Westminster Head of School Bill Philip and members of the Westminster School faculty are pleased to announce the following 2019-2020 end-of-year awards and prizes given to faculty and students:
Twenty-Year Service Pin:
Presented annually in honor of distinguished alumnus, trustee and former chair of the Board of Trustees Townsend Swayze ’55, this award is given to a member of the faculty for outstanding contributions to the life of the school.
This award is presented annually in honor of Marianna and Junie O’Brien P’81, who devoted their lives in service to young people and to schools. It recognizes a member of the faculty who has, over the course of the year, been especially selfless and generous with time and care in the nurture and support of students and whose extraordinary, ongoing personal commitment to young people sets an example to the Westminster community.
John Sherwin Jr. ’57 and W. Graham Cole, Jr. Chair
This chair is awarded every three years to recognize a senior faculty member who sets the standard for leadership and embodies the true meaning of Grit and Grace.
Coumantaros Family History Department Chair
Established in 2020 by John and Elena Coumantaros, along with their daughter, Sophia ’21, this chair supports the Head of the History Department.
Robert F. Bynum ’69 Chair in Science
Established in 2019 by alumnus and Westminster Fellow Bob Bynum, Class of 1969, this chair supports the Head of the Science Department.
Walter Edge Jr. ’35 Master Chair
This chair is awarded every five years to a “distinguished teacher whose performance sets a standard of excellence for others.”
This award recognizes annually those students who have competed at the first team level for all three seasons of their Sixth Form year and demonstrated a wonderful breadth of athletic pursuits and an extraordinary commitment to the highest level of Westminster sports.
Taylor Adams ’20, Eve Cathcart ’20, Jennifer Guider ’20, Allison Kijanka ’20, William Lynch ’20, Abigail Munger ’20, Megan Rittenhouse ’20 and Bethany Winters ’20
Ganzenmuller-Buckey Admissions Office Award
William Scott ’20
Outstanding Community Service
Elizabeth McCoy ’20
Service to Westminster Horizons and Hartford
Eda Chen ’20
Brian Ford Writing Prize
Nathalie Charles ’21
Gretchen Hupfel ’82 Art Purchase Prize
Brooke Nani ’20
Cowing Art Award
Eda Chen ’20 and Shihao Liang ’20
Lewis J. Powers Photography Award
Vernita Zhai ’20
Excellence in Dance
Annabelle Aber ’20 and Angelesia Ma ’20
Edward Scull Jr. ’71 Award for Excellence in Architecture
Abigail Moss ’20
Excellence in Science
Daniel Pinckney ’20
Excellence in Physics
Elizabeth Suit ’20
Joyce Wilson Prize for Excellence in Mathematics
Daniel Pinckney ’20
Peter Briggs Prize for Excellence in Economics
Eve Cathcart ’20
Class of 1941 Peter Mars Memorial History Prize
Daniel Pinckney ’20 and Vernita Zhai ’20
Dramatic Award for Service and Achievement in Acting
Dylan Foster ’20
Dramatic Award for Service and Leadership in Theater
Christopher Turino ’20
J. Lawrence Gilman Award for Achievement in Music and Participation in Musical Activities
David Harrington Stevenson ’20 and Alexander Ellis ’20
Gordon McKinley Award for Excellence in English
Vernita Zhai ’20
Critchell Rimington Creative Writing Award
Daniel Pinckney ’20
Burdett Prize for Excellence in the Study of French
Vernita Zhai ’20
Moncada Prize for Excellence in Spanish
Isabel Sanchez ’20
Brian T. Bruyette ’77 Senior Athletic Award
William Lynch ’20 and Megan Rittenhouse ’20
The faculty presents this award to a member of the Third Form for character and leadership.
This year’s recipient wasted little time in capturing the attention of faculty members who worked closely with her. She shows an earnest regard for the common good that is reflected in her writing, her work with faculty and students alike, and the respect and kindness she exhibits toward anyone she encounters. As a runner, her coaches championed her tenacity and her leadership, and remarked that she quickly established herself as a guiding force among her teammates. In her role as Flounder in “The Little Mermaid” this winter, she was poised, confident and delivered her role with exceptional grace. The Westminster School faculty awards the Butler Bowl to Simone Routledge ’23.
This award is presented annually to a member of the Fourth Form who best embodies the qualities of Richard and Barbara Adams, who gave devoted service to Westminster for over 40 years, showing outstanding personal qualities and concern for the community and unwavering dedication to students. Barbara served on the faculty from 1995-2011, and Dick served on the faculty from 1970-2013.
This year’s recipient has spent her entire life at Westminster, and she has the ethos of the community coursing through her veins. Her unwavering dedication to her classmates is made evident by the time and effort she devotes to Form events, class unity and her willingness, always, to extend herself to help a classmate. In short, her commitment to Westminster and her consistent focus on serving the common good make this year’s recipient an obvious choice as a dedicated athlete, a scholar and a humble role model who represents her school, her Form, her family and, most importantly, herself with true grit and grace. The Westminster School faculty awards the Adams Bowl to Isabella Tawney ’22.
