Prize Day 2020: Virtue Rewarded, Virtually

Following longstanding custom, students were celebrated for their accomplishments—academic, artistic, athletic, and personal—at this year’s Prize Day. And following this year’s brand-new customs, the entire ceremony took place virtually, with prize winners announced during a special video presentation on Thursday, May 28.
Head of School Ned Parsons noted in his remarks that while Prize Day recognizes the accomplishments of the few, it is the combined efforts of the many—indeed, of the entire community—that makes Rivers a special place to learn, work, and grow. He went on to congratulate “every one of you for your outstanding contributions, in a year that challenged us to be our best selves at every turn.”

The Faculty Prize, the school’s highest honor, is given to the senior who “best exemplifies the school’s traditions of academic excellence, industry, responsibility, and loyalty.” This year’s winner was Joel Manasseh.

Three seniors, Callie Lefebvre, Henry Lewis, and Rachel Mann, were awarded the Dudley Willis Trustee Prize, recognizing their “pursuit of excellence, integrity, contributions to the school, and the respect accorded to him or her by the Rivers community.”

The Jeremiah J. Sheehan Prize, given to the senior who demonstrates the “gentility, kindness, and all-around good sportsmanship” of former faculty member Sheehan, went to Rylee Glennon. And the Hooper Lawrence Prize, one of Rivers’s oldest distinctions, was earned by Jacquelyn Benjes, for “those qualities that contribute so much to the happiness of other people, a cheerful disposition, an unselfish nature, and a kind heart.”

In the Middle School, Laylah Espaillat and Alex Goldsmith, both Class of ’24, won the F. Ervin Prince, given to the Middle School student who best embodies the qualities of former teacher Erv Prince: “a gentle, unassuming character, warm sense of humor, honesty, integrity, inherent consideration for others, and, above all, a passion for the pursuit of excellence.”

Several other students also garnered awards: Talia Davis ’21, the Harvard Club Prize; Margaret Leeming ’21, the Thomas Olverson Prize; Jessica Bargamian ’21, the Williams College Book Award; Joshua Rocha ’21, the Brown University Alumni Book Award; Sydney Greer ’20, the Center for Community and Civic Engagement Award; Ian Behrstock ’22, the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Faculty Prize; and Charlotte Diamond and Alex Massarotti, both ’23, the Kenneth Benjamin Citizenship Award, given in memory of Ken Benjamin ’50.

Other graduating students were awarded prizes for their achievements in specific academic disciplines:
  • The Robert W. Rivers Prize for English, Rayha McPherson
  • The Mathematics Prize, Kate Eselius and Jack Morgan
  • The Science Prize, Jack Morgan and Lauren Corliss
  • The George Woodbridge ’24 History Prize, Sydney Greer
  • The Interdisciplinary Studies Prize, Jonah Berg
  • The Otto Alcaide Language Prize for Spanish, Jacquelyn Benjes
  • The Otto Alcaide Language Prize for French, Ryan Johnsen
  • The Austin A. Chute Memorial Prize, Adeline Vettel
  • The Modern Language Prize for Mandarin, Lucas Lisman
  • The Three-Dimensional Arts Prize, Ceramics, Kate Eselius
  • The Three-Dimensional Arts Prize, Sculpture, Carter Ablon
  • The Two-Dimensional Arts Prize, Lauren Barich and Annabelle Hasselbeck
  • The Photography Prize, Nicholas Hardy and George Reinhardt
  • The Choral Prize, Sydney Greer
  • The Classical Music Prize, Daniel Weitz, Isabel Salvin, and Yasmin Meyers
  • The David Killam Instrumental Music Prize, Henry Lewis and Joel Manasseh
  • The Nonesuch Players Prize, Aliesha Campbell
Several members of the graduating class were elected to the Cum Laude Society: Apsara Balamurugan, Lauren Barich, Jacquelyn Benjes, Jonah Berg, Sofia Buckle, Jackson Desmond,
Kate Eselius, Ryan Johnsen, Joel Manasseh, Rayha McPherson, Jack Morgan, Isabel Salvin, Andrew Sledeski, Philip Tresca, and Daniel Weitz.

Athletic achievements by seniors were also recognized. Annabelle Hasselbeck received the Priscilla Wallace Strauss Athletic Prize and Ryan Rahbany won the James A. Navoni ’70 Athletic Prize. Independent School League Awards of Excellence went to Maggie Barrow and Jack Morgan. The Senior Award for Exceptional Dedication to Athletics, given in memory of Matthew Epstein ’89, was earned by Maggie Barrow, Lily Branka, Rylee Glennon, Annabelle Hasselbeck, Jack Morgan, and Sam Sousa.

To view a video of the Prize Day ceremonies, click here