Agnes Irwin Recognizes Fifty-One Eighth Graders at Middle School Closing Ceremony
Earlier today, Agnes Irwin’s annual Middle School Closing Ceremony celebrated fifty-one eighth graders who will be moving on to the Upper School next year. Middle School Director Corey Willingham conducted the ceremony in the Laura Thomas Buck ’49 Pavilion before family and friends. Students sang The Agnes Irwin School alma mater, performed their class song, enjoyed a slideshow of photos submitted by their families, and were awarded their diplomas to rousing applause.
"Welcome back to the Buck [Laura Thomas Buck '49 Pavilion], the place where we shared some of the most difficult moments [during Covid], and yet some of the happiest memories," said Student Council President Alexandra Pierce. "I am so proud of us for what we worked through and accomplished as a group. Today, we stand side by side and shoulder to shoulder for our final time as Middle Schoolers. We have created a community where we appreciate each other for our individual personalities, and where we celebrate our successes," said Alexandra.
Head of School Sally Keidel remarked, “This is a moment of reflection and gratitude as you stand on the precipice of a new experience in Upper School. Embrace the challenges ahead and seize every opportunity!"
The following students were presented with awards for excellence:
Julia Prince was awarded the Diana Gormley Award, given annually to the student in the eighth grade who displays the exceptional qualities of compassion, leadership, integrity and enthusiasm that Mrs. Gormley embodied in her 28-year tenure at the school. This student starts every day with a radiant smile, always encourages her peers to succeed, jumps into her studies with curiosity and has been an emerging leader in the student government and middle school clubs. The Middle School is a brighter place because of her. This student embodies the words “infectious enthusiasm.”
Farrah Goodson-Guy received the Adrienne Allen Award for best exemplifying the courage, dedication and loyalty that Adrienne shared with her classmates throughout her years at Agnes Irwin. The recipient of this award has shown growth and resilience in her time in the Middle School. A persistent and enthusiastic student, this girl has stepped out of her comfort zone and stepped up into leadership roles when called upon. Funny and compassionate, this student is well liked by her classmates, and exudes school spirit.
Maeve Martinelli received the Values Prize which honors a student whose contributions to the school community, through leadership and example, demonstrate and support the Middle School values statement and its core values of respect, honesty, understanding and dedication. This student is the first to ask others how they’re doing or how their weekend was and listens intently to their response. When called upon for help from her classmates, she jumps to their aid, oftentimes helping them work through a problem versus telling them an answer. She is thoughtful, helpful, reliable, and humble. She approaches challenges with excitement and optimism.
Amelia Amirault was awarded the Bonnie White Sportsmanship Award, presented to an eighth grade student who has demonstrated the positive, resilient spirit that Mrs. White exemplified at Agnes Irwin. While sportsmanship displays itself in small and great ways in athletic endeavors, and is most often associated with being a good loser and a gracious winner, the winner of the Bonnie White Sportsmanship Award is also a kind and good sport in classrooms and hallways, and in all Middle School pursuits. This student has demonstrated both heart and hustle in her MS athletics career. She is endlessly encouraging to her teammates, open to learning and growing in the sports she plays in, and finds joy in both the competition and camaraderie that our athletics program provides.
Emanuela Cacciavillani received the Katherine G. Halton Visual Arts Award, given each year to a student with a demonstrated commitment to excellence in her artwork. This student challenges herself by reflecting on a variety of ideas, asking the right art questions, and thinking deeply about how to creatively solve problems.
Mia Karalis was awarded the Excellence in Theater Arts Award, presented to a student who has shown a great enthusiasm for theater arts. This student is not only incredibly talented, but also kind, collaborative, and passionate about her craft. She truly embodies all the qualities of a great theater artist.
Farrah Goodson-Guy was awarded the Music Award which is presented each year to a student who demonstrates significant growth, both as a musician and singer. This eighth grader arrived at music classes and rehearsals fully prepared and ready to work. She graciously accepted lots of detailed feedback, incorporated all of it, and grew tremendously.
Kelsey Young received the Middle School Athletic Department Award, presented to an eighth grade student who was a multi-sport athlete during her Middle School years. She has had a positive impact on Agnes Irwin Athletics through her outstanding sportsmanship, leadership, and tireless work ethic and was an impressive contributor on the soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams in 2023.
Maggie Keidel received this year's English Award, which recognizes a student whose excellent work reflects a passionate interest in literary analysis, for her relentless pursuit of excellence. This student has consistently pushed herself to read with a critical eye. Her passion for learning and her commitment to excellent writing have made her a standout in the classroom and on the page. Her work this year focused on how women attain power without access to economic independence. Admirably, this student consistently wrote numerous drafts of every paper and short essay, not simply because she wanted to improve her writing, but because she was working out an intellectual puzzle. Her commitment to crafting and supporting original claims indicates the development of a scholarly mind.
Tori Oliver was awarded the History Award which recognizes a scholar who understands the important role that history plays in helping us to make sense of our present and shape our future. She has an impressive command of the factual material, and a keen eye to seeing the importance of historic events in the larger framework of history. She approaches research with interest and tenacity, and writes clearly and thoughtfully as she makes sense of the complex questions that history presents to us.
Sophie Aliakseyenka was awarded the Classics Department Award which recognizes a student who distinguished herself among the many talented Latin students this year. This student has long shown an interest for the ancient world in all its parts - the languages, the myths, the life of the ancient Romans, and even ancient Greek culture. She is confident in her ability to compose or write in Latin and has discovered new grammatical constructions along the way, beyond what we’ve done in class. Endlessly curious, she is always looking for the next challenge.
Hailey Roemer received the Math Award. The Mathematics Department recognizes a mathematician who is willing and ready to take on any mathematical challenge. She thinks critically and creatively until she finds a solution. The world needs problem solvers like this student.
Maggie Keidel received the French Award, which recognizes a student who demonstrates consistent growth and development with the spoken and written language, and for interest in the culture of the Francophone world. This 8th grader is genuinely curious about French in and outside of the classroom; she asks questions which demonstrate an eagerness to make connections and truly understand the language; she seems to have an insatiable appetite for French.
Tori Oliver received the Spanish Award for demonstrating excellence in the spoken and written language, as well as enthusiasm for the cultures of the Hispanic world. This student has done phenomenal work in Honors Spanish this year. Her vocabulary is immense and her comprehension is outstanding. Her writing in Spanish is totally clear (and also quietly hilarious). Perhaps most impressive, though, is her beautifully fluent spoken Spanish. She is a stellar Spanish student and an absolute delight in the language classroom.
Catherine Koslosky recieved this year's Science Award for notable academic success as well as intrinsic interest about the subject matter. This student has shown great tenacity this school year by consistently making efforts outside of class to broaden her knowledge and understanding. She made weekly visits to review content and in doing so began to ask more advanced and deeper questions about Earth and Space Science. Additionally, this student cares not only for her peers, but also for the youngest learners in our community; shaping the science she has learned in 8th grade in an age appropriate way for Pre-K - 1st graders on more than one occasion this year. Her “novel” idea to write and illustrate a children’s book about how the Earth functions and protecting the environment, will now live forever in the Lower School library for future young readers to explore and enjoy.