Mayor Fischer Honors Louisville’s Outstanding High School Seniors

Louisville, Ky., – Public, private and Catholic students who have excelled in and out of the classroom are being honored today by Mayor Greg Fischer as recipients of the annual Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors Award.  Fischer will present the honor to 51 students this evening at 7 p.m., following a reception at Louisville Metro Hall.

This year’s recipients include a survivor of the Haitian earthquake, a refugee from Rwanda,  students who have battled medulloblastoma, blindness and other medical conditions and a student who will earn an Associate Degree alongside their high school diploma. The students include at least 27 National Honor Society members, 17 Governor’s Scholars and two International Baccalaureate Candidates. At least one of the students will be the first female in her family to graduate high school.

“These are young people who have shown dedication, who have overachieved and overcome obstacles in life and in the classroom while taking the time to help and motivate others along the way,” Fischer said. “They are real-life examples from schools large and small of what you can achieve through focus, teamwork and a drive to continue learning and continue helping others.”

In addition to their academic accomplishments, the winners include notable athletes in a variety of sports, artists, dancers, musicians and entrepreneurs. Principals and guidance counselors at public, private and Catholic schools throughout Louisville nominated students for the award.

AT&T is the presenting sponsor of the Outstanding High School Seniors Award which began in the mid-1980s. Additional support is provided by Gordon Food Service and Sullivan University.

 Oustanding Seniors

2015 Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors

Rachel Abney, Christian Academy of Louisville

Rachel is constantly broadening her horizons. She has been a member of the principal’s honor for four years. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, writer for the school newspaper and a National Merit Finalist. She has received the subject award for highest grade in four different subjects. Last summer Rachel received a scholarship from the State Department to travel to Morocco and study Arabic, which she has been studying independently for three year. Rachel will attend American University on a full scholarship to study International Studies with a minor in Arabic. Rachel would like to pursue a career in federal government.

LeAisa Bowen, Mary Ryan Academy

LeAisa is a student of perseverance and determination. This strong will is going to make her the first female of her family to graduate high school. LeAisa was a victim of bullying during her first two years of high school. She has taken her situation to develop positive relationships with her peers to help them through difficult situations. She has received the Social Studies Award for Outstanding Achievement. LeAisa has maintained a 3.7 GPA during her final two years of high school. She plans to attend college and pursue a career in mental health services with a focus on youth mental health.

Matthew Bradshaw, Butler Traditional High School

Matthew has already started his college career before receiving his diploma. With a 4.11 GPA, he has completed five dual-credit courses through the University of Louisville. Matthew received home schooling for the first seven years of schooling and managed to overcome a difficult transition. He is a member of the National Honor Society, baseball and soccer teams as well as president of the Beta Club. Matthew is a Governor’s Scholar, Poetry Out Loud State finalist and University of Kentucky Rising Scholar. Matthew has received the full tuition Vogt Scholarship from the University of Louisville where he will major in English. He plans to pursue a career in editing or philology.

Shalonte Branham, Central High School Magnet Career Academy

Shalonte is a dedicated student with an interest in law. She is involved with ROTC, Metro Youth Advocates, Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and Summer Law Institute. Shalonte’s athletic accolades include KHEAA State Championship Runner-Up, 4×100 Meter Relay State Champion and 4×100 Meter Relay Regional Champions. She is a Governor’s Scholar and has received the Smith College Book Award, University of Kentucky Rising Scholar Award, Carter G. Woodson Legacy Award, First Honor Award, Churchill Downs Winner Circle Governor Scholar and Justice William E. McAnulty Essay Award. Shalonte plans to attend Bellarmine University.

Felicius Bucyukundi, Louisville Collegiate School

Felicius did not have the normal path of most students. He and his family fled Rwanda to avoid war and violence. This has motivated Felicius to use his voice against violence and hatred. He was on the honor roll and part of the Newcomer Academy at Central High School before transferring to Collegiate. He is a member of Pep Club, Student Government and Beta Club as well as a member of the soccer and track teams. Felicius has earned All-State and All-Region honors in soccer as well as the title of Team Captain and the Titan Award. Felicius volunteers his time at his church with the Trinity World Outreach Center as well as The Refuge youth program. He plans to do a post graduate year at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. He has deferred his college acceptance one year with hopes to play soccer at a Division-I college.

