Students have excelled in and out of the classroom
Mayor Greg Fischer recently honored high school seniors who have excelled in and out of the classroom with his annual Outstanding High School Seniors Award.
This year’s recipients include immigrants from Somalia, Kenya, Cuba and other countries, along with students who have overcome illness, personal struggles, disabilities and behavioral issues to achieve success.
The students include 18 National Honor Society members, six Governor’s Scholars, and others who have excelled in the arts and on the sports field. Nearly all of the students have plans for college and post-secondary education.
Principals and guidance counselors throughout Louisville nominated students for the award, which were presented in a ceremony at Metro Hall.
2018 Mayor’s Outstanding High School Seniors
Randall Lainhart, Ahrens Work Transition Program
Since starting at Ahrens, Randall has gained independence in school and out in the community. He has learned to ride the TARC bus system and is able to travel independently to school and work. He has strengthened his communication skills and is proud of his personal growth. Randall participates regularly in Special Olympics athletics. Randall is extremely hard working and takes his responsibilities seriously. Because of this, Randall was named employee of the month at UPS Worldport in September. While balancing a full-time job and school, Randall also gives of his time volunteering regularly at Norton Hospital, the Louisville Zoo and Audubon Hospital. After graduation, Randall plans to continue working at UPS Worldport and giving back to the community.
Keon Reece, Alfred Binet School
Keon has proven to be an example for his classmates and coworkers. He is the first Alfred Binet student to successfully enroll and complete the Transitional Learning Center program at UPS. Keon’s commitment and diligence was recognized at UPS and he was awarded the “Excellence in Service” certificate after only one year on the job. As a student, employee, volunteer and Special Olympics athlete, Keon enjoys staying involved in the community. Upon graduation, Keon plans to continue working at UPS and living near his friends and family in Louisville. Keon has proven to be a bright young man and is proof that with hard work, determination and a passion for a purposeful life, anything is possible.
Kalena Genesis, Atherton High School
Kalena is a distinguished scholar, athlete and volunteer. Graduating with a 4.3 weighted GPA after finishing multiple AP and IB courses, Kalena was also accepted into the Governors Scholar Program. She is very dedicated to her studies, as well as her extracurricular activities. Kalena is a member of the field hockey and track teams, and is involved in various clubs including: Rho Kappa, Beta Club, French Club and the National Honor Society. Kalena enjoys volunteering in her free time. Every year on Thanksgiving she cooks dinner for a homeless shelter. She also gives of her time at Churchill Downs during Derby Week. Kalena has a bright future ahead of her as she plans to study marine biology and pursue a career as an environmental scientist.
Samuel Rickert, Ballard High School
Samuel is a multi-sport athlete and strong student leader for his classmates at Ballard High School. Overcoming a tough course load has proven to be a simple task for Samuel. Upon graduation, he will have completed eight Advanced Placement and dual credit courses with a 3.75 cumulative GPA. Samuel balances school work with several extracurricular activities as a member of the Spanish and French Clubs and he is the co-president of Bruin Nation. He also competes on the golf, bowling, swim, tennis and track and field teams. Samuel’s dedication to living a healthy lifestyle has been recognized by Norton Healthcare and has inspired him to fill a position on the Norton Children’s Teen Board. Samuel plans to attend the University of Alabama and study education.
De’Aizia Coleman, Breckinridge Metropolitan High School
De’Aizia is a focused, hardworking student who balances her coursework and a part-time job. Every day, De’Aizia takes her required senior courses in the morning and then leaves for her job at a restaurant in the afternoon and evening. She has learned to move on from her past and is working to better herself. With support from her teachers and the school administration, De’Aizia is making strong, positive relationships with others. Breckinridge Metropolitan has recognized De’Aizia for her excellent behavior and honor roll status. De’Aizia has applied to Jefferson Community and Technical College as well as the University of Virginia. She aspires to become a veterinarian following college.
