Catholic High senior, one of 60 Distinctive Scholars throughout archdiocese, is going places

By Paul McMullen
Twitter: @ReviewMcMullen
How rare is the academic resume of Sarah Perumattam?

She’s the president of the Student Council at The Catholic High School of Baltimore, drawn there by its STEM program, which has already helped her study at the University of Maryland School of Engineering and log in as a summer lab intern with the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Then there is her fluency in Spanish; her volunteer hours with Esperanza Center and Sarah’s House, two Catholic Charities of Baltimore programs; and the skill at volleyball that made her an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland all-star.

There were others with similar credentials at the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s 24th annual Distinctive Scholars Convocation April 4, but Perumattam is unique among the thousands of young women who have come through Catholic High, as she will be the first of its graduates to matriculate to Brown University, an Ivy League institution in Providence, R.I.

How many hours of sleep a night does she get?

“Not enough,” Perumattam said with a laugh.

She came to Catholic High from St. Jane Frances School in Riviera Beach. She was raised in Our Lady of the Chesapeake Parish in Pasadena, and in a household that values intellectual rigor.

Both of Perumattam’s parents, who met in their native India, work in medical fields. Her older sister, Monica, a 2014 grad of Catholic High, is a student at Washington University in St. Louis, annually ranked one of the nation’s top universities.

Perumattam’s personalized curriculum has involved frequent trips to College Park.

“There’s a pre-engineering program at the University of Maryland, it involves training and mentoring,” she said. “I went there twice a month during my junior year, with a full day of class on Saturday. I lost part of my weekend, but it was a cool experience.”

Last summer involved a commute to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, where she studied cocaine addiction.

For her senior project at Catholic High, Perumattam and Emma Stinson built an iPhone app that promotes environmental sustainability by directing users to local farmer’s markets and such.

Three students from each of the 20 high schools in the archdiocese were honored in the April 4 convocation at Mercy High School, which included a vespers service led by Bishop Denis J. Madden and words of congratulations from Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson, superintendent of Catholic Schools.

Three students from each of the 20 high schools in the archdiocese were honored April 4 as Distinctive Scholars for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)
Two scholars from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore will strengthen its connection with St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., the only college in the world founded by the Society of St. Edmund, a Catholic congregation.

“Our relationship with St. Michael’s is very special,” said Deacon Curtis Turner, principal of St. Frances Academy since 2008. “Since I’ve been here, St. Frances Academy has always had a graduate enrolled there.”

St. Frances Academy seniors Aaron Greene and Charles Thompson were recognized as Archdiocese of Baltimore Distinctive Scholars. Both students will attend Saint Michael’s College in Vermont as Presidential Scholars. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)

Aaron Greene and Charles Thompson will add to that legacy at St. Michael’s, both as Presidential Scholars. Both are members of the Mother Mary Lange Chapter of the National Honor Society at St. Frances Academy, where they are known for their leadership. Greene will study computer science, Thompson biology.

The program for the convocation included a brief bio for each of the 60 students, written by a faculty member.

Keira Mull holds the highest GPA at St. John’s Catholic Prep in Buckeystown, is vice president of the National Honor Society and captain of the cheer team. Her bio also mentioned her “sardonic humor.”

“That was probably written my Mr. Van,” she said, referring to Tim Van Schaick, who chairs the social studies department and also teaches theology.

A parishioner of St. Katharine Drexel in Frederick, Mull counts meeting Archbishop William E. Lori among her Catholic school highlights. She’s been accepted by all three of the state’s Catholic universities, in addition to The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Keira Mull of St. John’s Catholic Prep in Buckeystown awaits the start of the April 5 Distinctive Scholars Convocation held at Mercy High School in Baltimore. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff) 

A complete list of the Distinctive Scholars follows:

Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore: Matthew Borowy, Nicholas Menikheim, Angelo Petruccy.
Archbishop Spalding High School, Severn: Madeline Bowcutt, Darla Lowe, Darby Nisbett.
Bishop Walsh School, Cumberland: William DiNola, Olivia Nield, John Rossi.
Calvert Hall College High School, Towson: Justin Bucci, Michael Ehart, Yanni Kevas.
The Catholic High School of Baltimore: Madeline Donnelly, Sarah Perumattam, Abigail Timmel.
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Baltimore: Tyler Evans, Briahna Jackson, Bernard McFadden.
St. Frances Academy, Baltimore: Aaron Greene, Bianca Lewis, Charles Thompson.
Institute of Notre Dame, Baltimore: Corey Fletcher, Marlette Sandoval, Micayla Wilson.
The John Carroll School, Bel Air: Claire Grunewald, Madison Reed, Katherine Sullivan.
St. John’s Catholic Prep, Buckeystown: Finnian Mayhew, Keira Mull, Casssandra Sottile.
Loyola Blakefield, Towson: Evan Pham, Benjamin Sullivan, Alexander Wilson.
St. Maria Goretti High School, Hagerstown: Emma Geesaman, Ann Therese Skehan, John Torborg.
St. Mary’s High School, Annapolis: Kathleen Bisson, Anne Hayburn, Matthew Van Slyke.
Maryvale Preparatory School, Lutherville: Londrea Garrett, Claire Noppenberger, Gabrielle Pfeffer.
Mercy High School, Baltimore: Julia Gusmano, Samantha Maygers, Katrina Schmidt.
Mount de Sales Academy, Catonsville: Veronica Balick, Elizabeth Kolb, Katherine Sniezek.
Mount St. Joseph High School, Irvington: Bryan Costabile, Mark Haver, Kevin Roche.
Notre Dame Preparatory School, Towson: Miya Dubler, Keely Heise, Lauren Sands.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Essex: Olivia Bonner, Sarah Conway, Benjamin Cummins.
The Seton Keough High School, Baltimore: Laura McKernan, Sara Minnis, Stephanie Saloka.

Also see:

Want your son to be a Distinctive Scholar? Consider the name Nicholas

Archdiocese recognizes 60 high school scholars

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.