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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

School Board Recognitions
June 6, 2017

6. Student, Employee and Public Awards and Recognitions
6A. PTA Reflections First Place State Winners

“What’s Your Story?” That was the theme of this year’s Reflections contest, an annual art program sponsored by the National PTA. This evening, the School Board is proud to recognize three Virginia Beach students whose work was so outstanding that out of hundreds (possibly thousands) of entries they won first place at the state level in their respective categories. Let’s meet these award-winning students:

  • From Plaza Middle School: Isabelle Henson. Izzy won first place in literature for her poem titled “Braving the Deep,” which compared her life story to an eloquent tale of a ship’s yet-to-be-completed voyage.
  • From Kempsville High School: Samantha Bondurant who won first place in special artist literature for writing an essay about difficulties she’s encountered in her life and the many things she’s accomplished with hard work and help from family and friends.
  • Our third honoree is Cox High School senior Michael Lawlor whose winning piece was produced over the course of several months to prove that Virginia does have waves big enough to surf. His film won first place at state and third place at the national competition.

Please join me in congratulating these students on their outstanding work!

6B. Class of Brickell Scholars
Our next recognition is for rising seniors who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and have been named Class of 2018 Brickell Scholars. Let’s meet them:

  • Hailey Cahoon, Green Run High School
  • Joseph Fontana, First Colonial High School
  • Samuel Golden, Landstown High School
  • Janna Goliff, Salem High School
  • William Greer, Ocean Lakes High School
  • Kimberly Jones, First Colonial High School
  • Natalie Kubicki, Ocean Lakes High School
  • Delaney Larkin, Kempsville High School
  • Nathan Li, Princess Anne High School
  • Jacob Mills, Tallwood High School
  • Haley Murphey, Kempsville High School
  • Samantha Newman, Salem High School
  • Nalin Ranjan, Princess Anne High School
  • Mason Tarkenton, Green Run Collegiate
  • Robert Tillman, Tallwood High School
  • and Asheton Vodila, Landstown High School

This is a scholarship program sponsored by the Virginia Rotary Club and named for longtime former superintendent Dr. Edward E. Brickell. During their senior year, these students will participate in various seminars on a range of current issues where they will meet industry experts and network with Brickell Scholars from other schools. At the conclusion of their senior year, one student from this impressive group is awarded the Brickell Scholarship, which for the past two years has been $6,000. Who will that honoree be? Tune in next year.

Congratulations, Class of 2018 Brickell Scholars!

6C. Brickell Scholarship Recipient
You just met the newest Class of Brickell Scholars. Let’s now meet the student who is this year’s 2017 Brickell Scholarship recipient and will receive the $6,000 scholarship: Grace Jeffrey from Kellam High School!

Grace not only has a grade point average above 4.0, she is also a:

  • National AP Scholar with Distinction
  • National Merit Finalist
  • Virginia Girls State Delegate
  • All-State Chorus Alternate
  • Founding member of her school’s planning council which includes students, parents and faculty members
  • Founding member of her school’s Student Advisory Council
  • Honor Thespian
  • And the list goes on.

She has also been volunteering in the community since she joined Girl Scouts in first grade. A few of her numerous volunteer projects include packing meals for children in Africa through “Stop Hunger NOW;” entertaining children at an event for military families; and visiting senior citizen homes with her church during the holidays to sing carols. Grace will use her scholarship from the Virginia Beach Rotary Club to continue her education at Duke University.

Please join me in congratulating the 2017 Brickell Scholarship Award Recipient.