Amanda Trautwein, Butler Traditional High School
With a 3.8 GPA, Amanda is in the top 15 percent of her class at Butler Traditional High School. Her strong academics have established her as a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club. Amanda is a strong student leader, and was the sophomore class officer and the Junior Class President. She is involved in several student organizations including Best Buddies and Relay for Life. Amanda is a volunteer at Norton Children’s Hospital and has served on the Teen Board for the last four years. During her junior year, Amanda’s father passed away suddenly. She has pushed through this tragedy and has made the most out of her senior year. Amanda plans to attend Indiana University Southeast, with the hopes of becoming a pediatric oncology/hematology doctor at Norton Children’s Hospital.
Autumn Shepherd, Central High School
Autumn is an academic standout at Central High School and a member of the Gifted and Talented program within JCPS. She maintains a strong 4.1 GPA and can be found on the Honor Roll. As a member of the Beta Club, Autumn balances school work and extracurricular activities while also giving back to the community. She works with students who have severe mental and physical disabilities to provide help in the classroom. Autumn demonstrates resilience and ambition while overcoming challenging personal issues at home. She plans to pursue a career in the medical field following high school.
Lattrell Sanders, Churchill Park School
Lattrell is a fun-loving young man who can’t help but put a smile on someone else’s face. As an honor roll student at Churchill Park School, Lattrell enjoys balancing his academics with his athletics. He competes on the Special Olympics skiing and bowling teams. Lattrell’s presence in the classroom has brought him recognition, as he was named “Senior of the Year.” The Mayor’s Office is extremely grateful for Lattrell’s dedication to volunteering in the community. You can find Lattrell at the Subway Fresh Fit Hike, Bike & Paddle on both Memorial and Labor Day passing out t-shirts, greeting participants and lending a hand with any task. Upon graduation, Lattrell is looking forward to working in an occupation where he gets to help others.
Erika Ramos, Doss High School
Erika is ranked among the top ten percent in her class at Doss High School. Her high GPA has earned her several academic letters and a membership to the National Honor Society. Erika is an accomplished cellist with not only the Doss High School Orchestra, but also the All County Orchestra. Her interest in music has led her to found Doss’ esteemed a capella group, “Inferno,” and community service at the Foster Music Camp. Erika is a pioneer in her family, as she is the first to graduate from high school. She is constantly proving others wrong by taking a chance on her dreams. She will attend the University of Louisville and study either criminal justice or music.
Tanner Bielefeld Pruitt, duPont Manual High School
Tanner is a top student in the Mathematics, Science and Technology Magnet program at Manual. For the last two years, Tanner has been an assistant researcher at the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics at the University of Louisville. His interest in research and innovation has led him to co-found a nonprofit organization called STEMY, which was created to foster curiosity, learning and discovery in the community. Tanner is a Governor’s Scholar and president of the school’s National Honor Society and Student Senate. While balancing school work, volunteer projects and extracurricular activities, Tanner also works a part-time job. Tanner hopes to advance his interest in research by starting a new project and attending medical school following college.
Alyssa French, Eastern High School
Alyssa has shown determination and strength as she has battled difficult life circumstances as a young adult. Having an inconsistent home life, Alyssa has moved six different times during high school. She has also been challenged with caring for her grandmother who lives with multiple sclerosis. Alyssa continues to push through these challenges while maintaining a strong grade point average. Upon graduation, Alyssa will have completed seven Advanced Placement courses while attending Eastern High School. As a lacrosse standout for four years, Alyssa has been balancing school work, athletics and a part-time job. Alyssa plans to attend Western Kentucky University and study Exercise Science.
Kelsey McCoy, Fairdale High School
Kelsey is a compassionate leader for her classmates and community. With a 3.9 GPA and a rigorous course load, Kelsey is determined to succeed. She is extremely involved at Fairdale High School as an officer for the National Honor Society, student ambassador and cheerleader. She has been named a Business First Young Leader in 2017 and a Penn Station Athlete of the Month in January 2018. Kelsey’s love for education has led her to become a student intern teacher at Fairdale Elementary where she spends each week in the classroom working with students and helping out. Kelsey plans to attend IUS where she hopes to be part of the cheer team and pursue a degree in education.
