Du Bois Award Winners: Meet Our Remarkable Students

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.

2019.03.11 Amanda Occean (Becker, Kapteyn, Rondorf).jpg

Amanda Occean, Grade 10 - Honored by Ms. Becker, Mr. Kapteyn, and Mr. Rondorf
”Most of us try to distract ourselves from discomfort with humor, posturing, or anger. However, real strength comes from stepping into discomfort, and this student does it regularly. She is willing to name and own when she is struggling; she grows stronger in the process. She is a woman of many talents – learning another language, embracing her skills in poetry, and developing her artistic ability.”

2019.03.12 Tenya Villarson (Ferreira & Mathurin).jpg

Tenya Vilarson, Grade 7 - Honored by Ms. Ferreira and Ms. Mathurin
”This student’s growth and inner motivation is remarkable and should be a model to all middle school students that it does not matter where you start, or even where you are today, it is important to always reflect and build habits to where you want to be. All of her hard work over the course of the 1st semester has resulted in a 300 point jump in her reading level – almost meeting our middle school goal of 1.5 years of growth in reading per year - in just one semester!”

2019.03.18 Fatoumata Seck (Walker & Burns).jpg

Fatoumata Seck, Grade 9 - Honored by Ms. Walker and Mr. Burns
”She is a force – a fierce, brilliant, kind, young woman who exudes the kind of bravery it takes to not just try for, but to achieve, all that she desires out of life. The bravery to ask the question no one else is willing to ask.  The bravery to draw in and work with the student that she has never spoken to before.  The bravery to try and try and try again until she has mastered the goal set in front of her.  The bravery to say, ‘I don’t understand this right now, but I need to, so please help me.’”

2019.03.25 Jhanelle Eyma (Looney, Crowley, & Smogard).jpg

Jhanelle Eyma, Grade 6 - Honored by Mr. Looney, Ms. Crowley, and Ms. Smogard
”She is literally always doing right. Right by herself, right by the people around her, right by her education. She does the right thing always without being asked because kindness and responsibility are ingrained into who she is as a person. She tries her hardest every day and always asks what she can do better, resulting in tremendous growth. As her English teacher, I am particularly proud that her reading level has grown over 300 points, which means she started the year reading at a 6th grade level and, before the year is even over, is now reading at a ninth grade level!”

2019.04.08 Shaniya Peebles (Martin, Peterson, Golafaie, & DeJesus).jpg

Shaniya Peebles, Grade 7 - Honored by Mr. Martin, Mr. Peterson, Ms. Golafaie, and Mr. DeJesus
”Sometimes when you go to school with an older sibling, you can live in that sibling’s shadow. Not this student. She is a positive member of her community, who this year gives back to her community by giving up her academic support time to mentor a 6th grader. Her work ethic and level of compassion are unmatched. She is more than willing to go above and beyond to ensure her success but also to ensure the success of those around her. She definitely leads by example.”

2019.04.22 Jaiden Dorsainvil (Johnson, Diller, & Springer).jpg

Jaiden Dorsainvil, Grade 11 - Honored by Ms. Johnson, Ms. Diller, and Mr. Springer
“As we strive, as we climb, we must reach back and support those who are climbing with us. This is what it means to be a part of a community, and this student exemplifies this virtue. He frequently tutors and helps students in advisory. He bounced back from an incredibly tough sophomore year to become a positive force for good – working hard and owning his actions in a way he wasn’t able to the previous year. And he encourages his peers to grow with him, holding them accountable to attending after school tutoring and modeling in class and out the virtues of the Boston Prep community.”

2019.04.29 Britney Ann Willis (Lopez, Finnis & Henry).jpg

Britney Ann Willis, Grade 7 - Honored by Ms. Lopez, Ms. Finnis, and Mr. Henry
“The middle school years are defined by change, so much change in fact - harder school work, more responsibilities at home, changing friend groups, emotional highs and lows - that it often feels like one can’t catch their footing. The student we are choosing to honor today plants her feet firmly in the face of that instability. It is not that she is one of those rare people who say middle school life is easy; rather she is able to navigate through challenges with an impressive amount of maturity and leadership, causing students and teachers to look to her for reassurance and hope when things get tough. She is steady and collected, contagiously positive and thoughtful.”

2019.05.06 Rubens Fatal (Solup, Tomlinson, & Dillmann).jpg

Rubens Fatal, Grade 10 - Honored by Ms. Solup, Ms. Tomlinson, and Ms. Dillmann
“He is relentless in his academic pursuits. He gains genuine joy in the unraveling of complex text and is enthusiastically competitive in the explanation of his beliefs and interpretations of literature. On top of that, he is a really kind, easy going young man. When I think about which virtue this student most embodies, the one that comes to mind is integrity. He is patient, thoughtful, and diligent in his work – not to get attention or praise, not just when others are watching, but 100% of the time.”

2019.05.13 Christopher Thomas (Shiu, Leger, & Wills).jpg

Christopher Thomas, Grade 9 - Honored by Ms. Shiu, Ms. Leger, and Ms. Wills
“Each and every day, he walks into the room with a positive attitude and the determination to achieve.  He is social and friendly and is a model for what it looks like to enjoy the company of friends and classmates while still achieving at the highest level. Not one to chastise a friend or classmate for not being at 100%, he instead is a constant companion, knowing when to be there for others and when to turn his back and get his own work done.  By doing this, he has consistently earned scores at the top of his class but maintains the respect of his classmates and peers.  The compassion and self-discipline it takes to balance in this way is a feat that many adults continue to strive toward.”

2019.05.20 Brian Cadet (Blitzer & Murray).jpg

Brian Cadet, Grade 12 - Honored by Mr. Blitzer and Ms. Murray
“Former teachers noted that while this student has always been a kind and polite person, he was originally very shy and struggled to ask questions and share his answers in class.  Previously, he was merely a passenger in his education.  However, this year, this student has truly jumped into the driver’s seat.  He has become more assertive and more comfortable asking questions when he is confused.  He participates frequently and now is one of the first students to raise his hand in class.  He is a leader in small-group discussion and comes prepared each day to guide his fellow classmates.  He has begun to take charge of his education and is ready to take on the challenge of college.”