Launi Brown, Western Early College High School

Launi is an outstanding student who will be receiving her diploma right along with an Associate’s Degree from Jefferson Community and Technical College. Launi has carried a 4.0 high school GPA as well as a 4.0 GPA in her JCTC coursework. She has served as president of the Beta Club, captain of Quick Recall team, sophomore and junior class president, senior class treasurer and a member of the softball team. She has received AP honors, the Carter G. Woodson Legacy Award from Berea College and four year MVP of the Quick Recall team. Despite her upbringing in a neighborhood riddled with crime and violence, Launi has become an outstanding student and has worked as a peer mentor to help other students stay on track. She plans to attend Duke University and major in history with a concentration in human rights.

Christopher “CJ” Burton, Walden School

To call CJ a student athlete might be an understatement. He has been on the honor roll all four years. CJ is a member of the cross country, track and field, basketball and golf teams. CJ is a member of the National Honor Society, Environmental Club, Spanish Club, KIVA club and Key Club. He has been recognized for the Grey Sebree Endowed Scholarship, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program, MVP of the golf team, Coaches Award for varsity basketball and the Chamber of St. Matthews’ scholarship award. CJ plans to major in accounting in college.

Legacy Carter, Seneca High School Magnet Career Academy

Legacy is an outstanding student and role model for younger students. She has overcome a difficult childhood and foster care to excel in the classroom and community. Legacy is a member of the Governor’s Scholar Program, Beta Club, National Society, Best Buddies and Hawk Watch Club. She has earned the honors of student of the month, honor roll and the LEEP ABC Scholarship. Legacy will attend Clark Atlanta University.

Thomas Case, Fairdale High School

Thomas is both an outstanding student and athlete. He is a Governor’s Scholar and member of the National Honor Society with a GPA of 4.32. Thomas is a member of the varsity baseball and tennis teams. Some of Thomas’ honors include Commonwealth Ambassador, Top Dawg Award, AP Scholar, New Horizons Scholarship, First Honors, Grace Jenkins Memorial Scholarships and Madeline and Jerry Abramson Scholarship. He is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student Council. Thomas has volunteered throughout the community for the Humane Society, Camp Crooked Creek, the Fairdale Fair and various cleanups for the athletic programs. Thomas plans to double major in financial economics and computer science at Centre College.

Carlyn Causey, J. Graham Brown School

Carlyn is a determined student with a strong personal will to achieve success. She is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, yearbook staff, newspaper staff, varsity cheerleading team and homecoming committee. Carlyn has received the University of Kentucky Book Award, Louisville Rotary Club Unspoken Hero Award, Kentucky Science Center Life Saver Award and award for Best All Around Cheerleader. In addition to her academic and athletic achievements, Carlyn finds time to volunteer with the Kentucky Science Center, St. Vincent DePaul as a mentor and as peer advocate and tutor at the Brown School. Carlyn plans to attend Lindsey Wilson College majoring in Secondary Biology Education. She will also participate in the Bonner Scholar Program as well as the cheerleading squad.

Brianna Daniel-Harkins, Presentation Academy

Brianna has a strong dedication to her education and service in the community. She is a Trustee’s Scholar with 4.1 GPA. Brianna is a member of Kentucky Youth Assembly, Kentucky United Nations Assembly, Prezettes, National Honor Society, STEM Club, Science National Honor Society, Mayor’s Give A Day board, Teen Court, Dance Team, Math Team, Retreat Leader and Rotary Club Speech competitor. Brianna has dedicated numerous hours of volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, Give A Day, Cathedral of the Assumption, Y-Corp, Kids Cafe and Waterstep. Brianna will double major in International Business and Public Policy at Loyola University New Orleans.

Logan Davis, Beth Haven Christian School

Logan is a leader in academics as well as athletics at Beth Haven. Logan has served as class president all four years. He is a captain of the varsity baseball and golf teams and has earned all-conference honors in three sports. He has been on the honor roll all four years and is a member of the student council, Beta Club, National Honor Society, varsity basketball team and high school praise band. Logan volunteers time with his youth group, church praise band, local youth sports teams and is a sign language tutor for elementary students. Logan plans to attend college and major in sports administration or physical therapy.