Tylar Davidson, Fern Creek High School
While enrolled in the advanced program, Tylar maintains a 4.19 GPA and is part of the Ivy Plus program. He is in the 98th percentile in a class of nearly 400 students. Tylar is a leader in his extracurricular activities as the Co-President of the Ivy Plus Academy and Co-captain of the Quick Recall team. He is a member of the student orchestra, National Honor Society and honor roll. In the summer, Tylar interns for the Century Mortgage Company and he volunteers for several community organizations including the VA hospital, Knights of Columbus, Fern Creek Baptist Church and he is an office aide at school. Tylar plans to attend Centre College and major in biology with the hopes of attending medical school to become a surgeon.
BreAnna Jones, Georgia Chaffee Westport TAPP
BreAnna is an honor roll student that excels in the classroom, while balancing one of the hardest jobs of all - motherhood. She is also the editor and photographer for the school newspaper and yearbook. She is a member of the book club, Project SMART and the Whitney Young Scholar program. BreAnna has been recognized for her hard work and attendance record. Although BreAnna is on the shy side, she is passionate about volunteering in her community at various nursing homes and for the American Cancer Society. BreAnna is employed as an assistant photographer and event coordinator. She plans to attend the University of Louisville in the fall and major in Business Administration.
Habsa Jama, Iroquois High School
Habsa shows bravery, confidence and intelligence in all that she accomplishes. Just two years ago, Habsa and her eight siblings arrived in America with their mother. Since enrolling at Iroquois, Habsa has been on the Honor Roll while also learning English and taking care of her family. She is a member of the student leadership team, Rotary Club, bible club, debate club and yearbook. Habsa is the Iroquois High School Who’s Who Winner, a Louisville Rotary Promise Scholar and a KEES Award recipient. Habsa helps out at home by cooking, cleaning and caring for her younger siblings. She also tutors children in her neighborhood and volunteers at a local daycare. Habsa plans to attend the University of Louisville with the hopes of becoming an orthodontist.
Morgan Early, J. Graham Brown School
Morgan is a valedictorian with an impressive 4.2 GPA and one of the most rigorous course loads offered at Brown. Morgan is involved in several clubs such as Quick Recall and KUNA, and she even founded the school’s Family and Consumer Science Club after she saw the need to enhance student’s basic life skills. Morgan is making strides every day to handle her anxiety. Her teachers are extremely impressed with her maturity and desire to overcome this obstacle. Morgan enjoys volunteering her time and, most notably, helped secure prizes and donations that exceeded $10,000 for the JCPS IdeaFestival. Morgan plans to attend Bellarmine University and major in Sustainability. She will continue to grow her non-profit, “Keep Kentucky Green.”
Clayton Toler, Jefferson County High School
Due to illness, Clayton’s sophomore year was not perfect. He missed a lot of classes and his GPA suffered. However, since coming to Jefferson County High School, Clayton has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has been recognized for perfect attendance. He is a great motivator for his classmates as he is the first one in the classroom and the last to leave. Clayton has been a Boy Scout for the last three years and he volunteers regularly at various homeless shelters in the community. Clayton plans to attend Murray State University and he is very excited to experience a change of scenery.
Rachel Roberts, Jeffersontown High School
As an honor roll student and class valedictorian, Rachel has been selected as a National Merit Commended Student. She was also one of 13 JCPS students to receive the VOGT Scholarship. Rachel is involved in several extracurricular activities including Beta Club, National Honor Society, Quick Recall, Math Club and others. Rachel has been awarded the John Yarmuth Book Award and was a 2017 Governor’s Scholar. The transition from private to public school was not easy for Rachel; luckily her involvement in extracurricular activities and community involvement has allowed her to make new friends. Rachel is still deciding between the University of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky University, but she plans to major in Mathematics and pursue a career in Statistics.
Jaden Grant, Liberty High School
Jaden is a positive example for his classmates and is on the path to success. Growing up in a single parent household, Jaden watched family members struggle to avoid conflict. With help from his mother, Jaden is reaching his goals. Jaden went from a D average after sophomore year to nearly all A’s in his last two years at Liberty High School. He is an active leader in the Men of Quality and the Student Forum. Jaden has created and designed his own clothing line, “Jiggy Styles,” for which he was awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Month” by the University of Louisville’s Future Business Leaders of America organization. Jaden organized a basketball tournament, “Shooting for Peace,” aimed at preventing youth violence. Jaden’s strength and positivity will definitely transfer to Western Kentucky University, where he plans to pursue a degree in Business Management.
