School Board » Seniors of the Month

Seniors of the Month

During the months of October through May, the Isle of Wight County School Board recognizes an Outstanding Senior from each high school at a School Board meeting.  As part of the recognition program, the seniors will receive a $500 scholarship to the post-secondary school or program they will attend to further their education.

Sophia is the heart of the yearbook class in her role as Chief Editor. She has gone above and beyond to ensure the yearbook articles are edited properly and that all deadlines are met. She puts in long hours at sports events, a welding competition, and various other student community events to capture the moments in the lives of students and the school community.  She is also a Command Sergeant Major in the JROTC and Captain of the JROTC drill team.  As an active member of the JROTC, she helped organize one of the largest drill competitions in our area, which hosted 9 high schools, Additionally, she helped plan and execute the annual JROTC cadet ball. Not to mention her participation in the JROTC blood drive. Sophia also serves as the media manager for the National Honor Society. She mentors underclassmen at SHS and serves as a school guidance intern, helping with minor organizational tasks. Her outgoing personality and vibrant smile make others feel welcomed and included. She is indeed an exemplary role for the students at Smithfield High. Her Packer Pride is infectious and shows in all that she does. Not only is she involved in school activities, but she also finds time to give back to her community. She has been a member of the Girl Scouts for 11 years, a 4-H camp counselor for 5 years, and a member of the Contemporary School of Dance for 15 years. “Sophia Hewitt is hardworking, highly motivated and eager to succeed – a true leader. From the beginning of the school year – when she showed up with a vision board – to the end of March – when the last pages of the yearbook were due – Sophia has demonstrated that she is proactive, reliable and responsible. Despite a packed schedule, she arrives at school each day with a positive attitude, eager to learn and take on new challenges,” Hattie Garrow, Yearbook Teacher and Library Media Specialist. Sophia will be attending East Carolina University and majoring in Kinesiology with plans to become a physical therapist.

Gracie is truly an exceptional individual with a genuine passion for education and a remarkable capacity for leadership and compassion. Her growth as a student and a person over the past year has been remarkable. She has honed her time management skills, enhanced her leadership abilities, and cultivated a newfound confidence, all of which are invaluable assets as she embarks on her academic journey. One event that has significantly impacted Gracie's life is her selection for an internship at Windsor Elementary School. This experience has not only solidified her passion for teaching but has also provided her with invaluable insights into the classroom dynamics and the responsibilities of an educator. Her commitment to her community is evident in her involvement outside the classroom. Despite her responsibilities, including part-time employment and participation in sports, she actively engages in volunteer work at her mother's daycare, contributing significantly to the well-being and education of young children. "When I think of highly motivated, strong work ethic, positive attitude, extreme dedication, and a passion for teaching, I think of Gracie Holland. You can always count on Gracie to see a need and fill it, without being asked. In a flash, she's there saying ‘I’ve got it, I can do that for you!’ She is a very caring and compassionate individual, and is well loved by our Little Sprouts. They shout, ‘It's Miss Gracie!’, and run over when she arrives every morning. These qualities are what earns Gracie the highest respect from not only her teachers, but her peers and coaches as well." Julie Branch- Director of Little Sprouts.  Gracie will be attending Longwood University in the fall and majoring in Elementary Education.

Samantha is an outgoing, well-spoken, hardworking student who displays strong character and school pride. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Green Club.  She serves as a member of the Superintendent's Student Advisory Board where she contributes to the discussion on relevant division-wide issues and/or concern. As the student liaison representing SHS on the School Board, Samantha gives insight into the needs of her classmates and her school community.  Samantha is a role model for her classmates. She never hesitates to help her teachers or classmates when needed. She is an active member of her school community and volunteers in the main office every morning greeting students, staff, and parents with her welcoming smile. Her achievements outside of school speak to her aptitude and talents in school. She works at Busch Gardens, and she is an active member in her church’s youth group. Samantha has earned her certification in scuba rescue. Currently, she is working towards being a certified Dive Master, a task which requires focus, stamina, and determination.  “Samantha is spirited, kind, and driven. Her passion for marine science shows in all that she does. As an active member of the Green Club, she is concerned about keeping the environment clean, and she is also an advocate for clean oceans. I admire her desire to make an impact improving our environment.” Mrs. Awilda Chambers, Science teacher.  Samantha plans to attend Coastal Carolina and major in Marine Science.

