LC Will Still Hold Honors Tea Ceremonies and Department Awards

Lily Potter '21, Staff Writer

Although there will be no in-person award ceremonies this year, all awards that are normally given in the spring such as commencement prizes, departmental awards, and honors tea certificates will be given.
“We’re going ahead with everything we typically do. It will just be in very virtual formats,” said Mr. Bob DeConinck, Associate Director of Studies.
For the commencement prizes, the celebration committee, a group in charge of determining what will happen in lieu of an on-campus commencement, is still determining how to give those awards. Details are still being worked out, but one possibility is some kind of virtual ceremony on the Loomis Chaffee website similar to the online event for revisit days.
Similarly, details are still being figured out about the awards assembly that usually takes place in Olcott where students are awarded Cum Laude, Founders prizes, and junior and senior departmental awards.
As for the process of determining awards, Commencement prizes and Founders prizes have already been determined through virtual voting. Even when the Loomis community was on campus, the awards were determined through an online survey, so it did not provide much logistical disruption to the deliberation process.
Although it was typically determined in-person in previous years, Cum Laude will also be determined soon also through virtual voting. Cum Laude is more of a discussion that involves a smaller committee of people.
Regarding the junior and senior departmental awards normally presented at the Olcott assembly, each department has a process for choosing students that remains essentially the same for many departments as in years past.
For example, in the science department, the junior and senior science awards will continue to be determined in department meetings conducted over Zoom.
According to Associate Chair of the Science Department Mr. Neil Chaudhary ’05, “Candidates for the awards are nominated by the faculty, and then a process of debate among all science department members determines the award winners from the initial pool of candidates.”
The English department also does not anticipate significant changes in the departmental awards process.
“The entire department will discuss those students in the junior and senior classes who have produced outstanding work this year in order to determine which students have risen above to set the highest possible standard for their grade levels,” said Mr. Steve Colgate, English department chair.
The math department will also select these award winners in a way consistent with previous years.
As for the departments’ Honor Teas, which usually take place in May, the manner for selecting these awards remains essentially unchanged for most departments since students have been nominated electronically by their teachers in past years.
One notable change in the honor teas is that the English Honor Tea will not be selecting individual pieces of writing. In past years, the English department selected students based on their written works, which were displayed in the library for a couple of weeks so that people could have a chance to read exceptional writing from throughout the year.
However, this year the department will “honor students based on their overall contributions to their English classes over the course of the year,” according to Mr. Colgate.
When describing the deliberation process for how to replace the Olcott awards assembly, Mr. DeConinck said that the administration kept in mind, “what’s the best way that we can showcase our students…We want to recognize the great work our students have done this year and [throughout] the years.”