Service And Achievement Define Top Seniors At Leon County High Schools

By: Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Email
By: Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Email
This week, 150 of Leon County’s most outstanding high school seniors were selected as finalists for the 2014 Best and Brightest Awards, which recognize public and private school students who excel both in their academics and service.

Courtesy of Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce

News Release: Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This week, 150 of Leon County’s most outstanding high school seniors were selected as finalists for the 2014 Best and Brightest Awards, which recognize public and private school students who excel both in their academics and service. The finalists from each school will undergo an interview process culminating in the announcement of the countywide winners at the Best and Brightest Awards Ceremony, which will be held May 14 at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.

“Once again, the categories are filled with exceptional students who consistently demonstrate an indisputable dedication to leadership, civic duty and service to the community" said Laura Rogers, Program Director of World Class Schools and coordinator of the Best and Brightest Awards. “Each of these outstanding finalists epitomizes Leon County’s effectiveness in nurturing successful and caring students.”

The Best and Brightest Awards program -- now in its ninth year -- has recognized more than 1,050 exceptional public and private high school seniors and awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships since its inception. The Best and Brightest Awards program is sponsored by Envision Credit Union, in partnership with Leon County Schools, World Class Schools of Leon County, the Tallahassee Democrat, Sachs Media Group, Awards 4 U, Tallahassee Community College, ITT Technical Institute, Southern Scholarship Foundation, Target Copy and the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

On March 1, panels of select community leaders will interview the 2014 finalists on such topics as foreign language, technology and music, to determine the winners of the countywide awards. This year, 150 finalists will be evaluated on their academic achievement, leadership and community service. A winner, runner-up and honorable mention recipient will be named from each category.

“Leon County students have a track record of leadership and civic service and this year, they have gone above and beyond and set a new, commendable standard,” said Ron Sachs, founder of the Best and Brightest Awards and president of Sachs Media Group. “These students exhibit a dedication and kindness that will serve them well not only now, but also as they move into their future careers and as they pursue life’s opportunities.”

To reach this point, all finalists have demonstrated a solid record of academic achievement and expertise in one of 15 competitive categories in addition to school and community service. First-place winners in each category will receive scholarships of $1,500; runners-up will be awarded $750; and honorable mention recipients will receive $500. All other finalists will receive a $100 scholarship in recognition of their superlative accomplishments.

In addition to celebrating high school students, the Best and Brightest Awards program reaches out to younger Leon County students. The program conducts an Eighth Grade Essay Contest, and three students from across the county will win awards ranging from $100 to $500. The contest provides middle school students with much-needed positive reinforcement and helps encourage them to reflect on the importance of community involvement and academic achievement as they enter their high school careers. Schools will select the winning essays in April.

Another highlight of the program is the Spirit of the Best and Brightest Award, which is presented to the Best and Brightest winner whose deep commitment to civic duty and service stands out most to the judges. That student will receive a $2,500 scholarship commemorating the late Brooks Rogers, in addition to his or her Best and Brightest scholarship award winnings.

This year’s finalists for the Ninth Annual Best and Brightest Awards are:

Art: Lacy Barineau (Maclay School), Wanjing Cui (Chiles High School), Adelaide Determann (Florida State University School), Steven Goodchild (SAIL High School), Angelina Liu (Lincoln High School), Kenya Lloyd (Godby High School), Kiara Palmer (Rickards High School), La'Karis Salter (FAMU Developmental Research School), Sable Thompson (Leon High School), Yuqing Wu (John Paul II Catholic School)

Athletics: Javier Escobar III (FAMU Developmental Research School), George Gilliam (SAIL High School),Adrian Hendlin (Chiles High School), Kristyn Hollenbeck (Florida State University School), MaShawn Knight (Godby High School), Erin Kolman (John Paul II Catholic School), Darrielle McQueen (North Florida Christian School), Kolby McWilliams (Maclay School), Ainsley Pratt (Lincoln High School), Phalguna Rupanagudi (Rickards High School), Carter Thompson (Leon High School)

Business: Haley Ashlin (Leon High School), Antonzia Darville (Godby High School), Brian Leichus (Chiles High School), Jessica Levenstein (Maclay School), Kelechi Nnaji (Rickards High School), Jaedin Renfroe (Lincoln High School), Deanne Roberts (Florida State University School), Jaidyn Wiard (SAIL High School)

Career/Technical: Jaylon Barnes (Godby High School), Alaina Branch (Florida State University School), Tamia Campbell (FAMU Developmental Research School), Missette Fleurissaint (Leon High School), Sarah Gurley (Rickards High School),Tessa Leininger (Maclay School), Kayla Parker (Lincoln High School), Alayna Sibille (Chiles High School), David Wisniewski (SAIL High School)

