Every year, the last award given out at the high school's awards assembly is its most prestigious, the Stanford Moore Prize.
The prize was established by his classmates in honor of Stanford Moore '31, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1972. His PDS classmates wanted to recognize the graduating senior in each class who most nearly approached his talents as a student and thinker.
From Vince Durnan's remarks as he gave the prize to Jessie Baskauf this year:
We gather as a community of learners, maybe humbled by his example but conscious that Stanford Moore proved anything is possible from here. In that spirit, we tap a senior to carry that hope on behalf of each class. Think of the last four, still in college, and their habits of mind: Dylan Young, Coco Coyle, Mark Arildsen, and Kuan Peng. Now for their successor.
Maybe hardest at this point would be to identify this honoree’s strongest strength. A Governor’s School student, a Language Exam medalist, a Mathfax regular, a poet, and a committed musician. While no more fixated on grades than Stanford Moore was on prizes, our honoree garnered nearly two dozen A+ marks so far, indicative of teachers’ insistence solely on commending exemplary work, since they count no more than a regular, garden variety A in GPA terms. To be so good at everything keeps options open for later.
Soft spoken but always looking for the next challenge, our honoree combines life interest with school interests, honing skills and abilities that will make for a deeper appreciation of the beauty of sound and sight and intellect. At once self-aware and not self-conscious, our honoree demonstrates an Emersonian capacity to transcend and not to be different for different audiences. A penchant for languages reveals a wish to travel between fields and disciplines, whether in French and Spanish, visual arts media, science specialties, violin, voice, or piano. Only this mind could combine founding a creative math club with a culinary interest that made Mexican food a quantitative model of intersecting planes.
Join me in congratulating a self-starter, curious of mind and passionate of spirit, a citizen of all the academic countries that combine to make our curricular world, for academic achievement and dedication, our 2015 Stanford Moore prize recipient, Jessie Baskauf.