Loandria “Andi” Dahmer, Youth Performing Arts School

Andi has had a diverse academic career at the Youth Performing Arts School and looks to continue her universal approach after high school. Andi is a Governor’s Scholar, AP Scholar, National Merit Semifinalist with a 4.21 GPA. She is class president, Y Club president, Student Senate Vice President, Spanish National Honor Society Vice President, Publications and Media Relations Chair of Louisville Girls Leadership as well as featured contributor to the Courier-Journal. Andi has received the Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Award. Andi has had the opportunity to study abroad in Ecuador and attend Concordia College’s Language Villages Spanish Immersion Camp which has furthered her passion for leadership and cultural relations. She has accepted the Cherry Presidential Scholarship to attend Western Kentucky University as well as being accepted into the Chinese Flagship Program. She will major in Chinese, Spanish and International Business.

Hannah Esrock, Louisville Male High School

Hannah is full of spirit. So much, in fact, that she fell off the school bleachers fracturing two neck and back vertebrae during her senior year. Hannah carries a 3.8 GPA and is deeply involved in the school. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Honor Roll, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program, drama club, pep club, SBDM, French club, student senate and student ambassador. Hannah is the yearbook editor, junior and senior class president, field hockey captain and junior and senior homecoming princess. Her honors include three time Field Hockey Bulldog Leadership Award, Miss Male Spirit Award, Rachel Caroline Baker Leadership Award nominee and Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. Hannah plans to attend the University of Louisville’s Honor College and find a job that is both creative and makes others smile.

Bethany Gannon, Evangel Christian School

Bethany is a shining example of a student who values excellence and service. Bethany is the class Valedictorian carrying a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Council and Student Leadership. She has earned the Academic Excellence Award, Christian Character Award, Principal’s List, Perfect Attendance Award and was a Wendy’s High School Heisman finalist. Bethany has served on numerous mission trips to New York, Florida and Africa where she has served the homeless, worked with medical missions and served a children’s home. She plans to attend a four year university to pursue a degree in the medical field.

Jose Garcia, DeSales High School

Jose is a distinguished student who is looking to constantly further his education. Jose immigrated to the United States. Even with the assimilation to a new culture, Jose has achieved a 4.0 GPA with Academic Honors and is ranked 5th in his class. Jose is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Student Technology Leadership Program, Diversity Club, Track and Field team and Chemistry Club. He is the organizer of Racism Awareness and a math tutor. Jose will attend Bellarmine University to pursue a degree in Computer Science. He would like to work in systems security and database management.

Summer Gillock, Valley High School

Summer is full of talent. Currently Summer has 4.0 GPA and completed AP courses in eight different subjects. Summer is a 12-year professional jam skater as well as a member of varsity volleyball and softball teams. Summer participates in the Beta Club and Metro Youth. She has received the Louisville Distinguished Young Women Award, Most Determined All-Tournament team in softball, MVP in volleyball, Principal’s list three years, All Around Jr. Girl and Miss Valley. Summer takes time to help others by helping with Wayside Mission, Vacation Bible School and Louisville Medical Society “Wear the White Coat.” She plans to attend Bellarmine University to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher.

Miles Green, Southern High School

Miles is an outstanding example of a student with exceptional academic achievements all while maintaining a strong presence in the community. He has been the top ranked student throughout his career at Southern. Miles is a Governor’s Scholar, president of the Beta Club and first chair in the orchestra. He has volunteered for various organizations and events around the community including the Salvation Army, Lighthouse Christian Ministries and WorldFest. He has been selected for the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientist Award of Excellence as well as the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. Miles plans to attend the University of Louisville and pursue a career in the medical field.

Joshua Gully, Waggener High School

Joshua is a hard working individual in the class room and in life. Despite obstacles outside of the classroom, Josh has excelled through a rigorous course load including AP and technical courses. He is a member of the Student Help Desk Program and helps to maintain, update and manage all of the school’s technology. Outside of school, represents Waggener on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and regularly works over 25 hours per week at SkyZone. Josh has begun taking courses at Sullivan University through the JumpStart Program to begin his pursuit of a degree in Information Technology. He would like to have a career in software development and web design.

