Honoring Excellence: Students Receive Memorial, Academic and Pillar Awards – 2019

The Jivanti Rutansky Memorial Award

In honor of Jivanti’s memory, the Mount Madonna School (MMS) faculty is choosing to give one high school student and one middle school student an award in her name each year. The award will be presented to students who embody the qualities that made Jivanti such an important ambassador of our school mission. The recipients of this award will be engaged and dedicated members of the school community, empathetic and compassionate classmates, engaged and curious learners, honest and self-reflective individuals, and protectors of the environment. The recipients should demonstrate support of their classmates in their endeavors, and dedicate themselves to service.

  • Mara Peruzzi, 12th
  • Sam Kaplan, 8th

The Power of Jiv Scholarship Award

Over many years we all experienced the Power of Jiv. The woman who handled pressure with ease, who tackled and overcame all obstacles. Jivanti never let a problem slow her down, her perseverance was inspiring and her work ethic legendary. Jiv was a force of nature who uplifted every situation she walked into.

This scholarship is awarded to the student who best exemplifies Jivanti’s work ethic, positivity and eagerness to help in any way possible. It was given given by a life-long friend and admirer of Jivanti’s.

  • Ceci Rothman-Salado, 11th

Middle and High School Pillar Awards

Mount Madonna School has continued the tradition started in 2013, of presenting awards to students in middle and high school whose achievement in one of the areas of our school’s three pillars – Academic Excellence, Creative Self-Expression and Positive Character Development – was outstanding. These three areas are equally important to success at Mount Madonna School – and, indeed, in the world.

The students who received these awards are the following:

Academic Achievement

Showing outstanding critical thinking and writing skills, thoughtful self-expression, and honest reflection as part of the learning process; with a personal commitment to learning that balances both comprehensive understanding and in-depth inquiry in multiple disciplines.

  • Noah Kaplan, 12th
  • Tabitha Hardin-Zollo, 11th
  • Nadia Rassech, 10th
  • Sophia Marentette, 9th
  • Mariah Cohen, 8th
  • Emma Monclus, 7th
  • Cavan Smith, 6th

Creative Self-Expression

Immersing him/herself in the creative process that includes cognitive learning, teamwork, direct experience, reflection and mutual appreciation; creatively expressing him/herself in all academic coursework; experiencing the creative process such that the student overcomes perceived limitations and intuitive intelligence emerges; valuing the collaborative process where individual effort and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater whole result in an inspiring and fulfilling experience.

  • Sage Turner, 12th
  • Connor Murphy, 11th
  • Violet Forbes, 10th
  • Liana Kitchel, 9th
  • Samy Moore, 8th
  • Josie Moran, 7th
  • Jillian Segura, 6th

Positive Character Development

Reflecting positive ways of dealing with whatever situation is confronting him/her; dedicated to a spirit of non-harming, cooperation and respectful relationships; striving to realize positive values such as compassion, honesty, cooperation, fairness, dedication and human decency in his/her daily lives; taking initiative to lead and to serve, take responsibility, acquire self-discipline; and to care for others.

  • John Dias, 12th
  • Paola Jacobs, 11th
  • Kira Kaplan and Ami Bharghavan, 10th
  • Jimmy Bregman, 9th
  • Zoey Ocampo-Sobkoviak, 8th
  • Emma Monclus, 7th
  • Amelie Zands, 6th


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,


Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.