The Founder’s Award is presented at the end of every year in honor of the school’s founder, Mr. Scott McCue. The recipient of the Founder’s Award is nominated by the entire faculty. This award is the most significant honor bestowed upon a Boston Prep student and recognizes students who have made significant investments in their personal growth, have supported the success of their peers, and have made deeply meaningful contributions to the Boston Prep community as a whole. Executive Director Sharon Liszanckie enjoyed the extreme pleasure of presenting the 2017 Fouder's Award to eleventh grade student Luis, who was first featured in the 2015-2016 annual report. Ms. Liszanckie's words in recognition of Luis follow.
“Today I have the distinct honor of presenting the Founder’s Award. As many of you know, Mr. McCue founded Boston Prep in 2003 and opened its doors to the founding class in 2004. As I have shared in the past, to know Mr. McCue is to know a man of integrity, a man of compassion and deep passion for change, and a man whose hard work, attention to detail, and perseverance enable us all to have the school we have today. Mr. McCue continues to be an active part of the Boston Prep community. He serves on our Foundation Board and works to help introduce us to people interested in supporting Boston Prep and who are committed to academic excellence and ethical growth.
In founding the school, Mr. McCue called upon many sources of inspiration. The work of W. E. B. DuBois deeply impacted his thinking and planning, as did the work of philosophers. A quote that Mr. McCue made part of the Boston Prep fabric is one by Aristotle: 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.'
Today I am pleased to continue the tradition of honoring a student that embodies this quote.
Leadership has not always come naturally to this person. The student’s parents shared with me that the transition for him to middle school was not easy. Demerits accumulated, detentions were a regular afternoon event, and he and his parents questioned whether or not this was the right environment. Acclimating to Boston Prep’s systems and expectations took time, but this student, his family, and his teachers stuck with it.
An 8th grade teacher shared that this student was always pretty serious about grades and learning, but it was not until the end of middle school that he made a decision to become more serious about being a leader and role model in the community.
Today, this person is consistently called a quiet leadership presence and a consistently ethical person. One teacher shared that ‘he is never afraid to think independently and deeply about challenging topics in ELA. He is a strong team player and a true pleasure.’ Another teacher said, ‘This student is a quiet leader - compassionate, considerate, and overall just leads by example. He is very humble and secretly has a great sense of humor. Overall, he is a role model for what it means to live out our virtues on a daily basis. I don’t think he chooses to live the virtues daily at this point; rather, he unconsciously embodies them.'
This person is an academic powerhouse. One teacher said, ‘This student is full of vigor and vision. He sees something, analyzes the situation, and deciphers a way to attack the target and go for what is desired. He has been a joy to teach, to know and to learn from. I am certain he will continue to strive for excellence without compromising nor forgetting who he is, where he comes from, and for whom he does the work.’
Another teacher said, ‘The researched he has conducted for his research paper and oral history project are college-level, mining census data and an exhaustive survey of primary sources.'
And how has this academic performance played out over time? His grades have climbed over the years. In 7th grade, his GPA was 86. Then he had a 91 in 8th grade, 93 in 9th grade, 94 in 10th grade, 96 as a semester one junior, and the most recent quarter four progress report showed a 97 GPA.
This student has the numbers to demonstrate academic excellence, but his science teacher notes that he seeks not only to understand facts and to memorize information, but also to understand the deeper connections that bind the concepts together.
This person is committed to his family and his community. He has shown a tremendous amount of compassion for his sibling, who has not had the easiest ride in middle school. He attends every parent meeting, sits with the advisor and teachers, and is by committed to helping his sibling find success.
He is also involved. He is a member of the Dean’s Council, on Spanish Dance Team, a Student Ambassador, a DJ, and on the baseball team. As Mr. Lester has shared, any time we start a new team at Boston Prep, it takes time before the team comes together, wins, and is competitive. Nevertheless, he chose to pass on playing on his citywide, competitive baseball team in order to be part of building a team for our community. His coach says that he regularly invests in developing the rookies and is hard working and has a great team mentality.
This student is preparing for college. His college counselor shared that he attended all three SAT diagnostic tests offered and increased his score from 1140 to 1300. He regularly brings information on colleges he is researching and exploring.
In short, this person is an invested and passionate member of our community. I look forward to hearing about all that he learns this summer at NYU, and I hope that his dream of attending Stanford University is realized through the early decision process next fall.
As I said at the outset, this student embodies Aristotle’s words: 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.' It is my tremendous honor and privilege, in front of his parents, his sister, his classmates, his teammates, and his teachers, to give this year’s Founder’s Award to Luis.”