Isle of Wight County Schools

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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.

Dakota is President of the Beta Club, where her organizational skills and responsible nature have served her and the club well.  She is able to arrange multiple community service activities each month to fit the needs of a club that has more than 200 members (the largest club at SHS). She also follows up to ensure that enough members are participating in events and that the club communication is updated each week so that members are aware of events. She successfully manages a team of 11 other officers and has been able to increase volunteer opportunities and participation by more than 300% since last year simply due to her communication efforts.  In May, Dakota took charge to organize induction ceremonies, not only for new ninth grade members, but she also planned a tenth-grade induction ceremony as well because the sophomore members were not able to have a ceremony last year due to COVID protocols. Organizing the ceremony involves numerous details, including  sending out invitations, arranging the location, and ensuring materials are set up/taken down--and she is doing this twice! She is dedicated to making Beta a successful club and modeling the club ideals of demonstrating character and leadership. “Dakota is compassionate, responsible, and achievement focused.  Because her work through the Beta Club involves community service, she is able to model commitment for younger members and lead by example. She is a phenomenal young woman who dedicates 100% to exceeding expectations.” --Julie Eng, Beta Club sponsor and English teacher.  Dakota will be attending the Berklee College of Music where her major course of study will be song writing.

Jaylah is a consistently responsible, hardworking, and kind student. She has been driven to excellence from day one and hasn't stopped since. She always puts her best foot forward, even when she's having a rough day. Her contagious positivity often surrounds those around her with energy. As a senior, she demonstrates leadership both inside and outside of the classroom.  Jaylah is a captain on the soccer team and always works to do what's best for her team. She successfully balances sports and school. Jaylah has stepped up in difficult situations on and off the field. "Jaylah embodies what it means to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward in every sense of the phrase." – Jessica Brannan, varsity girls soccer coach and Spanish teacher.  Jaylah’s ambition and tenacity will carry her forward as she pursues a double major in Marketing and Business at George Mason University. Her long-range goal is to obtain her MBA and study real estate in Graduate School.

Hannah is a happy, determined, and hardworking student who gives back to her community and school. She is a member of the Spanish Honor Society, and is a leader in every sense of the word. She is always willing to take on extra responsibilities, steps up when needed, and reaches out to other students who may be overlooked.  Hannah will be the first person to seek out new English Language Learner student to welcome them. In Spanish class, she took initiative and sat next to an English Language Learner student to make sure he understood instructions and could keep up with the class.  She also invites new students to sit with her in the cafeteria. Hannah has served in a number of leadership roles in clubs and in activities at Smithfield High School. She has been a lead mentor this school year and is always willing to help out. She will kindly and happily show around new students. “Hannah is a strong advocate for herself and others. She always has a smile on her face and makes others feel welcome. Hannah plans to study psychology and I have full confidence that she will be a wonderful mentor to youth.”—Lana Booth, school counselor.  Hannah will be attending Bridgewater College in the fall.

Josh rises to the expectations regardless of obstacles he faces. Two bouts of COVID and he still managed to fulfill his responsibilities as a Duke. He not only keeps up with his work, but excels and is able to effortlessly integrate back into the classroom environment as a contributing member within his group. Josh displays the upmost characteristics of an outstanding student in both scholarship and character traits. He is kind, polite, honest, and displays integrity. Josh represents the definition of determination. Like many of our students, Josh encounters challenges in and out of school; however, he not only manages these challenges but defeats them through critical thinking, reasoning, and plain hard work. "Joshua is a high performing student with a strong work ethic, outstanding communication skills and overall highly personable." - Chris Johnson, English teacher. Josh will be heading to Radford University in the fall to study/major in Cybersecurity.

Jake is leader, collaborator, and catalyst in the classroom. He excels at uniting and motivating other students and often spearheads collaborative activities. Jake's discipline and drive have served him well in his extracurricular activities. He attended Boys’ State last year and was elected to a leadership position at the state level. Jake was also instrumental in the creation and management of Smithfield High School’s news show, The Packer Report, and continues to be an integral part of its success. Jake recently volunteered to fill a spot on the Entertainment and Sports Marketing Decision-Making Team for SHS DECA state competition. Not only did he not hesitate to step in, but he sponsored himself for the cost of the competition. In addition, he coordinated a proposal for the Fandom Con event hosted by the Library Advisory Council. This event exhibits Jake’s positive influence in promoting inclusion of all in the school community, especially the library. Fandom con attracts students who would not usually come to the library, which is essential especially during these trying times. An ingredient that Jake possesses and what makes him so deserving of Senior of the Month. Karen Washington, English Teacher, shares:  Jake Fales is one of a kind. He is constantly learning and sharing his joy of learning with others. He has boundless energy and a kind, generous spirit. He epitomizes Packer Pride! From Tricia Hoff, Librarian:  Jake is a voracious reader and displays an intellectual curiosity that I do not see often. Some of our best conversations are about books and his enthusiasm is infectious and refreshing. Jake plans to attend American University and study Political Science.
Alivia’s overall great attitude and drive to do her best makes her a cut above the rest. She motivates herself both academically and physically. Her mind is set on completing high school with top honors and on continuing her education as a nutritionist and personal trainer in order to help others reach their goals. Again, her drive to accomplish her goals helps her stay focused on what’s important. Alivia has been invited to speak at and be recognized within the next month for earning the Good Citizen Award through the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. She recently wrote a proposal to improve and incorporate healthier food choices for students. Her letter outlining her ideas was sent to the head of Chartwells, the company in charge of Isle of Wight County School’s food service program. A representative responded and wants to meet with her to discuss and utilize her ideas. Chartwells stated that what she proposed was exactly the direction they want to go and they want her input to get the ideas in motion. Since nutrition is one of the fields of study she hopes to pursue in college, this is a wonderful opportunity for her. “Alivia is one of the hardest working, most conscientious students that I've had the pleasure to teach. She is able to process information quickly and plan ahead to ensure that she achieves her goals. She is kind and generous with her time and her heart. Alivia readily helps her peers when she sees them struggle; helping in a way as to not make them feel "less than." I really enjoyed the time I was able to spend teaching her.” - Debbie McManaway, Chemistry teacher. Alivia plans on starting her college career at Paul D. Camp Community College and transitioning to a 4-year college or university to study nutrition and personal training.