Drama & Performing Arts: Anna Brooks (Maclay School), Anna Butler (Community Christian School), Thea Duncan-Beaumont (Godby High School), Mathieu Fredrickson (Leon High School), Jonathan Goodwin (FAMU Developmental Research School), Victoria Hines (John Paul II Catholic School), Kelsey James (Florida State University School), Roxanne Jester (Chiles High School), Jennifer Merrick (SAIL High School), Christopher Pippin (Lincoln High School), Kaylee Vigue (Rickards High School)

English & Language Arts: Joss Abaco (SAIL High School), Yasemin Altun (Rickards High School), Theresa Button (John Paul II Catholic School), Macy Craig (Godby High School), Kathryn Croft (Florida State University School), Caitlyn Gibson (Chiles High School), Adrienne Harmon (FAMU Developmental Research School), Brooke Harrison (Leon High School), Natalie Jones (Lincoln High School), Emily Ostreich (Maclay School)

Foreign Language: Makristina Aggabao (Lincoln High School), Aileen Bustamante (SAIL High School), William Courreges-Clercq (Maclay School), Yu Liu (Godby High School), Daniel Mangan (John Paul II Catholic School), Shelby McCrackin (Florida State University School), Kevin Ramirez (Rickards High School), Mackenzie Teek (Leon High School), Cecilia Xie (Chiles High School)

Journalism: Lucas Alexander (Chiles High School), Kari Baasch (Florida State University School), Julia Filloon (Maclay School), Hunter Gillespie (Lincoln High School), Madison Harris-Parks (Rickards High School), Torri Hart (FAMU Developmental Research School), Mina Kaji (Leon High School), Alissea Merritt (SAIL High School), Marshall Moyle (John Paul II Catholic School), Phong Pham (Godby High School)

Leadership: Carly Craig (Maclay School), Joshua Gallaher (Chiles High School), Beatrice Hearm (Community Christian School), Pamela Hu (Rickards High School), Amina Kamau (SAIL High School), Carolyn Nguyen (Godby High School), Sarah Roberts (Florida State University School), Juan Salters (FAMU Developmental Research School), Ria Shah (Lincoln High School), Lacey Silvestri (John Paul II Catholic School), Alexander Strickland (North Florida Christian School), Brooke Williams (Leon High School)

Mathematics: Dionte Boddie (Godby High School), Courtney Johnson (Leon High School), Egwuchukwu Kalu (John Paul II Catholic School), Parisa Keshavarz-Joud (Maclay School), Charles McCarthy (Florida State University School), Redden Money (SAIL High School), Adrienne Nelson (FAMU Developmental Research School), Robert Rogers (North Florida Christian School), Alexander Yu (Rickards High School), Jimmy Zhang (Chiles High School),
Jeffery Zou (Lincoln High School)

Music: Samuel Cherrier-Vickers (Leon High School), Jatericka Connelly (Rickards High School), Justin Fitzpatrick (FAMU Developmental Research School), Avonlea Geisbert (Florida State University School), Nathan Hoekman (Chiles High School), John Hogan (Maclay School), Austin Locke (Godby High School), Brea Pack (John Paul II Catholic School), Francisco Westberry (SAIL High School), Crystal Zhang (Lincoln High School)

Public Speaking: Amber Borgersen (Leon High School), James Daughton (Maclay School), Tram Dinh (Rickards High School), Stuart Garrity (Florida State University School), Devin Harrison (Godby High School), Haley May (Chiles High School), Aidan Newsome (John Paul II Catholic School), Yasmire Whigham (FAMU Developmental Research School), Cole Zelznak (Lincoln High School)

Science & Health: Christopher Allison (Maclay School), Sara Cowart (Florida State University School), Stephen Crothers (SAIL High School), Curtis Crowther (Chiles High School), Haley Hall (Godby High School), Megan Logan (John Paul II Catholic School), Alyssa Morrison (Rickards High School), Blaire Scoles (Lincoln High School), Samantha Skrob (Leon High School), Ariana Uwaibi (FAMU Developmental Research School)

Social Sciences: Hannah Acree (Godby High School), Christian Bell (Maclay School), Lauren Biddle (North Florida Christian School), Kayley Erickson (Lincoln High School), Luke Forsthoefel (John Paul II Catholic School), Matthew Kang (Rickards High School), Ashley Moore (SAIL High School), Cooper Perlman (Florida State University School), Sarah Schrader-Nahoom (Leon High School), Anisha Sinha (Chiles High School), Stafon Thomas (FAMU Developmental Research School)

Technology: Adam Claitt (FAMU Developmental Research School), Victor Cordiano (Rickards High School), Saikrishnapriya Gunasegaran (Godby High School), Jae Ha (Maclay School), Harrison Kent (Leon High School), John Edward Muchovej (Lincoln High School), Brady Robshaw (Florida State University School), Shawn Wilson (Chiles High School), Brenna Wonsey (SAIL High School)

For more information about the Best and Brightest Awards, visit www.thebestandbrightestawards.com.


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