On Thursday morning, May 31, Wilton High School recognized several students for their academic achievements and community contributions during the annual Academic Awards Ceremony.

For the most part, the Academic Awards Ceremony focuses primarily on graduating seniors. There are juniors who win the first set of College Book Awards, but the majority of the ceremony recognizes seniors. Among the awards and scholarships are those bestowed by various Wilton businesses and service organizations, as well as those given in memory of Wilton individuals. There are also commendations for excellence in areas of study.

Eligibility for some of the awards often requires good grades and extracurricular participation as well as the submission of a well-written essay. The National Merit Finalists Scholarship winners are recognized for their high scores on the PSAT exams.

Among the award recipients were:

COLLEGE BOOK AWARDS:  Presented to juniors who show outstanding academic promise.

  • Brandeis – outstanding student committed to social action and civic engagement – Benjamin Grass
  • Brown – exhibits excellent verbal and written communication skills – Stephen Batter
  • University of Chicago – outstanding student, visible in school and in community with a lively mind – Tyler Zengo
  • Columbia – outstanding academic achievement – Andrew Tsantilas     
  • Columbia University School of Engineering – outstanding scholarship in math and science – Alex Li
  • Cornell – demonstrates the Cornell spirit by showing an awareness of cultural diversity while being an excellent student, good citizen and innovative thinker – Emily Welch
  • Dartmouth – outstanding academic scholarship, strong character and positive contributions to school community – Madeline Burke
  • Denison – proven record of academic achievement and an interest in pursuing the study of English literature, creative writing or poetry, and committed to service within the school and community – Gerri Fox
  • Eastman School of Music – outstanding accomplishment and contribution to the music department – Hannah Mikita
  • Fairfield – outstanding scholarship with concern for others and a commitment to school and community – Zachary Dedrick
  • George Washington – embodies the GW drive and spirit, specifically with their academic excellence, leadership outside of the classroom, diversity of thought, and ability to put knowledge into action – Meryl Kaduboski
  • Gettysburg – academic achievement in American history – Anthony Wilcox
  • Harvard – outstanding academic scholarship – Sylvia Zhao   
  • College of Holy Cross – exceptional academic achievement – Grace Bronner
  • University of Michigan – outstanding achievement in creative writing – Alexander Eustace
  • Mount Holyoke – outstanding academic scholarship – Allisandra Passaniti     
  • Princeton Alumni Association of Fairfield County – outstanding academic scholarship – Nancy Healy
  • Randolph – academic achievement and a leader outside of the classroom – Purab Angreji
  • St. Lawrence – academic achievement and significant commitment to community service – Alexandra Myers
  • Saint Michael’s – academic achievement with a social conscience – Samantha Huffman and Liam McCarthy
  • Salem – outstanding achievement in the classroom, active involvement in quality high school activities and display of exceptional character and commitment to the community – Rachel West
  • Smith – outstanding academic scholarship and commitment to making a difference – Kate Seelert
  • Trinity – outstanding achievement in English – Daniel Ottavi
  • Tulane – embodies Tulane’s motto of “Not for one’s self, but for one’s own” and has a demonstrated excellence in academics, leadership and public service – Elizabeth Scaperotta
  • University of Virginia – well rounded student representing the Jeffersonian ideals of scholarship, leadership and citizenship – Kace Stewart
  • Wellesley – exceptional academic scholarship and character while making significant contributions to school or community – Lily Kepner
  • Yale – outstanding academic scholarship – Nicholas Koenigsberger

2018 CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR’S SCHOLARS:  Twenty-two academically talented high school juniors from Connecticut were selected:  Daniel Ottavi

DELTA KAPPA GAMMA BOOK AWARD:   Presented to a junior looking toward pursuing a degree in education:  Jayna Gumins

DELTA KAPPA GAMMA SCHOLARSHIP:  Presented to a senior pursuing a degree in education:  Madison Paradis

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS EDNA JONES MEMORIAL BOOK AWARD:  Recognizing a female member of the junior class who has demonstrated interest in government:  Grace Bracken

PTSA BOOK AWARDS:  Presented to seniors who have demonstrated the highest quality of performance in specific subject areas.