Hannah Hardy, Sacred Heart Academy

Hannah is a leader in the classroom, on the field and in the community. She is a Governor’s Scholar with a 4.0 GPA and earned a 35 on her ACT. Her honors include Principal’s List recipient, International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate and the Excellence in Math Award. She has participated in the National Student Leadership Conference, National Honor Society and is president of the Ambassadors Club. In addition to academics, Hannah is three year captain of the back-to-back state champion Lacrosse team where she has earned the Team Captain Leadership Award, Lacrosse Heart Award and All-State honors twice. She has volunteered as a Sacred Heart Ambassador, Retreat Leader at Holy Trinity Parish School, leader at Engelhard Elementary and Hand in Hand Ministries. Hannah will attend Centre College.

Emily Hubbuch, Portland Christian School

Emily is a distinguished student who has shown leadership and service throughout her high school career. She has been on the honor roll all four years at Portland Christian. Emily is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Yearbook Staff and the Totem Editor. Emily has also served as Class Secretary. She has earned the ACSI Distinguished High School Student Award in Leadership and the School Christian Character Award. Emily has volunteers at various school events and participated in a mission trip to Nicaragua. Emily will attend Asbury University on a soccer scholarship.

Murray Huber, Eastern High School

Murray has excelled in many areas throughout her high school career. She is a Governor’s Scholar, National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student, member of the National Honor Society, AP Scholar with Honor and ranks in the top 3% of her class. Murray is the team captain of the competitive jump rope team and has earned first in a national Double Dutch competition as well other national accolades in the AAU Jump Rope and USA Jump Rope Leagues. Murray also teaches younger jumpers at the local elementary school. Murray’s creative talent has earned honors in the national VANS shoe design competition, REEL Action Film Contest and WKU Film Festival. She is currently deciding between University of Louisville and WKU Honors College and is considering a degree that would allow her to pursue teaching, writing, engineering or math.

Jeremy Jackson, Atherton High School

Jeremy has worked diligently throughout his school career. He is an AP Scholar, International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, National Achievement Scholarship finalist, Unsung Hero semi-finalist and Advanced Program Student. Jeremy is a member of the Rho Kappa Society, vice president of the National Honor Society, president of Y-Club, speaker of the House of KYA, debate team co-captain and class treasurer. Some honors include Academic Gold Medal, International Baccalaureate Achievement Award, Berea College Legacy Award and Yale Book Award.  Jeremy will attend the University of Louisville to major in psychology.

Anna Johnson, Churchill Park School

Anna is taking her communication and social skills to the next level. She has been diagnosed with a hearing impairment and has had to develop her own augmentative communication system. She has received honor roll throughout the entire year. Anna participates in community based instruction by shopping for supplies for the classroom. She is volunteers with Red Cross and is a greeter at the Kentucky Science Center. After school, Anna plans to travel and do volunteer work within her community. She also plans to join a day program where she will meet new people and make life-long friends.

Braniesha Johnson, Breckinridge Metropolitan High School

Braniesha has really taken the time to focus on her education and develop a positive atmosphere in her life. Despite decisions that obligated her to attend an alternative school, Braniesha has found the adult support she needed through teachers, administrators and her counselor. She has been recognized by the Board of Education for her journey of overcoming personal challenges and success in academics. She participates in the Partial Day Program allowing her to leave school early to go to work. Braniesha will attend Jefferson Community and Technical College to obtain an Associate Degree and then transfer to a four year college.

Michelle Jones, St. Francis High School

Michelle is a bright and intelligent student. She has held a 4.44 GPA and honor roll every year. Michelle has participated in Science Olympiad, Math League and Quick Recall all four years. She has earned the AP Chemistry Award, BC Calculus Award, Geometry Award, Multi-variable Calculus Award, AP French Language Award and Harvard Book Award. Michelle is an avid gymnast. She is a coach at Kentucky Gymnastics Academy, two-time state champion and earned the Overcoming Fear on Vault Award. Michelle has also volunteered her time at the EMW Women’s Clinic, Camp Shantituck, EP Tom Sawyer Park and Cherokee Park. Michelle is currently deciding between attending MIT, Yale or Harvey Mudd.

