Senior Award Winners: Class of 2021

Commencement Caps and Gowns | Benedictine | Chicago | Catholic Universities
Photo Credit:

Joey Spahn – Editor-in-Chief

The 2020-2021 senior awards were announced recently in a mass email sent to all staff, faculty, and students.  The Procopian award, which is the highest honor you can receive at Benedictine was given to Anna Fisher. Anna has been a student at Benedictine for all four years of her academic career and has excelled in multiple facets. Between being an honors student, playing in the school band and being the news editor for The Candor, Anna has consistently challenged herself to be the best she can be.

“I’m at a juncture where many moving things seem to be happening at once, so I’m in awe, and humbled to receive the Procopian award,” said Fisher. “It’s like I’m a wellspring of gratitude overflowing because of the input and actions of a supportive, inspiring community.”

According to the email that was released, this award is “The highest honor that can be bestowed on a student…This award is given for consistently outstanding curricular and extra-curricular activities while at Benedictine University. The award signifies that scholarship, leadership, and service are exemplified by the student.”

During the commencement video on May 15, Anna will be giving a speech to all the Seniors in the class of 2021 on the official graduation date.

Anna was not the only Senior to receive an award from the University. Here is a list of the rest of the senior award winners this year:

Community Service Award: Gerda Simkeviciute

Benedictine University Service Award: Damari Owens

Awards in Academic Honors

  • College of Education and Health Services: Katelyn Beamish
  • College of Business: Kristian Santiago
  • College of Science: Talia Ishfaq
  • College of Liberal Arts: Alexis Cerrillos

Bishop Danial Kucera Award: Ariana Poe

Thomas J. Dyba Leadership Award: Jason Peart

Over the past year, college students nationwide have been forced to comply and obey with the rules their schools have set in place because of the pandemic. Whether you live out on the coast or right here in the Midwest all students have had to transition their learning from in-person to an online learning environment. The class of 2021 experienced these sudden changes mid-way through their Junior year and their entire senior year.

“This past year has been extremely challenging. Between juggling all the usual tasks and responsibilities of being a student, having a job, and the added stress of applying to graduate school, I knew that this year would be a challenge…. I am someone who learns best in-person, so being all online was definitely one of my biggest challenges this past year,” Said Senior Alexis Cerrillos, who was awarded academic honors for the College of Liberal Arts. “The biggest things that have helped me get through this tough year were keeping my end goal in mind and pushing through while also being kind to myself and acknowledging that it’s okay to struggle and feel overwhelmed during a time like this.”

Even with the welcoming of limited students on campus here at BenU, the ‘college experience’ has not been the same since the awakening of the pandemic. The senior class of 2021 has had to surmount numerous obstacles that have been thrown their way. However, with vaccinations becoming more widely available and more restrictions being lifted in certain parts of the country, the idea of getting back to normalcy seems to be within arm’s reach.