Archive for Wednesday, March 17, 2010

THS senior Jefferies among LJW academic all-stars

March 17, 2010

Much like the standout students chosen before them, these high school seniors’ successes are not confined to the classroom.

This year’s Lawrence Journal-World Academic All-Stars also are busy with athletics and school and community activities.

“They all are academically outstanding in what they do, but they are well-rounded in their activities and their lives,” said Austin Turney, a former Lawrence school board member who was one of four judges to select the all-stars.

The Journal-World’s 2010 Academic All-Stars also includes a Tonganoxie High School senior: Emily Jefferies.

Other team members are: Lauren Barnes and Molly Bostwick, Baldwin High School; Olivia N. Brien and Brian E. Henry, Oskaloosa High School; Caitleen Desetti, Free State High School; Matthew Drahozal, Lawrence High School; Abby Guenther, Ottawa High School; Hogan Randall, Veritas Christian School; and Katherine Volle, Perry-Lecompton High School.

The students and their parents were honored during a luncheon Wednesday at Pachamama’s, 800 New Hampshire St. in Lawrence The selection criteria included the students’ academic achievements and accomplishments in extracurricular activities.

They also wrote an essay on what aspect of their education has been most vital to them and worth saving from school district budget cuts.

The guest speaker for the luncheon, Rick Doll, Lawrence public schools superintendent, told the students they would face challenges as they move on to college and into the world. He said the world’s great explorers, like Columbus and Magellan, rose to challenges and were not paralyzed by fear.

“They were no different than you,” Doll said. “What made them special I think was their ability, in fact their desire, to invite and embrace a challenge, knowing that it could lead to great opportunity.”

The judges were Turney; Rand Ziegler, a Baker University vice president and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Robert Harrington, a Kansas University professor of psychology and research in education; and 6News producer Lindsey Slater.

The students received a gift during the luncheon Wednesday. The Journal-World has honored one class of outstanding students annually since 1997.

Here is a closer look at Jefferies’ credentials, as well as those of other local students who were nominated:

Emily Jefferies

School: Tonganoxie High School

Grade-point average: 4.0

Class rank: 1

Parents: Todd Jefferies and Kristi Roberts

College: Goucher College

Career Plans: Counseling psychologist or school counselor at a middle school or high school

Major: Psychology and international relations, minor in Spanish

Emily Jefferies plans to go more than 1,100 miles away to college in Maryland. Jefferies isn’t worried, though. She knows her time at Goucher College in the Baltimore area, to which she’s won a full scholarship, will be valuable.

“The smaller college lifestyle gives a better education,” Jefferies said.

Jefferies credits her experience on the Tonganoxie debate and forensics teams for helping her expand her horizons. She said she could have played a sport, but decided to follow her brother’s footsteps into these speaking- and writing-heavy activities.

“I decided to better utilize my brain instead,” she said.

She did, and that has brought her a state championship victory in 4A four-speaker debate. It also taught her how to write effectively and present herself, which led to a $137,000 scholarship to Goucher. It’s a college not many have heard of, and Jefferies was one of those people until she read a book about colleges that change lives. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t always planning to go away to school.

“I’ve been thinking about this since middle school,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to go on to a bigger college.”

While attending Goucher, Jefferies will be required to study abroad, and she hopes to go to a Spanish-speaking country, an even farther distance from Tonganoxie. She’s ready for the experience.

“My mom raised us to be extremely independent people,” she said.

Honors, activities: Sunflower Girls State (2009); full tuition scholarship to Goucher College in Towson, Md., worth $137,000; Kansas Honors Scholar (2009); Outstanding Student Award (10-12); National Society for High School Scholars (2009); fourth place 2009 state debate tournament; member of champion four-speaker team at state debate tournament (2010); member of state champion team at speech and drama tournament (2008; third in 2009); first place, management decision making, Kansas State Future Business Leaders of America Conference (2008, 2009; qualified for national conference; THS chapter president 2008-2010); ninth place, informative speaker at state speech and drama tournament (2009); Student Council (2007-2010; vice president 2009-2010); junior class president; senior class vice president; qualified for National Catholic Forensics League Tournament; National Honor Society (2008-2010); Kaw Valley League informative speaker competition (third in 2008; first in 2009).

Academic All-Star nominees

Austin Baragary

School: Tonganoxie High School

Grade-point average: 4.0

Class rank: 1

Parents: William and Kathleen Baragary

Honors, activities: Three-time recipient of Educational Excellence Award; runner-up in public speaking at National 4-H Classic; second place VFW Voice of Democracy essay contest; third place in Executive Women International Scholarship contest; Kansas Honor Scholar; 4A Four-Speaker Debate Champion (12); member of 4A State Champion Speech and Drama Team (10); member 4A third-place debate team (11); Student Council (president 12); Science Club; Foreign Language Club (vice president); National Honor Society (president 12); school plays; student publication.

College: William Jewell College

Career Plans: Work at a newspaper or news magazine

Major: English and political communications, minor in theater

Ashlee McClelland

School: McLouth High School

Grade-point average: 4.04

Class rank: 1

Parents: Chris and Debra McClelland

Honors, activities: Scholars’ Bowl (2007-2010); National Honor Society (2008-2010; vice president, 2009-2010); Kansas Honor Scholar (2009); Putnam Scholarship to KSU (2010); band (2002-2008); boys basketball manager (2006); Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (2007-2010); yearbook (2008-2010); volleyball manager (2009); YADA (2009-2010); Entrepreneurship treasurer (2009-2010).

College: Kansas State University

Career Plans: Hopes to work with animals, perhaps in medicine

Major: Biology

Katie Walbridge

School: McLouth High School

Grade-point average: 4.00

Class rank: 2

Parents: Doug and Sandy Walbridge

Honors, activities: Won FCCLA parliamentary procedure STAR event at district (11-12); Kansas Electric Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp; 2009 homecoming queen; Kansas State University academic scholarship; National Honor Society (12); Student Council (secretary, 10, vice president, 11, president, 12); class president (9, 11, 12); varsity cheerleader/dancer (9-12); band (9-12) drum major/teacher assistant (11-12); choir (9-10); FCCLA (9-12); McLouth Secondary Site Council (10-12); manager, MHS track team (9-10); manager, boys basketball team (12).

College: Kansas State University

Career Plans: Not listed

Major: Civil engineering/minor in leadership studies

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