Senior School Students Medal for Excellence in National Latin Exam
Freshman Leon Jiao earned a gold medal, sophomores Natasha Karlik, Sarah Cao, and Gary Peng were awarded silver medals, and freshman Spencer Krysinski and junior Joshua Kurian presented with Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude certificates respectively in the National Latin Exam. All of these students were over the national average, with many more Latin II-IV students finishing just a few points short.
Three Senior School Students Recognized in Chinese Speech Competition
Sophomores Aysu and Madeleine, along with freshman Daniel, were recognized in a high school Chinese speech competition organized by the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh and the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania.
Three Seniors Earn $2,500 National Merit Scholarships
On May 13, 2020, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced its second round of scholarship winners in the 65th annual program. Seniors Mishon Levine, Zoe Luther, and Luke Tyson each received a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship.
Sophomore Accepted to PMEA All-State Orchestra Festival
Sophomore Sarah Cao participated in a virtual audition and was accepted into this year's Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Orchestra Festival. In addition, Sarah ranked first chair in the violin II section – an extraordinary achievement.
Middle School Student Earns Third Place in Pittsburgh National History Day Competition
Grade 7 student Rayna Thakkar participated with hundreds of students from across the region in the 2020 Pittsburgh National History Day (NHD) competition, placing third in the junior individual website category.
The competition, hosted locally by the Heinz History Center and overseen by the NHD offices in College Park, Maryland, brings together middle and high school students from around the globe to research historical topics centered on an annual theme, this year’s being “Breaking Barriers in History.” Students had the opportunity to explore the issue and present their findings in five categories – documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website.
Rayna’s website project, "The Internet: Breaking Barriers and Connecting People through a Virtual World," was a very timely topic due to current social distancing recommendations to help stop the spread of COVID-19, requiring people to work and connect virtually.
“My project for National History Day was the internet. It was mainly about how the internet broke barriers and connected people through a virtual world,” she explained. Initially, she said she struggled to come up with a topic and was inspired by something she saw in the news. “One day, I was scrolling through the news, and it was about how our phones could do more than the spaceship that landed on the moon. That is what started my train of thought.” Her thinking paid off. She spent several months preparing for the competition with the majority spent on research for her site.
For Rayna, the most challenging aspect of the project was trying to find interviews and understanding how the World Wide Web works with the internet. Her favorite part was constructing and designing the website.
She learned about NHD through her Middle School social studies teacher Kate Lukaszewicz. "All of our NHD competitors show resilience throughout the execution of their research and projects; students who competed in the website category faced the additional challenge of navigating a new website-builder that lacked the intuitive bells and whistles of the last iteration. All the same, Rayna knew that a website was the best way to present her argument about the value of the internet, so she persisted, with great results," said Ms. Lukaszewicz. "National History Day is among my favorite parts of teaching. Students self-select topics and formats of interest, then their curiosity and skills carry them through the year. It's awesome to see them engage in such vigorous work, especially considering their other academic and extracurricular activities." Four Grade 7 and 8 students – Avni Kathju, Jaydon Kurian, Lia Frazzini, and Layla Lombardo – also competed in this year’s NHD contest.
Rayna advanced to the state competition that will be held virtually on May 15 and 16. When she was told that she won third place she said, “I was thrilled and could not wait to keep working on my website.”