  • English – Rachel Boal and Michael Wallace
  • Business & Tech Ed – Business/Alexandra Curtin and Video Production/Adrian DeSimone
  • Family & Consumer Science – Child Development/Madison Paradis, Culinary/Benjamin Pellicano and Interior Design/Allison Farago
  • Reading – Annette Andronaco
  • World Languages – French/John Erardi, Spanish/Michael Wallace, German/Anna Onnerud, Latin/Mia Ruefenacht and Greek/Michael McElroy
  • Mathematics – Duncan Vogel and Michael Wallace
  • Theatre Arts & Public Speaking – Theatre Arts/Nathalie Axel and Michal Ninyo, and Public Speaking/Haley McHugh and Joseph Murtha
  • Science – Sophia Kaplan and Andrew Noonan
  • Social Studies – Cameron Berg, Eva Greco, Eve Ogdon and Michael Wallace
  • Music – Band/Jelena Sypher, Choral/Katherine Barbour and Orchestra/Duncan Vogel
  • Art – Drawing/Julia Erardi, Computer Graphics/Caroline Hoffman, Photography/Eric Yang, Ceramics/Mackenzie Cote, Painting/Marcus Guevara and Fashion/Katherine Psaltos
  • Library Learning Commons – Mia Ruefenacht and Madeleine Tupper
  • Physical Education/Health – Physical Education/Matthew Dormer and Health/Madeleine Pagliaro
  • Support Services – Adrian DeSimone
  • School Counseling for Citizenship & Character – Andrea Benalcazar and Owen McKessy

SCIENCE AWARDS  Presented for distinguished contributions and accomplishments in the field of science.

  • W. Gehret Kleinspehn Science Award  Presented to a senior showing strong interest, achievement and enthusiasm in all of the sciences and humanities:  Nicole Case
  • Society of Women Engineers  Presented for academic achievement in science and mathematics with an interest in pursuing engineering:  Francesca Cawley and Tyler Smith
  • The Wilton Land Conservation Trust Scholarship in memory of Dan Cappel  Presented to two seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment, extracurricular activities, community service and academics:  Claire Healey and Marjorie McWilliams
  • The Wilton Land Conservation Trust Book Award:  Lily Kepner
  • The Renewable Energy Environmental Science Scholarship Award  Awarded to two seniors who, through their class work, have studied and communicated the benefits of renewable energy generation as an alternative to today’s carbon emitting energy sources and their adverse environmental impact:  Jackson Dill and Ashleigh Hawthorne
  • Wilton Garden Club Marybeth Wheeler Memorial Scholarship Award  Presented to a senior who has shown an interest and achievement in nature, horticulture, botany or ecology:  Emilie McCann


  • Math Contest Honorees:  Evan Helman, AMC 12; Rishabh Raniwala – AMC 10
  • Fairfield County Math League Top Performers:  Adrian DeSimone, Alexander Eustace, Jeffrey Huang, Larry Huang, Alexander Koutsoukos, Charles Li and Rishabh Raniwala


  • World Language Scholar Award  To a senior who has studied and gained proficiency in three languages at Wilton High School, understands and appreciates cultural differences, demonstrates a sincere passion for languages and cultures of the world, and plans to utilize several languages on a professional level:  Michael McElroy
  • International Club Award  For outstanding service to the International Club and for helping to bring cultural diversity and understanding to the students of WHS:  Claire Vocke
  • Northeast Conference Awards  For excellence in the study of a World Language:  French/Emily Torkelsen, Spanish/Morgan McCormick, German/Sophia Mercado, Latin/Nora Hoch and Greek/Michael Wallace
  • CT COLT Poetry Contest Gold Medals:  French/Niamh McCarthy and Greek/Michael Wallace
  • Association of American Teachers of French  For outstanding senior in French:  Tor Aronson
  • German National Exam Gold Medals:  Chloe Elias, Nicholas Ivanov, Robert Alexander Killian, Sophia Mercado, Anna Onnerud and Connor Roche
  • National Latin Examination Gold Medals:  Latin I/Sophia Ramirez and Michael Roberts; Latin III/Mia Ruefenacht
  • National Greek Examination  Introductory Attic Greek:  High Honors/John Cromwell and Thomas Czick; Beginning Attic Greek:  Perfect Score/Mia Ruefenacht, Highest Honors/Nora Hoch and Alexander Koutsoukos, High Honors/Andrew Tsantilas; Homeric Greek (Iliad):  Highest Honors/Michael McElroy; and Homeric Greek (Odyssey):  High Honors/Michael McElroy and Michael Wallace

