• Recipients of the Pell Medal for U.S. History pose with Clay Pell at the University of Rhode Island.

    Rhode Island Students Awarded Pell Medal for U.S. History

    Newport, R.I.—Sixty-six Rhode Island students earned the Herbert and Claiborne Pell Medal for U.S. History this year.  The medal, administered now by the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, recognizes college and high school students in the state who have excelled in U.S. History.

    The Pell Medal was originally presented by Senator Claiborne Pell and his wife, Mrs. Nuala Pell, for more than 50 years. After Mrs. Pell’s passing in April 2014, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University agreed to become the steward of the medal process.

    Pell Medal U.S. History

    Clay Pell (far left) presented the Herbert and Claiborne Pell Medal for U.S. History to Rebecca Giguere (first row, second from right) at the University of Rhode Island

    “It has been a joy and an honor to recognize many of our most promising students across Rhode Island,” said Clay Pell who has personally presented several of the medals at events across the state.  “To me, this medal represents my grandparents’ reverence for the past as well as their confidence in future generations.”

    Pell Center Executive Director Dr. Jim Ludes said, “While I chose a career in public policy, I prepared for that career by studying history. So I’m especially grateful that the Pell Center can help continue this beautiful tradition.”

    Established by the Pell family, the Pell Medal is named for Representative Herbert C. Pell and his son, Senator Claiborne Pell.  Herbert Pell served as a member of Congress and American Minister to Portugal and Hungary, while Claiborne Pell, who is responsible for the creation of the Pell Grants and the National Endowment for the Humanities, served in the Senate for 36 years and worked to strengthen American foreign policy.

    “I also want to recognize Ms. Jan Demers,” said Ludes.  “For years Jan helped Senator and Mrs. Pell administer the medal.  We at the Pell Center know we have big shoes to fill in our new role and we are grateful for the support and encouragement Jan has given us.”

    The winners of the 2015 Herbert and Claiborne Pell Medal for excellence in the study of U.S. History are:



    F. Nelson Blount, St. Andrew’s School

    Madeline Schirber, Barrington High School



    Sabrina Dasilva, Mount Hope High School

    Andrew Carter, Roger Williams University


    Central Falls

    Leslie McBurney, Central Falls High School



    Jared Flamand, Coventry High School



    Jonathan Penta, Cranston High School East



    Justin Wood, Cumberland High School


    East Greenwich

    Zachary Johnson, East Greenwich High School

    Mary McKenney, Rocky Hill School


    East Providence

    Monica Barbosa, East Providence High School

    Dante Diwan, Providence Country Day School



    Samantha Mancone, Burriville High School



    Tiana D’Acchioli, Johnston Senior High School



    Rebecca Giguere, University of Rhode Island



    Benjamin P. Chiacchia, Lincoln High School

    Reymy Pena, William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School



    Erin Keating, St. George’s School

    Samantha Plezia, Middletown High School



    Rayne Henley, The Ocean Tides School

    Cole Metzger-Levitt, Middlebridge School

    Eileen Sullivan, Narragansett High School



    Mitchell Cardon, Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School

    Catherine Hermes, Rogers High School

    Jessica Rose, Salve Regina University

    Brandon Watson, Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School


    North Kingstown

    Joseph Black, North Kingstown High School

    Lydia Sgouros, North Kingstown High School



    North Providence

    Brendan Walker, North Providence High School


    North Scituate

    Christine Wagner, Ponaganset High School


    North Smithfield

    Diane Newberry, North Smithfield High School



    Vanessa Dos Anjos, St. Raphael Academy

    Nathan Gagnon, William E. Tolman High School

    Judiana Moise, Blackstone Academy Charter School

    Djita Sidibe, Charles E. Shea High School



    David Brower, Portsmouth Abbey School

    Chris Norton, Portsmouth High School



    Estrella Argueta, Hope High School

    Elizabeth Bitgood, Rhode Island College

    Jasmin Cantera, Academy for Career Exploration

    Johanny Castillo, Paul Cuffee Upper School

    Hannah Duncan, Brown University

    Lexus Fernandez, Mount Pleasant High School

    Emma Funaki, Rhode Island School of Design

    Kaly Heng, Central High School

    Julianna Marandola, La Salle Academy

    Henry Mayer, Classical High School

    James Morin, Providence College

    Julissa Sabater, School One

    Rose Maso, Lincoln School



    Robert Capron, Scituate High School



    Kalah Caruso, Bryant University

    Megan Long, Smithfield High School



    John Albert, The Prout School

    Rieley Auger, South Kingstown High School



    Henry Cascella, Pilgrim High School

    Riley Chabot, Bishop Hendricken High School

    Hanah Ellis, Warwick Veterans Memorial High School

    Hunter Heberg, Toll Gate High School

    Tuon Mi, Community College of Rhode Island



    Kyra McCormick, Westerly High School


    West Greenwich

    Brianna McFadden, Exeter-West Greenwich High School


    West Warwick

    Kristen DiSano, West Warwick High School


    Wood River Junction

    Lydia Crandall, Chariho Regional High School



    T.J. Bergeron, Beacon Chart High School for the Arts

    Adam Mercier, Mount Saint Charles Academy

    Abigail Shobako, Woonsocket High School


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