February 24, 2020

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 CAAC Book Award!

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 CAAC Book Award, an achievement award recognizing a student who embodies the principles of Columbia University. Since 2017, CAAC has awarded the book award to students whose approach to learning reflects the principals highlighted in Columbia University’s Core Curriculum, the cornerstone of Columbia University’s undergraduate education. The goal of the Core Curriculum: observation, analysis, imaginative comparison, rational argument, and respect for others' ideas, nuances and differences.


2019's recipients received The Friend, a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for fiction, and written by Sigrid Nunez, Columbia University Professor and alumna. If you are interested in having your school participate in the next CAAC Book Award, please email [email protected].


Congratulations to the following outstanding scholars nominated by their high schools to receive the 2019 CAAC Book Award:

Sahil Monga – South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics  

Sahil Monga is an outstanding student at GSSM.  As a junior he is taking an extremely challenging course load to include AP Physics, Calculus BC, Language and Composition, Chemistry and US History.  In addition he enrolled in a new engineering offering teaching SolidWorks.  Sahil is performing very well in all of these subjects which would not happen if he did not possess and excel in the areas that the Core Curriculum tries to hone.                               


Samantha Cohane – Charlotte Christian School 

Samantha Cohane creates meaningful experiences that will positively impact others. She has served on an international mission trip where she connected meaningfully with the people she served using her advanced Spanish speaking skills. She spent two summers working as a lab assistant at Columbia University's Medical Center exploring the worlds of cellular and molecular biology. She has shadowed a Pediatric Oncologist, on both inpatient as well as outpatient rounds, learning about and engaging with the communities she enjoys serving. Her passion for helping others is matched by her thirst for knowledge and growth. She is not afraid of a challenge and welcomes an adventure. Samantha has taken and been successful in the most rigorous courses available to her throughout high school across all core-disciplines.                                


Soumaya Sri Bodavula – Raleigh Charter High School

Soumya is a stellar student across the curriculum and challenges herself with very strong course selections. She has a very strong work ethic and she is dedicated to helping others in the community around her (AP Biology tutor, Volunteer Service awards, Peer Mentor,  meal packing for the homeless etc.)  She is also a strong leader serving as co-leader of the Student Legislative Assembly, President of the education committee of the Gurukulam Sunday School, Science Olympiad coach for a middle school team and lead teen for the Cary Teen Council.  She participates in our award-winning Quiz Bowl team as well as the Science Olympiad team that is once again  going to Nationals. Soumya finds activities outside the classroom to enhance her learning i.e. successfully completing the Advanced Cloning Lab summer accelerator course at the North Carolina School of Science and Math last summer and participating in the 35 hour Summer Enrichment Program on the  US Environmental Protection Agency  campus and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences campus workshop where she received a leadership certificate. She is a well-respected member of our school community by both peers and faculty.                               


Catherine Elizabeth Reid – Dreher High School             

Catherine ranks #3 in the junior class, GPA of a 5.245, a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Latin Club, Kindness Club, Math Team, Varsity Soccer Team.                           


Adelaide Harper – Ashley Hall

Adelaide has touched every aspect of school life, from the arts to athletics to student government.  Her academic talents also span the disciplines, including the continued study of both Latin and Greek.                           


Colin Erb – NC School of Science and Mathematics                   

Colin Erb is a student whose ecumenical intellectual passions range from biochemistry to philosophy to music. He is a devoted student of the biological and chemical sciences wo is intrigued by the possibilities research in these fields holds for the improvement of human health and wellbeing. He is also fascinated by the daunting philosophical questions about the nature and limits of human knowledge raised by epistemology. He is a gifted musician who plays in his school’s orchestra and jazz band. He also has a passion for helping others. He is deeply involved both in music education for children and campus sustainability projects.                        


Olivia Aspasia Xerras – Myers Park High School            

Olivia is an engaging, outgoing, athletic academic scholar. She is an excellent role model in the classroom and on the basketball court.  Olivia is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate with a 4.34 GPA.  She was also elected by her peers to represent the school as part of our student government program.  Olivia Xerras is an excellent choice to represent Columbia University's prestigious Book Award.                                  


Catherine Reid – Dreher High School

Catherine Reid is a wonderful student.  Her relentless pursuit of excellence in both the classroom and beyond truly defines her character.  Catherine’s maturity level is above and beyond that of most of her peers.  Given the time and energy that she devotes to her studies and extracurricular interests, she is fully committed to constant improvement.  Catherine has also performed very well academically. Because of her consistency and determination to succeed, Catherine established herself as a successful student at Dreher High School.                             


Jack Smith Sanford – Christ Church Episcopal School                 

Jack is known to all as one of our most disciplined and hardworking students.  He sets his standards high and does all he can to reach his goals.  Jack loves a good debate! That said, he is respectful of others and willing to consider contrasting viewpoints.  He recently shared, "I feel strongly about current events that are happening throughout our world today such as politics, world news, and the events that occur in our society. I also am a strong advocate of equality in our nation and feel as though with the current political situation we are not being as conscientious of this as we should be in this day and age. I feel as though I can start to address this through educating my friends and then furthering this education at a professional level."  He plans to attend law school.   He also took part in our first ever Ethics Bowl competition this year!                       

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