CAREER PRACTICUM AWARD  To a senior who has shown outstanding achievement in Career Practicum:  Nora Walsh

BUSINESS – CSCPA AWARD  Presented to a senior who has excelled in accounting:  Natalie Ivanov

WOMEN IN BUSINESS AWARD  Awarded to two seniors who plan to pursue a major in business:  Alexandra Curtin and Natalie Ivanov

NATIONAL ECONOMICS CHALLENGE   David Ricardo Division, CT First Place Team:  Evan Harley, Drew Herlyn, Abigail Reber and Chloe Zimmermann; Adam Smith Division (AP), Individual Scores of High Distinction:  Jason Cai, Nicole Case, Matthew Dormer, Ryan Ettie and Michael McElroy; Adam Smith Division (AP), Individual Scores of Distinction:  Kevin Connolly, Morgan McCormick, Jonah Hirsch, Kyle Maatallah, Owen McKessy, Luke Terradista and Patrick Verrilli

REYNOLDS & ROWELLA “STRENGTH IN NUMBERS” SCHOLARSHIP  For excellence in the study of accounting:  Tyler Bluestein and Natalie Ivanov

THE JAMES B. WHIPPLE AMERICAN LEGION POST 86 STUDENT AWARDS  In recognition of the possession of those high qualities of Courage, Honor, Leadership, Patriotism, Scholarship and Service and a willingness to help others on their own initiative:  Lydia Hoffman and Patrick Verrilli

FAIRFIELD COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AWARD  Presented to a senior who exemplifies excellence in education, demonstrates leadership and is involved in extracurricular activities, including community service:  Michael Wallace


  • Peer Outreach Leadership Award  Presented to an outstanding senior whose efforts in peer outreach have made a significant impact on making the high school a more caring environment:  Grace Kirchof
  • Wilton Youth Council Award  Presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated a genuine respect and sensitivity for others that reaches above and beyond the norm:  Tor Aronson

HUGH O’BRIEN FOUNDATION AWARD  Presented to a sophomore demonstrating leadership and scholarship potential:  Devyn Casey

DAR GOOD CITIZEN AWARD  Presented to a senior for exemplary citizenship and service to school and community:  John Maggio

WALTER R.T. SMITH STUDENT HISTORIAN AWARD given by the Wilton Historical Society  Presented to a senior for outstanding achievement and interest in history and a record of community service:  Michael Wallace

FAIRFIELD COUNTY BANK SCHOLARSHIP AWARD  Presented to two seniors whose good character is exemplified by service to the community:  Emily Torkelsen and Patrick Verrilli

WILTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SCHOLARSHIP AWARD Presented to a senior who demonstrates academic achievement and community service:  Benjamin Schmitt

GREGORY AND ADAMS AWARD  Presented to two seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, character and achievement in the WHS Mock Trial Club:  Tyler Bluestein and Alexandra Curtin

ROTARY CLUB OF WILTON “SERVICE ABOVE SELF” AWARDS Presented to two seniors who have reached out to help other students or the greater community:  Owen McKessy and Addie Tanzman

GEORGETOWN LIONS CLUB FRANK A. CLARK SCHOLARSHIP Presented to a senior who will attend a Connecticut State University and is engaged in community service:  Margaret Cummins

WILTON VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT JOHN J. CAHILL AWARD  Presented for outstanding community service:  Jessica Highland

WILTON WOMAN’S CLUB ELIZABETH STERNAD SCHOLARSHIP Presented for outstanding community service, strong character and leadership:  Jessica Highland

THE WILTON FAMILY YMCA AWARD  Presented to seniors who have demonstrated values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility to young people:  Maria Alonso Alvarez, Jackson Dill, Grace Kirchof, Kyle Maatallah, Morgan McCormick, Madison Paradis, Adriana Sudano, Emily Walden, Alison Wenman and Elisabeth Wenman

AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AWARD  Recognizes seniors who participate in school and community service, show a positive attitude, possess strength of character and promote citizenship through school and community activities:  Harvey Alexander, Julia Bonnist, Anastasia Colburn, Shelby Connor, Ryan Ettie, Maya Fazio, Nora Hoch, Sophie Roberts, Camryn Sell and Ishani Shah

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS HERFF JONES LEADERSHIP AWARD  Presented to a senior who demonstrates outstanding leadership skills:  Jonah Hirsch

