A coed Friends school, pre-K to 12, on 47 acres in East Falls, Philadelphia


Senior Members of Cum Laude Society Honored at May 17 Ceremony

Senior Members of Cum Laude Society Honored at May 17 Ceremony

New Inductees from Class of 2024 Also Announced

Penn Charter’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society held its annual spring ceremony on May 17, inducting 20 juniors and seniors as new members of the national organization that recognizes and honors students who have achieved academic excellence while demonstrating good character, honor and integrity in all aspects of school life.

Established in 1908, the Cum Laude Society celebrates Areté, Diké, Timé – Excellence, Justice, Honor. 

At the May 17 event, members of the Class of 2023 who were inducted into the organization last year or this year were celebrated as they conclude their time at Penn Charter. The junior inductees will be honored at next year’s ceremony along with the newly inducted members of the Class of 2024.

Penn Charter Cum Laude Society

The 21 senior inductees from 2023 and 2022 attended a May 17 ceremony to be celebrated as they finish up their time at Penn Charter. Front Row, left to right: Chester Kempinski, Francis Kraemer, Steven Bernstein, Noah Dacanay, Juan Tovar, Alexandra Glomb, Sydney Raza, Danielle Shipon, Lexi H. Bari, Maya Brightbill and Brooklyn Trevisan. Back row, left to right: Harrison Signorello, Matthew Clarke, Jack Frank, Justin Cockerham, Merrill Gadsden, Grace Jordan-Weinstein, Emelia Malhotra, Lindsay Gadsden, Sydney DelBello and Emerson Drake.

Head of School Darryl J. Ford Hon. 1689 and math teacher and secretary of Penn Charter’s Cum Laude Society chapter Jen Ketler Hon. 1689 presented and introduced each senior inductee. 

Wendell Pritchett, the James S. Riepe Presidential Professor of Law and Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School, was the guest speaker. Like the students he addressed, Pritchett attended a Quaker school, graduating from Friends Select. He also held positions as Penn’s provost and Penn’s interim president.

“You have already demonstrated what you can do, so don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone to try new things,” Pritchett said. He also shared how well-situated the students are for future success while acknowledging that growth and comfort do not coexist. 

The 2023 inductees are:

  • Seniors: Maya Brightbill, Sydney DelBello, Emerson Drake, Alexandra Glomb, Grace Jordan-Weinstein, Chester Kempinski, Emelia Malhotra, Sydney Raza and Juan Tovar.

  • Juniors: Grace Agosto, Ellie Choate, Sammy Davey, Ege Gungor, Payton Handler, Zady Hasse, James Langham, Owen Miner, Grace Neuwirth, Julia Perricelli and Alexandra Will.

The 2022 inductees are:

  • Seniors: Lexi H. Bari, Steven Bernstein, Matthew Clarke, Justin Cockerham, Noah Dacanay, Jack Frank, Lindsay Gadsden, Merrill Gadsden, Francis Kraemer, Danielle Shipon, Harrison Signorello and Brooklyn Trevisan

Congratulations to the 2023 inductees to the Cum Laude Society! View photos.

Cum Laude Society Members of the Class of 2023

Lexi H. Bari

  • Received the American Chemical Society Award for Excellence in Chemistry

  • Named All-InterAc in girls tennis in ninth, 11th and 12th grades

  • Varsity squash captain in the 11th and 12th grades

  • Held Student Council positions in ninth, 11th, and 12th grades

  • Member of the Congressional Youth Cabinet of U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans 

Steven Bernstein

  • Member of both varsity squash and varsity tennis teams

  • Member of Quake Makers, Math Club and the Finance Club

  • Volunteered at Face to Face and worked at Touch of Class

  • Participated in a summer economics class at Harvard and an entrepreneurship program at Wharton

Maya Brightbill

  • Member of Mock Trial since ninth grade, three-time winner of Best Advocate Award

  • Contributed to the Model United Nations Club

  • Clerkship of Mock Trial, Religious Life Committee and PC ambassadors

  • Member of the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band

Matthew Clarke

  • Recipient of the Richard S. Cross Jefferson Scholar Award in 11th grade

  • Member of Quakers Dozen, Boys a Cappella and Jazz Band

  • Member of Robotics Team and Model United Nations

  • Member of Student Council

  • Member of the crew team

Justin Cockerham

  • Member of the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band

  • Member of the JV squash team and varsity tennis team

  • Member of the Ethics Bowl team that competed in Nationals in spring 2023

  • Serves community by growing crops for those in need in a plot he owns at a community garden

Noah Dacanay

  • Member of the Asian Student Association, Green Club and Chess Club

  • Member of Service Council and PC ambassador

  • Photography Editor for the Class Record (yearbook)

  • Played squash and lacrosse

Sydney DelBello

  • Members of field hockey, squash and lacrosse teams

  • Unanimous first-team All-InterAc selection for field hockey her senior year

  • Served two years as the clerk of Quake Makers, where she piloted her Seek Your Strength initiative that seeks to help neurodiverse children discover strengths and interests in school that bolster their self-efficacy.

