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Fischer Honors 48 Outstanding High School Seniors

Wednesday April 13, 2011

48 Louisville students recognized Tuesday night

Mayor Greg Fischer today honored the recipients of the annual Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors award. Fischer presented the awards to 48 students during a reception and dinner at the KFC Yum! Center.

This year’s recipients include students who emigrated from Iraq, Somalia and Chile, a student who launched a program to collect shoes for residents of developing countries, students who have volunteered for a variety of causes and charities and several teenagers who have overcome personal adversity to excel in the classroom. The students include at least nine National Honor Society members and five Governor’s Scholars.

“These are individuals who represent the future of our city as evidenced by their dedication to academics and commitment to their family and to helping others in need,” Fischer said. “They are shining examples of what you can achieve through focus, teamwork and perseverance.”

The winners come from many of Louisville’s public, private and Catholic schools. Each principal and guidance counselor in the city is asked to nominate a student for the award.

The Outstanding High School Seniors Award began in the mid-1980s. AT&T is the presenting sponsor.


Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors – 2011


Hayley Adams, Seneca High School

Hayley ranks # 2 in Seneca’s senior class of 325 seniors. She is an incredible student, arriving at Seneca her freshman year after being having been home schooled. She was very anxious and afraid she wasn’t academically prepared for the advance program. She had nothing to worry about -- she has made straight “A’s” through high school ending with a 4.2 GPA. Hayley’s career goal is to be an art therapist after obtaining a degree in Psychology from Bellarmine University.


Cordelia Addington, Atherton High School

Cordelia has achieved her goals because she believes no challenge is too great. She has pursued the most rigorous pre-college curriculum at Atherton: the International Baccalaureate program. She has taken all IB classes offered and will graduate as an IB Diploma Candidate with only 6 other students. Even with the course load of IB classes and her participation in many other activities that take tremendous amounts of time, she still manages to carry an un-weighted 3.9 GPA. Cordelia will be attending Transylvania University next fall where she received the William T. Young Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship that Transylvania offers.


Mustafa Almajedi, St Francis High School

Mustafa came as a refugee from Baghdad, Iraq by way of Jordan. He has endured a great deal in his short life to become the young man he is today. He has proven to be an integral member of his school community and is well respected by his peers, faculty and the athletic teams he belongs to. He has volunteered at the Kentucky Refugee Ministry and the Americana Center believing he should give back to those who assisted his family with settling in Louisville. Mustafa has emerged from all the trials he has encountered to create a great future for himself.


Clayton Bailey, Ballard High School

Clayton is an outstanding student who has excelled in every area of his career at Ballard High School. Throughout high school he has maintained a 3.93 GP while being involved with the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Spanish Club and varsity tennis. Clayton’s hard work has earned him honors this year as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Highly respected by his peers and faculty, one of Clayton’s best personality traits is his driven desire to succeed.


Brittany Bloyd, Beth Haven Christian School

Brittany is an all-around student, participating in the school’s athletic program; extensive community service projects and the school’s dual enrollment program with Jefferson Community and Technical College while maintaining a 4.1 grade point average. Brittany will graduate valedictorian of her class in May. She plans to attend University of the Cumberlands this fall majoring in accounting.


Ronald Booth, DeSales High School

Ronnie is the perfect example of a well-rounded student and strives for excellence in all aspects of his life. He is a good friend to many, has a strong involvement with his family, and is an excellent student and athlete. Whether Ronnie is working with his classmates on a project, studying for a big exam, or preparing for the state championship football game he is always focused and remains driven. Kind, caring, and compassionate are three words school officials have used to describe him. Wise beyond his years, it may be that coming from a larger family has helped him to mature a little quicker than his peers. When you look into Ronnie’s eyes you can tell that he is always thinking. His kind heart and love for learning will allow him to excel in all aspects of life.

Olivia Carter, Southern High School

Olivia is maintaining a 3.6 GPA while taking rigorous advanced placement and honor classes. Not only does Olivia display strong academic talent, she is also a member of the tennis team, Key Club, Future Educators, soccer team, Spanish Club and Beta Club while also working full time at O’Charley’s restaurant. She is the recipient of the Vogt Scholarship which she plans to use to attend the University of Louisville majoring in political science and then on to law school.



