Twelve students from the class of 2022 were inducted into the Cum Laude Society on Monday, October 4, 2021.
Headmaster Henry P. A. Smyth addressed the assembly of Upper School students and faculty, first by congratulating the group of young men seated on stage who comprise the top 10% of their class based on GPAs from their freshman through junior years.
Smyth informed the audience that the Cum Laude Society, founded to recognize scholastic achievement, actually has a second purpose: “To uphold the spirit of the Cum Laude Society’s motto: Areté, Diké, Timé.” He went on to explain each part: Areté means excellence both in scholarship and in the moral sense; Diké means justice in all things; and Timé means dignity, true worth, and honor. “I love the fact that we are pairing those values with academic excellence,” Smyth said. “Knowledge without these values … doesn’t do us a whole lot of good.”
Faculty speaker Johnnie Foreman Jr. stepped up to the podium to the sounds of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” from the “Songs In the Key of Life” album. He told the audience that should his forthcoming speech have a name, it would be the same as that album. He likened the induction into this prestigious society to the “first door” — an academic entrance — in life.
He then shared a story from his own life. A passionate young musician, Foreman chose to attend Frederick Douglas High School because “it was the school with the best band” and because several renowned musicians had attended the school “and I thought I could be one of those musicians.” Music was the key that got him to Douglas.
But then, he said, “Sports happened.” Foreman started playing football, basketball, track and field, and more. When his peers were in discussion with the counselor about college, he was told that college probably wasn’t for him. “That shook me for a while.”
But then, quite literally, “there was a knock at my door.” It was George Taliaferro, the first Black player ever drafted by an NFL team. Foreman recognized him because he had previously been a star player for the Baltimore Colts. At that time, he was the dean of students at what is now called Morgan State University. He relayed the message that Morgan State’s football coach wanted to offer Foreman a full scholarship. He jumped at the opportunity — or, in other words, he walked through a door that had opened for him.
Foreman encouraged the students in the room to recognize their own keys and doors to various entrances in life. “The songs are playing. The question is: Are you going to answer the knock at the door?”
Joseph Duncan, president of the Gilman chapter of the society and part of Gilman’s faculty since 1978, read the inductees their charge and presented them with certificates as Thomas Broadus III ’86, secretary of the Gilman chapter and Gilman teacher since 2000, read aloud their names.
Congratulations to the newest members of the Gilman chapter of the Cum Laude Society! Watch the induction here.
- Connor Grant Basham
- Jacob Poe Doub
- Matthew Reid Grossman
- John Joseph Guerrerio
- Pieter Stanley Maria Heesters
- Henry Xuezhi Liu
- Bryce Nicholas Lloyd
- Aaron Meng
- Rohan Dev Milak
- Theodore Robert Ochs III
- Manav Chirag Parikh
- Caleb King Ying Woo