Class of 2015 leaders profiled, honored . . .

VALEDICTORIAN: katherine anne terracina
GPA: 4.304 – ACT: 32
Member of Greenville St. Joseph Parish
Parents: Donna and Joseph Terracina
From her speech: Terracina wrote her speech as if she were attending her own daughter’s graduation.
… The thought of high school sure could be intimidating at times, but overall I think we all agree it was a time of so much growth. I firmly believe that we blossomed at St. Joe because we were surrounded by awesome classmates, faith and teachers that kept us motivated.
While at Lourdes we learned many things … important things like all 50 states and their capitals, we also learned the importance of treating everyone with kindness … all of us as equals. We learned what true religion is and the meaning of being Catholic. Our teachers were the epitome of what a good educator is – knowledgeable, nurturing and wonderful role models to each and every one of us. … These women were more than just teachers; they were models of how to live your life in a Godly fashion … how we should proceed into our future.
Scholarships: The Johnson Scholarship at Washington and Lee, $262,072, and the Betty W. and Hodding Carter Jr. Family Foundation Scholarship- $2,500.
Awards/honors: Star Student, St. Joseph School Hall of Fame, Chuck Early Humanitarian Award, Coca-Cola Scholastic Award, Mississippi Scholar, Delta Honor Graduate, Herff Jones Principal’s Award, Spirit of Kindness Award, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Attended Duke TIP field studies, attended Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, D.C., Sportsmanship Tennis Award, Tennis All-Star Team and All-State Tennis Team, Individual Girls Doubles State Champion, Tennis State Champions 2014-2015, All-American Cheerleader.
Activities: Dance, piano, cheer captain, soccer, tennis, swim, yearbook editor, school newspaper editor, Carrie Stern mentor, retreat team, Interact Club president, Ambassador at St. Joseph, class president, blood drive organizer, YADA (Youth Against Drugs and Alcohol) president, secretary of Mayor’s Youth Council.
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite service project: Mayors Youth Council: It allows me to be involved in a variety of service projects in my community. We paint parks, clean up trash, volunteer at community events like the Mississippi River Marathon, participate in both park and city-wide clean up days, volunteer in the city Christmas parade and other activities.
Plans to attend: Washington and Lee University to study medicine.

GPA: 4.25  – ACT:  31
Member of Greenville St. Joseph Parish
Parents: Michael and Kathleen Mansour
From her speech: Time is relative … The average lifespan for humans in the United States lasts for 690,220 hours. Therefore, the 60 minutes that we spend here tonight reading and listening to speeches and walking across the stage is relatively minor in the grand scheme of life. What’s more important is the time spent leading up to his moment and the change that this ceremony represents, the relationships that we have built along the way, all of the knowledge that we have gained and the memories that we have shared.
The time each of us has invested in making it to this moment is finally being rewarded. The diplomas that we are handed tonight symbolize all of our hard work that now finally translates into something tangible.
… I encourage the Class of 2015 to welcome change and overcome all of the challenges that we might face after we each go our separate ways. We have learned through faith that in times of triumph it is always most important to give thanks, to remember those who have helped along the way and to offer help to others when possible.

Scholarships: Thomas H. Elliot Scholarship (Washington University in St. Louis), Lindy Callahan scholarship, Junior Auxiliary of Greenville, service excellence scholarship, Greenville Clearinghouse scholarship, Education Foundation of Greenville, Progressive Art and Civic Club’s scholarship, E. J. Lueckenbach memorial scholarship, Coach Powe memorial scholarship.

Awards/honors: Student Government Association president, Honors Graduate, Mississippi Scholar, Delta Council Scholar, Principal’s Recognition Award, Most Likely to Succeed, Hall of Fame, Lindy Callahan State Winner, NISCA All America Interscholastic Academic Team, Mississippi Blood Services Award, Mississippi High School All State Swim Team- First Team, Best of Mississippi Preps First Team All Star Team, Entergy Bright Future Award, Coca-Cola Scholastic Award, Charles S. Kerg Award for Best Senior Female Athlete, third place at National Catholic Swimming Championship, MHSAA Class I State Record, MHSAA Class I State Championship, Swimming Most Valuable Performer, Delta Democrat Times Player of the Week, MHSAA All Region Football Team, MHSAA All Region Softball Team, swim team captain, soccer team captain.

Activities: Student Government Association, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, Scholars Bowl, School Ambassador, Interact Club, Youth Against Drugs and Alcohol, yearbook editor, school blood drive coordinator, varsity swim, soccer, football, and softball teams, Delta Aquatic Club, Greenville Arts Council Volunteer, Mayor’s Youth Council, Carrie Stern mentor, St. Joseph Church Catholic Youth Organization, St. Joseph Parish lector.
Favorite subject:  Math
Favorite service project: School blood drive
Plans to attend: Washington University in St. Louis to study Liberal Arts.