Kristiana Jones has reached great heights in the execution of her duties as a Student Director and the Drum Major of Smithfield High School Band numbering 60 students. She has exceeded the expectations of her superiors, peers and subordinates alike. Her sound judgment, experience, and technical proficiency have made her an invaluable asset to Smithfield High School and the surrounding community organizations. She academically maintains an (A) average and is a student consistent in displaying loyalty, respect and commitment to the band and other extra-curricular school activities. She is undoubtedly the most talented and skilled vocalist/musician at Smithfield High School. Kristiana Jones was selected this month to be the first ever student conductor for the symphonic band and the student jazz ensemble director while maintaining the drum major duties for the marching band. Kristiana Jones successfully auditioned and was selected as the winner of the soprano voice in the All-District IV Chorus. Finally, she was named a member of the National Honor Society.  “Kristiana Jones has embodied the military saying, Early is On Time and On Time is Late.  She believes that success for any event requires arriving early to suffice the preparatory needs to ensure that the time scheduled is maximized.  She believes this concept will breed success in all aspects of her life as it pertains to her educational growth.” Mr. Joel Joyner, Band Director.  Kristiana will be attending Old Dominion University and majoring in music education.

Randy Vo is a positive force at Windsor High School. While many students meet the criteria for a devoted student-athlete, Randy stands out in his personable approach to staff and students alike. In Randy's four years of high school, he has always treated others as an immediate friend. He consistently looks for ways to make those around him smile and feel accepted. This character trait of Randy's makes him a stand out amongst our students. He is a role model of acceptance and is extremely respectful and non-judgmental of others and their beliefs, even when they differ from his, He is humble, kind, and giving.  Randy is always willing to help his peers, whether it be by assisting students with their belongings due to injury or tutoring his peers during his WIN Block. He often offers his assistance to the adults at WHS, too. No matter the task, he can always be counted on to provide quality help. “Randy has become a role-model for the underclassmen in my class. He leads by example and often shares his experiences with the other students in the class.” -Joshua Bush, Engineering teacher.  Randy plans on attending either Virginia Tech or ECU to study engineering.

The Senior of the Month for January from Smithfield High School is Reginald Johnson. His peers use the term "Reggie" as an adjective for awesomeness. In Engineering Explorations, he is the lead designer for the "Sean's Tiles" project, where students are designing and printing 3-D tiles for an elementary student with multiple disabilities. The tiles are multi-sensory ways to communicate for students with multi-disabilities. The communication tiles are used as both a teacher model of communication and a mode of communication for the student.  Reggie took on the most difficult prototype design AND he is helping his peers with their tiles. He is a lead producer for the Packer Report, he daily news show broadcast to all SHS students and staff. “I give Reggie my instructions for new projects in advance. He does the work and gives me feedback on what I can change to make the instructions better for his peers. You may see is a quiet, composed gentleman with one of the world's best smiles, but he is a powerhouse of intellect and Packer Pride!”—Heather Greer, Engineering Teacher.

Will is a most caring, helpful person and readily assumes leadership roles in the classroom. He works to make sure that all around him understand, no matter the task. He volunteers to work with the student who is struggling because he likes to learn and wants others to like it, too. He compliments as he instructs, which is a testament to his caring nature. Recently Will was overheard encouraging a struggling student in one of his classes to not give up because "you're smarter than you feel. I know you are. You've got this; you just need to have confidence in yourself." There has been a noticeable improvement in that student's group interactions in class. “Will genuinely cares about being the best that he can be. He puts in the hard work to get the most out of his educational experience. His sense of humor and personality are refreshing and often cut the serious nature of the class, which helps those around him to relax and learn.”—Cassandra Presson, English Teacher. Will is attending Virginia Tech where he will study Psychology.

