Some local high-school seniors were honored in a ceremony that praised more than their academic achievements.
They were recognized for their contributions to the community, self-sacrifice, work ethic and ability to face challenges head on.
Sponsored by the Coastal Courier and Liberty Life magazine, 40 seniors from Bradwell Institute, First Presbyterian Christian Academy, Liberty County High School and Long County High School were nominated by their schools to be awarded as this year’s Top 12 Shining Seniors.
Family, friends and school personnel gathered Tuesday evening at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center for the award ceremony, which honored the 12 students picked and the honorable mentions. Nominated by their principals, guidance counselors and teachers, all the seniors stood out among their peers and are featured in the current issue of Liberty Life.
Through a difficult selection process, the top 12 seniors have taken Advanced Placement
courses and college courses through dual enrollment, participated in a number of clubs and sports, volunteered in the community, overcome many personal challenges and aspired to positively influence others.
“This particular issue (of Liberty Life magazine) really salutes the seniors and that’s what it’s all about. We’re really proud of our students and we have some great students at our high schools,” said Mark Griffin, publisher of the Coastal Courier and Liberty Life. “They do an excellent job — they’re excelling in ways that most people don’t know about. So part of our exercise here is to tell people and talk about what a great job our students are doing and what great people they are.”
Kathryn Fox, business manager of the Coastal Courier and organizer of the event, said it’s important to honor students who are doing well in the community.
“You hear so often of the bad that kids in the community do,” she said. “You rarely hear about the ones who are volunteering, who are excelling, are trying to make strides. These groups of kids, they’re pretty outstanding.”
The top 12 seniors each received a certificate and a crystal trophy, and the honorable mentions each received a certificate. All the seniors received gift certificates and gift items donated by the Coastal Courier, Molly Maxine-Merle Norman, Izola’s, VIP Office Products, Auto Shine and Farmers Natural Foods.
For Bradwell senior and honorable mention J’Ki Carmichael, just being nominated was a surprise.
“To know that I was chosen was like, ‘Wow!’ It definitely makes me feel like a good leader and that I have a lot of influence on people,” he said. “So it’s a real boost of confidence.”
When asked, what it felt like to be chosen, Ajile’ Owens, one of the top 12 seniors, said, “I feel like it’s a great honor. I’m happy that got I chosen.”
Owens said she will use this experience to work harder and push herself toward more great things.
At the reception, catered by Occasions, patrons were able to watch the interviews of the top 12 seniors and learn what drives them to succeed.
Among all the students nominated are future doctors, medical researchers, teachers, ambassadors, military officers, business people and psychologists — all aspiring to make an impact on the world.