6D. NJROTC National Champions
Next, the School Board is proud to recognize Green Run’s NJROTC unit, which recently won the 2017 Navy Junior ROTC Nationals, making them the top program in the nation. Let’s meet the cadets:

  • Eric Alexander
  • Ryan Alspaugh
  • Akira Anderson
  • Jacob Bradshaw
  • Curtis Brown, Jr.
  • Sierra Burnette
  • Abigail Cameron
  • Jalisa Cohn Jalisa- Cone
  • Eric Cowell
  • Jerwin DeLa Cruz
  • Kwantay Ewell
  • Tyana Freeman
  • Bryce Garner
  • Adriel Guzman
  • Megan Horton
  • Zachary Horton
  • Aminah Jones
  • George Kohn
  • Roy Latham
  • Britney Lovick
  • Christopher Martin
  • Austin Moore
  • Melvin Orienza
  • Alexander Navarette
  • Annie Nimley Nimley
  • Hope Page
  • Jaylen Parker
  • Derek Patterson
  • Francis Perez
  • Emanual Quarry
  • Shylien Robles
  • Shania Sanderson
  • Jaden Sindt
  • Kendisa Storrod
  • Mason Tarkenton
  • Justin Tendilla
  • Gerard Tenorio
  • Taylor Turbide
  • Ryan Williams
  • Rachel Wilson

Chaperones: Rachel Horton, John Flavin, Anne Flavin, Laura Thacker and Wilmaris Robles.
The unit is led by instructors:
1st Sergeant Felix Robles and
U.S. Navy Retired Commander Curtis Brown

Only the top 24 NJROTC units in the nation compete in this two-day annual competition of academic, athletic and drill challenges. Points are awarded in each event and, in the end, Green Run came home with:

  • several individual awards for top-10 finishes;
  • eight team trophies;
  • and the coveted first place national trophy.

It’s worth mentioning that to compete at nationals, Green Run first had to win the Area Five Championship, which is comprised of all the schools in the mid-Atlantic region. Green Run’s program has won Area Five for the last five consecutive years.

Please join me in congratulating the nation’s top NJROTC unit, the cadets from Green Run!

6E. VBCPS Future Teacher Awards
Our next honorees are the 2017 Virginia Beach City Public Schools Future Teacher Award recipients. Let’s meet the honorees:

  • From Bayside High School
    • Charleen Giles
    • Renee Godoy
  • From Cox High School:
    • Ashley Garneau
    • Cayte Lyonnais and
    • Nicole Tuckman
  • From First Colonial High School:
    • Kelsey Langland
  • From Green Run High School:
    • Tila Stevenson
  • From Kellam High School:
    • Emily Barbrey and
    • Rebecca Gattano
  • From Kempsville High School:
    • Madilynn Cole
  • From Landstown High School:
    • Brittney Hormuth,
  • From Ocean Lakes High School:
    • Natalie Hackman,
    • Alexis Buonfigli and
    • Kylee Schoolcraft
  • Princess Anne High School:
    • Ashlynn Thompson,
    • Rachael Benze,
    • Claire Kinsey and
    • Griffin Schutte
  • Salem High School:
    • Ashayla Byrd and
    • Sarah Myroup
  • Tallwood High School:
    • Olivia Kinert
  • And from the Technical and Career Education Center:
    • Jessica Duncan

Each year, any principal whose school has an active Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow or Early Childhood Education program may select up to two award recipients for this distinction which is administered by the Department of Human Resources. Here’s the best part: as a recipient, each of tonight’s honorees will be offered a teaching contract with Virginia Beach schools once they earn a degree through an approved teacher education program and meet all regular employment requirements.

Congratulations future teachers!

6F. VBCPS Citywide Teacher of the Year
You just met aspiring teachers. For our final recognition, the School Board is honored to recognize the school division’s 2018 Citywide Teacher of the Year: Amanda Pontifex, fifth-grade teacher at Shelton Park Elementary School!

Ms. Pontifex almost wasn’t here today. What we mean is that while she was in college, she first enrolled in her university’s nursing program. After two years, she chose to explore the teaching profession and we quote her as saying “I haven’t looked back.” She is now in her ninth year of teaching—all with Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Her colleagues describe her as one who “consistently delivers quality instruction to her students;” is a “joy to see in class;” and is “well-respected as an instructional leader.”
In addition to being a shining example of the teaching profession, Ms. Pontifex also devotes time to support the school’s Parent Teacher Association, even holding numerous board positions.
And likely the reason why she is an amazing teacher is because she knows what’s important. As she once said, “My students are really the stars of my show. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Please join me in congratulating our 2018 Citywide Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Amanda Pontifex!

Last Modified on Monday, April 23, 2018