On Wednesday, June 1st, honored members of the 275th graduating class, distinguished alumni, guests, and board members of the Associated Alumni of Central High School (AACHS) were invited to the Sheraton Society Hill for a special evening consisting of three memorable events. For many of the students, the night was about the AACHS announcing its recipient of the coveted Disharoon Award, an award given to the student who best demonstrates the qualities found in leaders that care for their community and reflect the Central spirit. This year’s nominees were Daniel Feyler, Rosemary George, Emmanuel Houndo, Neil McNair Jr., Justina Moktan, Meghan Tezik, and Kwynasia Young.
After detailing the wonderful history each nominee had of performing incredible deeds for their communities, while retaining high academic grades, the AACHS announced that, after much deliberation, Meghan Tezik would be awarded the 2016 Disharoon Award.
“To win this award, I was extremely involved at Central,” explained Meghan. “I played two varsity sports, holding a captain’s position in both. I was also involved a lot outside of school. I volunteered a lot at my local Boys and Girls Club. Also, during the interview one of the requirements was to demonstrate a clear love for Central and to have a sense of humor. I guess they liked my jokes.”
When asked what advice she had for future candidates, Meghan said, “Stretch yourself as far as you can go. Seize every opportunity you can because you never know where it could lead you.”
“I couldn’t be more honored to be nominated for this award,” remarked Danny Feyler. “My fellow nominees are truly incredible people, each and every one of them, and I’m humbled and almost starstruck to be in their company. The respect of my peers is something I feel eternally lucky to have and I’m confident in saying that everyone at Central deserves the amount of recognition this award generates. It’s a shame that so few people are recognized, and I think President McKenna’s remarks about how hard it was to narrow the entire class to only seven candidates really speak to what the school is about—inclusion, motivation to achieve excellence, and pride in each and every student.
“Senior year has definitely given me a new perspective on productivity. Contrary to popular belief, I would argue that senior year actually made me more productive. New things like the college process made me think in ways I had never had to before. Also, all the electives in my schedule allowed me to focus on what I was really interested in. In my opinion, being interested in your work is the best way to make sure you stay on task. Passion outshines laziness any day.”
For many of the board members on the AACHS, the night marked a transitional moment in AACHS’s history.
AACHS President Jeffrey Muldawer (225) stepped down from his position, and the results of the elections for next year’s board were announced. Stephen Chappell (209) became the new AACHS President and gave his remarks about what an honor it was to become the president of an ever-growing alumni family and how he hoped to carry on the great work Muldawer did.
The honored guest of the night, who happened to sit at Meghan Tezik’s table before her name was called to receive the Disharoon Award, was Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. He spoke to the audience about the great Central tradition and how schools like Central are creating bright students to make societies across the world better. He also discussed the significance of diversity and how Central, as the most diverse school in the nation, has demonstrated the positivity of diversity.
Kenney’s speech transitioned to talk about the role of education in the country and how funding for education is critical to success for any city. He explained how his tax on sugary drinks would create the funding necessary for universal pre-kindergarten programs, a concept he developed much of his campaign around, and that it would create beneficial health effects for children across the city.
Justina Moktan summarized her experience at the dinner (and at Central for that matter) by stating, “Senior year has opened the doors to many different opportunities. From managing and organizing class events to attending alumni meetings, I’ve gotten the chance to meet a lot of interesting people. It has allowed me to exchange my love and experiences of Central High with new people. Investing my time and energy into Central and my class has been a very rewarding and humbling experience. I’ve learned to listen to many different ideas and understand where people come from with their views. It has been a pleasure to have served 275 as vice president and being nominated for the Disharoon Award reminds me of my journey as a passionate student and future alumna of Central High School.”
Natan Yakov (275)