Mayor Fischer Honors Outstanding High School Seniors

Thomas McAdam

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Public, private and Catholic students who have excelled in and out of the classroom were honored Monday evening by Mayor Greg Fischer as recipients of the annual Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors Award.  Fischer presented the honors to 50 students after a reception at Louisville Metro Hall.

This year’s recipients include immigrants from Kenya, Mexico, Eritrea and other countries, along with students who have overcome illness, disabilities and behavioral issues to achieve success.

The students include 22 National Honor Society members, seven Governor’s Scholars, two National Merit semi-finalists and others who have excelled in the arts and on the sports field. Nearly all of the students have plans for college, and two are enlisting in the military.

All have contributed to their community through service work, including several involved in the Mayor’s Give A Day week of service and the international WE Day.

“These are young people who exemplify what you can achieve through focus and commitment,” Fischer said. “Many have overcome obstacles – such as having to learn English before anything else, or dealing with the death of a parent, or the unexpected birth of a child. But no matter the challenge, each has taken the time to help and motivate others along the way. That is what it means to be an outstanding citizen.”

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, Sullivan University, Juleps Catering, and C&H Audio Visual Services.


2016 Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors


Alexander Clarke, Ahrens Work Transition Program

Born with autism, Alex is an excellent example of a student who refuses to let challenges stop him from success.  In addition to school, Alex works at Republic Bank filing mortgage documents. Through Ahrens, he has learned the skills necessary to get to his job, such as riding TARC, reading street signs and symbols, along with other general life skills, like budgeting and purchasing. When Alex isn’t working, he likes to volunteer at hospitals and churches. Alex hopes to continue his education and plans to keep his job at Republic Bank.


Claire Feller, Assumption High School

Claire was diagnosed with cancer at age 5, but she refused to let that hold her back.  She currently holds a cumulative 4.0 GPA and a weighted GPA of 4.57. She is a Kentucky Governor’s Scholar and a Distinguished Scholar. Claire received the University of Virginia Jeffersonian Book Award, and she was recognized for being an AP Scholar with Honor. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Beta Club, the Science National Honor Society, the Piano Guild, and many more. When she graduates, she hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Oh, and for the past 11 years, she has been cancer-free.


John Kolb, Atherton High School

John has diligently worked throughout his high school career. He is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate, National Merit finalist, Governors Scholar participant, and a Vogt Scholarship recipient. John is captain of Atherton’s Quick Recall team, president of the Marine Biology Club, was captain at the National Ocean Science Bowl, a member of the National Honor Society, and active in the Rho Kappa Social Studies Organization. He plans to attend Georgia Tech, where he wants to study Marine Biology and Biological Sciences.


Nika Finkelsteyn, Ballard High School

Nika is a leader in academics and artistry. She holds a 4.0 GPA, is president of Book Club, a National Art Honor Society member, involved in BARC Club, and an accomplished violinist. Some of her honors include the Louisville Visual Art Award, John Botte Award, and she has received 22 awards in scholastics. When she’s not devoting time to academics, she volunteers at the Animal House and at Marine Corps RSS events. She has been accepted to the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the University of Cincinnati. She plans to study engineering and art.


Katelyn Elmore, Beth Haven Christian School

Katelyn is currently ranked 1st in her senior class, remained on the President’s Honor Roll all 4 years, and completed 6 college credit hours during her senior year. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Praise band, drama club, cheerleading captain, softball captain, and has held the office of president and vice president for her class. Katelyn was awarded the President’s Education Award, the Outstanding Underclassmen Award, the Spalding University Book award, and was named KHSAA Academic All-State First Team. She is a volunteer at NeCole’s Place, a youth softball league assistant coach, and a participant in Operation Christmas Child. She also collects and donates items to Home of the Innocents, and works at local nursing homes and community ministry organizations. She plans to study nursing at the University of Louisville.


