By the 11th grade, he gave a bravura performance in a weighty play, playing a foreign war correspondent. The role required charisma and a large range of emotions. He was so good Mr. Frishman told him that, if he wanted to, he could pursue acting in college or professionally. Congratulations, Aaron!


Chris Wilson’s personality creates a positive feedback loop of success. He has a good attitude, so he’s not afraid to be curious, so he tries everything, so he does well, so he’s happy. In math and science, especially, this future engineer has had an impressive academic journey. He was the best student in AP Physics C for the second semester, and one of the best in the first. He has also expressed appreciation for theory and proofs. For example, in AP Calculus BC, he remarked that learning proofs is the best way to understand and remember difficult formulas that some students only memorize. He is capable of understanding even the most profound mathematical and scientific ideas.

It has been a pleasure to watch him mature as a student over the last four years. To his natural gifts, he has added curiosity, constant attention to the subject, and drive.  His interest peaks whenever the subject matter becomes more practical or engineering-related, and he really enjoys problems involving design and real-world objects.  He has a great sense of humor and has one mood: Let’s have fun getting the job done. Congratulations, Chris!

Kingman Tung, M.D., Award for Academic Excellence and Exceptional Character: Savannah Rosenzweig

Award announcement:

Savannah Rosenzweig has given so much to our school in our classrooms. Her commitment to academic excellence allows her to surmount obstacles that would stop so many of us. Through her outstanding achievements, Savannah has earned the deepest respect and love of her teachers and peers. Whether on the volleyball court, English class, or science lab, Savannah just will not accept anything less than her best effort. And what results this effort has earned! 

But it is at Breakthrough Sacramento that Savannah has brightened the lives of so many other people. Savannah was Breakthrough Sacramento’s youngest teaching fellow in summer 2019. At just 17, she taught alongside college-age students up to age 23. Savannah demonstrated maturity, work ethic, and productivity. As a 7th grade science teacher, Savannah did a masterful job teaching coding and robotics, shark dissection, and a solar energy lesson that culminated in an all-school mini solar-car race. Her students thrived. Students responded well to Savannah’s calm, firm and fair nature, and she was a favorite collaborator among her peers.

Savannah truly embodies the spirit, intelligence, and kindness of Dr. Kingman Tung. Savannah is a deep soul, and Dr. Tung would have been proud to know her. 

Congratulations, Savannah!

Community Service Award: Yumi Moon and Maddie Woo

Award announcement:

We are honored to present the Community Service Award to Yumi Moon and Maddie Woo.

Over the course of the last few years, Yumi Moon has brightened our campus with her smile and infectious good cheer. While Country Day has benefitted so much from Yumi’s presence, her light has shone all over Sacramento and the world. She serves as an intern at Learning Solutions, a local company dedicated to helping children with autism. She has been a teacher’s assistant at Sacramento Korean School, where she was named vice president of the volunteer committee, earning the President’s Volunteer Service Award (gold), Junior Leadership Award (silver), and named head volunteer by the principal. Last summer, she travelled to Azuero, Panama for six weeks through a program called Amigos de las Américas. Congratulations, Yumi!

Maddie Woo transferred to Country Day her junior year and immediately lit up our quad and our campus with her smile, kindness and  leadership in the Celebrations Club. As one of her friends tells it, “Only Maddie was attentive and thoughtful enough to realize some students’ birthdays were celebrated more than others. Only Maddie was concerned enough about these students to propose a club to celebrate every birthday. And only Maddie was so committed to making all students feel appreciated that she polled every single high schooler about their preferred birthday treats (yes, plural — there are three treats in each bag, giving choices even to those with allergies), made every student personalized birthday bags with their treats and name, created a giant spreadsheet of every birthday to announce them at Morning Meeting, and gives up her morning break to find every student with a birthday and give them their birthday bag. She is immensely caring and dedicated.” Congratulations, Maddie!

Sports Boosters Athlete-of-the-Year Awards: Jewel Turner and Shiyi “Ted” Zhou

Award announcement:

The Sports Booster Athlete-of-the-Year Award goes to a male and female who have excelled in multiple varsity sports, and have shown great sportsmanship and leadership.

