New Beginnings: Five students earn Academic Community Scholar Distinction Award


On April 27, five seniors presented their portfolios for the Digital Media and Performing Arts Academic Community. In its first year, the five students being recognized at graduation are Alena Gillespie (left), Sofie Hyde, Mary-Kathryn Wert, Emma Lazarczyk and Ana Gajewski (not pictured).

After implementing Academic Communities for the first time this year, seniors had the chance to join a community based on their interests and create a portfolio highlighting their work within the field. 

Five students have earned the Academic Community Scholar award and will be distinguished at graduation. These students include seniors Ana Gajewski, Alena Gillespie, Sophie Hyde, Emma Lazarczyk and Mary-Kathryn Wert. 

“It feels really nice to be recognized for my accomplishments,” Hyde said. 

Twenty-first century learning director Matt Peterie helped with the launch of academic communities as an extension of STREAM [science, technology, religion, engineering, art and math]. Peterie hopes that the junior led conferences will allow more students to earn the Academic Community Scholar distinction award this upcoming year. 

“I was really impressed with the portfolios, the projects and the learning that the students have done to earn the Academic Community Scholar distinction this year,” Peterie said. “My goal for the future is just more diversity students from all backgrounds and interests starting to put that body work together so that it helps prepare them for their future.”

According to Hyde, if a student is already doing the work, they should put in the extra effort and join an academic community to get an honor for something they love.

“Because I’m really passionate about art, it seemed obvious  to do it and  get more experience,” Hyde said. “It is not as much work as people make it out to be – you just continue to add your work to your website as you do it.”

After working with students of STREAM, a further effort was made by Peterie in order to involve more students.

“Instead of trying to focus on those things [science, technology, religion, engineering, art and math] we wanted to engage the whole academic mission of Miege and help students to see how all this learning comes together and how that helps prepare them for their future,” Peterie said. 

Peterie hopes students who join an academic community are given guidance throughout their final years of high school that will allow them to be set on the right track after graduation.

“I am getting a BFA in art with an emphasis on animation and illustration,” Hyde said. “I feel really good because it is setting a tone for the next students who are going to do it.”