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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Mayor Recognizes Outstanding High School Seniors

Thursday April 22, 2010

49 Louisville Students Recognized at Thursday Night Banquet

Meet this year's Outstanding Seniors 

Individually, they represent 49 Louisville-area schools. Collectively, they are the cream of the crop of local graduating seniors.

Mayor Jerry Abramson is recognizing recipients of the annual Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors awards, sponsored by AT&T. Abramson will present the awards to the students this evening at a banquet in the Archibald Room of downtown’s Galt House Hotel, 140 North Fourth Street.

This year’s recipients include two students who emigrated from Africa, a student who has participated in missionary work in Nicaragua and Brazil, students who have volunteered in homeless shelters, with children suffering from moderate and severe disabilities and through providing burial services for the indigent, and several teenagers who have overcome personal adversity to excel in the classroom. The students, who represent virtually all of Louisville’s public and private high schools, include at least 14 National Honor Society members and 11 Governor’s Scholars.

“Each year, I am inspired by the stories that come with these awards,” Abramson said. “Many of these students have stood up to some extremely difficult challenges to become great students and role models. They deserve our thanks and best wishes for the future.”

The Outstanding High School Seniors Award began in the mid-1980s, and when Abramson took office in 1986, he expanded the program to include more schools. Each high school principal and guidance counselor in the city is asked to nominate a student for the award.

AT&T has partnered with the city of Louisville as a sponsor of the event in 20 of the last 22 years. During the 25-year history of the banquet, more than 1,350 students have been honored.

Photos and biographies of each honored student can be found online at



JUSTIN ANDERSON – Ballard High School

Justin is an outstanding student who excels in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. Throughout high school, he has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Spanish Club, Mu Alpha Theta and has played for the varsity basketball team since his freshman year. Outside of school, Justin has volunteered with several community agencies. Justin is respected by his peers and the faculty, and one of his best personality traits is his driven desire to succeed.

ALEX BAKER – Walden School

Alex is the personification of balance. She has achieved at the highest levels academically, taking six AP classes ranging from English and Spanish to calculus. She has participated in cross country, track and basketball. She tutors other students and is a vital part of her family-owned promotional products company. Her merits have been recognized by the Kentucky Spanish Honor Society and the Governor’s Scholars. Alex handles all of these demands with grace, compassion and a winning smile.

VICTORIA BARNETT – Evangel Christian School

Victoria has received numerous academic awards including highest GPA, National Honor Society, Academic Quiz Bowl champion, and served as Student Government president. She has been active in softball, soccer, basketball and volleyball. As a soloist, she received a top rating at the Kentucky Fine Arts Festival. She has volunteered in jails and nursing homes, and for medical mission work in Nicaragua and Brazil. There are few students that use their gifts in such a profound way to promote goodwill.

SYDNEY BEACHE – Louisville Collegiate

Sydney is an independent thinker with an unusually mature and conscientious attitude. She is a member of the Cum Laude Society and the National Honor Society. She is a finalist for the Young Epidemiology Scholarship, co-president of SADD, editor of the yearbook and is in the Pep Club and Student Ambassadors. Sydney helps Spanish speaking women enroll in health events and register for medical services. She was recently recognized with a 2010 Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

ZACHARY BECKMANN – DeSales High School

Zach’s biggest strengths are his worthy character and his maturity. The care and compassion that he exudes for others is unique. His maturity shines through his relationships with peers, teachers and coaches by being a person of integrity. He does what he says he will do; he is honest, trustworthy and responsible. Zach is well-liked and respected in the school community and is an exceptional representative of his family and DeSales.

KATHRYN BERGAMINI – Assumption High School

Katie is polite, unassuming, studious, and articulate, and she carries a 4.0 GPA. What is truly unique about Katie is her ability to relate to others no matter their age and intellectual ability. She can grasp the most complex idea and explain it to another student in exactly the way the student needs to hear it in order to understand. She serves lunch at a homeless shelter and joins classmates to provide a prayerful and respectful funeral to those who have no one to bear witness to their life.

DEXTER BRITT – Male High School

Living in a household of eight creates many issues, concerns and needs. Dexter accepts his challenges and works to make them an asset instead of a liability. He has a strong academic ethic, earning a GPA of 3.08. He hopes for a scholarship to Hanover College. Dexter quarterbacks Male’s football team and is on the varsity track team. Dexter is a quiet leader, an individual of high standards, intellectual prowess, and unfailing dependability at school, at home, and as a member of this community.