Mirna Lozano, Bethlehem High School

Mirna is consistently broadening her horizons and immersing herself in different cultures. She is Senior Class President, Vice President of Student Council, Vice President of the 4-H Club, Vice President of the Interactive Club, and a student ambassador. She embraces her heritage by being a role model for Latino youth and working within her community to encourage Christian leadership. Mirna received a Gold Service Award for her efforts. She also works with the Youth Advisory Board, Teens Encounter Christ, MC for Quest, the Ashley Project, and the American Red Cross. In college, she wants to pursue a career that allows her to use her Spanish language skills.


D’voncea Scott, Breckinridge Metropolitan High School

At Breckinridge, D’voncea has focused on his education and developed a positive attitude that brings success in the classroom. In addition to his studies, he has learned to build trusting relationships with teachers, administrators and his counselor. He participates in his school’s COOP Program, which allows him to work full-time at Kosair Children’s Hospital. D’voncea plans to attend Jefferson Community and Technical College to obtain an Associate’s Degree and then transfer to a four-year college, where he wants to pursue a career in nursing.


Austin Sexton, Butler Traditional High School

Austin is a member of the Honors Program at Butler, where he is Senior Class President, Beta Club President, member of the Varsity Baseball Team, member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society member, and leader of a men’s Bible study group that he established. His drive to be one of the best allowed him to be selected as a Business First Scholar. Austin devotes much of his free time to the various ministries at his church and to helping children as a Camp Counselor and a Vacation Bible School leader. He plans to earn a degree in ministry and become a church minister.


Asmayt Zeru, Central High School Magnet Academy

Asmayt exemplifies what it means to excel despite adversity. Arriving in the United States from Eritrea just four years ago, her first task was to learn English.  In the short time since, she has since become part of such groups as Future Business Leaders of America, DECA, the National Honor Society, and International Club. Asmayt received the Outstanding Student Award from the Eritrean Development Foundation for the work she has done to better her home country. She also works with the Education Justice Program, helping tutor middle school students to prepare them for the ACT. Asmayt plans to attend the University of Louisville and major in civil engineering. She hopes one day to participate in construction projects that improve the living conditions in her country.


Rebekah Abney, Christian Academy of Louisville

Rebekah is an outstanding student with a love for culture and medicine. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, and will graduate as Salutatorian. She has a love for foreign languages, and spent a summer studying Spanish so she would be eligible for a Spanish AP class. Rebekah has a passion for medicine and helping others. She has worked with Project Lead the Way and plans to become a physician. She hopes to travel to impoverished countries to provide medical care. She frequently volunteers in her community at Baptist Hospital, Frazier Museum and at Southeast Christian Church.


Paul Mahan, Churchill Park School

Paul is a student of courage, determination and pride. He has strived to become a role model in his community by doing volunteer work and reaching his academic goals. He is a star at Churchill Park School, where he participates in bowling, swimming, and was named Prom King. Paul volunteers with many different organizations, such as the Ronald McDonald House, Dare to Care, the Red Cross, and many more. When he graduates, he hopes to earn a good job where he can support himself.


Ryan Smith, DeSales High School

Ryan is a stellar student athlete. He has been named to the Honor Roll and President’s list several times. He is also a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, and serves on the Principal’s Advisory Committee. Leadership is a quality that he values, which can be seen on the football field, where he was  co-captain of his team, and through his regular visits to an area grade school, where he helps with a Peer Leader’s program. He serves his community by volunteering with Shively Area Ministries and the Mary Queen of Peace parish. Ryan plans to attend Centre College, where he expects to study business and to play football.


Trevor Huff, Doss High School

Trevor is a student of perseverance and determination. He has earned a 4.0 GPA while working full-time most of his high school career. While taking AP and honor classes, Trevor also is a member of the Quick Recall Team and the National Academy of Finance. He received the Yarmuth Book Award from the University of Louisville, and was named one of the Who’s Who of the Doss High School Senior Class. After graduation, Trevor plans to attend the University of Louisville’s Speed School of Engineering.


Amara Ballard, duPont Manual High School

Amara is an outstanding example of a student athlete. She was a recipient of the Crosby Principal Award, Accounting Career Awareness Program Award, United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar Competition Award, and had perfect attendance all 12 years of school. Her passion for sports led her to be named first team All-state in academics for basketball and soccer. Amara loves spending time in her community volunteering at clean ups for public events and volunteer coaching at the YMCA. When she graduates, she plans to attend college and major in business or dentistry.