What sets Trent apart is his unique personality characterized by his problem solving-abilities, confidence, and strong work ethic. He actively engages in finding solutions independently, demonstrates confidence in his decisions, and consistently delivers high-quality work on time. These characteristics have been observed in various classroom activities, such as his enthusiastic participation in projects like the Shrinky-dink experiment in Chemistry class, which allowed him to express his creativity while applying chemical principles. Outside of the classroom, Trent is passionate about music and singing, having taught himself to play the guitar. His dedication to his interests outside of academics reflects his well-rounded nature and his potential for success in various endeavors.  Despite juggling responsibilities such as employment at Food Lion since his sophomore year and being an active member of the track team, Trent has managed to excel academically and contribute positively to his classes. His dedication to his studies is evident in his growth as both a person and a student.  “Trent is one of the most thoughtful and genuine students in the senior class. His friendly and kind disposition has made him a favorite among teachers and students alike. Combined with his academic skills and responsible nature, his amiable character will lead him to great success in life. We will all miss Trent when he graduates.”   Mr. Matthew Burgess, History teacher.  Trent plans to pursue a major in business at James Madison University.

Chinazaekpere has been a member of the Smithfield High School ROTC program for 4 years and in that time, she has grown into an outstanding leader. She is a Battalion Executive Officer who leads with passion and knows how to set and achieve goals. She does not shy away from hard work. She takes on tedious tasks and will work until the task is not just done, but is perfect. She takes pride in everything she does, big or small. She has strong communication skills, is organized and a hard worker. She challenges herself by taking DE and Honors level courses. She is a well-rounded student who is active in clubs, student government, and ROTC. She takes pleasure in spending time with her family and being a part of her school community.  Chinazaekpere has received a congressional nomination to attend a military academy and is waiting on her acceptance from the Naval Academy. She put in long hours to organize and support the February Blood Drive at Smithfield High School. As a member of the yearbook staff, she takes pictures at school events and of students and staff. She is an active member of her school community and acts as a mentor for several junior cadets in the ROTC program.  “Chinazaekpere is one of the most caring students I have ever had the pleasure of instructing. She cares about her classmates and will put in extra time to go above and beyond what is needed to ensure her team is successful. She has been instrumental in making our annual Blood Drive a success. She is always looking for ways to grow and improve as a student, cadet, and citizen.”—LTC (ret) Badoian.  After graduation, Chinazaekpere plans to attend the Naval Academy and major in Chemistry.

“A true Renaissance man will never claim he can accomplish everything, but he will accomplish anything to which he commits his time and energy.” This definition perfectly describes Logan Vance. Logan’s interests are varied and many. He loves to learn. That love for learning has fueled his desire to attempt to achieve perfection in all that he does. From writing a book series, playing the violin, singing, and drawing, to robotics, woodworking, and bio-engineering, Logan embraces each new adventure in his educational pursuits with gusto. Logan devotes much of his time outside of the classroom to the care of his younger brother. He picks up and watches his brother every day after school. Despite having this huge responsibility, he has found time to volunteer at the high school’s Fall Festival and Windsor Elementary’s Fall Title 1 Reading Night, serve as Vice-President of WHS’s Beta Club, and is one of the captains of the school’s wrestling team. This past month he competed in wrestling at the regional level, placing fifth in the region. “Logan is a class act! He is a responsible young man who possesses great skills as a team player. He never complains and is willing to do whatever it takes for him and his teammates to succeed. It has been an honor to know and coach Logan during his time as a Duke!”- Mr. Sumner Bradshaw, Art Teacher and Wrestling Coach.  Logan plans on majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Old Dominion University.

