Each year universities across the country recognize the outstanding achievement of high school students at the end of their junior year by honoring them with a Book Award sponsored by their local alumni association. This is a prestigious award for a high school junior to receive. This year, JSerra students were recognized by the alumni associations of Princeton University and the University of Nebraska, two nationally known and prominent educational institutions.
At the Underclassmen Awards ceremony on Monday, June 5, Princeton alum and JSerra parent, Mr. Peter Bastone, and University of Nebraska alum and JSerra parent, Mr. John O’Reilly, took the stage to present the Book Award from their respective alma mater.
Shannon Brady, the recipient of the Princeton Book Award, had this to say of her emotions when she heard her name called: “I was so happy, but I was shocked more than anything because I was not expecting it at all.”
According to the Princeton Alumni Club of Orange County website, the Princeton Book Award is presented by the Club to outstanding students at the end of their junior year at public and private secondary schools in the county. The criteria for the selection of the student includes: intellectual promise and academic excellence, exemplary service or extracurricular activities; and outstanding personal character.
In her three years at JSerra, Brady has been involved in soccer and lacrosse. She says these activities “helped me to branch out and get involved in the school. I met my best friends while playing sports. They also taught me how to manage my time efficiently.”
Shannon has enjoyed many of her classes while at JSerra, but her favorite has consistently been history. She loves history but says the main reason is the amazing teachers she has had.
The University of Nebraska Book Award is awarded to a junior who is considered “outstanding in English.” This year’s recipient was Haleigh Cummings. O’Reilly stated that JSerra was selected to receive an award because “it is an outstanding school and strong in academics, athletics, and Catholicism” which is particularly important to Mr. O’Reilly.
Mr. Chris Plaia, Cummings’ English teacher, describes her as “a hard worker who takes pride in her assignments while putting great effort into her work.” Cummings started out as a dedicated student who was determined, “to be a straight A student, and she has completed that as well.”
Cummings is also an outstanding athlete and has established herself as one of the best lacrosse players in the state. While she always strives to be a better athlete and student, she also pushes her teammates to be better players. Plaia added that Cummings “always has a smile on her face.”