Alexandria Karcher, Moore Traditional High School

Alexandria excels in the classroom and has a heart for service. She is a Governor’s Scholar and Valedictorian of her class. Alexandria is a member of HOSA, Go College, Back Club, World Quest, Quick Recall, National Honor Society, class officer, soccer team and lacrosse team. Her honors include student of the month, University of Kentucky Book Award, MVP Junior Soccer, Most Outstanding Medical Student, Most Outstanding Go College, Greater Louisville Medical Society Wear the White Coat, Youth and Adult Voices in Action Summit and JCPS board meeting representative.  Alexandria has volunteered at Relay for Life, Jefferson Youth Soccer, Baptist East Hospital and Norton Healthcare. She is going take her dedication for service further when she attends Murray State University to obtain a degree in Nursing.

Austin Kelly, Holy Cross High School

Austin is a leader in academics and service. Austin has carried a 3.6 GPA and is ranked 12th in his class. He has been a member of the Cross Country Team for four years and is currently the captain. Austin has earned the Louisville Rotary Club Unsung Hero Award, NKU Scholarship and Brescia Scholarship. He helped gather hundreds of pairs of shoes to deliver to Waterstep, a local organization that has helped communities in dozens of countries to clean up water supplies. Austin will attend Northern Kentucky University.

Gabe Kinderman, St. Xavier High School

Gabe is an outstanding model of perseverance and dedication. In May 2013, after suffering from headaches and a collapse at school, Gabe was rushed to the ER for an MRI where the doctor’s discovered a tumor on his brain. After surgery and radiation treatments, Gabe attempted to return to school in the Fall of 2013. Unfortunately, it did not work out for Gabe to finish his senior year alongside his classmates, but that did not stop him from returning in the Fall of 2014. Through everything, Gabe has remained positive and upbeat. Gabe has a deep passion for cars. After his first chemotherapy treatment, he returned home to an El Camino sitting in his driveway; a gift from a group of friends.

Mark Kiselevach, Trinity High School

In addition to a transfer from home schooling to Trinity, Mark has made the commute from Elizabethtown to Louisville daily for his education. Mark carries a 3.82 GPA and is in the top 10% of his class. Mark has taken 6 AP courses and is a member of the Kentucky Youth Assembly, Kentucky United Nations Assembly, Investment Club, National Honor Society, Pre-Medical Society, Speech Team and Tae Kwon Do.  Mark has volunteered with Feeding America, is a junior teacher for Tae Kwon Do and taught English in K-12 school in Panama over the summer. Mark has been accepted into the LEAD program at the University of Louisville and wants to pursue Dental School.

Raughn Lewis, Liberty High School

Raughn is a very committed young man with a strong dedication to helping others. Raughn has been instrumental in the organization of various school events, charity programs and volunteer opportunities. He has served as the President & Vice President of the Student Forum as well as member of Liberty’s Men of Quality. Raughn has volunteered with organizations such as Camp Crooked Creek and Blessings in a Backpack.  In addition to his academics and community involvement, Raughn helps out at home with his younger brother in the mornings while getting ready for school as well as working a nearly full-time job in the evenings. Raughn will major in a Pre-Med program at the University of Kentucky with the intention of becoming a Doctor of Neurosurgery in the future.

Payton Mayfield, Binet School

Payton is an exceptional student with the drive to continually better himself and those around him. He has excelled academically improving in all areas of study. Payton is a talented artist who has received the PTA 15th District Art Award multiple times for photography and artwork. Although he can get nervous at times, Payton has not allowed that to interfere with extracurricular activities. He maintains a job after school, utilizes public transportation, has trained to be a photographer for the Humane Society and received numerous medals in various sports with the Special Olympics. Through his volunteer work, Payton helped a peer with unique needs acquire their first job at the Louisville Zoo. After high school, Payton plans to live outside the home, maintain his current job and continue to be an advocate for individuals with special and unique needs.