Marcus is a quiet, humble soul who will not hesitate to stop and help anyone in need.  He is the type of young man who does the right thing when nobody is looking. He is kind and always has a positive attitude. He supports his peers by encouraging them to do their best, but he also will let them know when they are wrong and need to make better choices. He is truly a role model for underclassmen and a voice for his peers. He is an intelligent and outspoken young man. As a member of the Student Advisory Board, he articulates the concerns of fellow students and advocates for improvements needed at Smithfield High. He is a member of our Best Buddies club and enjoys working with our students with special needs. He goes on field trips and participates in extracurricular activities with his Buddy. He also serves as a platoon leader in the JROTC program. Marcus works hard in the classroom and on the track. As a state level track athlete, he mentors other athletes on the team. He models exemplary behavior while representing Smithfield High School at track events. Other coaches approach our staff and give praise to Marcus about his sportsmanship. Marcus is a well-rounded student who is able to balance high academic achievement and outstanding athletic performance.  “Marcus embodies the qualities of an exemplary student—always contributing positively to the classroom environment. He shows an unwavering kindness and willingness to help fellow classmates, and stands out as a beacon of positivity. His commitment to academic and athletic excellence, coupled with a compassionate demeanor and leadership skills, makes Marcus a true asset to our school community.” Mark Lonecke, English teacher, and LTC (ret) Badoian, JROTC instructor. After graduation, Marcus plans to attend Virginia Military Institute and major in Computer Science.

Clay is a serious student when it comes to his academics, but he also knows how to temper the serious moments with well-timed, hysterically funny comments. He is usually the guy that others turn to for help with an assignment or to ask opinions about personal subjects. He is an award-winning VHSL orator with Forensics, delivering a speech that he crafted on his own, and an award-winning VHSL actor, finishing first at the super-regional tournament. He is knowledgeable in a variety of subjects, which helped immensely in his role of captain of the school’s Scholastic Bowl team. He was recently selected to the First Team All-District for Scholastic Bowl by a unanimous vote for the second year in a row.  Clay has also been an asset to the Land Lab for the past two years. Using his personality and social skills, he understands how to work well with students at all levels. Clay has perfected the art of making goat milk soap and teaches other students the process.  "Clay Smith is a talented, creative and intelligent individual whose infectious smile and clever wit never cease to amaze his peers and teachers, especially when pushing a buzzer to bestow the perfect answer or while playing a lead role on the stage. There is no doubt this shining star is going places." Mrs. Beatty Riffle, theater teacher, Drama and Forensics coach.  Clay hopes to attend the University of Virginia with plans of going to law school to become an attorney.

Forest is a quiet soul who leads with kindness and is a role model for underclassmen. He is a very humble and giving young man and never hesitates to stop and help anyone in need. Although Forest experienced a difficult start to his senior year, through it all he has kept up with his school work and continued support of his school community. He is an active member of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Beta Club, and a member of the Boys Varsity Track team. Forest is a swim coach at the Luter YMCA for children ages 4 to 16. He also is a volunteer at the Virginia Living Museum. Smithfield High School established a Best Buddies club this Fall in which general education students are paired with students with special needs in a mentor/mentee setting. The mentors play board games with their buddy, help them with academics, work on projects and have lunch together on designated days. This has been outstanding for all students involved. “As President of Best Buddies, Forest is the voice for this club and goes above and beyond to celebrate our students with special needs. He is always looking for ways to make Smithfield High School an inclusive, enjoyable experience for all students. He plans events for the Best Buddies program and is always seeking to make events for Best Buddies meaningful and positive.”- Alyssa Canady, Art teacher and Best Buddies club co-sponsor.  After high school, Forest plans to attend UNC, Wilmington. He would like to major in environmental studies and leadership.
Jenna is very considerate of other people’s feelings and strives to be a great role model to others. She tends to take on a "motherly" role with many of her classmates in that she is compassionate, empathetic, and trustworthy. She often lends an ear and/or advice on how to navigate difficult situations, be it personal or academic. She has an innate ability to look ahead and problem solve, which makes her peers trust her opinions and know that she will be truthful, even when it may not be what they want to hear.  Jenna is a highly involved student at Windsor High and within the community. Being the youngest of four very competitive siblings, she has followed in their footsteps of excelling in a rigorous course load, including many AP, DE and some CTE offerings. She has also distinguished herself by participating in many activities and sports, including Beta Club, Scholastic Bowl, Theater, Volleyball, and Tennis, to name a few. She is a part of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board and a graduate of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Student Leadership Institute. She provides childcare for community members and volunteers with her church, and she makes all of this look effortless. "Jenna Garris is a phenomenal student, athlete, and citizen. She has been a part of the volleyball program here at Windsor for 4 years, both as a player and manager. Whether it was keeping the book or making kills on the court, she is an integral component to the Windsor Dukes volleyball team. Jenna's sincerity can be felt in every move she makes and every word she speaks. Her dedication and hard work for the program are not easily replicated, and can be seen and felt in many other aspects of her life." - Lauren Lasater, Varsity Volleyball Coach. After receiving her associates at Paul D. Camp, Jenn plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in marketing and psychology at a 4-year college.

