Dr. Summerhill, Head of School
Among the most coveted honors that can be conferred on a college graduate is to have these Latin words listed after one’s name on the diploma: cum laude. Meaning “with distinction” or “with honor”, these two words, sometimes preceded by magna (great or higher) or summa (greatest or highest) signal to the world that the bearer of these accolades falls within a very rare and lofty category of achievement.
Few high schools use these terminologies, but colleges and universities around the world employ them for their most distinctive graduates. A very selective and well regarded society of 383 private and public schools has, since 1906, made good us of the cum laude designation in honoring their high school seniors whose academic records have placed them in the top 20% of their graduating classes. Appropriately called the Cum Laude Society, it represents 383 college preparatory academies in 41 states, Canada, England, France, Spain, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
I am so very pleased to inform you that, as of January, 2020, Ascension has been accepted into this association, joining highly regarded Cum Laude schools in New England like Choate, Deerfield Academy, Lawrenceville, Phillips Exeter, and Taft, plus 13 of the top schools in Texas, including Hockaday and St. Mark’s of Dallas, St. John’s in Houston, All-Saint’s Episcopal in Tyler and St. Stephen’s Episcopal in Austin.
To be welcomed into this exceptional company of schools Ascension had to pass through an application process in which the academic strength of our curriculum, the scholarly qualifications of our faculty, and the academic performances of our recent graduates was examined and judged to meet the Cum Laude Society’s rigorous standards. The mission of the society resonates well with our own:
The Cum Laude Society recognizes academic achievement in secondary schools for the purpose of promoting excellence (Areté), justice (Diké) and honor (Timé).
Member schools may select up to 20% of their seniors each year to be recognized for special honors at graduation. And at our Baccalaureate Chapel on Thursday, May 14, the members of Ascension’s Class of 2020 will learn who, among them, will see cum laude, with honor, written after their names on the Ascension diplomas they will receive at our 20th Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 23 at WT’s Legacy Hall.
Being accepted into the Cum Laude Society is another mark of distinction that the faculty and students of Ascension Academy have earned through their commitment to academic excellence, making us the only school in the Panhandle qualified to so honor our top graduates with this universally recognized and respected honor.