Kara Cunningham, Louisville Male High School
Kara is extremely involved in her academics and extracurricular activities. She is a leader among her peers as she is involved in the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Student Senate, Future Business Leaders of America, Women of Quality and others. Kara is the president and co-founder of the Louisville Male High School Black Student Union. Outside of school, Kara gives of her time at church working with the youth program. Kara is passionate about Black History and social justice, but her love of math and science has steered her toward the medical field. Kara hopes to pursue a pharmaceutical degree in college.
Janet Pulgares, Marion C. Moore School
Janet moved to the States from Cuba two years ago. During this time, Janet has overcome learning a new language and assimilating to a new culture. Ranked No. 1 in her senior class, Janet is not only thriving, she is shining. Janet holds several leadership positions as the president of FFA and a member of the National Honor Society. She is also captain of the Quick Recall team and a strong voice in the choir program. Janet is a finalist for the MLK Scholars program and was selected as an alternate for the Governor’s Scholar Program. Janet volunteers for the English Conversation Club through Iroquois Library, the Salvation Army and Volunteers of America. Janet plans to major in Electrical Engineering at the University of Louisville.
Brandon Desurne, Mary Ryan Academy
Since coming to Mary Ryan Academy, Brandon has learned how to control stress and work together with his peers. Brandon uses his progress to help others handle stress and he even became a trained member of the Signs of Suicide group. This group is dedicated to supporting healthy lifestyles and promoting suicide prevention. With a solid 3.4 GPA, Brandon enjoys spending his free time involved in extracurricular activities such as theater. Brandon stars as Pumba in the Mary Ryan Academy’s production of The Lion King. Brandon is an avid gamer and his love for technology has led him to join the Anime Club. Brandon plans on attending JCTC to pursue a career working with technology.
Dahra Lambert, Phoenix School of Discovery
Dahra’s creativity has allowed her to explore different areas of interest while attending The Phoenix School of Discovery. As class valedictorian, Dahra has helped create the first yearbook for her school and participates in the UPS School to Work Program. She is a Governor’s Scholar, Churchill Downs Winner’s Circle recipient and graduate of the Healing Futures Fellowship program. Local community organizations like Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Brightside and the Beechmont Neighborhood Association are thankful for Dahra’s commitment to volunteering. Dahra plans to attend Indiana University Southeast’s Honors program with a degree in marketing. After saving money while working at UPS, Dahra plans to travel the world and spread compassion.
Makayla Canchola, Pleasure Ridge Park High School
Makayla’s hard work in both the classroom and on the volleyball court has been recognized by her teachers at Pleasure Ridge Park School. With a rigorous course load and challenging classes, Makayla has excelled in every way. Makayla is extremely disciplined and her academic achievements have prepared her for a bright future. While some may say she is an overachiever, Makayla balances school work, extracurricular activities and volunteerism as she tutors special needs students. Her compassion and patience makes her the perfect mentor for her peers. Makayla has not yet decided where she will attend college, but her teachers are confident she will make a great addition to any campus.
Marco Interian, Seneca High School
After moving to the United States a little over a year ago, Marco has mastered a new language and adjusted to his new environment. Marco has a 3.9 GPA and is an outstanding scholar. Marco’s athleticism shines on the field as he competes on the Seneca High School baseball team. He also participates in the school’s Cultural Extravaganza, which showcases diversity in our community. Marco works with students in the English Language Learners program to help them get acclimated to a new school and feel welcome in new situations. Marco’s teachers are confident he will continue to succeed as he attends the University of Louisville in the fall with plans to study engineering.
Sierra Holcomb, South Park TAPP
Sierra has taken on one of the biggest leadership roles in life, motherhood. She has placed an importance on her future and continues her educational journey. While taking care of her son, Sierra is excelling in the classroom and is at the top of her class. She has been recognized for her achievements in the classroom as an Outstanding Student in Arts and Humanities, Parenting and Math Concepts. Sierra is on the school’s Honor Roll and has excellent attendance. She is a role model for her classmates and her community as she volunteers by cleaning up trash in her neighborhood. Sierra plans to attend college and pursue her dream of becoming a surgical technologist.
