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College recognizes exceptional students

Jillian Barwick | Monday, November 26, 2012

A number of Saint Mary’s finest students were honored at last night’s Belles Honoring Belles reception, an event recognizing students dedicated to pursuing a life of intellectual vigor, aesthetic appreciation, religious sensibility and social responsibility.

Student body vice president Meghan Casey coordinated the reception for students nominated for the Belle of the Year as well as their peer nominators.

“The Belles Honoring Belles Award strives to honor students at Saint Mary’s who are passionate about their education and who strive to make a difference,” Casey said. “Each of the women nominated tonight are examples of just this.”

For senior Silvia Cuevas, nominating senior social work major Adrienna Perales for the award was not a hard decision. She attributed the nomination to Perales’s dedication to social concerns and involvement on campus as president of the Social Work Club and a member of the Class Board.

Cuevas, who has known Perales since coming to Saint Mary’s, said recognizing her friend’s achievement was important to her.

“I just feel like this says a lot about who we are as Saint Mary’s women and what we are here for, to just be with each other and to do things on campus and off,” Cuevas said. “I feel that Adrienna is a prime example of these things as well as all the other nominees in this room. I have no doubt in my mind that Adrienna will show the world what Saint Mary’s women are all about.”

Perales said she was surprised to be recognized for her campus engagement by a peer so involved herself.

“I was genuinely surprised when Silvia nominated me for this, I did not expect it,” Perales said. “I feel really blessed, especially having a nomination coming from Silvia, who is the Class Board president. I am really appreciative that she sees me in this way and I am honored to be nominated.”

Nominating fellow junior Alexandra del Pilar was also an easy choice to make for junior Christina Boesler.

“I feel that Alex is the perfect example of a Belle who has embraced the community of Saint Mary’s and has challenged herself and her fears to make a difference in the world,” Boesler said.

Someone who is always smiling, del Pilar looks for the good in everything and everyone, Boesler said.

“Alex is one of my close friends who has been there for everything that has happened at school and has helped me overcome it,” Boesler said.

Del Pilar said she did not expect the nomination.

“I was extremely flattered when I heard I was nominated,” del Pilar said. “It just makes me happy that someone thinks this highly of me and is willing to honor my work in this way.”

Senior Maggie Galvin did not have to look far for the person she believed should be nominated.

“I nominated Amy Tiberi for this award. She is a recent friend to me this year, but I always knew who she was since freshman year at Saint Mary’s. She has been one of the most impactful friends I have had in my life,” Galvin said. “Amy can always put a smile on my face. She is so hardworking. “

Tiberi, who is an elementary education major as well as the president of Dance Marathon, is currently student teaching. Galvin noted how Tiberi is always caring for others and putting other people first.

Senior Liz Kraig, who works with Tiberi on the Dance Marathon committee, also nominated her co-worker and friend for the award.

“I think Amy really embodies what it means to be a Saint Mary’s Belle. She is always willing to help someone out and I really admire that about her,” Kraig said. “She is always planning ahead and is very organized which allows her to conquer everything she wants to do on campus and in her life.”

Other students nominated include senior Ciara Ward, senior Heidi Etzel, sophomore Megan Steron, first-year Carrie Dubeau, senior Liz Kraig, senior Monica Murphy and junior Allison Gerths.

Prior to presenting the Belle of the Year Award, Casey praised all the nominees gathered.

“You all serve as a testament to the dedication and commitment that Saint Mary’s women have. The Belle of the Year always goes above and beyond the call of duty, lending a hand wherever she can,” Casey said.

Tiberi was named the 2012-2013 Belle of the Year.

“I was honored to be nominated by two of my good friends, it means a lot,” Tiberi said. “I think you spend so much time with people that you don’t realize your actions are affecting people in that way. It means a lot for them to reach out and speak about me in such kind words.”

As for receiving the Belle of the Year Award, Tiberi said she felt flattered to be recognized for all she has done at Saint Mary’s and outside of the College.

“It’s exciting. I mean people shared so many great stories of amazing women and it is a little surreal to me that I was chosen,” Tiberi said. “There are so many other people standing in such great company with me. I am happy to be the inaugural Belle of the Year.”