Nearly 200 people came together at The Toledo Club on Thursday, April 27, to honor the best and brightest of Toledo Public Schools - the valedictorians, the salutatorians and 29 recipients of scholarships from the TPS Foundation. (A list of the scholarship winners can be found here: http://www.tps.org/tps-foundations/scholarships

The valedictorians and salutatorians of the Class of 2017 were asked to provide their top high school honors and top activities, as well as their most memorable community service project or involvement. And finally, they were asked about future plans. Get to know them a little better:

KYLE ALAN UERKWITZ ~ VALEDICTORIAN OF BOWSHER HIGH SCHOOL

Kyle is the treasurer of the National Honor Society and the secretary of the Bowsher German Club. In addition, he is a member of Student Council and works at Transfer Me to DVD. His most memorable volunteer experience was visiting a retirement home to spend time with the residents because it “… gave me an appreciation for giving your time to brighten another person’s day.” Kyle plans to attend The University of Toledo and major in Computer Science and Engineering.

MEADOW SHANE FORWERCK ~ SALUTATORIAN OF BOWSHER HIGH SCHOOL
Meadow is the Student Council vice president and was the junior class vice president. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, a forward on the Banshees broomball team and a soprano in the choir. In addition, she works at Taco Bell and Splash Bay. Her most memorable volunteer experience was donating money to help out Wreaths Across America, an organization that buys wreaths for veterans’ graves. “It was important to me because these men fought for our rights and deserve to be remembered,” she says. Meadow plans to attend Eastern Michigan University to study Actuarial Science.

KACIE SMITH ~ VALEDICTORIAN OF ROGERS HIGH SCHOOL
Kacie is president of the National Honor Society and is proud to have received the Rotary Student of the Month and the Athlete Scholar Award. She plays trumpet in the marching, concert and jazz bands and is on both the track and tennis teams. Her favorite volunteer activity came at Riverside Elementary because “It felt good to make the kids happy just by playing games with them.” Kacie plans to major in Secondary Education, with an emphasis on Science, at Bowling Green State University.

MIN LIU ~ SALUTATORIAN OF ROGERS HIGH SCHOOL
Min is a member of the National Honor Society and is a volunteer for blood drives and the Special Olympics. In addition, she works at Happy Rose Buffet. “My most meaningful community service is helping at the Special Olympics hosted at my school because this experience taught me that everyone can accomplish anything in life, even when the odds are against you,” she says. Min plans to attend the University of Toledo and major in Pharmaceutical Science.

BRYONNA CAMILLE LAJAY SNIPES ~ VALEDICTORIAN OF SCOTT HIGH SCHOOL
Bryonna is the president of Scott’s Student Body Government and is the winner of a Jefferson Award for Service. In addition, she is a member of the National Honor Society and a varsity cheerleader. Her most meaningful community service involvement was “… volunteering for the [Children Services Board’s] Toy Drive for less fortunate children.” Bryonna plans to attend Eastern Michigan University and study Computer Science.

COURTNEY RENEE ROBERTS ~ SALUTATORIAN OF SCOTT HIGH SCHOOL
Courtney is captain of Scott’s varsity girls’ basketball and volleyball teams and is captain and president of the school’s step team. In addition, she is a member of the National Honor Society and the Young Scholar Program and is on the Principal’s List. She is a recipient of the Ray Kest Old Newsboys Scholarship and also works at Taco Bell. Her most memorable community service involvement came on Christmas Day when she went to Thomas Temple Church and helped feed the homeless. “It was so important to me because I was able to give to others who are less fortunate,” she remembers.
Courtney plans to attend The Ohio State University and pursue a double major in Social Work and Physical Therapy.

CHRISTINA MARIE SWEENEY ~ VALEDICTORIAN OF START HIGH SCHOOL
Christina is the secretary of the African American Culture Club, is captain of the Start dance squad and is a diligent member of Fellowship for Christian Athletes. She is also a winner of the Rockefeller Science Award, is a member of the National Honor Society and was a member of the Homecoming Court. Her favorite volunteer activity was at a Halloween event for younger children because “it gave children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to trick or treat … a fun alternative and they were beyond grateful.”
Christina plans to attend the University of Michigan and major in either Education or Communications.

MARIAH NICOLE WHITE ~ SALUTATORIAN OF START HIGH SCHOOL
Mariah is the treasurer of the National Honor Society and was named City League Player of the Year and Third Team All State for basketball. In addition, she is a member of the African American Club and DECA. Her most meaningful community service project was wrapping Christmas presents for a fundraiser called Down for the Clause that gives gifts and other items to families in need. She says, “This was meaningful because there always comes a time and need for me … to give back to the community.” Mariah plans to attend Cleveland State University to major in Psychology.

TAWFIQ SAMI ABOU-DAHECH ~ CO-VALEDICTORIAN OF TOLEDO EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL
The three honors Tawfiq is most proud of are being elected the president of the Class of 2017, being admitted to the National Honor Society and receiving the Toledo Early College Academic Award. His most important activities are being a performer at the school’s International Festival, being the founder of the Toledo Early College Soccer Club and holding events as fundraisers for the school. His most meaningful service project was running a donation drive for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund “because it felt good to help those in need …”
Tawfiq plans to attend the University of Toledo and major in Electrical Engineering.

