Channing Lee of Cornelia Connelly received the school's highest honor

By Staff     7/22/2019

Cornelia Connelly School held its 55th commencement ceremony this spring. In keeping with the nationwide Holy Child Network of Schools’ tradition, Connelly graduates wore beautiful floor-length white gowns, white gloves, and each carried a bouquet of elegant red roses during the outdoor ceremony that took place on Connelly’s Sullivan-Henry Field. 

The high school does not have a “valedictorian” at the graduation celebration. Instead, the school presents the Connelly Cup and a Top Academic Average award. The Connelly Cup, Cornelia Connelly School’s highest honor, is given to the graduate who best exemplifies the Holy Child ideal in Christian leadership, loyalty, achievement in studies, and dedicated service. The Top Academic Average Award is awarded to a student for achieving the top academic average in her four years at Connelly. The Class of 2019 graduates merited nearly $4,000,000 in scholarships. This year’s Connelly Cup and Top Academic Average award were awarded to Channing Lee of Fullerton. 

Lee graduated with a weighted GPA of 4.68 and will be attending Georgetown University this fall. She plans to major in International Politics at the School of Foreign Service and hopes to enter public service in the future. 

At Cornelia Connelly, Lee served as Associated Student Body President, Editor-in-Chief for the Connelly Chronicle, and commissioner of fundraising and service for her campus ministry. Lee was also involved in other clubs and organizations, holding a variety of leadership positions on campus. To name a few, Lee was a soprano II section leader for the Advanced Women’s Ensemble, a student representative for Academic Council, a student representative for the Global Solidarity Committee, a Cornelia Connelly ambassador, retreat leader, and a member of the National Honor Society. She was also involved in Mock Trial as the prosecution attorney earlier during her high school years, and as a lead defense attorney during her senior year. 

“Before Connelly, I attended Fairmont Private Schools, Anaheim Hills Campus for 13 years. I was fortunate enough to receive two merit scholarships at Connelly, a Four-Year Holy-Child Half-Tuition Scholarship and the Sister Helen Marty Weisbrod Scholarship. If I were to summarize myself in one word, it would be a student. I am always curious about learning about the world around me, regardless of whether or not I sit in a classroom,” said Lee. 

Outside of school, Lee is a regular volunteer in the community. She was a volunteer debate coach, a volunteer board member for the Orange County Debate League, chapter founder for Girl Talk where she mentored middle school girls, organized “Adopt-a-Family” Christmas, and plays piano at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Rowland Heights. Lee speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. She worked as a trilingual student worker for the Orange County Registrar of Voters in the November midterm elections. 

Lee is a five-time Carson Scholar and has received the Good Citizens Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Lee is a Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship Semifinalist, an American Protégé Piano Competition Winner at Carnegie Hall Concert, a U.S. Senate Youth Program First Alternate, and a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Semifinalist. 

When asked about her high school experience, Lee said, “I am proud to be a part of such a loving sisterhood and joy-filled community. . . Working with peers has taught me the importance of collaboration, empathy, and perseverance. Through my travels, I have encountered diverse cultures, art, music, history, and the like, all of which has contributed to my expanded worldview. As I embark on the next chapter of my life in Washington, D.C., I know that I will continue to be a student of the world—in college and beyond.”