After being introduced by former Columbus Academy headmaster John Mackenzie at last month’s Alumni Holiday Luncheon, Dr. Michael Hallet ’70 accepted the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor given to an alumnus/a in recognition of outstanding achievement in community or profession and loyalty to the school.

“I’m not sure how deserving I am to receive this award as of December 2022,” said Hallet, “but I promise to earn this honor from this time forth and live my life so that anybody who checks the list of winners in the future might say ‘He sure wasn’t much of an athlete but he honored the school and did really earn this award.’ I never strove for this recognition but will strive to be worthy of it.”

Earlier in the event, retired art teacher Scott Neal was presented with the Alumni Service Award for his lasting contribution to Columbus Academy through service to the school. He was introduced by his daughter Miranda Krysty ’99.

At the end of his acceptance speech, Scott stated: “I enjoyed driving up the long driveway each day of my 40 years at Columbus Academy, and I relished all the opportunities I had teaching many fine students. Headmaster John Mackenzie once said that teaching was accomplished by conveying information through one’s personality. I hope my former students knew that I cared about them not only as students but as people.”

The annual luncheon also featured Alaina West ’24, who was invited to re-deliver her Junior Speech by Head of School Melissa Soderberg, who noted the continuing importance of the Junior Speech and that Alaina was the third student invited to present their speech at the event, following Jack Mills ’16 in 2015 and Jacob Mowery ’23 last winter.

“Junior speeches have been a mainstay at Columbus Academy in the high school curriculum since its earliest days,” said Soderberg, “and the topics have ranged from persuasive political arguments to calls for action to personal reflections about what has become most important in a young life.”