Each spring TASIS presents three Junior Awards, two of which were established by alumni in the early 2000s and one that was established by the faculty in 1997. Voted on by the entire High School faculty, each of these awards recognizes an 11th-grade student for exemplary dedication and involvement in community service, which has always been an important part of a TASIS education. TASIS Founder M. Crist Fleming advocated this from the very start and would later declare, “I believe we are put on this earth to make some contribution, to try to leave it a little better place than we found it.”
Associate Director of Alumni Relations Yvonne Procyk presented the awards at the High School’s virtual farewell assembly on May 21 and delivered the following citations:
The J. Michael Horak Award
In 1997, the J. Michael Horak Award was created to honor a departing faculty member who had provided inspiring service to the student body, and who was often able to galvanize the entire school into believing that what can be attempted can be completed.
This award—conceived, organized, and voted on by the faculty exclusively—recognizes a junior who gives spontaneously and tirelessly of himself or herself to the many and varied needs of the student body.
This year’s recipient is a stand-out leader who sets a fantastic example, as well as a talented organizer and hard worker who makes sure everyone feels included. Typically the first to arrive and the last to depart, this student dedicates himself to a wide range of school activities including the student photography group, Casino Night, and a host of weekend activities designed to foster community spirit even during the recent period of pandemic restrictions. He also happens to be passionate about rugby and gave himself tirelessly not only to the game but also to the Varsity Rugby team. An active proctor who is deemed to be “the ideal holistic student at TASIS not just in what he achieves but for his personality and what he stands for,” he is fully deserving of this recognition. It is a great pleasure to present the J. Michael Horak Award for 2021 to Alessandro Carlesimo.
The Pritzlaff Leadership Award
The Pritzlaff Leadership Award was established in 2001 by alumnus John Pritzlaff '72, who has been a loyal friend and donor to the School while also serving on the Board of Directors. The award recognizes a junior who takes a leading role in community service outside the School, encouraging the involvement of other TASIS students in the public service ideal. It comes with a $2500 award that may be used for educational expenses or donated to a non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice.
This year’s recipient has played a leading role in numerous initiatives throughout the year, helping to give them a higher profile on campus and to encourage wider participation and awareness. Black History Month, the WISER Global Service Program group, and the Social Justice Discussion Group have all benefited from the time and passion this student has dedicated to making them a success. This young lady is also a team player, in every sense of the word, leading by example on the sports fields as well as elsewhere—earning the accolades of MVP in soccer and Most Improved Player in basketball in the same year. With a quiet leadership style, she is always ready to step up and deliver and goes above and beyond when discharging her duties as a proctor even while participating in virtually every optional activity offered by the School and, not least, carrying the heavy class load of an “honors” student.
Immensely respected by both her peers and the faculty, it is a great pleasure to present the Pritzlaff Leadership Award for 2021 to Alejandra Cova.
The Cathy Clark Memorial Scholarship
The Cathy Clark Memorial Scholarship recognizes and rewards a student who, in the judgment of the TASIS community, demonstrates exceptional dedication to community service. The award comes in the form of scholarship aid to assist in covering tuition expenses or educational travel.
The award was established by alumni parents Lt. Colonel Robert and Mrs. Ann Clark to honor the memory of their daughter, Catherine, who attended TASIS for six years, graduating in 1987. After attending George Mason University, she served in the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), in Washington, DC. Known for her unfailing cheerfulness and compassion, Cathy was also cited for her distinguished service and for developing an outstanding AIDS awareness program. She died in a tragic automobile accident at the age of 26 while driving across the country from Virginia to her new duty station in California. Cathy believed that TASIS had provided her with some important life lessons and her parents established this $3,600 scholarship award in her memory to reward and inspire other TASIS students to follow her commitment to public service.
This year’s recipient earned her teacher’s accolade of “highly dedicated and accomplished” with regard to her piano playing, which turns out to be equally appropriate for the rest of her endeavors. While maintaining a full IB schedule and performing at the highest levels in her academic subjects, she maintains a true passion for literature, founding and producing this year’s TASIS Literary Magazine to share her peers’ writing, as well as founding and leading a reading group. The choice of authors indicates another passion of hers: for social justice, which she has explored in the student-run Social Justice Discussion Group. She has been so instrumental in fostering and guiding this group that one teacher calls her “the face of Social Justice at TASIS.” While the time commitment involved in these activities is already extraordinary, she still found time to participate in the WISER Global Service Program group as well as the local Red Cross, for whom she helped to institute the Movement Outreach subgroup.
A warm and enthusiastic all-rounder for whom time marches to a different rhythm, it is a great pleasure to present the Cathy Clark Scholarship for 2021 to Alexia Dochnal.