The 55th annual initiation of the Cate School

chapter of the Cum Laude Society was held Thursday in the Katharine Thayer Cate Memorial Chapel.

The Cum Laude Society is an national and international honor society, founded in 1906 to celebrate students with outstanding academic records. The motto of the society is “Arete, Dike, Time,”  the ancient Greek words for “excellence, justice, honor.”  Schools are charged with electing students with great academic success, who also have demonstrated good character, honor and integrity in all aspects of school life.

This year, Cate elected 14 students: Anu Atre of Carpinteria, Karla Casariego of Carpinteria, Chris Cusack of Santa Barbara, Shawn Devilla of Leesburg, Va., Ali Farr of Ventura, Becca Grossman of Tiburon, Hallie McPherson of Santa Barbara, Jessica Newman of Whitefish, Mont.,Camille Robins of Carpinteria, Samantha Ryu of Santa Barbara, Sarah Vazquez of Santa Barbara, Julia Weis of Santa Barbara, Sohee Lee of South Korea (elected last year as a junior) and Julien Vollering of Carpinteria (elected last year as a junior).

The speaker for the program was Victoria Riskin, a psychologist, screenwriter, director of Human Rights Watch and a member of the Pacific Council on International Relations. She has traveled extensively to refugee communities in India, Nepal and Tibet for the

Tibetan Aid Project

. She spoke movingly of the twists and turns of her life, encouraging the students to be open to uncertainty and to listen to their hearts. She also stressed the responsibility that goes with an education such as Cate’s and urged students to take action on issues that engaged them. She continued her conversation with students and their families at a reception in the McIntosh Room.

The cum laude induction ceremony is the first of Cate’s formal year-end awards programs.

Don Orth is

Cate School

‘s communications director.