Garret McCorkle, Eastern High School

Garret is an extraordinary student who knows how to excel. When his father passed away, he became a role model for his younger brother by keeping up a 3.8 GPA in the Advanced Program, staying on the honor roll all 4 years of high school, and by becoming a member of the National Honor Society. Garret received the University of Virginia Jefferson Book Award, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Youth Leadership Award, and the Business First Honors Student Award. When he’s not in the classroom, you can find him outside, where running is his passion. He is a three-time state qualifying member for cross country and a member of the track and field team. Garret plans to attend Centre College where he will study political science.


Jason Alatraca, Evangel Christian School

Jason is the perfect example of a student who has learned that time management is a key to success. As a member of the basketball and soccer teams, Jason has been named to the Principals list every year of his high school career. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Beta Club, Student Council, Student Government, and has won several awards for his excellence in academics. As a student with perfect attendance, he knows that it is important to make the most of every day so that he can succeed. He also values his community; Jason has volunteered over 575 hours at such places as the Calvary Christian Center, The Bowery Mission, and Crestwood Camp. After graduation, he plans to attend Bellarmine University for Pre-Med studies.


Cierra Battle, Fairdale High School

Cierra is a fantastic student athlete who loves her city. As a member of the Cambridge Advanced Program, she has maintained a GPA that is consistently above a 4.0, and she ranks in the top 1% of her class. She is captain of her school volleyball team, as well as a member of the Fellowship of Christian athletes and the Pep Club. Her success in the classroom led her to becoming a recipient of the Woodford R. Porter Scholarship. She is consistently striving to make the city we live in a better place by working with the Louisville Girls Leadership Program and Brightside. She also serves as a member of the Mayor’s WE Day Committee. After graduation, Cierra plans to attend the University of Louisville so she can achieve her dream of becoming a neonatal nurse.


Emily Rainbolt, Fern Creek High School

Emily strives to better herself and her school. As an Advanced Placement Scholar, she serves on the Principal’s Advisory committee, the National Honor Society, and as a member of the Beta Club. Some of her favorite extracurricular actives are the cooking club, the environmental club, and marching band. Emily also started a program named “Dinner at the Creek,” which provides meals to the staff at Fern Creek. Some of her volunteer work includes setting up classrooms at Waller Williams Environmental School for teachers and working with her youth group at church. After graduation, Emily plans to attend Georgetown College to major in biology and history. She wants to become a teacher.


Jordan Reinhart, Holy Cross High School

Jordan understands what it means to strive for excellence in the face of adversity. Throughout his high school career, he worked hard to achieve an unweighted GPA of 3.9 and a score of 34 on his ACT. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the treasurer of the school group, Cougars for Christ. He has won numerous awards in geometry, algebra and theology. Jordan knows that helping in his community is important. He completed his Senior Service Project at St. Vincent DePaul and his Junior Service Project at Habitat Restore. He also volunteers with Dare to Care. After graduation, he plans to attend Bellarmine University and be the first in his family to graduate from college.


Kristina Beckner, Iroquois High School

Community involvement and a drive to better herself and others is very important to Kristina. While in school, Kristina was named a Governor’s Scholar, a Churchill Scholar, and a National Youth Delegate on the Environment. She is Senior Class Vice-President, Captain of the Soccer Team, part of the Future Business Leaders of America, and a member of the Kentucky United Nations Assembly. She received a silver medal in math Quick Recall and was named a Who’s Who Naturalist Apprentice for Bernheim Forest. Kristina’s passion is working within her community. She received a first place award in her region for community service through Skills USA. She also works with Somalian children in her church. When she graduates, she will attend Murray State University to major in ecology.


Muntathar Alshimary, J. Graham Brown High School

Although English is not his first language, Muntathar has a GPA of 4.2 and is class Valedictorian. As a student, he was always starting a new club, picking up a new skill, or working on a new project. Being from another country, Muntathar knows the importance of helping others learn English and skills needed to survive in the United States. He works with the Louisville Free Public Library on a program intended to help refugees learn the skills that are important for gaining citizenship, getting jobs, and being a productive citizen. He plans to attend Berea College.


