Bellesini Honors Society

Named after Blessed Stephen Bellesini, a friar in the Order of the Hermits of St Augustine (OSA), the Bellesini Honors Society helps students strive for academic excellence while fostering Augustinian students who ignite change in their communities.


Three years after the decision to separate from the National Honors Society, Malvern’s Blessed Bellesini Honors Society continues to strive. While the decision was less based on the faults of the NHS and more on the opportunities of an individual society, the decreasing competitiveness of the NHS deterred Malvern away from its continuation. 


“Over the years, [the NHS] has lowered their standards. When we graduated 120 seniors and inducted 50 to 60 students to [the NHS], did that truly denote that those students were really high achievers and special? We wanted [a society] that students really worked to strive for. The Bellesini Honors Society has better standards and is more aligned with Malvern’s Augustinian values,” Lappas said.


Providing a challenge for all Malvern students, the Bellesini Honors Society takes the top 15% of GPAs after Semester One of Junior year. Averaging out GPAs from Freshman, Sophomore, and one semester in Junior year, the society values academic commitment to excellence. 


“Being part of an honors society of any school is really great for a college resume. We also try to really get involved in some activities around school,” Lappas said. 


Even more exciting, the individual society aspect allows this group to be active in the Malvern Community. The 18 juniors are led by Roman Buono (President), Alex Daoud (Academic Chair), Ryan McLaughlin (Events Chair) and faculty members: Mrs. Lappas, Mrs. Coia, and Mrs. Folan. So far this year, members of the Bellesini Honors Society have staffed the Peer-to-Peer Learning Center 3 times a month, run the Red Cross Blood Drive, and operated the Christmas Tree Lighting. Also contributing to Malvern’s Augustinian Mission is the society’s president, Roman Buono, who started an alumni mentorship program for all members of the society.


“Roman took it upon himself this year to start a new program in the Bellesini Honors Society. He reached out through Mrs. Frankenheimer and Linkedin to Malvern Alums and connected them with members of the society to be their mentors. While some mentors didn’t go further than the first meeting, over 10 of the 18 have really made relationships with their mentors that will be valuable going forward.”


Reflecting on his contribution to the society, Roman included his processes for making the program and matching mentors with society members.


“I connected [the society members and alumni] by giving them each other’s phone numbers and encouraging them to check in often about events in their life like college decisions, or sports experiences. My basis for connecting them was often based on college similarities, career field shared interests, or shared sports,” Buono said. 


Looking back now, Roman shared with me how beneficial this is to current members. 


“[This program] is very helpful. Our alumni went through many of the same things as us and are very like minded. These relationships can help advise you on what or what not to do, and inform you on things that worked for them,” Buono said


Perhaps the most impressive thing on the agenda for Bellesini Honors Society members is their Villanova college course opportunity.


“We have initiated a program with Villanova University and they have started a cost-free leadership class just for Bellesini members called Ignite Change. This class has 4 on-campus lessons which is great to expose our students to a University campus. In their senior year, we want them to bring back their newly learned skills with leadership back to Malvern’s campus,” Lappas said.


Malvern will celebrate our Juniors inducted into the Bellesini Honors Society after mass on the Wednesday after Easter Break. Members will receive a blue and white bow tie designating their achievements in both academic excellence and Malvern’s Augustinian values.


“There are big things coming for the Bellesini Honors Society,” Buono said.