Juniors and Seniors Inducted into Cum Laude Society
Penn Charter's chapter of the Cum Laude Society inducted 35 members of the junior and senior classes on April 19. A national honor society established in 1908, Cum Laude celebrates Arete, Dike and Time – Excellence, Justice and Honor.
Head of School Darryl J. Ford and Jen Ketler, faculty member and secretary of Penn Charter's chapter, presented awards to each student. And Travis Larrabee, director of Upper School, introduced each inductee to the audience.
The following seniors were inducted: Emmet Foley, Max Hinkle, Max Jacobs, Rosemary Kaufman, Karly Kessler, Alexandra Kuper, Schuyler La Barge, Emma Locke, Justine Paolini, Joshua Patton, Alex Pearlstein and Sophie Richards.
Juniors inducted: Marker Angelakis, Lilia Carpenter, Giovanna DeMarco, Brian Isztwan, Justin Ko, Lucia Lavelle, Catherine McInerney, Anna Pogrebivsky, Ben Swanson, Jeremy Weiss and Evan Wilson.
And these seniors were inducted last year and recognized again on April 19: Max Blender, Olivia Brody-Bizar, Daniela Guillen, Adam Kuper, Tristan Laurencio, Yamit Netter-Sweet, Marilyn Pease, Jennie Reisman, Josephine Sepel, Tina Shirasb, Zoe Topaz and Emily Zurcher.
Sozi Tulante, city solicitor for Philadelphia and a PC parent, was the keynote speaker. As city solicitor, Tulante advises the mayor, City Council and all departments, agencies and commissions of the city. Tulante graduated cum laude from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Before that, he went to Northeast High School in Philadelphia. Born in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), Tulante came to Philadelphia as a political refugee in 1983 with his family.
"I was inspired by all the students," he told the audience of parents, teachers and Upper School students. And he offered them two pieces of advice, drawn from his own experiences.
First, he said, be kind to one another. He spoke of his immigration to the U.S. and how his family found safe haven in Philadelphia: "We didn't speak English, we were poor, and we were afraid." But, he said, strangers treated him with kindness and respect from the time his family arrived at the airport from Kinshasa. Quoting William Wordsworth – "The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." – he advised students to summon empathy for those who may not look or worship or speak as they do.
His second piece of advice, drawn on his experience interviewing applicants for Harvard, was: "Keep who you are – what is unique about you – your thoughts, your ideas." Be intellectually curious, he said, and don't become what other people want you to be.
"Be comfortable with your own skin," Tulante said. "If you don't stand up for who you are ... you are going to regret it."