VALEDICTORIAN: Reilly reeves
GPA: 4.38 – ACT: 32
Member of Jackson St. Richard Parish
Parents: David and Carla Reeves
From her speech: St. Joe is an environment that has shown us how to accept responsibilities and most importantly it taught us how to serve. Through service, I became more aware of the value of my education at St. Joe.  While painting classrooms at a Catholic elementary school in Mobile, Alabama, over the summer, I was made aware of how blessed I have been to spend my high school years at St. Joe. The elementary school in Mobile had lost its certificate of occupancy because of unacceptable conditions and would not have opened last August without the service by teens like myself. The service requirement at St. Joe became something I looked forward to over the years.  The work benefited me more than it did the organization I served.
St. Joe instilled in us what it means to be true servants of God and what it means to put another’s needs before our own, displaying the true meaning of our school theme this year, the acronym, JOY: Jesus, Others and Yourself.
…“sing the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
Scholarships: Valedictorian Scholarship, Mississippi State University Provost Scholarship, Engineering Excellence Scholarship.
Awards/honors: Academic Excellence, Principal’s Honor Roll, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National English Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society.
Activities: retreat team
Favorite subject: Math
Sports: Track, soccer and cross country.
Favorite service project: “A live in You.”
Plans to attend: Mississippi State University to study engineering.

GPA: 4.30 – ACT: 31
Parents: Robert and Brenda Benson
Member of St. Matthews United Methodist Church
From his speech: I enjoyed my time at St. Joe. Whether I was learning in the classroom or participating in extracurricular activities, I was almost always having fun. St. Joe provided a place to get to know classmates, teammates, and teachers. This allowed me to enjoy learning and created a desire within me to learn. This along with the faith based Christian values has helped me to face and overcome challenges. We were taught that God is in control and he has a plan and a purpose for all of us. This faith helped whether I was pitching, studying for exams, or writing essays. These teachings will be what we lean on as we face challenges in the future.
Benson talked about Moses’ faith and perserverance. “When we fail we must learn from our mistakes and persevere, with faith that God will see us through. So go  forth with the faith of Moses and live out your dreams and dream big.”
Scholarships: Academic Excellence scholarship, Mississippi State University Engineering Excellence scholarship, Presidential Excellence scholarship.
Awards/honors: National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta.
Favorite subject: Math
Sports: Baseball, soccer
Plans to attend: Mississippi State University to study engineering.

GPA: 32
Parents: Chris and Susan Vaughan
Member of First Presbyterian Church of Ferriday, La.
From his speech: As many as you know, I love running. It is an activity that tests both physical fitness and mental fitness. Running, I feel, contains many applications to life. We are all running the race, or better yet – the marathon – of life, moving to the finish line and hoping to reach glorious heights. Although sporting races are generally competitive, the race of our lives is not competitive.
… We are not competing with one another for success. We should run the race of life to compete with our individual selves, to achieve individual success. Don’t let what other people are doing, how fast they are “running” affect our own personal race. Your race is the only one that really matter.
… We are all running for our own personal “prize,” not the “prizes” of our friends, families or mentors. The only way to win our personal “prize” is by harnessing our particular talents, our special gifts and our inclinations so that they bring us success and glory.
… I cannot wait to hear all of your successes! … “run your race” proudly; and go for the ultimate, eternal prize, your personal crown.
Scholarships: University of Mississippi Eagle scholarship, Academic Excellence scholarship, Bledsoe scholarship and Valedictorian scholarship, Lindy Callahan scholarship and Musical Arts League of Natchez.
Awards/honors: Cathedral High School’s DAR Good Citizen, CARE Award, three track and field awards, two cross country awards, member of Quiz Bowl 2014 division winning team.
Activities: National Honor Society, Boy Scouts of America, Cathedral Peer Ministry and the math and science teams. Attained Eagle Scout in Oct. 2014.
Sports: Cross country, track and field teams.
Favorite subject: Science
Favorite service project: Eagle Scout project (gazebo and serenity garden at Riverland Medical Center).
Plans to attend: The University of Mississippi to study chemistry.