Ashanti Allen, Jefferson County High School

Ashanti has a love for this country that is matched by few. At Jefferson County, she completed 16 courses, maintained a 3.5 GPA, and has earned 1.5 college credits. Outside of academics, she is heavily involved in the Kentucky United Nations Assembly. For the past 2 years, she has served as a student leader and was recognized as an Outstanding Student Delegate. Her delegation also received a Delegation of Excellence award. Outside of that, Ashanti also volunteers at Field Elementary. She plans to enlist in the Army Reserves. She takes pride in her country and wants to help protect it. When she graduates, she will attend basic training.


Jacob Metry, Jeffersontown High School

Jacob overcame tragedy to excel in his studies and sports. Last year, he lost his ------ to a brain tumor. That inspired him to study harder and play with passion. This year, he is a member of the All A Honor Roll and has been certified College and Career Ready. Throughout high school, he has been a part of the Future Business Leaders of America, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Beta Club. Jacob has learned the importance of helping others. He works with the St. Michael’s Orthodox Church Food Pantry, providing food and supplies to the less fortunate. When Jacob graduates, he hopes to attend the University of Kentucky to study Sports Management and continue to play baseball.


Leah Reidenauner, Kentucky Country Day

Leah is an outstanding student with an equally astounding record on the field. As a State Champion Lacrosse player, Leah holds a 4.22 GPA. She is the Honor Council co-president, an Executive Student Council Member, and the Editor-in-Chief of her high school yearbook. She’s not only a champion on the Lacrosse field; Leah is also the captain of her Field Hockey team. In academics, she has won an English Book Award and a Spanish Book Award. In her free time, Leah works in her church and coaches young Field Hockey players. When she graduates, she will attend Vanderbilt University.


Trevor Gravil, Kentucky School for the Blind

Trevor knows that a disability doesn’t define who you are.  As a student at Kentucky School for the Blind, he has had the opportunity to attend and excel at Central High School through a shared placement program. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the track and field team, and the wrestling team. Trevor also participated in the National Federation for the Blind STEM2U program. With his love of math, Trevor was one of 30 students from across the country chosen to go to Port Discovery Science Center and the Jerrigan Institute in Baltimore. He was also honored with the YMCA Youth with Character Award. When he graduates, he plans to attend Morehead State University and study to become a teacher.


Alifa Dimmock, Liberty High School

Alifa is very committed to improving her grades and helping others across the world. As a student at Liberty, she has requested and completed extra courses through eSchool and Independent Study. She has been on the A/B honor roll all year, and she plays a big role in the fabric of the school. She was elected Vice President and eventually President of the Student Congress at Liberty. She has taken this leadership position to a new level by organizing a talent show, basketball tournament, and a fashion show. She has also raised money for the Fund for the Arts, the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, and Liberty High School Hope Fund. Alifa enjoys mission work, spending much of her early life working with her parents throughout Africa. When she graduates, she hopes to attend college and continue her mission work.


Henry Brousseau, Louisville Collegiate School

No other student embodies what it means to be courageous more than Henry, who is  a quick-witted, smart, transgender student who shines at following very complex and difficult concepts, topics, and arguments from beginning to end. He has a passion for fighting for equal rights for all. He was given the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary Transgender Leadership award for the work he has done to help other students. Outside of school, Henry worked with the political campaigns of Alison Lundergan Grimes and Jack Conway. He even spoke before the Kentucky General Assembly to promote fairness and equality. When Henry graduates, he plans to attend George Washington University.


Julia Hext, Louisville Male High School

Julia has worked very hard to ensure that her academics are top notch. As a member of the Honor Roll, she has completed 6 Advanced Placement courses in hopes of receiving college credit. She is President of the National Honor Society, and is a member of the Field Hockey team, Beta Club, SAM Club, Future Physicians, Astronomy Club, Latin Honor Society, and many more. She loves giving back to her community by volunteering at her church and at Mom’s Closet. One of the most challenging things she has done was organizing a Through the Decades dance, which raised $2,500 for Uspiritus. When she graduates, she plans to attend Western Kentucky University.