BREONA BROWN – Buechel Metropolitan High School

Breona has overcome tremendous personal challenges with grace and sheer determination. Her childhood was not easy; she lost 11 family members, most of whom were killed due to senseless violence. She could have given up but has persevered. She met Maya Angelou and is working with Project Hope to receive a scholarship to Sullivan University. Breona has made a commitment to become a police officer where she’ll help stamp out violence that affects families just like hers.

ERIC BRUMLEVE – St. Xavier High School

Eric is an ambitious, genuine, determined gentleman. He is a National Merit Semifinalist with a 4.0 GPA, and he’s a member of the Ryken Service Club, Social Justice Club and Environmental Club. He is a member of the St. Joseph of Arimethea Society, which provides burials and funeral services to the indigent. He’s an officer in the Chinese Club, and a member of the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America. Eric helps coordinate mission projects in the community for the Archdiocese. He moves in the world with a respect for others.


Karissa has a 3.4 GPA, which is no easy accomplishment considering she became pregnant as a sophomore. Prior to going to TAPP, Karissa exhibited self-destructive behavior including drug and alcohol abuse. She is now consistently on the honor roll, has received the Outstanding English Student and Outstanding Leadership awards. She has been accepted into U of L and Scholar House. She serves on TAPP’s Leadership Council and will represent TAPP with her story on a one-hour MTV special this spring.

ANTHONY CARNEY – Trinity High School

Anthony is a stellar example of the best at Trinity. He is a mature, enthusiastic, reliable school citizen whose diligence and initiative is evident at every turn. Whether in the classroom, in student government, or in athletics, Anthony is a true man of character. Though others recognize these outstanding characteristics, Anthony is a humble and compassionate spirit, and his smiling, upbeat manner is at the heart of all he is and does..

ANGELIQUE CILIBERTI – Kentucky Country Day

Angelique’s athletic achievements alone would be enough to make her an outstanding senior. She has been a district or state champion in lacrosse, track, field hockey and cross country. Academically, Angelique is just as exceptional, with a GPA of 4.0 or better in each of her four years. She has accomplished all this while maintaining a part-time job and serving as a School Ambassador and Community Service Club vice president. Angelique will attend Wake Forest University in the fall.

CHEALSI CUNNINGHAM – Western High School

Chealsi is class president and is a member of Beta Club, National Honor Society, Ethics Society, softball team, captain of the math team, and a Future Business Leaders of America officer. She is a member of Business Advisory Committee that gives direction to the tech program at Western. Though exposed to family alcohol issues and abuse at an early age, her father has been her greatest supporter and motivator. With 11 college acceptance letters, Chealsi plans to attend UK and pursue a career in the medical field.

ADRIENNE GENTRY – Alfred Binet School

Adrienne has had to overcome her own struggles to achieve academically and socially on a daily basis. She is admired for her ability to have a positive outlook on her job site and with her peers. Adrienne stands as a role model at Binet for overcoming adversity. Binet School wants to thank Adrienne for teaching them that nothing is ever greater than the determination of the human spirit.

LEEANN GERAGHTY – Holy Cross High School

LeeAnn is a leader in every imaginable way. She is currently ranked third in her senior class. On the playing fields she has exhibited character and integrity that shines as a role model for classmates. During preseason, LeeAnn suffered a season-ending injury. She underwent surgery and a painfully long rehabilitation. She never bemoaned her fate; she never missed a game on the bench, cheering and encouraging her teammates. LeeAnn deserves accolades for showing how to fight through tough times.

HAYDN GONZALEZ – Jefferson County High School

Haydn’s journey to his high school diploma is unique. He dropped out of public and parochial schools during his high school years. To help change direction, he was sent to a Wilderness Program in Utah where he slept under a tarp and began to build his confidence. He then went to a boarding school in Montana to learn how to compensate for his learning difficulties. He now has the tools to earn his high school diploma and plans to major in business in college.

SIMONE GONZALEZ – Central High School

Simone has maintained an impressive GPA while taking AP courses every year. She was a Governor’s Scholar. Additionally, she was one of only 27 students highlighted as a Churchill Downs Winner’s Circle Governor’s Scholar, where students who have overcome adversity are honored for their academic excellence. She is ranked in the top three percent of over 160,000 minority students.

SIDNEY HOAGLAND – Jeffersontown High School

Sidney is bright, hard working and motivated. Her love of learning and academic talent have helped her develop into a well-rounded, firmly grounded individual who is prepared for any challenge that she will face in the coming years. Sidney is driven to excellence, always giving her best, and is willing to assist her classmates so that they can perform at higher levels. She is respected by her teachers and peers. She is a credit to her school, community and her family.