Savannah Molyneaux, Mercy Academy

Savannah is an excellent student whose dedication goes far beyond the classroom. She has maintained a 3.89 GPA, maintained a spot on the Principal’s List throughout high school and is ranked 11th in her class. She is a member of the National Honors Society, National English Honors Society, International Thespian Society, Quest Bridge National College Match finalist, Governor’s Scholar, George Eastman Young Leader Award, Junior Class President and National History Day Award Winner. Savannah is involved in Mercy Theater Productions, Drama Club, Mercy Choral Program & Acapella Group, Louisville Girls Leadership, Peer Leaders, Glee Club and St. X Theater Productions. She has always maintained a job throughout school to help out with family expenses. Savannah has volunteered with Riverwood, Christian Churches Disability Ministries, Franciscan Health Care, Jefferson Memorial Forest, Dare to Care and other organizations. Savannah plans to attend Western Kentucky University as a part of their Honors College and double major in English and Theater eventually pursuing a degree in Law.

Stenley Mondestin, Iroquois High School

Stenley arrived in the United States from Haiti two years ago following the devastating earthquake where he was separated from his mother and lost many family members. Once at Iroquois, Stenley was quickly identified as academically gifted and moved quickly to AP classes. Fluent in three languages, Stenley has a 4.0 GPA and list of honors including Who’s Who nomination, KUNA Most Outstanding Delegate, Beechmont Women’s Club Scholarship and McDonald’s Black History Makers of Tomorrow Scholarship. He is involved in the Interact Club, International Academy Ambassador, President of the International Club, Assistant Director of Iroquois’ Blue Jeans Drive for Homeless and KUNA Delegate. Stenley will attend the University of Louisville to study International Diplomacy and Law.

Javonte Mosley, Ahrens Education Resource Center

Javonte has transitioned from being a quiet, reserved student into an outgoing, hardworking young man. Javonte is very enthusiastic for athletics of all kinds. He is active in sporting events at Ahrens, Doss High School and the University of Louisville. He is also involved in United Basketball with the Ahrens Work Transition Program. Javonte loves his job at Lowes and the constant interaction with people. When he isn’t working, he loves to volunteer at various hospitals and help out at the Louisville Zoo commissary making diets for the animals. After he graduates, he plans to continue working at Lowes, keep in touch with friends and cheer on the University of Louisville Cardinals.

Callie Myers, The Phoenix School of Discovery

Callie is an extremely involved individual with a dedication to herself and others. She was raised by a single mother and describes herself as shy and introverted. Her accomplishments say otherwise. Callie is a member of the Physics Club, Ambassadors Club, Phoenix Women of Worth, Yoga Club, Games Club, Phoenix School PTSA, dog therapy program, peer tutor, student office aide, student newspaper, Valley View volleyball team and Upward Bound UofL College Prep Program. She has been a four-year silver and gold honor student. Callie is a package handler at UPS as a part of their School to Work Program allowing her to take college courses. In addition to her academic achievements, Callie has volunteered at the Louisville Zoo and even named the baby giraffe. Callie is deciding between the University of Louisville and Lindsey Wilson College to pursue her Bachelor of Science with the hopes of becoming an anthropologist.

Alexandra Oney, DuPont Manual High School

Alexandra has always known what success looked like but the definition changed during her high school career. Alexandra has a 3.79 GPA with 12 AP Credit courses to her name. She is a member of the Girl Scouts, KIVA club volleyball & school varsity team, Leadership Committee at River City Worship Center, Kids Center Fashion Show planning committee, Campus Life Club, Red Cross Blood Drive Organizer and Key Club. Key Club became a distraction from dealing with her parents’ divorce and a sister leaving for college. Alexandra felt depressed and began volunteering every weekend to escape. It was during those trips that she realized how fortunate she was in life and how being selfless changed her perspective. Alexandra will attend Louisiana State University and look to continue her involvement with the Kiwanis Family and Key Club Organization.

John “Ellery” Payne, Jeffersontown High School

Ellery is an exceptional student who has immersed himself in a variety of academic endeavors. He holds a 4.37 GPA, is the class Valedictorian, Governor’s Scholar, HOBY participant, PLTW Pre-Engineering student and will already have 24 college credit hours upon graduation. Ellery is Vice President of the National Honor Society, President of the Beta Club, Captain of the Quick Recall team, Captain of the Bowling Team, Student Representative of FORD NGL, Class Historian and President of the USBC League. He is also a member of the Principal’s Forum, VEX Robotics team, Ecology Club, Skills USA Club, Pep Club and Governor’s Cup. Ellery plans to attend the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering to become a Bio-Mechanical Engineer or Environmental and Civil Engineer.