Carter Hendrick has been through four years of the engineering program, but he still wanted more.   He has chosen to be an intern for Mr. Shipman and Mrs. Greer. He is working on an Engineering III project prototype-not for a grade, but because he wants the learning experience of building an electric guitar. He has built "sanding/dust control boxes" for the guitar project. He has helped Mr. Shipman with the plaque orders. He has fixed makerspace equipment. He is a "do-it-all" intern!!  When the printers were having electronic issues, Carter wanted learn how to repair them. He has been tinkering with them throughout the school year. This month, the teachers called the president of iMade 3D (designer of the Jellybox printers) and Carter worked one on one with their representative to troubleshoot the electronics on the 3D printers. He finished the assembly of the library's Jellybox and helped set up the printer as well. “Give him a challenge and he will happily figure it out. Give him a task and he will give it 100%. He is one of the best interns we have had in the Makerspace.” --Heather Greer, Engineering Teacher. After high school Carter plans to attend Old Dominion University and study cyber security.

Brooke Garrett is a truly exceptional asset to Windsor High. In the classroom, she is always seeking to help students and her teachers.  Her work ethic is beyond that of her peers. She is an incredible person and treats others with the utmost professionalism. Brooke is an outstanding leader. She is easy going and gets along well with her fellow classmates. Outside of the classroom, Brooke spends her time volunteering for various community events and organizations. For homecoming week, Brooke coordinated the efforts for a Marketing float. She took it upon herself to arrange everything with the class, then coordinated the decoration of a truck and trailer, and had it ready for the parade. She also helped the senior class by spending countless hours decorating the 400 hallway and she sold merchandise at the football game that night. “Those that are lucky enough to know Brooke, know she doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve, but when it comes to the love she has for her community, her big heart cannot be hidden. This love for her community is shown through her involvement and dedication to the many organizations, clubs, and teams she supports with her service.”-- Mr. Brittle, Agriculture Teacher. Brooke plans to go to Paul D. Camp Community college after graduation.

Vincent is a strong academic student who is always willing to help others. He is participating in a Jefferson Lab mentorship program and plans to study to be an aerospace engineer upon graduation. Vincent participates in various clubs and attends the Governor’s School. Vincent served as a Freshman mentor this year and stepped up in a leadership role to help our freshman transition during freshman orientation. “Vincent is a great asset to the school community. I have enjoyed getting to know him while he has been at SHS. He is a dedicated student and one others look up too. He has helped his family working while maintaining extremely competitive grades. Through this he has also kept a smile on his face and continued to challenge himself and be active at school. He also helped with the transition day welcoming the new freshman to campus. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Vincent!” –Yanci Williams, School Counselor.  Vincent plans to attend a 4-year University and, as stated earlier, study aerospace engineering.  

MacKenzie is diligent in her academics, as well as her extracurriculars. She participated in an internship with youth over the summer and proved to be a natural leader. Her organizational skills and eye for detail makes her a cut above the rest. MacKenzie was one of several students who worked tirelessly after school hours to prepare the senior hallway and float for Homecoming, while keeping up with her studies. She is always the first to step up and volunteer to facilitate group work. She has the innate ability to get others to open up and share ideas and opinions within a group while making them feel heard. "MacKenzie is an extremely hardworking and dedicated student. She always goes above and beyond what is asked of her. In her internship at the Tidewater Regional Governor's School, MacKenzie stepped in where she was needed without hesitation or complaint. She is never afraid to ask questions when she needs to and always willing to lend a helping hand. MacKenzie has a bright future ahead of her and I can't wait to see where life takes her.” Macey Sauber, History Teacher.  MacKenzie plans on attending the University of Virginia to earn a degree in science followed by medical school.

Neelie Harris embraces the spirit of community involvement. She is involved in her school community and her local community. She is engaged, respectful, and cooperative.  Neelie embodies all that we hope to see in a well-rounded student: leadership, academics, volunteerism, athleticism. She is involved in her school community and has been active all four years of school. She continues to be involved even during the summer. She is editor of the yearbook staff, she takes advantage of leadership opportunities by running for offices, and she maintains a solid grade point average. Neelie is a serious academic student who embodies the characteristics of a well-rounded student: she embraces the spirit of community involvement., she challenges herself by taking rigorous courses, she exhibits good sportsmanship on the athletic field, and she is a friend to all." -Mrs. Jan Healy.  Neelie plans to attend a four-year university where she will study communications with a concentration in public relations.

Conner is a stand-out student because he goes above and beyond. He challenges himself by asking deep questions, taking initiative in his learning, and demonstrating curiosity. This month alone, Conner was placed in quarantine. He took ownership of his education by seeking out and asking if teachers would zoom with him during his quarantine so that he didn't get too far behind. This spoke volumes about his character and his drive. "Conner's work ethic and attention to detail make him a joy to have in the learning environment. He is a free-thinker with the ability to translate what he has learned into ideas that can be applied outside of the classroom. "—Deb McManaway, Science Teacher.  His plan is to attend Virginia Tech and study computer science.