The Society, founded in 1906, is dedicated to honoring scholastic achievement in secondary schools. Students are chosen for induction based on the quality of their academic work and for demonstrating good character, honor, and integrity in all aspects of school life.
Director of Studies Lisa Holmes told members of the Cate community, who gathered for the ceremony, that the scholars selected this year include gifted performers, celebrated mathematicians, physicists, historians, athletes, and brilliant writers.
“In a community that values the life of the mind, they have shown us how rich that life can be; and in two, three, and four years at Cate, they have taken advantage of their gifts,” she said.
Dr. Susannah Porter, a paleontologist and associate professor in the Department of Earth Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was the honored speaker. Porter described both the humbling and thrilling aspects of being a scientist.
It’s humbling, she told students, faculty, and guests, because of the vastness of life’s diversity, the depth of geologic time, and the inherent uncertainty of science.
“Because of what we’ve figured out in the last 150 years or so, we can appreciate everything our predecessors did not know: that in the past our planet has hosted stunningly different worlds - different continental configurations, different climates, different landscapes filled with strange creatures, long dead, that lived millions and hundreds of millions and billions of years ago. My point here is not to belittle the ideas of our predecessors - they were doing the best they could to make sense of their world given the state of knowledge and technology at the time. My point is that we are no different from them. What incredible things do we not know? What jaw-dropping paradigm shifts have we yet to make?”
Its thrill, Porter observed, is that science “reveals the beauty and wonder that is all around us, thereby making the world seem more magical, not less.”
Wednesday’s ceremony marked the sixtieth annual initiation of the Cate School chapter of the Cum Laude Society.
The following students were inducted:
Sung-Kuk Matthew Lim
ABOUT CATE SCHOOL:
Founded in 1910, Cate School is a grade 9-12, coeducational, college preparatory boarding school in Carpinteria, California. What began as a group of twelve boys and a few teachers has expanded into a 265-student, 65-teacher, deeply academic and talented community with the most diverse student body of any boarding school of its size in the United States. The faculty are experts in their fields: 74% hold advanced degrees, 18% of these have PhDs. Cate is one of this nation’s most selective boarding schools, accepting only 20% applicants each year. 52% of Cate’s most recent graduating class attend the 25 top-ranked colleges and universities in the country. The Cate experience combines academics, athletics, art and co-curricular activities in a close-knit, community setting where students are enriched by their relationships with their teachers and each other. When students leave Cate, they have the tools and the conviction to seek out lives of purpose and meaning.