GDS Celebrates Students’ Achievements

The annual High School awards breakfast and assembly
This Tuesday morning, High School Principal Katie Gibson led us in celebrating the achievements of an extraordinary collection of students. As our presenters introduced each of the award winners, student attendees were reminded, by example, of the great diversity of ways in which one can embody what it means to be a Georgetown Day School Hopper. The qualities, values, and types of engagement held dear within and beyond our community are varied and far-ranging. Below are the 17 awards given this year, as well as excerpts from the remarks of six award presenters.

The Director’s Award
The Director’s Award is given each year to that senior who best exemplifies the founding ideals and values of Georgetown Day School:
First, A belief in the integrity and worth of each individual,
Second, A respect for the community and the diversity it offers,
Third, A commitment to the goal of a lifelong love of learning.

Recipient: Jazzmin Cox-Cáceres ’19
Presented by Head of School Russell Shaw:

Jazzmin’s talents are not only wide-ranging, but also supremely developed in their own right. A scientist, artist, athlete, captain, leader, writer, explorer, and proud Afro-Latina, Jazzmin is all of these things and more: she is a dreamer, a humble soul who is humanity-minded, joyful and authentic in her everyday interactions.

The Edith Nash Equity and Justice Award
The Edith Nash Equity and Justice Award is given annually to two High School students who have demonstrated leadership by applying and upholding the school’s mission of sustaining a diverse community.

Recipients: Laila Nashid ’19 and Katie Shambaugh ’19
Presented by Director of Diversity and Inclusion Marlo Thomas
[Of Laila Nashid ’19] This strong, yet silent leader doesn’t always need to be in the front to lead. This person finds her strength in leading by example. She leads with thoughtfulness, hard work, and integrity. Her humility and care for others serves as an example for us all. It is with immense pride and a true feeling of honor that I present the Edith Nash Equity and Justice Award to Laila Nashid ’19. Laila, Your heart and voice are deeply needed in our world today. You are an inspiration, and we are all so proud of all that you have accomplished and the many ways in which we are certain you will continue to change the world—for the better.
Katie [Shambaugh ’19], it has been an absolute pleasure to watch you grow into a passionate and dedicated youth advocate, ally, and social justice peer leader.  We are all so very proud to be a part of your journey into finding your voice… and what a remarkable voice it is. A voice that can not only speak up for yourself but also has the strength and courage to speak up and advocate for others is exactly what has always been needed and continues to remain needed in this world, and we are certain that yours is one that will continue to amplify as you move into the next chapter of your journey.

The Walter Barnett Community Service Award
This award honors and recognizes a student in their junior year who has exhibited dedication to community, which has long been a value we seek to impart to our students.

Margaux van Allen ’20
Presented by Director of Community Engagement and Experiential Learning Catherine Pearson

For anyone who has seen this student in action, their sense of empathy in truly unparalleled. This student has a deep and abiding sense of care and concern for others and is committed to creating a more just and equitable world.

The Community Service Leadership Award
This award is given to a student who exhibits a love for and dedication to service both in and outside the GDS community.

Recipient: Ransom Miller IV ’19
Presented by Director of Community Engagement and Experiential Learning Catherine Pearson

As a lifer at GDS, the importance of community has always been important to this student. Whether it was finding ways to be an active member of our school community or to serving the greater DC community, this student’s care and concern for others has been evident over the years. His friend, William Goldberg ’19, observed ‘It is not because he needs bodies [for Project Giveback] or because the task might not be completed. It’s because, I think, Ransom does not want to, nor can he, separate his school life and his service to his community.'

The Ben Benskin Award
The Benskin Award, established to honor Ben upon his retirement, goes to a graduating senior who exemplifies the attributes that Ben personally demonstrated and championed in others: academic excellence, leadership by example, a generous and humanitarian spirit, and a willingness to engage with anyone and everyone.

