On Monday, April 18, King celebrated its Cum Laude Society members in the PAC. At the ceremony, students and parents were addressed by alum Liz Byrnes '05, who currently works in digital marketing for CBS Sports. She talked about how her time at King influenced her success today, and spoke of her admiration for the Faculty and how much she appreciated their guidance. Liz explained how skills she had learned in various courses at King informed the work she does every day.
The Cum Laude Society is an academic honor society of the most outstanding private secondary schools. Cum Laude schools represent just about 1% of the top high schools in the United States. Student are inducted into the King Cum Laude chapter based on how well they exemplify the elements of the motto of the Cum Laude Society, themes that are also reflected in King's own Virtues of Kindness, Integrity, Perseverance, and Respect.
There are three Greek words used for the motto of Cum Laude. These words and their literal meanings are: Arete - Excellence, Dike – Justice, and Time - Honor. These Greek words mean more than what the literal translations state, however, and the founders of the Society had in mind the fuller concepts of these words. Arete includes the concept of excellence in the moral sense. It is not limited to the ideal of superiority in scholarship, nor does it focus on competing primarily for academic grades. This concept corresponds to King's Virtues of perseverance and respect. The word Dike includes the concept of what is suitable and appropriate as well as just. The word Time includes the concept of dignity and truth as well as honor or our virtue of integrity.
The appreciation for scholarship and lifelong learning is one of the key values that marks membership in Cum Laude. It is worthwhile to reflect for a moment on the qualifications and merits of those to be honored. They are students for whom the pursuit of learning for its own sake is its own reward. They are students who accept new challenges with zeal and who work diligently to realize their goals. They are self-disciplined, have a powerful work ethic honed over the years that allows them to tackle each new project and maintain a consistently high level of achievement. They are students who will take the extra time to meet with teachers and work both independently and collaboratively with peers to realize success. These students have chosen rigorous academic programs and have met the requirements of all those courses of study and have often exceeded them. It is their sustained excellence over the entire course of their high school careers that marks them as worthy of consideration, although that is not to say that they have not also grown emotionally and intellectually during the journey.
This journey was not however undertaken alone. They have been helped along the way by caring, engaged parents and benefited from the expectations and support of King's excellent faculty. Likewise many of the students have benefited through the sharing of ideas that takes place amongst peers during class discussions and through working collaboratively. The sharing of ideas, presentations and defense of positions, the construction of compelling arguments, and the posing of provocative questions are all means through which students create intellectually stimulating environments for one another and further one another's learning. This engaged participation is also at the root of what makes King a respected institution.
In sum, the Cum Laude honor is about academic achievement and individual intellectual success combined with commendable traits of character. It also honors the environment and process of learning at King. To quote Albert Einstein: "Wisdom is not a product simply of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it."Congratulations to all the King students who have the honor of being inducted into membership of the King chapter of The Cum Laude Society!