Cody Clark, Butler Traditional High School

Cody is an award-winning magician who has spent many hours performing his magic shows at Kosair Hospital and Hosparus, even going room-to room doing tricks to help lift the spirits of bed-ridden children. His big heart is coupled with a strong desire to succeed. As President of the Butler chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, Cody is highly involved at school, state and national levels. In addition to all he has achieved he maintains a 3.4 GPA. Cody has never let autism be a hindrance to all that he wants to achieve.



Shemiah Clark, Valley High School

Shemiah excelled in every area of her young life. It’s hard to believe that she was nearly identified as a special education student in elementary school. She has maintained a very rigorous academic course load during her high school career averaging a 3.48 GPA. Beyond academics, she has shown great leadership abilities as Senior Class Vice President, Academic Editor for the Valley Yearbook and a member of the Valley Youth Service Center Council Board. She is very involved in the community and has been part of the James Brown Cancer Center summer program for two years. Shemiah will be attending the University of Louisville majoring in biology with the dream of becoming a physician. There is no doubt in her teachers’ minds that one day she will be referred to as Dr. Clark.



Garret Culver, Mary Ryan Academy

Garret has overcome many obstacles in his educational career, and he has done this with grace, dignity and lots of style. Garret is a student who brings a lot of energy and humor to his school. Garret’s teachers can write a book of “Garretisms”. He has a great deal of compassion for others and because of his own personal experiences, he is supportive to other students in stressful situations. He has good listening ears and a strong shoulder to cry on. Garrett volunteers in the Head Start classroom and is completing a vocational program after school three days a week. He plans to attend Carl Perkins after graduation.



Chelsea Dermody, Fairdale High School

Chelsea’s teachers and principal think she is one of the most well rounded students at school. She works hard in Fairdale’s advance program and is on pace to be valedictorian. She is extremely organized and highly involved in leadership roles at school and in her church and community. If her classmates and teachers were asked what Chelsea’s best quality is it would have little to do with her academic achievements. It would mostly involve the compassion and empathy she consistently displays. Chelsea’s counselor at Fairdale said she is the all-American girl that all mothers and fathers hope their baby daughter grows to become. She is hard working, and a natural leader.

Shelbi Draper, Whitefield Academy

Shelbi is well-rounded and a natural leader with a passion for serving others, investing her time in countless hours of service at school, her church and in her community. In 2008, Shelbi was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and she has used the diagnosis as a platform to reach out and encourage others. This year, Shelbi organized the senior class to participate in a MD walk, which raised significant money to fund future MD research. She is an inspiration to all she comes in contact with.

Kathleen Ewen, Kentucky Country Day School

Katie is outstanding for her excellent academic record, the breadth of her interests and commitment of service. A regional champion at Governor’s Cup, Katie has earned all A’s despite a rigorous schedule. She is a fine athlete with varsity letters in hockey and lacrosse. She is an accomplished equestrian, and an expert kayaker. Katie’s service includes her work with the Center for Women and Families and the Green Hill Equine Therapy.



Maria Cristina Fehder, Sacred Heart Academy

Maria is an international Baccalaureate and commonwealth diploma candidate. She tutors students in the Adelante Hispanic Achievers program and volunteers at the Little Sisters of Poor nursing home. Maria is also an active member of St Martin of Tours Church, Right to Life, Sacred Heart’s Book Club, Youth for Life Club, Spanish Club and Spanish Honor Society. She has been on the school’s academic and service honor rolls throughout high school. Eight years ago, Maria and her family established “Blanket Louisville” which collects blankets for Louisville homeless. Maria plans to attend the University of Dayton and double major in mechanical engineering and Spanish.



Mariha Geter, Holy Cross High School

Mariha has been a class leader from the first day she entered Holy Cross. A national merit scholar, she has earned admission to and scholarships from numerous prestigious colleges. Maria is always ready to help other classmates who ask for tutoring. She has been described as a graceful young woman with a sharp wit and steel-trap mind, forever patient and unflinchingly kind. She was also a tenacious defender on the district champion soccer team. Holy Cross faculty feels fortunate that Mariha picked their school.



