The Du Bois Award is one of the highest honors at Boston Prep, awarded each week to one deserving student in front of the entire school community. Named after W. E. B. Du Bois, the award recognizes a student who embodies the core virtues of Boston Prep -- courage, compassion, integrity, perseverance, and respect. The award is an opportunity to highlight students who have shown high levels of academic achievement or growth along with a high level of character development. In essence, Du Bois Award winners are students who embody the mission of Boston Prep.
Every Boston Prep teacher has the privilege of presenting the Du Bois Award one time each year. As such, the selection of a student to honor is not taken lightly. Meet our recent Du Bois winners through excerpts of the speeches teachers gave while honoring them in front of the school community.
Leomar Hernandez, Grade 12 - Honored by Ms. Stephenson and Mr. Berkley
"Over the course of the past four years, I have watched this student grow from a quiet wallflower whose teachers thought him respectful and sweet to a young man who, in his own way, demonstrates a strong and steady leadership among his fellow students. From his first year at Boston Prep, this student has faced many challenges unbeknownst to most of our Boston Prep community. Never once has he allowed a challenge to transform into an excuse; instead, a challenge has been something to matter-of-factly, quietly, steadily, overcome through perseverance over time."
Rodnisha Gardner, Grade 9 - Honored by Ms. Lavoie, Ms. Wobbe, and Mr. Tabb
"‘I know that this student works hard to be where she is. She could be the kind of student who is off task, playing games, and being distracting. She is enthusiastic, she is loud, she has a LOT of energy, and she has a lot of friends in the classroom. Instead of allowing herself to be distracted and use her energy to negatively affect the community, she puts all of her energy into learning. Constantly having her hand up, participating, and bringing her A game to any class she is in."
Alex Oke, Grade 9 - Honored by Ms. Bernhard, Mr. Redaelly Flores, and Ms. Crockett
"I’ve never talked to a 14-year-old who so clearly knew how he needed to shape himself in his high school career in order to be a strong applicant for elite colleges. This year, he became incredibly involved in extracurriculars right out of the gate as a freshman, he sweats his grades, and he is always looking for leadership opportunities. I have no doubt that if he continues on the path he has started, he will be granted admission to some of the best colleges in the country. "
Wednar Joseph, Grade 8 - Honored by Ms. Higgins, Ms. Torrey, and Mr. Boutin
"Coming in to a new school midway through the year is hard for many reasons. You have to learn the rules, catch up in your classes, meet new people, and make a ton of other adjustments. But this student did all those things and made it look easy. She quickly asserted herself as one of the leaders of the 8th grade in both her academics and her character."
Janiel Rosario, Grade 10 - Honored by Ms. Abair, Mr. Rondorf, Ms. Moxness
"This student has made the choice to dramatically shift his effort and focus. He not only started to change his habits, but he’s kept at it, maintaining a high level of effort. Once he felt how rewarding it was to achieve at his full potential, he stopped settling for less. Du Bois said that we ‘want our children trained as intelligent human beings should be.. [that] they have a right to know, to think, and to aspire.’ This student wants to know, he thinks, he aspires. At the end of quarter three, this student now boasts a 96 GPA, a 20 point increase from this time last year."
Isa Gonzalez, Grade 6 - Honored by Ms. Smogard and Ms. Adams
"When faced with an engineering design challenge, she began to build and rebuild multiple models of a wind powered car. Other students were using similar designs to models that were already built or being tested, but this student’s designs were completely original. When finally asked to test her designs, her first model was not successful but her thoughtful attitude and repeated returns to the drawing board captivated me. Every attempt surprised me; she was completely open to new solutions. There are many adults who are less willing to acknowledge their failures and to stick with challenges until they get it right."
Andrew MacLeod, Grade 11 - Honored by Ms. Duran, Mr. Vermette, and Ms. Johnson
"The night before the practice AP exam, he fell asleep over his history book, studying for the exam. When he overslept the next day, he texted saying he didn’t know if he would make it on time, just before the exam was to begin. I told him to run. He showed up sweaty and gasping for breath, hair plastered to his forehead just before I finished reading instructions and sat down to take the exam. He scored in the top quarter of the class. This student is a grinder. He may miss deadlines, but he works exceptionally hard to catch up and achieve at the highest levels."
Jeanna Desruisseaux, Grade 12 - Honored by Mr. VanderZanden, Ms. Yip, and Ms. Gaillot
"Even more important than her academic growth, however, is her compassion for others and her leadership in the classroom. She is constantly trying to motivate her classmates to do their work and stay on task. She helps other students even before she helps herself. She is a true leader, and her classmates are more successful because of her. I will never forget watching her tutor others who didn’t understand a concept. She truly cares about her classmates’ success, sometimes even more than she cares about her own."
Camille Roque, Grade 10 - Honored by Dr. Wolff and Ms. Dillmann
"She is intellectually curious. Her love of learning is like a gentle radiation whose waves reverberate throughout the classroom. Her desire to know more activates her classmates and inspires them to discover more. But more importantly, she is genuinely kind. She is genuinely happy to see people and brings so much warmth and goodwill to our school."
Antonio Echemendia, Grade 7 - Honored by Mr. Lester, Ms. DeBarros, and Ms. Callahan
"He is such a hard worker and though things do not always come easily to him, he always has a smile on his face and never gives up in the face of adversity. It is through this relentless spirit and positive attitude that he has come so far this year in terms of his academics. Beyond that, and perhaps more importantly, he is positive and cheerful in every interaction he has – with his peers, with teachers he knows, and with teachers he doesn’t know. He is truly one of the most infectiously kind and helpful students I have known."