Recipient: Brion Whyte ’19
Presented by Associate Head of School Kevin Barr

Time and time again, this student has proven himself a model for his classmates and those that are younger than he. He doesn’t boast; he doesn’t brag; he moves generously and graciously through life; he’s proud of himself, but in that quiet way that leads others to want to be like him. This year’s Ben Benskin award goes to Brion Whyte ’19.

The Performing Arts Leadership Award
Awarded to a senior or seniors who over their four years of high school have demonstrated a strong commitment not only to the performing arts, but also to the teachers and to the department itself.

Recipients: Nick Moen ’19 & Caroline Katzive ’19
The Debbie Haynes Award for Excellence & Achievement in Drawing & Painting
Awarded to a student whosecommitment to the exploration and creation of art has been evident throughout their high school years.

Recipient: Katie Chudars ’20
The Helen Perlman English Award
Awarded to a senior who best exemplifies what the GDS English Department strives to teach all of our students every day: to think boldly and also searchingly; to read rigorously and also empathetically; to converse intensely and also responsively; and to write cogently and also luminously.

Recipient: ​Lucy Walker ’19
The Loennig/Sobol Math Award
This award is given to a student who demonstrates mathematical excellence and enthusiasm, including an extraordinary ability in the creative solution of mathematical problems, and exemplary extracurricular work in mathematics.

Recipient: Will Klein ’19
The Alain Colaco Science & Biological Sciences Award
Alain was a vibrant student at Georgetown Day School whose life was ended tragically before he had a chance to develop into the scientist he showed such promise of becoming. As a student here, Alain displayed a passion for the sciences and during the summers he conducted research at Children’s Hospital. To honor Alain, we give this award to a student who best exemplifies Alain’s love for science and its use in benefitting society.

Recipient: Hugo Day ’19
The Dorothy Jackson History Award
Awarded to a student who shows a keen dedication to learning, an innate intellectual curiosity and an abiding generosity of spirit.

Recipient: Jacob Greene ’19
The World Languages Award
This award is presented in recognition of a student’s outstanding engagement and achievements in language, including a deep appreciation not only for oral and written expression but also for different cultures.

Recipient: Caroline Katzive ’19
The Alain Colaco Sportsmanship Award
This award is given annually in memory of Alain, a GDS student whose life was taken the summer before his senior year in 1992. Alain excelled both as a student and as an athlete in soccer and track and field. The honor, given in his name, goes to the GDS student-athlete who best represents the ideals of the GDS sports program: by demonstrating a singular dedication, strength of character, and commitment to leadership throughout their time in the GDS sports program.

Recipient: Jazzmin Cox-Cáceres ’19
The Outstanding Female Athlete Award 
This award recognizes a female athlete who has best represented the values of the GDS athletic program over the course of her high school career. In addition to demonstrating exceptional skill and proficiency in her sports, she also demonstrates a commitment to her teammates, to the game and to the School.

Recipient: Danielle Soto ’19
The Outstanding Male Athlete Award
This award recognizes a male athlete who has best represented the values of the GDS athletic program over the course of his high school career. In addition to demonstrating exceptional skill and proficiency in his sports, he also demonstrates a commitment to his teammates, to the game and to the School.

Recipient: Allan Ebert ’19
The Benjamin Cooper Award 
This honor is awarded each year to a rising senior who has demonstrated excellence in the study of humanities during his or her first three years at GDS. Like Ben, this student not only excels in both math and humanities but also engages outside the classroom in a vast array of extracurricular activities.

Recipient: Matthew Siff ’20


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Georgetown Day School is a coed, preK-12, non-sectarian private school in Washington, DC with small class sizes and a diverse school community. Our comprehensive, innovative curriculum includes hands-on learning, honors and AP classes, as well as advanced-level math and STEM courses. An education is not just college prep and SAT scores. GDS teachers focus on providing the best education for each child, from elementary grades through high school. The school performing arts program includes theater, dance, and music. The athletics program offers competitive sports for student athletes, including cross-country, track, soccer, lacrosse, and crew/rowing. With our strong commitment to financial aid, an independent school tuition is affordable.