Thirty-five local students celebrated as Academic Olympians

Editor's note: Pictures of each student can be found in the Jan. 14 edition of the Virginia Gazette. 

Presented by the NAACP, the 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr., breakfast on Jan. 16 will recognize 35 local students as Academic Olympians.

The Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), an NAACP initiative, aims to "recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among minority high school students," according to a news release.

The annual NAACP/ACT-SO breakfast honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., while celebrating minority students from local high schools who have earned high academic averages. The honored students are listed below.

This year's guest speaker is Marcellus Harris III, a Newport News City councilman. Since 2005, Harris has worked in Newport News Public Schools as an academic counselor, adviser and coach. Though currently a counselor at Denbigh High School, Harris formerly served as an elementary-level counselor, during which he founded the Perfecting Responsible and Intelligent Demeanor Everyday (P.R.I.D.E.) Program and coordinating an unprecedented leadership conference for elementary-age males.

The breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m., Jan. 16, at the Williamsburg Lodge. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for students. Call 678-592-3040.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation sponsors the annual breakfast, helping send medalists from the local competition to nationals. The National ACT-SO competition will take place in Baltimore in July.

Bruton High — Maekayla Phoenix, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Israel and Rhonda Phoenix; Isaiah Payne, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard and Carla Payne; Gabrielle Calloway, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Barbara Calloway; Jaela Watkins, daughter of Ms. Glenda Watkins.

Grafton High — Alexis Leherr, daughter of Ms. Tarsha Leherr; Florence Darko, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Emmanuel and Esther Darko; Joelle Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo and Ingrid Miller; Jalen Banks, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory and Heidi Banks.

Jamestown High — Lauren Montgomery, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lehman and Stephanie Montgomery; Cherise Dunn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adrian and Shandra Dunn; Lehman Montgomery, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lehman and Stephanie Montgomer; Jordan Willis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence and Kathy Willis.

Lafayette High — Martin Egbo, son of Mr. and Mrs. Valentine and Drena Egbo; Amara Bland-Haynes, daughter of Ms. Natalie Haynes; Patrice Cummings, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Jacsen and Kim Cummings; Heaven Heatherly, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Connie Slabicki.

Tabb High — Mashonica Evans, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dwight and Shon Evans; Fred Thomas, son of Drs. Fred and Lea Thomas; Myles Baldwin, son of Mr. Foster and Marcella Douglas; Tryston Raecke, son of Ms. Cassandra Koch.

Warhill High — Daisha Davis, daughter of Raheen Ramsey; Sonia Lee, daughter of Ms. Maria Boston; Caitlin Leigh Bryant, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert and Annissia Bryant; Jada Palmer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis and Melissa Palmer.

Williamsburg Christian Academy — Dexter Radcliffe, Jr., son of Mr and Mrs. Dexter and Wilnette Radcliffe; DaShawn Cook, son of Mr. and Mrs. Shawn and LaDonna Cook; RaShawn Cook, son of Mr. and Mrs. Shawn and LaDonna Cook; Danny Kean, son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel and Kimberly Kean.

York High — Jordan Gillis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil and Tanya Gillis; Alexandria Colbert, daughter of Ms. Tam Colbert; Kayla Schiltz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kirk and Lyndy Schiltz; Ciara Gillis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil and Tanya Gillis.

York River Academy — Da'Janique Stewart, daughter of Ms. Nicky Stewart; Joshua Waldron, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren and Anne Waldron; Kennedy Davis, daughter of Ms. Robin Davis.

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