Tenneil Edelen, Southern High School
Tenneil is an exemplary student as she will graduate with 15 college credits and Honor Roll status. She has also been named a scholastic award winner and also among Southern High School’s Who’s Who. Tenneil is a natural leader as she is the on the cheerleading team, student council, National Honor Society, Beta Club and other extracurricular activities. Her childhood has not been easy. Tenneil has been through several foster care homes and even experienced periods of homelessness. These circumstances have not defined her future as Tenneil has been awarded several scholarships like the Spalding University book award and AP honors in English and chemistry. Tenneil’s teachers are confident she will continue to succeed as she attends the University of Kentucky in the fall.
Milan Bailey, The Academy @ Shawnee
Milan’s teachers describe her as a bit of an overachiever. Enrolled in the Advanced Placement program, Milan also serves on the Naval JROTC as a commanding officer. She is also involved in the aviation program and is working on obtaining her private pilot’s license. Along with those extracurricular activities, Milan competes on the Quick Recall, swim, tennis and basketball teams. If that’s not enough, Milan is also part of the National Honor Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, JCPS Board Policy Committee and the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. Coming from a single parent, low-income family, Milan has overcome personal struggles to secure a bright future. Milan’s ultimate goal is to attend the United States Coast Guard Academy and pursue a career in government – perhaps even serve as Mayor of Louisville one day.
Cassidy Whited, Valley High School
Cassidy’s athletic career almost ended early due to a major injury during her junior year. Pushing past this obstacle, Cassidy excelled on and off the court. Ranked No. 1 in her class, Cassidy has made the Honor Roll all four years and has won several awards in mathematics. While academics seem to come easily to Cassidy, some would say her leadership roles do as well. She was the president of her junior class and treasurer of her student council. Cassidy volunteers regularly for various organizations including the Red Cross, Farnsley Middle School and the Alzheimer’s Foundation. She plans to attend pharmaceutical school at either the University of Kentucky or Sullivan University.
Jeniffer Figeuroa Rodriguez, Waggener High School
Jeniffer did not let the obstacle of leaving Cuba for a new country keep her from reaching her dreams and excelling in all that she tried. After transferring to Waggener from ESL Newcomer Academy, Jeniffer has risen to the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA. Her rigorous course load includes Advanced Placement classes and she has even earned her certified Nursing Assistant certificate. Jeniffer gives of her time volunteering with special needs students, and she participates in community service events with her international student organization for medical students. Jeniffer is a representative for the Louisville Girls Leadership program, where she learns about women’s issues and promotes social justice. Jeniffer’s community is lucky to have such a determined leader and her teachers are confident she will continue to succeed at the University of Kentucky, where Jeniffer plans to pursue a nursing degree.
Makya Griffin, Western High School
Makya is ranked No. 1 in her class of nearly 200 students. She has been taking Dual Credit courses at Jefferson Community & Technical College since 2015. She will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in May. Makya prioritizes her academics, as well as her extracurricular activities. She is a member of the YMCA of Greater Louisville Black Achiever’s Program and several clubs at school. She is a member of the Rotary club, concert choir, homecoming committee, pep club and she serves as the Student Council president. Makya also competes on the track & field, volleyball and cheerleading teams. She is a Governor’s Scholar, Rotary Promise Scholar and Kentucky All State Choir winner. Makya is a Woodford Porter and MLK Scholarship award winner. In the fall, Makya will attend the University of Louisville and she plans to work toward her Ph.D in education with a goal of opening her own Performing Arts School in Louisville for low income students.
Alison Addie, Youth Performing Arts School
Alison is one of the Youth Performing Arts School’s most talented seniors. She is an academic standout and an accomplished musician for the YPAS Wind Ensemble, YPAS Symphonic Band and the Louisville Youth Orchestra. With a 4.3 GPA, Alison has mastered the balance between schoolwork and extracurricular activities. She attended the Governor’s School for the Arts and was invited to play on the nationally syndicated classical musical program, “From the Top.” After major jaw surgery during her junior year, it was unclear if Alison would ever be able to play the flute again. With rehabilitation and practice, Alison not only mastered the flute again, but she also made the finals in the Louisville Orchestra Concerto competition. Alison plans to major in music at a college conservatory.