Sunshine is an extremely well-rounded student. She represents her school community by participating in pageants, playing her harp at community events, volunteering with her church and mentoring underclassmen. Sunshine is an energetic, outgoing student who always has a positive attitude. Sunshine was crowned Miss Juneteenth USA and is the inaugural Miss Juneteenth Virginia. “Sunshine is not a young person who shies away from a challenge. She is a well-rounded student who has a true zest for life. She is a conscientious citizen and hard-worker. She has a very positive attitude and an up-beat personality that draws other people to her.”- Mrs. Terry Spady. Sunshine plans to attend Norfolk State University and major in music therapy.

Bobbie is a genuinely nice person and she has truly never met a stranger.  She actually left Isle of Wight County Schools for a few years and was living in Colorado, but she eventually made her return to IWCS. Her transition back into the family at Windsor High School was seamless. She meshes well with her peers and embraces all aspects of life at the Castle. Bobbie participates in competition cheer, scholastic bowl, and Beta, all while taking upper-level courses. With her busy schedule, she still finds time to participate in National Guard Youth Program activities.  Bobbie is a team player in class and willing to help her classmates at a moment’s notice. She has volunteered to work with students who have missed days in dual enrollment classes to catch them up on learning and mastering the material. This is a huge help to all involved in her fast-paced dual enrollment classes.  “Bobbie Rose is one of the brightest students I have had the pleasure of teaching. She is kind, hard-working, and an active participant in her education. Bobbie works hard to not only learn the information, but to thoroughly understand it. On a daily basis, she investigates topics and asks thought-provoking questions while maintaining her calm and pleasant demeanor. She is an absolute pleasure to teach and her future is so bright.”- Mrs. Maggie Halstead, AP Government teacher.  Bobbie hopes to attend either North Carolina State University or the University of Boulder to study ecology and possibly work in the research field with the National Parks Service.

Seth is a member of the Boys Scouts, and an active member in his church. As a student in the Governors School of Science and Technology he is enrolled in rigorous courses and mentors other students in the J-Lab program. Seth is an extremely kind and patient young man. He has a positive attitude and an outstanding work ethic.  Seth has been named a Semifinalist in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®), which conducts the program, announced the names of more than 16,000 Semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. Over 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 PSAT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. “Seth is a hard-working, determined student. He is highly intelligent with a calm attitude. I am continually impressed by Seth's enthusiastic attitude towards learning.”—school counselor, Mrs. Booth.  Seth plans to attend Virginia Tech and major in Chemical Engineering.

