Students inducted into Cum Laude Society


David Shutts

Mr. Michael Vischak, math teacher, delivers the opening remarks at the Cum Laude assembly.

David Liu, Assistant News Editor

During a March 6 assembly,  30 students were inducted into the Cum Laude Society — a prestigious organization that recognizes students who have achieved a high level of academic excellence. 

The Cum Laude Society inductees had GPAs in the top 20% of their class. 

The speaker of the induction ceremony, Kinkaid alumnus Mr. Matt Johnson ‘09, graduated from Rice University with a degree in electronics and electrical engineering and the University of Washington in 2022 with a doctoral degree in computer science He now works as a senior software engineer at SpaceX’s Starlink project.

“My goal is to make this speech a memorable one, so you have takeaways that stay with you for the next 10 plus years,” Mr. Johnson said.

He encouraged students to think creatively, learn from others’ mistakes and be curious. He mentioned that he indulged his curiosity about the Internet and how it operates by learning more about Internet governance. He said an interesting find was that the people who gather to make decisions about how the Internet works hum to show accordance or disagreement.

“I want you all to try this out now,” he said. “So if you think Kinkaid is better than St. John’s, hum!”

An uproarious hum followed.

“And if you think St. John’s is better, then hum.”

Nearly pin-drop silence followed.

After the induction ceremony, Cum Laude students were invited to a dinner event, where speakers included the head of the Upper School Mr. Peter Behr, science chair and teacher Dr. Sonia Clayton, parent Mrs. Dee Muir, and senior Jaisal Kalapatapu. 

“It was a great experience,” Kalapatapu said about his speech during the event. “I had a continuous metaphor about Kung-fu Panda and how that relates to our Kinkaid experiences. Overall, Kinkaid — whether with Ms. Lambert’s English class or with plays like “Hello Girls” — has had a massive impact on me since I came in as a freshman.”