Adriana Perez Perez, Westport (Teenage Parent Program)

Adriana arrived in America just three years ago unable to speak English. She has taken the opportunity and excelled in her educational career. At Westport, Adriana has made the All-A Honor Roll multiple times and has a Career and Technical Education Major in Business Administrative Support. She is a writer for the school newspaper, works in the cafeteria and serves as a member of the Red Cross, helping lead a school-wide blood drive. Adriana has earned the Outstanding Student Award in four subjects as well as the Legacy of a Lady Award. Adriana has a one year old son, William and looks to continue her education at Jefferson Community and Technical College to become a nurse.

Annelise Peters, Kentucky Country Day

Annelise is student of courage, determination and pride. She delivered a speech to her school regarding the Day of Silence. The goal of the Day of Silence is to bring attention to the struggles faced by the LGBTQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer — community in schools. She told her story and that of another peer. Annelise is the captain in varsity and club volleyball year round as well as varsity softball captain. She has been recognized for holding the school record for most volleyball digs in a season, two-time winner of the Board Award for volleyball, All-A District and Regional Team, US History Award, All-A State softball team. Annelise will attend Ohio State University to study criminology or criminal justice.

Jami Rankin, Fern Creek High School

Jami is an exceptional student. She is a class Valedictorian, Governor’s Scholar, Vogt Scholar and AP Scholar. Jami is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Beta Club, Principal’s Advisory Council, All-State and All-County Choir, Quick Recall team, Drama Club, Cooking Club and World Language Club. She is also a member of the cheerleading, softball and dance teams. Jami has volunteered with Hand in Hand Ministries, including mission trips to Appalachia and Belize, Louisville Girls Leadership, Vacation Bible School, Elementary Cheer clinics, food/coat drives and Dare to Care. Jami will attend Centre College.

Erin Raque, Assumption High School

Erin is an exemplary student with a drive for not only bettering herself but those around her. She holds a 4.52 GPA and is ranked in the top 5 percent of her class. Erin’s honors include Governor’s Scholar, Distinguished Scholar, Girl Scout Silver Award, McAuley Scholar, 4-year Principal’s List and WKU Alumni Association Junior Book Award. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She has volunteered throughout the community with various organizations including Louisville Metro Animal Services, Humane Society, Indian Trail Elementary, St. Vincent DePaul Society, Bashford Manor Nursing Home and St. Raphael Church. Erin recently completed a four year scholar’s thesis project on how investing in the education of women can help build communities and confidence.

Jacklyn Riggs, South Park (Teenage Parent Program)

Jacklyn has made education a top priority while becoming a mother in high school. She has a cumulative GPA of 3.96. She is involved with Project S.M.A.R.T., Shining Stars, Student Leadership Team, Senior Student Council and the Student Technology Leadership Program. Jacklyn has received the Academic Excellence Award, TAPP Leadership Award and the Outstanding Student Award in four subjects. She volunteers with children’s church at Incarnation Church, serving food at St. Vincent de Paul, gardening at South Park and drug awareness programs at the Neighborhood Place. Jacklyn plans to attend college full-time as well as working part-time.

Nathan Robertson, Whitefield Academy

Nathan is deeply involved in many facets of his school. Nathan has been a four year member of the honor roll, Student Leadership Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Class President, Class Chaplain and captain of the soccer team. He has also held leading roles in Whitefield Academy Drama Productions. Nathan has received the Varsity Soccer Coaches Award, 24th District All-Tournament Team honors, Region 6 All-Tournament Team honors and 2nd Place in the Louisville Cup. Nathan volunteers with his church tech team, Saturday Morning Food Pantry, grade school basketball leagues, Brightside, Operation Christmas Child and WorldFest. He also attended a mission trip in Honduras. Nathan plans to attend Cedarville University and major in Broadcasting and Digital Media.

