Senior Salute to Excellence at Awards Night

Senior Salute to Excellence at Awards Night

Senior Awards Night celebrated the many achievements of the Class of 2023. This year marks the 32nd class of graduating seniors from Santa Margarita Catholic High School. Students have grown, matured and evolved into capable young men and women during their formative high school years at SMCHS. The awards celebrate academic achievements, tradition and the school's charism of Caritas Christi.

One of the most profound traditions at Santa Margarita is the Caritas Award. It was founded 25 years ago by a former physics teacher, Ed Cunningham, who believed it's not about what you do at the end of the day. It's about who you are.

“The Caritas Award celebrates that human connection between student and teacher, the glimpse of God's Love and Caritas Christi transcending grades, athletic and artistic abilities, future goals and dreams, and all other high school experiences,” said President Andrew Sulick ’91.

Charlie Jennison ’23 is this year’s Caritas Award recipient. “Charlie Jennison embodies Caritas Christi in every ounce of his being. From the moment I met Charlie as a prospective middle schooler at my former school, I knew he was special. Charlie’s love for the Lord, his family, his friends and all of God’s creations are apparent in everything he does,” said Regina Bork, Science Teacher. “Charlie sees the positive side of every situation because he truly believes there is good to be found in everything.”

In addition to a plaque, the recipient receives a financial award courtesy of an anonymous SMCHS alum and former Caritas Award winner. The awardee receives $3,000 for the student's college tuition and $2,000 to designate to their chosen Catholic/Christian charity.

The following five outstanding seniors were nominated by the faculty and all administration, faculty and staff voted on the winner. Each of these students embodies Caritas Christi and has made a difference in the Santa Margarita community:

Sarah Burton

Charlie Jennison

Dut Lual

Maggie Thilken

Brianna Velez

Click here for the comprehensive Senior Award recipients.

Outstanding Student in English – Brianna Velez

Outstanding Student in Math – Nicholas Dorgan

Outstanding Thespian Award – Ethan Diaz

Outstanding Student in Performing Arts – Octaviano Roges

Outstanding Student in Religion – Sarah Burton

Outstanding Student in Science – Nicholas Dorgan

Outstanding Student in Social Studies – Darius Mahjoob

Outstanding Student in World Languages – Auggie Laster

Outstanding Student in Visual Arts – Kaitlin Rue

ASB President Award – Sarah Burton

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Christian Service Award – Alexis Cook

Sacred Heart Service Medal – Alexis Cook, Audrey Yoo

Outstanding International Student – Shangcao (Sally) Yuan

CIF Female Scholar Athlete of the Year – Ryan Bullock

CIF Male Scholar Athlete of the Year – Spencer Averitt

Trinity League Female Scholar Athlete of the Year – Abigail O'Sullivan

Trinity League Male Scholar Athlete of the Year – Samuel Cova

SMCHS Female Athlete of the Year – Ryan Bullock 

SMCHS Male Athlete of the Year – Blake Wilson

Valedictorian – Cathryn Surdilla 

Salutatorians – Nicholas Dorgan, Camilia Hall, Darius Mahjoob, Tyler Ringofer

Courage Award – Maggie Thilken

2023 Caritas Christi Award – Charlie Jennison