ALYSSA N. SCHAD ~ CO-VALEDICTORIAN OF TOLEDO EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL
Alyssa was the BCSN Student of the Month for January and is the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship at Eastern Michigan University. In addition, she’s a leader of Toledo Early College’s Drama Club and has directed three school plays. She is also a writer for Insidetheacorn.com, the school’s online newspaper, and she works at Steak ‘n Shake. Her most memorable community service project was volunteering for Red Cross blood drives because “I helped support the individuals who perform such important life-saving work...” Alyssa plans to attend Eastern Michigan University and major in English.

KIMBERLY LYN LALONDE ~ SALUTATORIAN OF TOLEDO EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL
Kimberly is a member of the National Honor Society and has made the University of Toledo Dean’s List. She also founded and led Toledo Early College’s Anime Club and works at Pat & Dandy’s Sports Pub & Grill. Her most memorable service project was participating in Global Youth Service Day “because having a clean environment is something people take for granted these days and not many youth care about environmental issues.”
Kimberly plans on attending the University of Toledo and pursue a major in Psychology and a minor in Mathematics.

SAMUEL P. DREES ~ CO-VALEDICTORIAN OF TOLEDO TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY
Samuel is president of TTA’s Student Council, is vice president of the National Honor Society and was the TTA student representative for Youth Leadership Toledo. He is also involved in Skills USA and volunteering at school events as well as doing his senior project at General Motors. He works at Classic Café. His most memorable volunteer experience came when the Youth Leadership Service group organized an event to raise awareness and money for the Daughter Project. He says, “We were able to raise $6,000 to aid in the rehabilitation of the victims of human trafficking in the Toledo area,” he says. “It was important for me to know that even as a teenager, I could make a positive impact on my community.” Samuel plans on majoring in Electrical Engineering at the University of Toledo.

ELIZABETH IRENE SKOWRONSKI ~ CO-VALEDICTORIAN OF TOLEDO TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY
Elizabeth is the president of the Student Council and the National Honor Society, as well as a winner of the Jefferson Award for Service. She was the first female driver for TTA’s FIRST Robotics team and she is the ‘head alchemist’ for the Alchemist Guild, a student-run organization. She has a side business as a cake decorator. Elizabeth says one of her most meaningful service opportunities came as a crew leader at a local Lutheran church. “I [took] a group of younger kids of varying ages to different activities and helped them grow closer to God while having fun and creating bonds with each other,” she remembers. Elizabeth plans to major in Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toledo.

ROBERT A. TAYLOR ~ SALUTATORIAN OF TOLEDO TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY
Robert is involved with the National Honor Society, Skills Ohio CNC Machining and VEX Robotics, working as an assembler. On the Alternative Energy team, he redesigned the drive-train on the Commuta-Car to convert from electric to bio-diesel and he is a wiring consultant. During the summer, he works as a handyman for a property owner. His most memorable service project was the one he did to become an Eagle Scout “because I was able to lead a team of Scouts to help give back to the National Ohio Railroad Preservation group because of all they do for the community.” Robert plans to attend Ohio Northern University and major in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

ALICIA GUERRA ~ VALEDICTORIAN OF WAITE HIGH SCHOOL
Alicia is the president of the National Honor Society and is a student representative for Lourdes University’s Upward Bound program. She was a cheerleader and is a member of Razas Unidas. Her most memorable service project was “making care packages filled with toys for hospitalized children because I love helping people, especially kids.” Alicia plans to attend The Ohio State University.

ANDREAS DANIEL JUAREZ ~ SALUTATORIAN OF WAITE HIGH SCHOOL
Andreas is president of Waite’s chapter of the Young Men of Excellence and is a member of the National Honor Society and Teen PEP. He was named Student of the Month by The Press Inc. and he works at Wingstop. His most memorable service project is his current one: “I am currently working with YMOE, sponsored by DEXA, on raising $6,000 towards a well for a Haitian community.” The well will have TPS Proud on its side and will provide fresh drinking water for residents. Andreas plans to attend The Ohio State University and major in Mechanical Engineering.

ANTONIO JOAQUIN ADAMS ~ VALEDICTORIAN OF WOODWARD HIGH SCHOOL
Antonio is a 2017 recipient of the Judith Herb College of Education scholarship at the University of Toledo and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is an active member of Upward Bound and was named a First Team All-City Offensive Lineman. He also played defensive tackle on the football team and throws shot put and the discus for the track team. “I always volunteer for the Race for the Cure. I have had family members affected by various cancers,” Antonio says. Antonio plans to major in Adolescent Education and Mathematics at the University of Toledo.

DILLON JAMES JOHNSON ~ SALUTATORIAN OF WOODWARD HIGH SCHOOL
Dillon is president of the orchestra and co-vice president and percussionist in the Woodward marching band. He received two OMEA awards in 2016 and received a three-year orchestra award. He also played center on the football team and received the Falcon Outfitters Book Scholarship. He works at Kroger. Dillon’s most memorable service project was participating in the annual Holiday Parade because “… I brought happiness and awe to people through my music. It is important to me because I love making people happy.” Dillon plans to attend Bowling Green State University to major in Theater Technology.

Posted on April 28, 2017