Hannah Miller, Mary Ryan Academy

Hannah is a student of perseverance and courage. As a victim of bullying, she has found the strength to stand up for herself and others. Since transferring to Mary Ryan Academy, she has maintained a 3.5 GPA. She is involved with the PTA’s clothing assistance program and has volunteered at Camp Crooked Creek. Hannah has also worked with LMPD’s Explore program where she learned about law enforcement. When she graduates, she plans to study computer information technology.


Candace ---, Mercy Academy

Candace is an outstanding example of determination and dedication. Earlier this year, she faced some health issues, which resulted in her missing much of the school year. That didn’t slow her down. She is on the Principal’s List with a 4.0 GPA. She is also a Governor’s Scholar, a National Merit Finalist, a Mercy Scholar, a member of the National Honors Society, French Honors Society, and Mu Alpha Theta. She participates in the Mercy Theatre Leadership Team, Book Club, French Club, Dissection Camp, and many other groups. Candace also helps others by tutoring in chemistry and math, and working with Volunteers of America, the Louisville Zoo, Jefferson Memorial Forest, and the St. Francis Soup Kitchen. When she graduates, she plans to attend Transylvania University.


Katie Sims, Moore Traditional High School

Katie is a role model for her peers. As a student with a full-time job, she has been on the A Honor Roll all 4 years of high school while taking Advanced Placement classes. She is a member of HOSA, the National Honor Society, Moore University, and she has been the Track and Cross Country manager all 4 years. She is a Governor’s Scholar and has received multiple scholarship offers based on merit. Even with a full schedule, she still finds time to volunteer in her community by gathering food to send to troops overseas, working with the Pumpkin Fun Run, and by participating in school clean-ups. Katie plan to attend Indiana University Southeast and pursue a career in nursing.


Mary Taylor, Phoenix School of Discovery

Mary has a strong dedication to her education and helping others. She will graduate as Valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA. During her senior year, she took college level classes, allowing her to receive 6 college credit hours. She was a finalist for the Governor’s Scholar Program, as well as an Academic Gold Medalist. Mary was also honored with the PTSA Leadership Award. In her school, she participates in Quick Recall, Yearbook, Peer Tutoring, and fundraising for her Senior Class. She spends much of her free time helping others at the Home of the Innocents and Wayside Christian Mission. She plans to attend Lindsey Wilson College.


Maggie Colston, Pleasure Ridge Park High School

Maggie is a hard working individual in the classroom and in the school theatre. With a 29 on her ACT, she was awarded the Regents Scholarship at Eastern Kentucky University. With her love for acting, she is a part of the drama club where she has been a part of 6 productions and has been recognized for her make-up and costume design. She spends a large amount of time working with Harbor House and her local animal shelter. When she graduates, she plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University and major in agriculture. She hopes to become an exotic wildlife veterinarian.


Victor Cheruiyot, Portland Christian School

Victor is from Kenya, a poor country riddled with disease. A few years ago, he meet a doctor from a Louisville church who helped him move to the United States. At Portland Christian School, Victor is an honor roll student, a member of the National Honor Society, and is currently in the running for Valedictorian. His homeland means so much to him that he teaches young students about his culture. After he graduates, he will attend Stanford University, where he plans to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor, and one day returning to Kenya and treating those who are HIV positive.


Samantha Kolb, Presentation Academy

Samantha is a bright and intelligent student who has been on the Honor Roll all of her 4 years in high school. She is a member of the National Honor Society, and also plays volleyball and is manager of the basketball team. Samantha also participates in the Y-Club, Louisville Girls Leadership, Believe Club, and the Best Buddies Program. She is a two-time recipient of the Sophia Award, and she was awarded the Spanish 3 Leadership Award. Samantha loves working within her community to make it a better place. She volunteers at Churchill Park, Camp Marc, WaterStep, Halloween for Hunger, and the Kids Café. She plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University to study Occupational Therapy.


