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Issue 16


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Academic All-Stars

This award is given to students who exhibit a positive attitude and a commitment to excellence in the classroom.  Each Academic All-Star is chosen by his or her principal and receives a certificate, a $10 gift card to Sonic Drive-In and a free gift courtesy of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More in Franklin.


Independence High - Riley Deane

Independence High School senior Riley Deane knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles.  After being rezoned from Franklin High to Independence as a sophomore, Riley had to endure a tough stretch at home. 

"That was a really rough time for me," said Riley.  "Not only was I at a new school, but my brother, who is now four-years-old, had just had a heart transplant, and I was missing a ton of school to stay home and take care of my little sister.  I stopped putting effort into my schoolwork and that was really bad."

Eventually, Riley's brother began to recover but it wasn't until her senior year that she began to turn things around.  It's a change that prompted administrators to name Riley as the school's Academic All-Star.

“Although she has had academic concerns, Riley has really embraced the learning process this year and improved academically across the board," said IHS Principal Dr. Todd Campbell.  "She is truly an example of hard work and determination in pursing her goals.”

Riley says her motivation for doing well in school comes from her desire to attend college.  "My dream school has always been Ole Miss, but I recently visited Lee University and I liked it there too," said Riley.  "I'd like to be able to study the Bible in college and go on global mission trips."

In the meantime, Riley says she'll continue to work hard and make the most of her senior year at IHS.

"I love Independence," said Riley.  "I feel like it's a great school.  I just wish I had started strong because it's not hard.  You just have to work at it."


Sunset Elementary - Jayla Archie

Eleven year old Jayla Archie is a creative student who knows the price of success is hard work.  That's why teachers and administrators at Sunset Elementary selected her as the school's Academic All-Star for the 2013-14 school year.   

"Jayla is a student who exhibits a relentless determination to complete all tasks to the best of her ability," said Principal Karen Caldwell.  "Her strong work ethic, willingness to help others and thirst for learning makes her an excellent Academic All-star."

Jayla began attending Sunset Elementary in first grade and says the teachers and students are great.  "I like it here because it's nice and friendly," said Jayla.  "My favorite subject is social studies because I really like history."

Jayla says she's excited to attend Sunset Middle in the fall where she will be on the cheerleading team.  In addition to cheerleading, Jayla performs on a competitive dance team.  She also likes to act and sing, which means she stays very busy.

Although she's not entirely sure what she wants to be when she grows up, Jayla says she'll continue to try her best both in and out of the classroom.  "My motivation comes from my teachers, my friends and my parents," said Jayla.  "I'm happy to know I've been chosen for this award."


Sunset Middle - Steven Errico

Mature, diligent and hard-working.  They are adjectives teachers at Sunset Middle School use when describing eighth grader Steven Errico.  So it's no surprise that Steven was recently chosen as the school's Academic All-Star for the 2014-15 school year

"Steven maximizes every learning opportunity to benefit his highest potential and is a pace setter in all of his classes," said Principal Dr. Tim Brown.  "His hard work is evident outside of school as well.  He is active in his church, plays music, makes films and enjoys computers and sports.  Overall, he is a well-rounded and exemplary young man."

Steven says the thing he enjoys most about Sunset Middle School is that the teachers truly care about their students.  His favorite subject is math, and he loves to mess around with computers in his spare time.

"I do video editing, computer programming and different things like that," said Steven.  "I've been involved in that since fifth or sixth grade.  I also like to watch movies, and I play drums and guitar."

When he grows up, Steven says he might like to be a filmmaker, a computer programmer, a musician - or maybe all three.  One thing's for sure, Steven will continue to reach for the stars as he continues his educational journey.

"I kind of motivate myself because I want to see how far I can actually go," said Steven, who admits he's thrilled to have won this special award.  "Being name an Academic All-Star is really cool because I've never thought of myself as being really popular but at least to be known as smart is good enough for me." 


Westwood Elementary - Kelcie Peterson

Fifth grader Kelcie Peterson is known throughout Westwood Elementary School for her brilliant smile, generous attitude and love for learning.  So when it came time for administrators and staff at Westwood to select an Academic All-Star, the choice was clear. 

"Kelcie has a kind heart and is always looking to lend a helping hand," said Principal Valerie Garcia.  "During class, Kelcie strives to attain the highest amount of knowledge.  When she encounters a problem she will ask questions until she understands.  It is truly a pleasure to have Kelcie as a student."

Kelcie has attended Westwood since kindergarten.  She sings in the school chorus; serves on the Student Safety Patrol; and says the teachers at Westwood are second to none.

"I like how the teachers here put their hard work into teaching us," said Kelcie.  "My favorite subjects are math and reading because they're both really important and if we learn from those we'll be getting ahead in life.  I also like music and PE."

When she's not in school, Kelcie enjoys playing sports with her three sisters.  She says she loves to stay active and may even pursue multiple careers when she gets older.   

"If I do well in school I can complete my dream which is to become a professional athlete and work in an aquarium and help animals," said Kelcie.  "I want to play soccer and surf." 

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