Amanda Gootee, Westport TAPP

Before attending TAPP, Amanda seemed headed for trouble. In the ninth grade she hung out with friends who cared more about partying and skipping school than studying. As a result, she flunked 9th grade. Then she found out she was pregnant and didn’t attend school for three months because she was so upset with herself. She finally decided to enroll at TAPP and give it a try. She quickly found out that the school was not about feeling sorry for yourself because you are pregnant but rather that you really have a reason now to push forward and succeed. She also realized she basically was a hard working person who just needed someone to encourage and push her. The staff never stopped encouraging her and today she has a 3.2 GPA and is a member of almost every club offered at TAPP. She is an outstanding student and a loving mother to her beautiful 21 month old son, Kayden. Amanda has been accepted to Spalding and has received a scholarship in nursing. She has definitely proven that life is what you make it.



Candice Gott, Presentation Academy

A typical day for Candice includes traveling to downtown Louisville to meet a freshman in the school library for a tutoring session, chairing a committee to plan a student council event or attending a National Honor Society meeting. When the final bell rings she begins music rehearsal, attends cheerleading practice or rushes to her job at Valley Dairy Freeze. Candice is a Governor’s Scholar who maintains a 3.9 GPA in honors and AP classes. She will attend Northern Kentucky University in the fall and later plans to study law.



Brandon Grigsby, Kentucky School for the Blind

Brandon came to the Kentucky School for the Blind two years ago after experiencing a decline in his home school district. Faced with low grades and a poor attitude, graduating from high school seemed unlikely. To compound this, his mother lost her battle with cancer. Due to his crumbling support system and failing grades, it was believed that KSB would be a better option to steer this bright and capable young man back on the right path. Soon after enrolling at KSB, Brandon excelled both academically and socially. He became a mentor to those his own age and younger. He is known at KSB as the “cat” for Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat”, dressing up in full costume to interact with younger students. He is a talented musician and an active member of the KSB Percussion Ensemble. Brandon was the first student in his senior class to be accepted to college. He will be attending the University of Louisville to major in sociology.



Deshawn Grinter, Breckinridge Metro High School

Deshawn rises to meet every challenge, showing great strength, courage and determination. He is a well-rounded young man who demonstrates responsibility, dependability and a strong work ethic both in school and in the community. In addition to maintaining honor roll status throughout his high school career and serving as a leader of the school service team, he is also an active member of his church youth group and assists a Cub Scout troop. Breckinridge High School staff said if “we had a million Deshawn Grinters, the world would be a better place.”

Matthew Haddock, Portland Christian School

Matthew currently serves as President of the National Honor Society. He has organized several outreach opportunities to the homeless including a small group of students who visited a homeless camp to distribute food. His classmates have recognized his leadership by electing him as senior class president, a class officer for four years, and homecoming court representative for four years. Matthew encourages students by speaking in chapel and inspires others by his work in drama. Matthew’s principal said that he is a wonderful young man who makes Portland Christian School a better place.



Shanee Howard, Iroquois High School

Shanee is a senior class officer and a recipient of the Who’s Who Award, one of the school’s highest achievement awards. She has also been Vice President of Tri-M-Music Honor Society, Freshman of the Year , Berea College Pinnacle Music Scholar, Distinguished CATS in the areas of social studies, English and math and was the highest scoring student in Spanish. In the community she is a volunteer for Dare to Care, Crusade for Children and very involved in her church. When asked how she maintains her determination, she replies: “Both of my brothers have struggled transitioning into adulthood. Since I was a child, I vowed that I would go to college and make something of myself.”



