Washington, DC – On June 2, 2023, the “Hungarian American Coalition Award” was presented to three students at the graduation ceremony of the Bolyai Farkas High School in Marosvásárhely (Tirgu Mures, Romania). Totaling $2,000, the awards were presented to seniors Ábel Újfalusi, Péter Vajda and 11th grader Tamás Attila Marton, who were recognized for their outstanding academic achievement and community service. Students must apply for the award, and applications are evaluated by a faculty committee according to a rules-based point system.
Coalition Program Coordinator Noémi Bánhidi presents the Coalition Award to Ábel Újfalusi, winner of the first prize in academic achievement at the graduation ceremony of Bolyai High School in Marosvásárhely.
The first prize for academic achievement, in the amount of $1,000, was awarded to Ábel Újfalusi who received the second prize as an 11th grader last year. He is interested in mathematics and computer science, especially artificial intelligence and machine learning, and represented his school in numerous scientific competitions throughout the Carpathian Basin with outstanding results. He also won awards at the National Conference of Research Students and the Ministry of Culture’s innovation competition. He plans to continue his studies in mathematics and computer science at Babeș-Bolyai University in Kolozsvár (Cluj Napoca, Romania).
He said: “I am originally from Szászrégen (Reghin, Romania) and I moved to Marosvásárhely (Tirgu Mures, Romania) to attend the prestigious Bolyai High School. During the four years I spent here, academic competitions were a priority for me, and I was active in mathematics, computer science, physics and sometimes in Hungarian language and literature contests. Among other things, I was driven to attend this school mainly by competitions during primary school, especially in mathematics, where I met several of my future classmates and saw the advantages of leaving my hometown and going to school here. I never regretted this decision.”
The second prize for $500 went to 11th grader Tamás Attila Marton whose main interests vary from mathematics and physics, to literature and philosophy, and has competed in various academic tournaments, mainly in mathematics and physics with great success.
He said: “Outside the school curriculum I try to broaden my base of knowledge and experience. I am mainly interested in computer science and mathematics, but I also like natural sciences, and I often spend hours researching if I am interested in something. I don’t like to limit my knowledge to a specific subject or topic; I look for connections between everything. In addition to the exact sciences, I am also interested in philosophy and literature. In my free time, I usually play computer games or sports with friends. I enjoy cycling in nature, folk dancing and community work.”
Senior Péter Vajda was awarded $500 in recognition of his outstanding community service. He was an enthusiastic organizer of community life and events at the school. He was the president of Bolyai’s Student Association (BDSZ) for two years, and became its president emeritus in senior year. After the pandemic, he organized various training opportunities for the leadership of the student union and the prestigious spring ball for Hungarian high school students with over 500 guests. He is particularly interested in mathematics, computer science and engineering and wishes to continue his studies in mathematics.
He said: “During my tenure as president of the student association, we have organized around 30 events, from sports events to training courses, balls, to fundraising and Hungarian heritage events. Besides my activities at the Bolyai Student Association, I was also a board member at the Association of Hungarian Secondary School Students in Romania (MAKOSZ), where I was involved in advocacy. It was a demanding two years, but I could not have imagined my high school years without it. I have made many lifelong friends, made many good acquaintances and learned many useful lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life and have played a key role in my upbringing.”
Former Coalition Award Recipients (Gáspár Incze, Attila Nagy, László Szepessy, Anita Kis), Márta Máthé, Coalition Program Coordinator Noémi Bánhidi and this year’s award recipients Péter Vajda, Ábel Újfalusi and Tamás Attila Marton at a reception after the graduation ceremony in honor of the awardees.
Due to other engagements, Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice was unable to attend the ceremony to present the awards. In her stead, Coalition Program Coordinator Noémi Bánhidi attended and delivered Andrea’s message:
“Congratulations to our wonderful Coalition Award recipients and to your families! Over the past several years, I have watched as my own sons navigate the formative years of high school. Through them, I have seen firsthand the myriad challenges for students, for parents, and for teachers. Even under normal circumstances, it takes strength and grace to make it through high school and prepare to take that next step. But you – the graduating class of 2023 – have survived high school, a global pandemic, a global recession and a war right next door! You have all succeeded through adversity, some challenges none of us could have ever imagined, and as a result have become stronger and I would surmise, even more grateful for opportunities.… We wish you the very best of luck on your future endeavors!”
The entire ceremony can be viewed here. Our award section starts at 1:06:12 and ends at 1:13:24. Tamás Attila Márton (an 11th grader) will receive his award at the school year closing ceremony later this month.
The “Hungarian American Coalition Award” at the Bolyai High School was established in 2019, and made possible by a grant from the Cultural Foundation for Transylvania (CFT). In the summer of 2017, the Coalition signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with CFT, whereby the Coalition agreed to implement cultural projects in Transylvania in accordance with both organizations’ Board decisions. The Coalition began disbursing grants for cultural and educational purposes that year, and in 2019 established the Bolyai award, building upon this historic high school’s outstanding educational legacy.