Climb to Success: Boven, Da Silva Awarded Obra D. Tompkins Awards

Baneen Rizvi, Editor in Chief The Nest

The room is brightly illuminated with spotlights above, as students sit in chairs arranged across the stage. It is completely silent as students wait with bated breath for 12th grade assistant principal Jay Matthew to announce this year’s recipients for the Obra D. Tompkins Award. The award is one of highest honor at the school and only presented to two students, a boy and a girl, among the graduating class.

As Matthews announces the first recipient’s name, the room bursts into a grandeur display of applause. As she smiles to hide her excitement and surprise, senior Kayla Boven stands up and makes her way to the stage. Being presented with an award that upholds such importance, Boven feels extreme gratitude for her success and is euphoric to end her high school career on a high point.

“I feel very thankful and blessed to have been awarded this year,” said Boven. “This was a tremendous milestone throughout my time in high school and I could not have done it without my teachers and family supporting me everyday.”

Presented with the most awards than any other senior this year, Boven was awarded with Falcon Awards for AP Government, AP Art History, High Honors and of course, the Obra D. Tompkins Award. Receiving such praise and appreciation for her accomplishments, Boven has reflected on the growth she has progressed through from freshman year. She believes maintaining consistent diligence and focusing on her goals has allowed her to achieve prosperously in high school and is what sets her apart from other seniors.

“I think my work ethic has led me to such a major successful point in my high school career,” Boven said. “Playing both soccer and basketball has taught me to manage time effectively. Both of these allowed me to find the best ways to study for my classes. These skills are what helped me to be where I am today.”

Boven’ strongest motivation throughout this all has been her faith. Being a Christian, Boven has been taught to uphold good character by being kind and helping others and this inclined Boven to persevere despite chances of failure. Having been instilled with these beliefs by her parents, she believes it is important to be able to rely on others and have an emotionally sufficient support system. Similarly, senior and Obra D. Tompkins award recipient Pedro Da Silva shares the same belief.  Da Silva received the Falcon Award for English 4 and the Obra D. Tompkins Award. For Da Silva, his family has been his strongest motivation to persist and pursue opportunities to succeed and grow.

“My family sacrifices so much of themselves taking me to the gym, to workouts, going to every game, and taking care of all my needs,” said Da Silva. “They are my greatest motivation. They are my reason why.”

Besides his family, Da Silva also attributes his success as a result of his own passion and dedication to cultivating progress. He believes this is what separates himself from other seniors and he urges the importance of being self driven and self confident in order to achieve success. Despite this, Da Silva also strongly highlights the importance of staying humble in order to maintain a proper balance between the two and he is proud of his classmates and hopes they pride themselves on their accomplishments as well. He believes encompassing all these ideas has allowed him to grow and develop into the person he is today and guaranteed him to attain this triumph in his high school career. He advises future seniors to focus on their goals and to not back down from the face of adversity.

“I would say that if you truly focus on yourself and letting others do what they want you’ll save yourself lots of pain, struggle, and hardship,” Da Silva said.  “Be yourself and be truly unapologetic about being who you are and stand up to those people who are so high and mighty.”