Jonathan Hunt, Youth Performing Arts School

Jonathan is described by his teachers as awesome, brilliant, ridiculously smart, motivated, excited about learning, cooperative and joyful. One of his guidance counselors said that in his 30 years in education, he had yet to encounter a young man that impressed him as much as Jonathan. He embraces challenges rather than finding ways to avoid them. He has completed over 160 hours of community service and volunteer work. He is a scholar and a talented musician. He has served as Governor’s Scholar and Commonwealth Ambassador. Jonathan has accomplished all of this despite difficulties at home that caused him to fail 6th grade. In the 7th grade, Jonathan started living with his father and began a new school that helped him discover his gifts for music and academics.



Emily Ice, South Park T.A.P.P.

Emily has a 3.8 G.P.A. and has received proficient and distinguished scores in all areas of statewide testing. She is ambitious and works hard to stay balanced between school, work and her role as a wonderful, caring teen mother. She demonstrates her leadership skills through participation in the Science, Math and Right Technology program, visiting colleges and participating in seminars which will benefit her academic goals. She is a dedicated employee in the school lunchroom and holds a part-time job after school. Emily has been accepted to three universities, but her career interests and university acceptance is undecided. Emily hopes to live with her daughter in the Family Scholar House.



Alec Jarm, Christian Academy of Louisville

Alec pursues excellence in everything he does. He has taken the highest level of courses in every subject and has excelled in all of them. With a passion for sports, Alec has been a major contributor to the football team and state championship lacrosse team for the past four years. His coaches count on him for strong leadership and to give 110% on every play. Along with being an outstanding student and athlete, Alec possesses outstanding character and has earned the respect of his peers and faculty.



Ellen Kolb, J. Graham Brown High School

Ellen is a bit of a tomboy, raised as an only girl in a family of boys. Although she has not always been a straight A student, she has always maintained an excellent GPA while participating in many extra-curricular activities. She has worked full time every summer since she was 15 to help with family finances. She has excelled in both volleyball and basketball since middle school. In 7th grade, she played varsity basketball. She has been invited by Georgetown College to participate in elite high school basketball camps every year since 8th grade. As a junior, she received her first sports recruiting letter from a college and has since received numerous academic and athletic scholarships. Georgetown’s volleyball coach said “Ellen hits the ball like a six foot tall player”. The University of Louisville’s volleyball coach said her vertical jump measures 28 inches high. All this goes to show that huge success can come from a pint-sized student/athlete from a small school like Brown.



Ayana Lowry, Louisville Collegiate

Ayana, often the voice of the “under dog”, has a quick wit and a caring spirit. In addition to volunteering with “Kids Acting Against Cancer” and the West End Boys School, she shines as a leader on the Upper School Senate and the Mock Trial Team. She is also involved in varsity soccer, basketball and lacrosse as well as lead roles in theatrical productions. Ayana is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Olympiad, Quick Recall team and the Science Olympiad. She plans a medical career in neonatology.



David Miller, Eastern High School

David is an excellent student and is a true inspiration to all. He is one of the most well rounded to ever walk the halls of Eastern with his singing ability, lacrosse playing and leadership as Senior Class President. He maintains a very welcoming approach for all new students, answering their questions and helping them find their way around. David is a role model to his peers and younger students and cares greatly for his school, his community and his country.



Stefanie Muller, Assumption High School

Stefanie’s favorite quote, “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live,” gives an insight to her personality. A voracious reader, Stefanie has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. She took her first AP class freshman year and will have completed nine college level courses upon graduation. Active in student government she also serves as president of Assumption’s Family Program, serves on the Advancement Council and participated in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program. In the top 5% of her class, she maintains a 3.97 GPA.



Trevor Nichols, Louisville Male Traditional High School

Trevor is industrious and has great leadership potential. A model student, he participates in athletics and excels in the classroom. Voted “Mr. Male”, he completed a rigorous college preparatory program, which, through persistence, has earned him a 3.6 GPA. Trevor’s passion to lead and help others drives him to be the best he can be. His intuitive people skills will be a tremendous asset while he attends the University of Kentucky and later in life.



David Payne, Western Math, Science and Technology High School

David is a pioneer in Western’s Early College program and will graduate with six college credits. Captain of the Quick Recall team, a student ambassador, and an officer for Student Government, David also serves as manager for the softball team, is a member of the track team, the BETA Club, year book staff and has written and performed in a series of one-act plays. A diplomatic leader who inspires by example, David is always willing to share his gifts, talents, keen eye and expertise with others. David will attend the University of Kentucky where he plans to study public relations.