VANESSA HOLLOWAY – Youth Performing Arts School

Vanessa is a gifted pianist, a Governor’s Scholar, a Commonwealth Ambassador and past participant in the Notre Dame Vision Program. She has twice attended the national Catholic Youth Conference and Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, and she has participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. She is involved in Summer Law Institute, Cardboard Village, the WUOL Young Artists Competition and the National Music Certificate Program. She dreams of majoring in engineering.


Lindsey, a Governor’s Scholar and class valedictorian, is exceptional in her scholastic and extracurricular achievements. But what stands out above all else is her strength of character, her faith, and her incredible acts of kindness. She embraces values such as joy, happiness, compassion, and the utilization of gifts. She enjoys rafting, swimming, ballroom dancing and hot air ballooning. “Live life to the fullest” is Lindsey’s battle cry.

MORGAN HUNTER – Waggener High School

Morgan is the top of her class with a 4.06 GPA. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Student Council and the math and Quick Recall teams. She is editor of the school newspaper and is a CATS Scholar, scoring Distinguished on all her CATS tests in her sophomore and junior years. She is a Governor’s School for the Arts recipient, a VOGT Scholar, and Smith College Book Award recipient. She volunteers at her church vacation Bible school and the March of Dimes, and she is a student ambassador.

KAYLA JONES – Fairdale High School

Kayla has been an integral part of the Fairdale culture. She is a class officer and is in the National Honor Society and Beta Club. She is a varsity cheerleader and softball player. She has been recognized by her peers as the Most Involved Senior. She has volunteered with Every 1 Reads and with local youth sports leagues, as well as serving as a freshman mentor. She is an exemplary student who will undoubtedly be a success in college and in her community. Kayla wants to become a nurse.

RYE JONES – St. Francis High School

Rye is captain of the lacrosse team and the Quick Recall team, and participates in the Math League. Rye has taken Chinese for three years and AP Chinese in his senior year. He has traveled to China twice to enhance his language skills and immerse himself in the culture. During his junior year he did an independent study of Chinese Philosophy. Rye is a soft-spoken, thoughtful young man who is honest, kind and dedicated.

ERIN KEELS – Seneca High School

Erin was a Governor’s Scholar and received the U of L Book Award. She serves as senior class vice president and copy editor of the yearbook. Her leadership extends to athletics, where she is captain of both the basketball and field hockey teams. Erin is active in Peer Mediation, Beta Club, National Honor Society and the Math Team, while working a part-time job, volunteering at the Louisville Science Center and achieving top grades. Erin plans to attend Vanderbilt University and become a neonatal surgeon.

LAURA KOLB – Liberty High School

Laura initiated Pennies for Peace for building schools in Afghanistan. She has volunteered at the Home of the Innocents and works with students at Churchill Park School. She was part of Liberty’s peer mediation program. She strives for excellence, succeeds through opportunity, sacrifices her time for the well being of others and genuinely cares for her fellow students. Graduating with a 3.4 GPA, Laura plans to pursue a degree in nursing or teaching.

COURTNEY LATTIMORE – Eastern High School

Courtney is a senior class president full of energy, self-motivation and a desire for excellence. Her love of the arts is contagious. She attended the Governor’s School for the Arts. She’s a leader in all of her activities from cheerleading, band and orchestra, to yearbook, the writing team and lacrosse. With all of these attributes, Courtney remains ethical and humble and she sets the standard for her peers. She wants to enter the field of medicine and become a surgeon.

TOVA LENTZ – Atherton High School

Tova has distinguished herself with her determination and confident academic stamina. She plays tennis and works at Bellarmine University library several evenings. She volunteers as a peer buddy for students who have moderate and severe disabilities. She has made a real effort in becoming their friends outside of class and outside of school. Tova has worked at a camp for children with disabilities. These experiences have changed her career path; she hopes to become a special education teacher.

RICCI MACON – Southern High School

Ricci is the president of the senior class and editor of the yearbook. She is a part of the school’s Writing Team, powder puff football, and was selected “Miss Trojan,” as well as football’s homecoming queen. Because of her outstanding academics, leadership and contributions to the school community, Ricci was selected to become a member of Southern’s Who’s Who. Ricci plans a career in nursing.

