Last Thursday, students from Laguna Blanca Upper School filled Spaulding Auditorium for a ceremony to recognize their newest inductees into the Cum Laude Society, the renowned organization dedicated to honoring scholastic achievement in secondary schools.
Nine new members were inducted at the fifth annual Cum Laude Society Induction Ceremony — juniors Justin Bollag, Miles Crist, Scott Johnston, Ethan Katnic and Stephen McCaffery, and seniors Erica Keane, Lucie Hartmann, Tristan Prinz (not present) and Allison Towbes.
Cum Laude Society membership is considered the highest scholastic achievement at independent schools nationwide, and Laguna Blanca is one of only 30 schools in the state of California authorized to admit new members. 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. Last year, Chloë Brown, Margaret Lazarovits, Lindsay Ligon and Clara Madsen were inducted into the Cum Laude Society as juniors.
Sean Copeland, 1995 alumnus, was the keynote speaker at the induction ceremony. Copeland shared his diverse background with the students and expressed his amazement at how much he has accomplished in his lifetime since he sat in the same seats as Thursday’s audience. He stressed that Laguna prepares students for so much more than college — but for life, giving nods of recognition to his former Laguna teachers Mr. Angeloff, Ms. Nordgaarden, Dr. Lorber and Dr. Miller.
Since leaving Laguna, Copeland attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, earning a bachelor's degree in computer science and later the officer rank of captain. He has trained with the Navy SEALS, worked at Amazon.com, and prides himself as a former “homemaker” and stay-at-home dad of his two daughters (now ages 5 and 7) — the most challenging job he’s ever had. Copeland currently works as a software engineer at Yardi Systems and is also Laguna’s first CIF champion swimmer.
— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.