Markia Pence, Liberty High School

Markia is a remarkable young woman and a caring volunteer who brings a smile and warm heart to any job. She serves as the student representative for the Youth Service Center Advisory Council, organized the schools Black History Month program and is a member of the Student Forum where she planned a basketball tournament, a shoe drive at church and other projects. Described as polite, positive and respectful, she has volunteered for New Directions and is a role model for others. Markia plans to pursue a degree in music technology either at Hanover College or Kentucky State University.

Ashley Presnell, Mercy Academy

As a dedicated Governor’s Scholar taking advanced courses, Ashley has maintained a 3.97 GPA while serving in many leadership roles that have demonstrated her passion and commitment to her school and fellow students. She was named as a Churchill Downs Scholar recognizing her strength in overcoming the adversity of losing both of her parents on separate occasions. Ashley met these challenges with a phenomenal amount of maturity and determination.

Ben Randolph, St. Xavier High School

Ranked third in his senior class of 313, Ben carries a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He also chairs the Student Council’s Religious program, and is active in the drama department – appearing in “Les Miserable”, “The Hobbit”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and currently “1776”. Ben provides community service through the Ryken Service Club, spending countless hours in the homes of low income families. Ben has a passion for literature and is considering a major in English and Hispanic studies and has been accepted at Dartmouth College, the University of Chicago, Washington University, Vanderbilt and Indiana University.



Ana Ruiz, Moore Traditional High School

Ana dedicates her time to the betterment of the community by serving as a translator and tutor for struggling immigrant students and working numerous service projects through the FBLA and the National Honors Society. She strives for academic excellence by taking the most difficult courses and maintains a 3.9 GPA. Ana’s dedication to academics and community service, combined with her selflessness will serve her well in the future.



Colleen Schmitt, Churchill Park School

A student at Churchill Park for 15 years, Colleen is a wonderful student with a warm heart. Colleen puts a smile on everyone’s face she meets and says “hello” to everyone she passes in the hallway. A competitor in the Special Olympics, she enjoys swimming and bowling. One of the most social of students, Colleen is an avid collector of magazines and arrives and leaves school each day with a winning attitude.



Meagan Sellinger, Evangel Christian School

Meagan is outstanding in many ways. An excellent scholar, she will serve as valedictorian and takes pride in her academic achievements. A remarkable athlete in both basketball and softball, Meagan provides encouragement and mentoring to younger students. Never one to complain, she has also spent time doing missionary work, most recently returning for a one week stay at the Bowery in New York where she spent time feeding the homeless and cleaning the facilities.



Chloe Skaggs, Jeffersontown High School

Not one to shy away from work, Chloe thrives academically, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and continues to challenge herself by taking several AP courses. She has artistic talent, serving as a member of the schools award winning choir and has taken every choral class offered. She could best be described as a true leader, who possesses a very natural leadership ability, and who helps guide her fellow students in a positive way.



Waymon Slaughter Jr., Central High School

Waymon will serve as valedictorian and maintains a 3.9 GPA in the Advanced Program. A member of the National Honor Society and BETA Club, he also leads his pre-med magnet class. A member of the football team in each of his four years, Waymon also served as Homecoming King and helped guide the football team to their state championship season. At the West Chestnut Street Baptist Church, he serves as an usher and participates in the Youth Leadership Ministry. An extraordinary student athlete, Waymon is compassionate and ambitious. He plans to become a pediatric surgeon.



Shaina Smoger, Walden School

Attending Walden since Kindergarten, Shaina is an excellent student who has successfully taken AP classes throughout her high school career. She possesses a strong sense of responsibility to family, school and community. Through the Share Our Soles Foundation, she initiated an effort to collect shoes for citizens of third world countries and created a math tutoring program for younger Walden students. For ten years, Shaina was a competitive gymnast for which she credits her sense of discipline and responsibility. Shaina has been accepted to Centre College, Indiana University, Bradley University and the University of Louisville and will attend either U of L or the University of Alabama.



