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Cum Laude Society welcomes new members

Scholastic achievement, excellence, justice, and honor.

“This assembly,” senior Janet Briggs said in her opening remarks at Harpeth Hall’s annual Cum Laude assembly, “recognizes members of our junior and senior classes who embody those qualities, who have embraced the life of the mind, and who have attained a level of academic excellence which has earned them membership."

On April 21, the Harpeth Hall Chapter of the Cum Laude Society inducted 19 students. Since its inception in 1906, the primary purpose of the Cum Laude Society has been to recognize scholastic achievement of students in secondary schools. The students honored on Wednesday not only showed excellence in their academic success, they also reflected self assurance as students and individuals..

“Conviction is not just confidence,” Janet, who serves as the president of Harpeth Hall's Cum Laude Society, said to the students and family members gathered in the Frances Bond Davis Theatre. “It is truly believing the words you are saying. ...The overwhelming belief that what you are saying needs to be said and is important enough to say.”

We often say that Harpeth Hall is a place where the voices of girls and women are heard and valued. Janet’s speech about the power of rhetoric, recognized this important tenet. “Your voice and what you choose to say with it matters,” she said. “You never know who is listening and what they’re going through. …Use the voice that you have to connect with people, amplify the voices of those that you love and support, and create the future.”

Looking at the 29 Cum Laude members on stage, it was easy to imagine the bright future these students will create.

Vice president of Harpeth Hall's Cum Laude society, Clara Murff '21, introduced the winner of the 2020 Lulu Hampton Owen Chair for

Excellence in Teaching — Middle School math teacher Ms. Amy Mulron —  who delivered the traditional Cum Laude address.

Over the past year, Ms. Mulron, like so many others, spent a lot of time at home. While there, she turned to one of her hobbies — riding the Peloton bike — to help get her through. Inspired by the seclusion of a pandemic and the solace from her stationary bike, Ms. Mulron shared the lessons she learned “while going nowhere.”

“It doesn’t get easier – you get stronger,” Ms. Mulron said, not only of the exercise from cycling, but also of her experiences of surviving the 1985 terrorist attack at the El Al ticket counter in Rome during which she lost her hearing.

“Growing stronger when life gets tough requires us to ask a question: ‘Am I a victim – or am I a survivor?’ “ Ms. Mulron said. “By choosing to be survivors, we are not allowing ourselves to be defined by a challenge but rather defined by our ability to overcome that challenge.”

Ms. Mulron encouraged students to recognize their strengths, to not be discouraged if their path in life is not linear, and to define their own success. For the juniors and seniors on stage about to embark on the next phase of their lives, her words inspired confidence. The confidence to make decisions and to find their personal definition of success — to find their own joy and satisfaction in life.

“For the class of 2021,” Ms. Mulron concluded. “You have been preparing for many years for the next step in your journey. You will be faced with many decisions and they are yours to make.”

Congratulations to all of our 2021 inductees!

2021 Inductees​


Ramsey Jeanette Bottorff

Scout Simone Dahir

Cate Merriman Frist

Jordan Elise Knight

Brooke Burnett Lytle

Elisabeth Isabel Nelson

Sabrina Abigail Russell

Alexa Ruth Sheldon

Eleanor Purnell Taylor

Katharine Shannon Wojciechowski


Eva Holland Christopher

Kayla Ann Gardner

Macy Walker Gilmour

Megan Taylor Hannon

Taylor Anne Kappelman

Tina Karimaghaie

Zoe Olivia Miles

Maia Charlotte Roark

Ava Claire Williams


Members in Course


Janet Elizabeth Briggs

Devon Elizabeth Campbell

Sarah Randolph Cook

Quinlan Havana Cyr

Grace Sanghee Lee

Clara Suzanne Murff

Spencer Claire Robbins

Catherine Ward Ryan

Gretchen Claire Walsh

Nora Mae-Ying Wang


MarQuis LeBron Chappell

Arthur Reeves Echerd, Jr.

Ben Curtiss Fulwider

Jennifer Jean Jervis

Michele Lynn O'Brien

Jacqueline O'Keefe Powers

Legare Davis Vest

Robert English Womack

Adam Richard Wilsman


Click here to watch this special assembly.