Elizabeth Steiner, Sacred Heart Academy

Elizabeth is involved with many facets of her school. As an International Baccalaureate student, Elizabeth has an un-weighted GPA of 4.0 and scored a 33 on her ACT. She is President of the Human Rights Club, President of Students Against Destructive Decisions, a member of the National Honor Society, and involved in many more organizations. She is a much decorated student, receiving the Martin Luther King Jr. Compassion Award and the Award of Excellence from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. She is also musically talented, participating in the Madrigal Choir and the A Cappella Choir. Elizabeth is on the planning committee for the Mayor’s Give a Day Youth Board and the WE Day, Mayor’s Week Of Service event. She frequently volunteers at the Catholic Charities Refugee Mentor Program and the Louisville Science Center. She has been accepted to several universities, including Notre Dame and Boston College.


Masooma Seyal, Seneca High School

Moving to the United States when she was 9, Masooma has worked very hard to position herself as one of the top students at Seneca High School. She regularly challenges herself with the most rigorous courses offered. She has been recognized as a member of the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. Masooma is a member of the Yearbook Staff, the Field Hockey Team, the Bowling Team, the Beta Club, and the Future Educators Association. Masooma spends a lot of her time volunteering in the community at the Red Cross, Lord’s Kitchen Homeless Shelter, Goldsmith Elementary, and many other places. She hopes to attend the University of Louisville and become an Obstetrician.


Justice Bryant, South Park (Teenage Parent Program)

Justice is focusing on her education while she takes care of her daughter. She excels academically and is on the A/B honor roll.  She is also working toward earning her early childhood education certification. As a student, she has also taken on the challenge of serving as a New Student Ambassador, where she shows new students around the school and helps them get involved in various programs. She was recognized for her love of science with the award for Outstanding Student in Science. Her love for her daughter helped her organize a group that helps with the prevention of Child Abuse. When she graduates, she will attend Jefferson Community Technical College to pursue a degree in the medical field.


Aaron Murphy, Southern High School

Aaron is a dedicated student who strives to be the best. With a GPA of 4.1, he has enrolled in all of the AP courses offered to him at Southern, and he scored a 28 on the ACT. Aaron is a part of the school employment program, where he works at the Class Act Federal Credit Union Branch located inside of Southern. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Commonwealth Ambassadors, and he is president of the National Academy of Finance. He will attend the University of Louisville to major in business.


Gilman Bagga, St. Francis School

Gilman doesn’t just excel in his academics, he also loves to perform. He has a 4.3 GPA, and he attended the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts and the Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs. Gilman is a part of the Greater Louisville Math League, the Quick Recall team, and he plays in garage bands. He has been honored for his creative writing and performances, in both music and drama. He participated in an internship with Crosley/Modern Marketing, which resulted in a role as a quality control inspector in China for 5 weeks. Gilman was a National Merit Semi-Finalist and a St. Francis Merit Scholar. When he’s not working on academics or performing, he works as a West End School chess tutor. When he graduates, he plans to attend Middlebury College in Vermont.


James Dawson, St. Xavier High School

When James was 2, he was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 3, but, he hasn’t let that slow him down. He has been on the Principal’s list 9 times, taken numerous AP courses, and is a member of the National Honor Society. James believes that the key to beating his disease is to stay active and have fun. He is involved in several extracurricular activities such as Theatre, Chorus, his school’s TV station, student council, and he even coaches a student intramural team. He also loves working with groups like Habitat for Humanity and St. Vincent de Paul. When he graduates, he plans to attend Northern Kentucky University


Elizabeth Bates, The Academy @ Shawnee

Elizabeth is focused on achieving goals.  She’s a 4.0 student who has passed 2 of her AP exams and scored a 32 on her ACT. She is a member of JROTC, the Science and Engineering Club, the Anti-Bullying Club, the Gay Straight Alliance, and student council. Elizabeth’s dream is to become a commercial pilot. She is currently a member of CAP, a group dedicated to teaching young cadets to work in a team and allows them to participate in rescue missions. Elizabeth plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University for its aviation program.


