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2021 Presentation of Student Awards

May 28, 2021

During Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2021, the following major awards were bestowed to students.

Longevity Awards

The Longevity Award is one that we give to students who have attended The Colorado Springs School for their educational career, since Preschool, PreKindergarten, or Kindergarten. Ms. Michelle Gates, their Kindergarten teacher was in attendance to present these awards.

Ethan Hedden, Zoe Bain, and Whitney Richardi receive the Longevity Awards

Enrolled in Preschool in 2005: Ethan Hedden
Enrolled in PreKindergarten in 2006: Zoe Bain and Whitney Richardi
Enrolled in Kindergarten in 2008: Aadi Nashikkar and Kaylin Patterson

Aadi Nashikkar and Kaylin Patterson earned Longevity Awards

Faculty Cup Award

Whitney Richardi the 2021 Faculty Cup Award winner “Each year, the Faculty Cup is presented to the Senior who is recognized by the Upper School faculty as an exemplary representative of The Colorado Springs School.

The recipient of this year’s Faculty Cup is one of those indispensable students, the kind of leader and scholar who, over the course of four years, becomes so much a part of the fabric of the school’s life that it is hard to imagine our classes, clubs, sports and extracurriculars continuing in that student’s absence. She has left her mark everywhere we turn.

In sports, this year she was named Female Athlete of the year, and has been recognized as an All-Conference player in volleyball and basketball. She received All-State Honorable Mention in basketball and was her team’s 2019 Most Valuable Player. She has been co-captain of the Girls Varsity Volleyball team and was named to the CHSAA Academic All-State First Team, from 2019-2021. I haven’t even mentioned soccer and tennis. Her athletic achievements, however, capture only one dimension of this remarkable student. In theatre, she has been integral to every CSS production going back to Middle School. She has acted in key roles in Get Smart, Once Upon a Mattress, Oklahoma, Radium Girls, and Fiddler on the Roof; when she wasn’t acting you could find her on stage crew, most recently in our production of The Comedy of Errors (in which she also provided some nifty Shakespearean voice-over from the sidelines). Moreover, she has been at the center of official student life: class president, National Honor Society president, an outspoken and engaged member of student government, an editor of the yearbook. She is an AP Scholar with Honor, and she has made the school’s high honor roll every year since 2014. Her teachers attest to her intellectual curiosity, her academic discipline, and the joy she finds in learning. Not to be overlooked is her commitment to community service as a member of the National Charity League and as a volunteer at Care and Share and a host of other charities. Most immediately, her peers admire and respect her and have repeatedly looked to her for leadership in building a strong sense of class coherence and community. She is simply exemplary, a model of what we all imagine a CSS student to be. She will move on to her next round of challenges and successes at Texas Christian University on a full-ride scholarship that substantiates just how impressive she truly is. Those of us left behind at CSS can only implore her, in the (slightly paraphrased) words of Taylor Swift, “When you find everything you’ve looked for, I hope your life leads you back to our door.”

Congratulations to this year’s Faculty Cup recipient, Whitney Richardi.

The Margaret White Campbell Award

Aadi Nashikkar the 2021 Margaret White Campbell Award winner “In honor of our founding Head of School, the Margaret White Campbell Award recognizes academic excellence, leadership, service to the CSS community, and general character. Each year, this award is presented to the senior deemed by the Upper School faculty as that young person who best exemplifies the highest model of excellence in all areas.The 2020-21 recipient of this high honor is a student who has dedicated himself from a young age to an intense pursuit of knowledge and excellence. This student has maintained one of the highest GPAs in the school for all 4 years of high school. Teachers across every discipline rave about his work: Ms. Hanson describes him, after taking AP Psych, as a talented writer who worked at “a near-professional level.” Ms. Taylor applauds his “maturity, integrity, commitment, and diligence” as he earned the first perfect A+ average she ever saw in one of her classes. Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics teachers speak for the whole faculty when they declare, “He regularly offered alternative, justifiable problem-solving strategies, in part just to see if his idea might work. In so doing, he raised the intellectual discourse for every student in the class.” After excelling in just about every advanced course CSS has to offer, this student continued to exercise his academic curiosity by taking online college courses, such as Linear Algebra for Machine Learning and Calculus III.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” and this student embodies that idea. This student has also been an important leader in almost every aspect of student life at CSS. From captain of the Soccer team to captain of our National Championship Matchwits and Academic World Quest teams, from Secretary-General of our Model United Nations Team to four years in student government, the last two as School President, this student takes leadership seriously. The Gazette recently quoted his reflections on how he developed his leadership skills: “Having ignored the pronunciation of my name for so long, I had played into my own whitewashing. When I confidently embraced my name, my leadership improved. I could fight for others because I was fighting for myself.” His development as a leader has made our school a better place - this student is deeply committed to service, and along with winning the school service award this year, he has created and run a unique program, All in For AI. This program enlists students to teach other students about AI and Computer Science, with a focus on reaching out to underserved students. Speaking with wisdom and maturity beyond his years, our award winner said of the organization, “The goal is to inspire students, especially those from underrepresented groups to consider futures in AI.”

Finally, as for general character - this student is one of the kindest, most helpful and considerate people you will ever meet. He is deeply respectful and full of gratitude for all of the mentors who have influenced his journey. You can find at least two local newspaper articles and a Colorado Public Radio interview where he graciously thanks his mom, dad, and past and present CSS faculty like Amos White, Krista Wills, and David Benson. Importantly, this student is also well known and loved for his epic sense of humor, giving us nothing less than a minimum of one pun or joke per speech—or per class. It might be a bit “Aadi-al-istic” (idealistic) to say this, but I would not be surprised if this student continues to bring his leadership to more and more important causes. As he heads off to Stanford and beyond, we at CSS will always be so proud to have been with him as he began his journey.

Aadi Nashikkar, it is a great pleasure to name you as the 2020-2021 Margaret White Campbell award recipient.

Additional Awards

Check out the impressive list of department and special awards given at Upper School Awards Night and Senior Tribute Night.

Whitney Richardi the 2021 Faculty Cup Award winner
Aadi Nashikkar the 2021 Margaret White Campbell Award winner
Ethan Hedden, Zoe Bain, and Whitney Richardi receive the Longevity Awards
Aadi Nashikkar and Kaylin Patterson earned Longevity Awards