JESSICA MARTIN – Kentucky school for the Blind

In spite of her visual impairment, Jessica has taken an active part in school activities and assumed responsibilities for others. She is the vice president of her class, and captain of the cheerleading squad and track team. She is a member of the speech, goalball and swimming teams. She coaches young visually impaired students in swimming and cheerleading. She acts as the assistant to the Youth Leader, and she volunteers at the St. James Court Art Show and the Louisville Science Center. She also assists her disabled mother.

CARMEN MITCHELL – Manual High School

Motivated, mature, hard-working, dedicated, high moral character, intelligent, genuine, and humble are all words that describe Carmen. Raised by a single mom who works second shift, Carmen is largely responsible for her two siblings at night. But these struggles have led to an understanding that the stakes are high and you have to seek opportunities to succeed. She carries a 3.4 GPA and has accumulated over 200 service hours. She has her eyes set on a career in science and engineering.

MICAH CHARLES MONGER – Churchill Park School

Micah participates in a variety of activities in the school and community. He has participated in three Special Olympics, earning four Personal Best Gold Medals and a bronze medal in snowshoeing. He enjoys playing drums, watching movies, listening to music and looking at books and the newspaper. As a Work Experience participant he works at the VanHoose Education Center, the Churchill Downs Greenhouse, the U of L Library and Sam’s Club. He plans to attend a local day center.

VOLONTE NYATSO – Iroquois High School

Volonte is from Togo, Africa. As his peers were beginning the 8th grade, he was landing in Ghana. He remembers this as the beginning of a prosperous life for him and the end of suffering, pain and anguish. He maintains a 3.74 GPA, and he is active in soccer, Quick Recall, and the National Honor Society. He serves on the Principal’s Advisory Board, and he is a Governor’s Scholar. In his spare time, Volonte works at UPS and takes classes at JCC thru the UPS Co-op Program. He has a career goal of being a diplomat.

CASEY PARK – Brown School

Casey carries a 4.2 GPA, is editor of the school paper, and director of the school’s ten minute plays. She has received scholarship offers to several colleges. Casey lost her mother at the age of six. Soon after, she, her father and four siblings lost their home in a fire. Many would feel hopeless but Casey pushed on. She fenced for eight years, earning first place nationally in women’s saber. She has been a Metro Youth Leader, and has held a job since age 15. She plans to study literature and English in college.

LAURA PHARIS – Beth Haven Christian School

Laura is truly an all-around student who maintains a 3.8 GPA while participating in the school’s athletic program, doing extensive community service projects. She is involved in the school’s dual enrollment program with Jefferson Community College. Laura will graduate as Salutatorian of her class in May, and is a member of both the National Honor Society and Beta Club. Laura plans to attend Indiana University Southeast this fall with a major in elementary education.

MAXWELL REGO – Butler Traditional High School

Max is an intellectual giant with a humble and generous spirit. He has a cumulative GPA of 3.895, taking the most rigorous curriculum at Butler. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the Beta Club and Butler’s tennis team. He volunteers his services as a math tutor at school and in a vacation Bible school at church. He serves on the Mayor’s Metro Youth Leaders Council, and has received “First Honors” from Business First. He plans to pursue a major in engineering.


Carrie exhibits her leadership abilities through participation in Future Business Leaders of America, FCCLA, and the SMART program. She was also a Governor’s Scholar. Carrie has organized several fundraisers, such as “Walk for the Cure,” spearheading a bake sale and earning money through Mark’s Feed Store to donate to the Holiday Angel Tree. Carrie is an extraordinary young lady, impressive mother and high achiever. One cannot be in her presence without noticing her exuberance and her zest for life.

KRISTY ROBERTACCIO – Fern Creek High School

Kristy is a top Advance Program student, has had perfect attendance throughout high school and has been a Governor’s Scholar. She is a member of the tennis and field hockey teams and has received the school’s Character First award. She has visited nursing homes, participated in environmental cleanups, volunteered at vacation Bible school and performed community service through the JROTC program. Her dream is to attend Centre College. She aspires to be an English teacher.

ELIZABETH ROUSOS – Christian Academy

Elizabeth has a diligent work ethic. She is quiet, yet she is ready to answer questions and participate in class discussion. Her sweet spirit shines through in all she does. Elizabeth was ranked first on the golf team. She led the team in prayer, took the responsibility for hospitality bags for the other teams, and was very encouraging to her teammates. She has worked hard as a National Honor Society officer, heading up the Race for the Cure. Elizabeth volunteers many hours in a hospital. She is truly an outstanding senior.