CONNECTICUT ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS “LEADERSHIP AWARD”  Presented to two seniors for outstanding leadership at Wilton High School:  John Maggio and Morgan McCormick

THE FAIRFIELD COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS “SCHOLAR-LEADER AWARD”  Presented to two seniors who demonstrate excellent scholarship and leadership:  Cameron Berg and Eve Ogdon

CAPSS/SUPERINTENDENT’S AWARD  Presented to two seniors for community service, academic ability and leadership services to the school and community:  Tor Aronson and Jessica Highland

CONNECTICUT ASSOCIATION OF BOARDS OF EDUCATION “STUDENT LEADERSHIP AWARD”  Presented to two seniors who are recognized leaders at Wilton High School.  Andrew Noonan and Lauren Robertson

THE PAM COLE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP  Presented by Realty Seven in loving memory of our dear friend and colleague, Pam Cole:  Quincy Cole

NICK D. ZINICOLA SCHOLARSHIP  Awarded to a senior who captures the essence of Nick’s spirit and values:  Elizabeth Lynch

THE CLASS OF 2009 MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP  Awarded to two seniors who have demonstrated enthusiasm, strength and pursued their interests, while mentoring others:  Owen McKessy and Elisabeth Wenman

DR. ROBERT J. JACOBS MEMORIAL AWARD  In appreciation of students who “left their mark” for others to see:  Link Crew – Matthew Arrix, Nathalie Axel, Andrea Benalcazar, Isabella Biegen, Rachel Boal, Grace Bracken, Elizabeth Breslin, Paige Brown, Kimberly Castano, Eleanor Christman, Olivia Collender, Julianne Cooney, Alexandra Curtin, Andre DaCosta, Joel Darkwah, Nicole DiRocco, Lilly Essig, Allison Farago, Kristen Farmer, Maya Fazio, Delia Freliech, Emory Goodwin, Benjamin Grass, Jayna Gumins, Brandon Hawk, Nancy Healy, Nora Hoch, Lydia Hoffman, Chloe Hornby, Julianna Hume, Anna Iorfino, Katherine Johnson, Lily Kealy, Emily Kesselman, Isabella King, Grace Kirchof, Olin Lancaster, Taylor Loud, Samantha Macalino, Kendall Mellana, Michael McElroy, Devin Moore, Leah Moore, Julia Morneau, Yashika Nana, Madeline O’Brien, Eve Ogdon, Sophie Phelan, Katherine Reid, Lauren Robertson, Noelle Roseman, Madison Schattenfield, Kate Seelert, August Theoharides, Emily Underwood, Emma Vail, Patrick Verrilli, Matthew Villa, Peter Vogric, Elisabeth Wenman and Elizabeth Yoon

THE “JACK” AWARD  Given in memory of John A. Sussenguth to a graduating young man and woman who combine scholarship with leadership, who give of self with warmth and friendship, who are accomplished in the arts or athletics and who fulfill these ideals with a joy and zest for life:  Taylor Burke and Kyle Shifrin

THE MELISSA McFADDEN MEMORIAL FUND SCHOLARSHIP  Presented to two seniors who have successfully worked with children with disabilities and intend to pursue this field in the future:  Jessica Highland and Elisabeth Wenman

WHITNEY SHERMAN MEMORIAL AWARD  Presented to a senior who has faced extraordinary challenges with courage and determination, yet maintained a positive outlook and is an inspiration to all:  Kennedy Snyder

MATTHEW M. SHAW MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP  Awarded to a senior who has demonstrated the highest levels of integrity, selflessness and empathy combined with a positive attitude and sincere desire to be helpful to his or her peers:  Jack DiNanno


  • National Merit Commended Students – Tor Aronson, Cameron Berg, Jenna Brameier, Nicole Case, Jessica Highland, Jonah Hirsch, Lydia Hoffman, Charles Li, Emilie McCann, Morgan McCormick, Michael McElroy, Andrew Noonan, Eve Ogdon, Ethan Reichgut, Ishani Shah, SibhiNandan Thirumal Kumaran, Spencer Thors, Emily Torkelsen, Duncan Vogel, Albert Wei and Jason Welch
  • National Merit Semifinalist – James Trentos
  • National Merit Finalists – Mia Ruefenacht and Michael Wallace
  • National Merit Scholarship – Michael Wallace