More than 50 honored at upper school awards ceremony

Ransom Everglades presented 50 end-of-year awards at the Upper School Awards Ceremony on April 28 and announced the Class of 2022 valedictorian, Victoria Porto ’22, and salutatorian, Nikhil Kumar ’22. The event at the Lewis Family Auditorium, held in person for the first time in three years, honored the entire upper school student body while conferring special awards in various academic disciplines, for service and leadership, and in honor of departed members of the RE community.
“You all deserve recognition today,” Head of School Penny Townsend said at the outset of the ceremony. “Each of you has earned distinction in some aspect of your RE experience and today we celebrate all of you.”

Added Head of the Upper School Patricia Sasser: “All of you have worked so hard … You ‘ve demonstrated care and concern for the community and for each other in so many ways.”

The event also offered the farewell address of 2021-22 Student Government Association President Noah Zaldivar ’22, who received a standing ovation from his peers and presented the SGA Faculty Award to humanities teacher Brandon King, also dean of the sophomore class. Zaldivar lauded the third-year faculty member who teaches economics, helps coach baseball and co-chaired RE’s Anti-Racism Task Force, saying Dr. King “represents a new generation of teachers here at RE.” He also received a standing ovation.

A few guests presented annual awards: Pamela Kayton Posner ’92 presented the Elliot Kayton ’96 Award in honor of her late brother, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the eighth grade, to Dominique Smith ’22. Clara Villalba ’22 received the Ronni Weksler Bermont Service Award.

Howard Srebnick ’82
presented the Robert Segall ’82 Leadership Award in honor of his former classmate, who passed away from cancer at 33, to Luca Campiani ’22. Lauren Heller ’22 won the Arthur Moses Student Award, and Flavia Tomasello and John Tsialas presented the Antonio Tsialas ’19 Leadership Award recognizing honesty, loyalty and character in honor of their late son to Victor Perez ’23. Loriz Arencibia  ’23 received the Princeton Service Award.

Francisco Gomez Rivas-Vazquez '24 received the sophomore Honor and Excellence Award. Two major freshman awards were given: Henry Berler '25 received the Damien Kaminski '89 Award, and Mia Bouyoucef '25 won the Ann Goesel Everglades School Award. 

Sasser announced the valedictorian and salutatorian at the end of the ceremony, calling Kumar “a calculated and insightful thinker who enjoys a challenge,” and citing Porto’s “care and thoughtfulness” and “depth of critical thinking and work ethic.”

Department leaders presented the various subject awards. Director of Arts Shawn Costantino presented the visual and performing arts awards; Humanities Department Chair Jen Nero presented the English and social sciences awards; World Languages Department Chair James Monk presented the language awards; and STEM Department Chair Doug Heller ’80 presented the math, computer science and science awards.

“I congratulate you all for what you have done here,” Srebnick told the entire student body, “for the bonds you’ve built, for the relationships you will carry for the rest of your lives.”

Upper School Awards 2021-22

Studio Art: Dominique Smith ’22 and Kerryn Xu ’22
Photography: Christian Mario Sosa ’22 and Julianna Murray ’22
Ceramics: Parker Martorella ’23

Instrumental Music, John Philip Sousa Band Award: Max Vallone ’22
Instrumental Music, Louis Armstrong Jazz Award: Adam Chopp ’22
Best Thespian: Zoe Holtzman ’22
Jane Kleinman Technical Theater: Kathleen Stanton-Sharpless ’22
Lewis Family Award: Jake Perdigon ’24
Dan Leslie Bowden Award: Chloe Alfonso ’24
Excellence In English Research Award: Jonathan Pollak ’23
Eleanor Crawford Backman English: Matthew Zide ’22
Creative Writing: Paisley Verea ’22
Sheila Natasha Simrod Friedman (English & Fine Arts): Caroline Sosler ’22
Craighill Burks Prize for American History: Ian Fox ’24
Excellence In History: Alessia Mantilla ’22
Excellence In Social Sciences: Luca Campiani ’22                                                                         
Mike Stokes Social Sciences Award: Andre Joseph ’22                
Speech and Debate: Amelia Fox ’22
Excellence In Chinese: Yara Haddad ’22
Pierre Cameron Award for French: Sol Cuello Robert ’22
American Association of Teachers of French Outstanding Senior Award: Ekaterina Sucher ’22
Excellence in Spanish Literature: Leticia Crosby ’23
Excellence in Spanish: Sabrina Soto ’22
Outstanding Achievement in World Languages: Isabella Virtue ’22
Lois B. Styles Math Award: Alexis Tie-Shue ’23
M.I.T. Excellence in Math: Alex Van Lidth ’22
Computer Science: Gideon Shaked ’22
Beverley B. Jones Science Award: Sol Cuello Robert ’22
Barbara Lester Environmental Science: Lauren Heller ’22
Excellence in Chemistry: Gabriel Menendez De Alencar ’23 and Nolan Wu ’24
Excellence in Physics: Dashiell Destefano ’22
Student Government Association Faculty Award: Brandon King

Junior Book Awards
Brandeis University: Loriz Arencibia ’23
Brown University: Lucia Rose Dahn ’23
Columbia University: Mae Signorello ’23
Dartmouth College: Theodore Ma ’23
Harvard University: Nico Maynulet ’23
Johns Hopkins University: Kyle Ng ’23
University of Pennsylvania: Marco Zhao ’23
University of Virginia: Karyna Steele ’23
Williams College: Victor Perez ’23
Sophomore Award
Honor and Excellence Award: Francisco Gomez Rivas-Vazquez ’24
Freshman Awards
Damien Kaminski '89 Award: Henry Berler ’25
Ann Goesel Everglades School Award: Mia Bouyoucef ’25
Service Awards
Ronni Weksler Bermont Service Award: Clara Villalba ’22
Princeton Service Award: Loriz Arencibia  ’23
Arthur Moses Student Award: Lauren Heller ’22
Elliot Kayton '96 Award: Dominique Smith ’22
Robert Segall Award, Luca Campiani ’22
Antonio Tsialas ’19 Leadership Award: Victor Perez ’23
Valedictorian: Victoria Porto '22
Salutatorian: Nikhil Kumar '22
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.