Upper School students put on their best dress for a new Laguna Blanca School tradition this year. The first-ever Cum Laude Society induction ceremony took place Thursday in the Spaulding Auditorium and honored the newest members into its prestigious organization.

Cum Laude Society membership is considered the highest scholastic recognition at independent schools nationwide, and Laguna Blanca School is one of only 30 schools in California authorized to admit new members.

Therefore, it seemed most appropriate to honor these students with a special ceremony and lunch reception. In previous years, Cum Laude members were inducted as part of the commencement ceremony.

In addition to outstanding academic achievement, there is an expectation that inductees also stand as models of good citizenship and character. Chapters are permitted to admit no more than 20 percent of a graduating class, 10 percent of whom may be admitted at the conclusion of his or her junior year. The Laguna Blanca chapter requires that a student be enrolled at Laguna for two years before they are eligible for induction.

At the ceremony, Headmaster Paul Slocombe shared the history and significance of Cum Laude and introduced faculty members of Cum Laude. Alumnus and keynote speaker Geof Wyatt, class of 1979, wished the students lots of luck and encouraged them to do what they love no matter what the compensation.

Cum Laude members inducted last year as juniors — Niall Platt (not present), Seth Judson, Thomas Mullaney, Devin Nigro and Alina Wattenberg — provided personalized remarks for each 2010 inductee and welcomed them into the society. Slocombe and college counselor Karl Revells concluded the ceremony by presenting the new inductees with pins and certificates.

New members of the Cum Laude Society are seniors Christopher Bremner, Elliott Cheresh and Isabel Greer, and juniors Ian Carradine, Julia Kent, Lauren McAlister and Elliot Serbin.

— Tara Broucqsault is the director of communications for Laguna Blanca School.