Emerson Drake

  • Clerk of Student Council and Clerk of PC Ambassadors

  • Member of the Quaker’s Dozen, Girls a Cappella, Chorus and multiple musicals

  • Member of the Green Club, SAGA, Service Council and Model United Nations

  • Participated in Cradles to Crayons Teen Leadership Corps

Jack Frank

  • National Merit Scholarship finalist

  • Leader of Latin Club and Math Club 

  • Participated in cross-country and indoor track, captain of outdoor track team

  • Member of the Jazz Band

Lindsay Gadsden

  • American Association of Physics Teachers Award-winner for Outstanding Student

  • Varsity water polo player, USA Water Polo Academic All-American

  • Participated in crew and varsity swimming

  • Member of the Jazz Band, Symphonic Band and Brass Ensemble

  • Served as clerk of the Community Council and the Pre-Med Club

Merrill Gadsden

  • USA Water Polo Academic All-American in both 2019 and 2021

  • In water polo, named Easterns MVP in 2021 and made the Easterns All-Tournament first team in 2022

  • Served as a clerk for Model United Nations

  • Member of the PC’s Gender Equity, Sexuality & Consent Task Force

  • Participated in the US/Ukraine/Tajikistan virtual exchange program

Alex Glomb

  • Played on varsity field hockey, varsity squash and varsity lacrosse teams

  • Earned Coaches Award in lacrosse (2022), field hockey (2022), squash (2023)

  • Clerk of Women in Business

Grace Jordan-Weinstein

  • Member of the Student Council for four years

  • Member of PC’s Race & Equity Task Force

  • Editor-in-chief of student newspaper, The Mirror

  • Member of the Ethics Bowl team which competed at Nationals in spring 2023

  • Member of varsity tennis team for four years

Chester Kempinski

  • Four-Year National ROTC College Scholarship Winner

  • Chosen as Class of 2023 Commencement Speaker by peers and teachers 

  • Member of varsity soccer team for four years, captain in 2022 

  • Member of varsity lacrosse team for four years, captain in 2023

Cam Kraemer

  • Member of varsity soccer and track and field teams

  • Member of the Ethics Bowl team

  • Studies two languages: Latin and Spanish

  • Attended the National Student Leadership Conference Medicine Intensive 18-day program in Washington, D.C.

Emelia Malhotra

  • Member of varsity field hockey team for four years, captain in 2022

  • Member of varsity winter track for four years, member of varsity spring track for two years

  • Served as the Clerk of the Multiracial Student Association, Co-Clerk of the Asian Student Association, and Clerk of the Culture Committee of PC’s Gender, Equity, Sexuality & Consent Task Force

Sydney Raza

  • Member of varsity soccer and varsity indoor track and field teams, served as a captain for spring track and field team

  • Clerk of PC Ambassadors 

  • Member of the Wednesday Weekly, student news show

  • Volunteered at Love Blue cleanups

Dani Shipon

  • Member of the Symphonic Band and a PC ambassador

  • Member of varsity soccer and winter and spring track and field teams for four years

  • Recognized as All-League in soccer in 2022-23 season and received Inter-AC Athletic Director’s Award, spring 2023

Harrison Signorello

  • President of the Math Club and the Finance Club

  • Member of the Ethics Bowl team that competed at Nationals in spring 2023

  • Participated in Model United Nations and the Coding Club

  • Member of Boys a Capella group

  • Participated in crew and squash and served as captain of the golf team

Juan Tovar

  • Earned National Hispanic Recognition from the College Board

  • Participated in the varsity water polo and swimming teams. In both 11th and 12th grades, received All Inter-Ac recognition for swimming and on All-Inter-Ac 2nd Team and All-Easterns second team for water polo in 12th grade

  • Played first chair trumpet in Symphonic Band & Jazz Band

Brooklyn Trevisan

  • Member of the Ethics Bowl team that competed in Nationals in spring 2023

  • Co-clerk for Service Council, Green Club and Pre-Med Club 

  • Served as an Advisory Board member for the Center for Public Purpose

  • Participated in Quakers Dozen, Girls a Capella, chorus and musicals

  • Played field hockey and served as a Science Center Peer Tutor

  • Completed an internship at the UPenn Muscular Dystrophy Lab

Other News Stories