Jorge Rojas-Ortega, Trinity High School

Jorge has excelled in academics despite family adversity. His family moved to the United States from Mexico City when he was a child, to ensure their safety. And just this year, his ------ was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through all of this, he has achieved a 4.0 GPA, has been on the Honor Roll every quarter, and as a freshman, he received the Steinhauser Scholarship. Jorge is very active at Trinity; he is a member of the Math Team, the National Honor Society, the speech team, student government and guitar club. His numerous awards include the University of Southern California’s Trustee’s Scholar, Kentucky NSDA District Student of the Year, and the Ruth Blair Service Award. Jorge believes in giving back to his school, which is why he serves as a Student Ambassador. He plans to attend USC and double major in chemical engineering and business administration.


David Burke, Valley High School

David is a top student with a love for music. As concert master for his school’s orchestra and a member of the band, he competed in the Kentucky Music Educators Association’s Solo & Ensemble Festival and received 3 Distinguished ratings. When he’s not competing, he plays guitar for the Glee Club and Valley Live. As an AP student, he has a 4.2 cumulative GPA and is ranked second in his class. After graduation, he plans to attend the University of Louisville or Western Kentucky University to pursue a career in accounting.


Hope Greiner, Waggener High School

Hope is a student who values leadership and demonstrates it every day. She has been nominated to attend several leadership conferences, including the National Young Leaders Conference, the Future Medical Leaders Conference, and Leadercast Live. She also works to teach leadership skills to kids in the Metro Youth Advocates program. Having moved to Louisville during her senior year of high school, Hope is currently in 3 College Board Advanced Placement Courses and in the top 5% of her graduating class. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, the National Spanish Honor Society, and is a varsity tennis player. When she graduates, Hope plans to pursue a degree in engineering.


Miao Ye, Walden School

Moving to the United States in her freshman year of high school, Miao has made quite a name for herself. From learning to speak English, to receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Art and Math Departments, she has worked hard to ensure that she excels on every level. She is a member of the Key Club, the Kiva club, Art Club, and the quick recall team. She also serves as the Student Body President on the Walden Student Council. After high school, Miao plans to spend the summer traveling.


Katherine Hernandez, Western High School

Katherine is an exceptional student who is very proud of her Hispanic background. She is currently taking AP courses and dual credit classes and is on her way to becoming Valedictorian. She serves on the school's Instructional Leadership Committee and Quick Recall team, as President of Western's Principal Advisory Committee, and is a Beta Club member. She also regularly volunteers in the Hispanic community and works to educate others about her culture. After graduation, she hopes to attend college and become a neurosurgeon.


Esmeralda Zuniga, Westport (Teenage Parent Program)

Esmeralda understands how difficult it can be to excel in school with a child at home. As a member of the All A Honor Roll, she has done an excellent job of making academics a priority in her hectic life. She is a winner of the Outstanding Student Award and the Advanced Computer Award. She is a member of the school Leadership Club, where she helps facilitate school events and service projects. She loves to give back to her community by sending cards to veterans, making blankets for the animal shelter, having a food drive for the homeless, and collecting clothes and food for her church to give to people in need. After graduation, Esmeralda plans to pursue a career in radiology.


Samuel Dunda, Whitefield Academy

Samuel is a hard-working, dedicated student who is preparing to serve his country as a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard. His passion is flying, and he is a member of the Civil Air Patrol. Samuel also is a member of the Varsity Baseball team and has been on the Honor Roll for 3 years. He has won numerous awards such as the Air Force Association Cadet of the Year Medal, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Medal, the Wright Brothers Award, the Billy Mitchell Award, the Amelia Earhart Award, and many others. Through CAP, he has participated in several relief and rescue missions. After his service in the military, Samuel hopes to attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to pursue a degree in Aeronautical Science.


Emma Pfitzer Price, Youth Performing Arts School

Emma is a brilliant young student with a love for acting. As Valedictorian of her senior class, Emma has been on the Honor Roll throughout high school and has taken 6 AP classes. She loves performing and helping others, which can been seen by her involvement in the International Thespian Society, Amnesty International Club, and Action for Africa group. Emma takes piano and voice lessons, and she figure skates. She is a Drama Scholar and attended the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. When she’s not performing, she is working within her community, including Project Warm, the Clint Vaught Young Actor's Institute, and at the St. Margaret Mary Art Fair. After graduation, Emma will attend the Julliard School in New York with hope of attaining a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre.


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