Shane Stumph, Jefferson County High School

Shane’s positive attitude and determination to work at his highest potential will see to his future success. His motto of: “this may be hard, but it will be worth it in the end,” is an example of his open minded approach to reaching his goals. An excellent student in the classroom, Shane is an example to those around him and does not offer excuses, only results. He is an asset to his friends, family, workplace and community.



Matthew Tomes, Alfred Binet School

While not able to express himself through communication in the standard sense, Matthew excels in honors of the heart – expressing himself through humor, random hugs and overwhelming affection. Matthew reminds you that the talents he has brought to the world are ones that we should all employ more often – that a smile can change the attitude of others. He is never happier than when people are laughing. Matthew has reminded our school to look at life at what we can give back and the happiness we can share.



Ricardo Ullrich, DuPont Manual High School

Journeying to Louisville at age six, Ricardo’s family arrived from Santiago, Chile with two small suitcases and no money. Living in the basement of an aunt and uncle’s home, his parents both worked two jobs to make enough money to rent an apartment. Unable to speak English, Ricardo describes his first experience with school as “torture”, eventually attending four different schools in his first year alone along with counseling. Torture no more, Ricardo has worked hard to achieve a 4.28 cumulative GPA and was selected to participate in the Governor’s Scholars Program.

Desmond Wallace, The Phoenix School of Discovery

Desmond is the model student at Phoenix. With a strong curriculum in college level courses, he earns straight A's and maintains a 4.0 GPA. Humorous and dedicated, Desmond has the ability to entertain those around him with anecdotes about work, home and family, especially during the Gold Medal luncheons held for our top students every six weeks. After school, Desmond works at UPS, where he consistently earns top reviews from his supervisors, and also mentors 3rd graders in a Southern Indiana elementary school, through JCPS online and SKYPE, where he is a role model and leader for younger students. Desmond credits his abilities with children to his mom through helping her care for his younger siblings.



Emily Walls, Fern Creek Traditional High School

Emily is a dedicated student and has played an active role in the School of Communications and Media, winning several awards for her work with WDRB TV Fox 41, the JCPS “Our Kids” program and the “Fern Creek Morning Show.” A contributing member of the Principal’s Advisory Council, Emily has also participated in field hockey and many other school activities. Exhibiting the characteristics of determination, loyalty, and kindness and the energy to conquer even the most challenging tasks, she is a champion for school and community.



Whitney West, Doss High School

“I don’t need anything, I just wanted to say thanks for all of your help,” Whitney wrote on a counselor request form, which is a reflection of her dedicated, conscientious and responsible attitude. Raised in a single parent household, Whitney is a member of the National Honor Society and was accepted into the Banking and Financial Services magnet program. Achieving excellence in her Honors and AP courses, Whitney aspires to become a certified public accountant. She will be a first generation college student when she enters the University of Louisville this fall.

Brandon Weyhing, Trinity High School

Brandon has maximized every opportunity throughout his high school career, always seeking excellence in the classroom, and opting for the more challenging courses. A member of the National Honor Society, Brandon has also contributed to Trinity’s football championship teams. He is distinguished by his spirit of conscientiousness, perseverance, creativity and personal drive. Brandon plans to major in architecture at the University of Arkansas.



Hayley Wyman, Pleasure Ridge Park High School

Chosen by her classmates, Hayley is a Governor’s Scholar with a 4.0 GPA and a leader in the National Honor Society and the BETA Club. Editor of the school newspaper and a contributor to the school sports magazine, Hayley is a golfer and a swimmer as well as a volunteer for community activities. Described as intelligent, motivated and inspiring, Hayley’s enthusiasm for education and zeal for life will serve her well as she pursues her dream of becoming a teacher.



Noor Yussuf, Waggener Traditional High School

Noor is an exceptional young man. He has strong time management skills, a great work ethic and is highly dependable. Noor maintains his high academic achievement while serving school, his community and family vigorously. Overcoming personal challenges as a refugee from Somalia, he has risen above and prevailed over these troubles. He is a caring person with a true determination to succeed.