Sarah Russman, Bethlehem High School

Sarah has been enthusiastic inside and outside of the classroom. She is a four year honor roll student and has earned the Advanced Placement Psychology Award, Algebra Award, Banshee Award, Leadership Award and Academic All-State First Team. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Competitive and School soccer teams, prom committee, Bardstown-Nelson County Young Leaders, Interact Club, Pro-Life Club and St. Joseph Youth Group. Sarah has a long list of community involvement including Kids Against Hunger, Handy Hands Service Camp, Souper Bowl of Caring, Haiti mission trip, National Catholic Youth Conference and Relay for Life. Sarah received the Monsignor Treece Scholarship from Bellarmine University where she will pursue a career in the medical field.

Jayla Stevenson, Pleasure Ridge Park High School Magnet Career Academy

Jayla is a committed and hardworking student. She is the Panther Yearbook editor, and is often seen at various school sporting events taking photos and gathering stories. Jayla has been on the honor roll throughout her entire high school career. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Debate Team, Student Council and Class of 2015 Historian. Jayla volunteers her time helping students at Crums Lane Elementary. Jayla is passionate about learning and looks to continue her education in college by pursuing a degree in Philosophy and attending Law School.

Samuel Thompson, Ballard High School

Samuel is a brilliant student and leader. He is the valedictorian of his class, a Governor’s Scholar and National Merit Finalist. Samuel is an All-A’s Honor Roll student and a member of FBLA, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Boy Scouts of America, Spanish Club, Math Team, Academic Team, Study Abroad Program and the lacrosse team. Samuel is an Eagle Scout and also earned AP Scholar with Distinction Award and Bausch and Lomb Science Award. Samuel volunteers with Boy Scouts of America, Middletown United Methodist Church Youth Group and the Belize Mission Team. Samuel plans to attend the University of Kentucky to pursue his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering.

Elizabeth Vissing, Jefferson County High School

Elizabeth is a determined student who knows how to set goals and achieve them. Elizabeth attended Eastern High School from her freshmen through junior years but made the decision to transfer to Jefferson County High School to graduate early. She is active in performance and visual arts. She is a member of the dance team and has earned two first place ribbons for a life-size mermaid sculpture and painting of Louisville’s skyline. Elizabeth will attend Jefferson Community and Technical College in the fall eventually transferring to the University of Louisville to study Art Therapy.

Andre Watkins Jr., Doss High School Magnet Career Academy

Andre is a fantastic example of a well-rounded student. He is a Governor’s Scholar and class officer with recognition in the Honor Roll and College and Career Ready Academic Letter. He is a member of the soccer, wrestling and baseball teams. In addition to his athletics, Andre was recognized as a member of the All-County Orchestra for the viola. He is also a member of the FBLA, Green Team, National Honor Society, Peer Mentor group, Gaming Club and Young Professionals of Doss. Andre has volunteered with the Trunnell Elementary Fall Festival, Louisville Public Library mentoring ESL students and as an usher at church. Andre plans to major in accounting and is currently deciding between the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Transylvania University.

Elijah Wegner, Kentucky School for the Blind

Elijah is an outstanding student who has overcome adversity related to his eyesight but has persevered and managed to excel in academics. He manages two schedules and two sets of teachers because of his dual enrollment with Central High School. Elijah has taken honors and AP courses while maintaining a 3.45 GPA. He has participated in Goalball, forensics, wrestling and was a member of the 2014 Insight Program at Morehead State. Elijah was selected as a student voice for the National Federation for the Blind where he travelled to Washington D.C.  to lobby on behalf of the Fair Wages for Disability Act. Elijah plans to attend Northern Kentucky University to study English and Writing. He would like to pursue a career as a teacher and published writer.

Anoa Zakee, The Academy @ Shawnee

Growing up in a household with seven siblings, Anoa knows what it takes to be leader. Ana has maintained a 4.0 GPA and is a Governor’s Scholar. She is a member of DECA, Churchill Downs Governors Scholar Winners Circle, All-A Honor Roll, Junior Advisory Board, yearbook staff and the 25 Book Campaign. She has been featured in Louisville Magazine as part of their Super Students. Anoa is also a member of the swim team and Girl Scouts. In her spare time, Anoa volunteers as a swim instructor and life guard at the YMCA. Ana plans to attend the University of Louisville where she will major in Pre-Med with the goal becoming a pediatrician. She has been accepted in the PEPP program at UofL.