Shiyi “Ted” Zhou was the 2019 volunteer assistant boys’ basketball coach. In 2018, he was second-team all-league in basketball and varsity golf. He was a starter on the 2018 golf team that won the Section Championship. Ted won Coach’s awards in 2018-19 in Varsity Basketball and 2017 in Varsity Golf.

Jewel Turner was named to the 2019 All-City Optimist All-Star game. In 2019, she was Team MVP and first-team all-league. Jewel also made honorable mention all-league in 2018. She will attend the University of the Pacific and play volleyball.

Congratulations Ted and Jewel!

Parents’ Association Amicus Award: Chris Wilson

Award announcement:

The Amicus award is given to the senior who is “the friend of the class.” The graduating class votes on who should win this honor, and this year, Chris Wilson earned this honor with the following comments from his classmates:

  • “Chris is the most genuinely nice person I have ever met. He’s always excited to say hi to people specifically to try to brighten their day. I don’t think I know a single person that he dislikes or can’t find something to compliment them on.”
  • “He is always in the best mood, always available to help out, always constructive and not destructive —  what more could you ask from a person?”
  • “His charismatic and jubilant vibe exists in every corner of Country Day.”
  • “Chris Wilson truly is an individual I would call everybody’s friend. He is a friendly, caring, and free-spirited individual that has put a smile on everyone’s face. When I first visited Country Day, Chris was funny and welcoming. He made me feel comfortable in a place that was foreign to me. I quickly grew to love this place, and that was in part because of how welcomed I felt that day when Chris showed me around and introduced me to everyone. I am extremely proud to call Christopher Wilson my classmate, teammate, and friend.”
  • “Chris has always been there to make everyone laugh. He likes to dance and make jokes. He always wants everyone to feel included. Not only that, he will always be a shoulder to cry on. He gives great advice and always makes sure you are doing well. Not once has Chris said anything mean ever!
  • “Chris always helps those who need it even when they think they don’t. There are times where Chris sees someone alone and will go out of his way to sit and just talk with them. He always thinks about others’ well beings and he always cheers people on and supports them. Chris is a friend to everyone, genuinely.”
  • Perhaps one senior said it best: “Chris is the glue for the class and is able to be kind and communicate with everyone. His positive energy is contagious.” 

Congratulations, Chris Wilson —  you are truly a friend to the class of 2020. 


Ninth grade: Jacob Chand and Brynne Barnard-Bahn

10th grade: Arjin Claire and Sanjana Anand

11th grade: Brian Chow and Lilianne Brush

12th grade: Jackson Crawford and Rebecca Waterson

Award announcement:


As a freshman, Jacob Chand started on both the varsity soccer and basketball teams. He is a versatile player in multiple positions. In soccer he played midfield, forward and goalie.

Brynne Barnard-Bahn started as a freshman on the varsity basketball team. She led the team in rebounds with 7.6 per game.

Congratulations, Jacob and Brynne!


This year, Arjin Claire was the leading scorer on the soccer team and was named first-team all-league. Arjin won the Maxpreps California player of the week with his five goal performance against Paradise Adventist.

Sanjana Anand was team captain of the undefeated co-ed tennis team. Sanjana displayed incredible leadership as a sophomore, motivating and leading the team.

Congratulations, Arjin and Sanjana!


Brian Chow set to improve on his excellent sophomore swim campaign until our season was cut short.

Lilianne Brush started at outside left midfield on the varsity co-ed soccer team. Lili displayed incredible toughness and determination throughout the season. 

Congratulations, Brian and Lili!


Both of our seniors were recognized as our league’s top male and female scholar athletes, winning A. Dale Lacky Scholarships.

Jackson Crawford has competed in both basketball and golf. Jackson was all-league in basketball all four years. He was first-team all-league in golf and helped the team win the Section Championship his junior year.

Rebecca Waterson has competed for the swim team for all four years. She’s been named a NISCA All-American twice and has qualified for the state championships three times. Becca helped lead our girls swim team to back-to-back Section titles and took home an individual section title as well.

Congratulations, Jackson and Becca!

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