Keaera could be considered the unofficial mayor of the castle. She has the most pleasant demeanor and can be found chatting with her peers and teachers alike while traversing the hallways. When new students arrive at Windsor, she is often the person asked to show them around and make them feel welcome. She is an active member of the community, participating in both athletic and academic extracurricular activities, all while maintaining her high grade point average. Her leadership skills have been developed while serving as class president from freshman through junior year, currently Student Government president, and as co-captain of the girls varsity basketball team. She is diplomatic when addressing her peers and convincing them to accomplish tasks set before the group. Keaera recently taught herself to crochet by watching YouTube videos. Throughout last year and, thus far, this year, she can be found filling her time making hats, purses, scarves, etc. that she willingly and happily donates to students, charities, and fundraiser events. She volunteers her time after school as a mentor for new boys basketball players, teaching them skills, tips, and assets and practicing with them to help build their court confidence and make them better players. “Keaera demonstrates energy and determination with everything she does. She works hard in all her classes whether they are honors, dual enrollment or building a well rounded mind. You can catch her keeping her notes, creating school designs and extracurricular events organized on her tablet. She helps others in times of need as well as mentors students to participate in SGA, sports or just helping out others in the Windsor Way. Whether she is volunteering her time with the football team, jumping hurdles, running the court, creating artistic yarn projects, or keeping us informed each morning, she is a true Duke and we are proud of her.” Mrs. Davis- Math Teacher.  Keara plans on pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at either North Carolina A&T or Virginia Tech.

Kendall Glover is a president of the Student Council Association, an officer in the National Honor Society, a member of Operation Smile, and a member of the BETA Club. She volunteers with Toys for Tots, and supports projects to feed the community and programs for youth.  Kendall goes above and beyond as a role model for the underclassmen at Smithfield High. She will volunteer to help anyone at any time. During the summer and at the start of this school year, Kendall organized her classmates to decorate teacher doors, serve the teachers breakfast, and create and display posters to welcome new teachers. Kendall was a mentor for new students and Freshman during Open House. She also, organized multiple student groups to plan Homecoming events, the first Pep rally and spirit week. "Kendall is a young woman of integrity who is destined to accomplish great things. Kendall Glover leads by example and possesses the rare ability to elevate the performance of everyone around her. Kendall demonstrates grace under pressure with quiet dignity beyond her years.”—Karen Washington, English teacher. Kendall plans to attend the University of South Carolina and major in Psychology and minor in Business.

Jada Brittle is a driving force in anything she takes on. Jada has varied her schedule and has dipped her toes in both the CTE and academic offerings at Windsor High School. She has been taking DE courses as well as building trades for the last few years. Aside from her classes, she is involved in many extracurricular activities.  At school, she is a member of the SGA, Scholastic Bowl Team, Beta Club, serves as Senior Class Secretary, and was selected for the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Student Leadership Academy.  In the community, Jada volunteers with Diamond in the Rough Horse Rescue, was selected as an American Legion Auxiliary Virginia Girls State Delegate, and spends countless hours assisting with food pantries, beautification projects, and construction projects. In her sophomore year of high school, she contacted a local engineering firm and secured a paid internship for the summer. She did such a good job that they asked her to come back this past summer. Jada has many hobbies and skills that she uses to earn extra income. She taught herself how to make jewelry, started her own business, and has been selling her jewelry online for the last three years. She also makes shirts, does carpentry, draws, paints-- the list goes on. She puts her full effort into everything she attempts and is met with success. She has been a major player in helping to organize fun, new events for the senior class, as well as carrying on traditions, such as planning the first senior sunrise breakfast, decorating the homecoming float, and securing many donated prizes for the upcoming senior BINGO fundraiser. “She is a serious student who also knows how to find joy in her studies. She doesn't know a stranger; she always wears a smile and greets everyone that she encounters as if they were already friends. I love having her as a part of the scholastic bowl team, not only for her big brain but also for her generous heart.”-- Deb McManaway, Scholastic Bowl Coach.  Jada plans on majoring in architecture and hopes to attend Virginia Tech in the fall. Her not so immediate future plans include owning her own architecture firm.