Five Summit CDS seniors receive special recognition at graduation

Summit seniors earn special awards

Seniors Carli Vallota, front; Wil Eads and Colleen McIlvenna, middle; and Aaron Bialon and Daniel Shisler, back, all received special awards during graduation.

Five members of The Summit Country Day School’s Class of 2019 received special recognition awards during graduation on May 19. 

A longstanding tradition, recipients are surprised when the awards are announced in The Summit’s 19th Century Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel. The accolades recognize students who are exemplars in Christian leadership in athletics, Christian awareness and responsibility, attributes associated with St. Julie Billiart, the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the order which founded The Summit.  

The Maurice “Bud” O’Connor Memorial Award is a Summit Boosters award for athletes who exemplify the attributes of excellence, dedication and Christian leadership in athletics. This year, the award was given to Wil Eads, Loveland, and Colleen McIlvenna, Indian Hill. 

“Wil is a resilient and compassionate young man who encourages his peers to be people of good character,” said Upper School Director John Thornburg. “He is a young man who has played for our school with heart and determination.” 

Wil will play football for the Division I Eastern Kentucky University Colonels this fall where he is considering a major in criminal justice or sport management. In his Summit football career, Wil was a North/South all-Star game and all-Ohio selection in 2019, a two-time all-City and all-MVC performer. He eclipsed 1,000-career yards in both receiving and rushing. He has 22 career touchdowns. 

“Colleen is a kind and compassionate leader and has often been a mentor to younger students,” Mr. Thornburg said. “She has a determined spirit and is a talented athlete, focused on others and not just herself.”  

Colleen will play soccer this fall at Division I University of Tennessee. A freshman starter on a state championship soccer team, she has been an all-star every year since then. She leaves the program as its leader in games played (87), goals (71), points (181) and game-winning goals (23). In December, she played in the girls' high school all-American game.  

The St. Julie Billiart Award is given to the senior who best exemplifies the qualities of Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur foundress St. Julie Billiart – the ability to love and bring love to others and possess a selfless nature, joyful disposition and dedication to students, staff and community. This year’s award went to Carli Vallota of Mt. Lookout who will attend The Ohio State University this fall.  

Carli worked 65 community service hours during her high school years, when only 48 are required. She was a member of Student Senate and HOPE squad, the school’s suicide prevention student team.  “She served well in both of these roles because she can relate to everyone,” said Upper School religion teacher Stephanie Duggan. “She has a diverse group of friends.  She is a listener. She is empathetic and compassionate.”  

Mr. Thornburg said Carli lives her life with the kind of graceful spirit that is the heart of St. Julie's charism – "how good is the good God. “Carli is always positive. She encourages those around her and models service to others.”    

The Archbishop McNicholas Award recognizes seniors who have maintained the high ideals of academic achievement, Christian awareness and responsibility, service and loyalty to the school. The award was given to Aaron Bialon and Daniel Shisler, both Maineville residents who will attend the University of Cincinnati this fall. 

Aaron has performed nearly 100 service hours while in high school. He volunteered at Brewhaus Dog Bones in Madeira, a non-profit which helps special-needs students learn how to market, make and sell things in a business setting. With 60 service hours, Dan also exceeded the school requirement. A member of senate and runner, he often stepped up to help other Summit students. 

“Both of these young men maintained high academic standards and did so with a high degree of character,” said Mr. Thornburg. “Aaron was always positive and put forth his best effort in any challenge he faced.  Daniel provided outstanding leadership with poise and grace.  Both of these young men capture what we strive to develop in our students.”