Given to a member of the Fifth Form who best embodies the qualities of Geoffrey Wilbraham, who gave distinguished and loyal service to Westminster from 1958 to 1994: high personal standards, consistent respect for others, unswerving commitment to the common good, steady insistence on fair play and abiding human decency.
Since his Third Form year, this student has shown incredible leadership and positive energy as a Form officer in his engagement with the Class of 2021. In the past two years, this goodness has been spread throughout the entire Westminster community through his lively announcements at family-style lunch and his uncanny communication on Community News. He has conducted himself impressively as a representative on the Disciplinary Committee, as he shared sensible, unbiased thoughts with the faculty and his peers. He is a great student and an upstanding citizen on the Westminster campus. The school community looks forward to his continued loyalty to the Form and the school as a member of the Prefect Board. The Westminster School faculty awards the Wilbraham Bowl to Olatunji Osho-Williams ’21.
Richard K. LeBlond II Honor Award
This award is given annually to a member of the Sixth Form who exemplifies dedication to academics and loyalty to the school.
This year’s winner of the Richard K. LeBlond II Honor Award truly exemplifies loyalty and commitment to the school community. He left an indelible impression on so many of our school’s programs, always putting the needs of the school and of others before his own. As president of John Hay, his presence in our Chapel Program inspired us to share our stories and traditions. As a prefect, he stepped up as a leader in his class to listen to, advise and shepherd his peers. As co-president of Dramat, he entertained us, often from behind the scenes. As a member of GSA, MFA, Black and Gold, and the Food Committee, he advocated for us and taught us inclusion, humility and grace. In all his endeavors, he was selfless, wise and kind. The Westminster School faculty presents the Richard K. LeBlond II Honor Award to Christopher Turino ’20.
Paul Winship ’35 Alumni Book Prize
This book prize is awarded to a Sixth Former who has made an unusual commitment in both breadth and depth to the school’s programs and activities.
Passionate in every pursuit undertaken on Williams Hill, this young woman is fearless, inclusive, intelligent, curious and kind. She sets an outstanding example of scholarship and engagement for her peers, and is a natural leader whose innate confidence and enthusiasm are contagious. A member of the Prefect Board and the John Hay Vestry, co-captain of First Girls’ Swimming and Diving and an incredible diver who achieved All-American consideration, she also contributed to Second Girls’ Soccer, the Food Committee and several Dramat productions. Always quick to volunteer, whether an opinion in class or to pick up pizzas for a feed, she has made invaluable contributions inside and outside of the classroom and left an indelible mark on our school community. The Westminster School faculty awards the Paul Winship ’35 Alumni Book Prize to Cecilia Raymond ’20.
Outstanding Scholar Award
This award is presented to the Sixth Former who, in the opinion of the faculty, is the outstanding scholar of the class. The award is not necessarily determined by rank in class but is based, rather, on the attributes of the true scholar: curiosity, imagination, power to associate new observations with prior experience, thoroughness, appetite for ideas rather than for grades as an end in themselves and the ability to move easily in the realm of concepts. This year, the Westminster faculty presents the Outstanding Scholar Award to two recipients: Daniel Pinckney ’20 and Vernita Zhai ’20.
Daniel Pinckney arrived at Westminster with a zest for learning that impressed all with whom he shared his knowledge and curiosity. In the four years that have unfurled since that time, Daniel has touched many of his peers and all members of the faculty with his incredible intellectual appetite. As his teachers mentioned with acclaim, he made every class a better experience with his balanced and knowledgeable contributions.
During her four years at Westminster, Vernita Zhai moved through all aspects of our academic program with a grace that told of ease of experience yet with a tenacity for perfection that was rivaled by just a few. Her academic domain was all areas of study, and it was limited by none. Vernita’s teachers all experienced work and involvement from Vernita that was among the best ever witnessed, even by those with many years in the classroom.
Established by the Class of 1966 and recognized as the school’s most prestigious commencement award, the Keyes Bowl is presented annually to a member of the Sixth Form and recognizes the qualities of loyalty, courage, leadership and humility.
It seems fitting that the qualities highlighted by this award echo our school’s core values of community, character, balance and involvement. There are few other times in the school’s history when a head prefect has demonstrated how precisely the qualities described by the Keyes Bowl can emerge to unite the school community. Even before the pivot to distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our head prefect served as a role model. Her positivity, work ethic, friendly disposition and respect for others shone through every day. Yet it was during this spring term, when we needed her most, that Ms. Prefect served as an exemplary leader and truly embodied Westminster’s core values. Her weekly “For The Birds” program drew Martlets together from all over the world and proved without a doubt that even while separated, community defines Westminster. The Westminster School faculty awards the Keyes Bowl to Megan Rittenhouse ’20.