BRIAN SAMUELS – Pleasure Ridge Park High School

Brian loves to play basketball, never misses a performance with the marching band, and was selected as a McConnell Scholar last summer. He argues his position for the Debate Team. Brian pushes himself to be the best, whether it is by taking Advance Placement classes or reading supplemental texts to enrich class discussions. He sounds like an over-achiever, but he does it all from a wheelchair. His body is confined to a wheelchair, but his mind and spirit soar.

ERICA SHELLEY – Whitefield Academy

Erica has been described as the “epitome of a model high school student.” She has excelled in every area despite battling the significant challenges that cancer brings. She is currently one of the top ranked students in her senior class. Erica enjoys serving others as a member of Beta Club, Student Government, and a board member of an adolescent oncology panel at Kosair’s Children’s Hospital. This fall, Erica was recognized as Churchill Scholar through the Governor’s Scholar Program.

STEVEN SSOZI – Moore High School

Steven arrived from Uganda two years ago with minimal skills in English. Despite this, he has maintained a 3.9 GPA. He is vice president of the senior class, captain of his soccer team, a member of both the academic and math teams, and placed first in science with his academic team. Steven was student of the year in the GE College Bound Program, and has a great work ethic. In the community, he volunteers to deliver newspapers to the elderly and has devoted time to cleaning up a church in his community.

KELLY SULLIVAN – Presentation Academy

Kelly is class valedictorian, a National Merit finalist and a Presidential Scholars candidate. She is a top runner in cross country, is blessed with a lovely singing voice and plays the flute beautifully. She is also a gifted actor who has been awarded a major role in every production since arriving at Presentation. For the past two years, she has traveled to Appalachia, and as president of the Interact Club, has provided numerous service opportunities for her fellow students.

TEMIKA SWAIN – Ahrens Work Transition Program

Temika has shown tremendous success at overcoming personal challenges. She is a leader in the classroom and the community. She helps underclassmen by teaching them the rules and routine of the class. She volunteers at the Sacred Heart Village, Christ Church Cathedral and University Hospital. She has managed to maintain near perfect attendance and works part-time. She is a valuable volunteer, respected employee and an independent young adult.

KHOREE THOMAS – Valley High School

Khoree has a 3.3 GPA and is currently a senior class officer. She participates in Upward Bound and the Peer Tutoring program working with special needs students. She is the captain of the varsity volleyball team. Khoree has overcome many obstacles during her lifetime due to her mother being incarcerated for the past 10 years, which drives her focus on achieving success. Khoree is a determined individual who will reach her goals of attending college and becoming an accountant.

JOSH TREGO – Shawnee High School

Josh is in the aviation flight program where he will earn his private pilot license by the end of the year. Academically, Josh has a 3.9 GPA, is ranked third in his class and is currently the XO of the NJROTC program. He’s participated in the Civil Air Patrol, his church youth group band, and Love Louisville. He has been captain of the cross country and swim teams, and participated with track and golf teams as well.

JUSTIN WELLUM – Portland Christian School

Justin has a 4.0 GPA and scored a 30 on the ACT. He takes challenging courses and was a Governor’s Scholar. He has volunteered in political campaigns, at the Mattingly Center and a local animal shelter. He is captain of the track and cross country teams. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has helped with several service projects including feeding the homeless and purchasing animals for an African village. He has a servant’s heart and always strives to do his best.

TAJA WILLIAMS – Doss High School

Taja is a success story in the making. She is mature beyond her years and possesses an extremely advanced outlook on life. Her work ethic, dedication and attention to detail are second to none with respect to her peers. Taja sets the standard that all others attempt to match in the classroom, in the community and on the fields.

CHASE WILSON – Mary Ryan Academy

Before entering Mary Ryan, Chase struggled in school, wasn’t interested in having friends or opening up to staff. This made it hard for him to concentrate on school work. Now, you’ll see a new Chase. He is successful academically and exemplifies an honest, polite and respectable young man. Having to overcome the loss of his father last year has fueled his determination to succeed. He has risen above countless difficulties, has a delightful sense of humor and has started life long friendships.

JOHANNA YUN – Sacred Heart Academy

Johanna is a Governor’s Scholar who sings in the a cappella and madrigal choirs, is president of the National Honor Society, a member of the Spanish and Music Honors Society, the Diversity Leadership Team, the swim team, and the Followship of Christian Athletes. She volunteers at the Kids Cafe, a soup kitchen, and the Korean American Medical Association. She has a 3.91 GPA and was accepted to Washington University to begin the journey to become a physician and an advocate for public health initiatives for children.