SALUTATORIAN: Arden hale mcmillin
GPA: 4.406,  – ACT:  29
Parents: Ronnie and Susan McMillin
Member of First Baptist Church, Natchez
From her speech: After mentioning that she complained her way through senior year, she said: I would like to send the Class of 2015 off with a challenge to the future: Do what you love with every breath of every day of your life so you never feel the need to complain.
Pursue a career and lifestyle that attracts you from your very core, tugs at your heartstrings, and engages your whole spirit. Do not put it off or talk yourself out of it for fear of failing because you never really regret what you do – it’s what you do not do.
I have to brag on my class for fearlessly exhibiting incredible diversity and determination so early in life. I know that it is rare to see such conviction in high school students and I pray to our great God with all my heart that the passion in each of you continues to live and thrive all the days of your lives as it has all these years at Cathedral High School. “Seek and ye shall find.” Congratulations to the Class of 2015. Here is to your future and your dreams.
Scholarships: King’s College in New York, LSU with Presidential/Tiger Excellence Award, TOPS scholarship.
Awards/honors: American Legion Award, Junior National Duck Stamp Competition, Letters About Literature essay competition in Mississippi, second place in One Book, One Community essay competition.
Activities: Performing at Natchez Little Theatre, painting, drawing, writing poetry, member of the Key Club, the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, being an extra in films such as Get On Up, Same Kind of Different As Me, Rise Again, and Hot Pursuit.
Favorite subject: AP English Literature
Favorite service project: Working at Natchez Indian Village and Natchez Children’s Home.
Plans to attend: Louisiana State University to study digital arts animation (think Pixar)

GPA: 4.65  –  ACT: 35
Parents: Col. and Mrs. Jeffrey Eckstein
Member of Vicksburg St. Michael Parish
From his speech: When I was writing my speech, I tried to think of one word to perfectly describe this class. Nothing. We are indescribable. To label us as athletic, intelligent or talented is very nice but still misses the target. It’s not that we are not these things, as evidenced through our great sports seasons with multiple championships, our ACT average and a student-written play. It’s that we are all of these things and more.
The Class of 2015 is full of compassionate, loving and faithful servant leaders. In these seats, there are future doctors, veterinarians, engineers, soldiers, lawyers, graphic designers and many more great occupations. But what truly separates our class is our Catholic education. At St. Aloysius, we have dedicated and passionate staff who mentor and foster in us a relationship with God. This is a commodity in rare supply.
… Throughout our years at Vicksburg Catholic School, our class was taught to put other’s needs before our own. In keeping with this lesson, we have become Disciples of Christ dedicated to the well-being of others.
Scholarships: Appointments to West Point, Naval Academy and Cornell.
Awards/honors: U.S. Presidential Scholar, Star Student, Bronze Presidential Service Award.
Activities: Capt. for the Quiz Bowl and Math and Science teams.
Favorite subject: Math and American Government
Sports: Basketball, tennis and track.
His favorite service project: food pantry volunteer.
Plans to attend: West Point (Military Academy) to study chemical engineering.

CO-VALEDICTORIAN: Jacob kitchens
GPA: 4.65  –  ACT: 34
Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Steve Kitchens
Member of Crossway Baptist Church
From his speech: … Though memories are great, what is important is that we take what we have learned at St. Aloysius and do great things. Since elementary school we have been taught the value of community and camaraderie. We have learned that success is dependent on working together. We have also been taught the importance of leadership.
Everyone in the Class of 2015 has been leaders in their own right. These skills, in addition to others that we have acquired in the halls of St. Al, will get us far. However, one thing I have learned from someone much smarter than myself is that there are many shiny things out there.
Shiny things are things that distract you from your goals. Will Rogers said that the road to success is dotted with many parking lots. Though we have the ability to go far in life, we need to do our best to avoid the shiny things and stay away from parking lots. We should always work hard and never say enough is enough. We should live life to the fullest, love like we have been loved and pray often.
It’s bittersweet to say goodbye, but I am honored to leave St. Al with the class of 2015, going forward to shock the nation.
Scholarships: Mississippi State University National Merit, Auburn, Louisiana Tech.
Awards/honors: National Merit finalist, Bronze Presidential Service Award.
Activities: Quiz Bowl and Math and Science and Robotics.
Favorite subject: AP physics
Sports: Football
His favorite service project: First Robotics Competition, volunteer with fifth graders.
Plans to attend: Mississippi State University to study mechanical engineering.

GPA: 4.58 – ACT: 33
Parents: Dr. and Mrs. John Kent Newman
Member of Crossway Baptist Church
From her speech: … From the time we set foot in the halls of St. Francis and St. Aloysius, the Class of 2015 has been extraordinary. We have set the bar exceptionally high in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. You don’t have to see far to see that our class is a melting pot of gifted scholars, athletes, artists, writers, performers, leaders and uniquely talented individuals who, above all else, hear the Gospel.
… My fellow classmates, as we go our separate ways I challenge you to stay unforgettable. Never stop striving for excellence in all that you do, never stop seeking to learn more tomorrow than you knew today, never stop leading others in the right direction and most importantly, never stop lacing others before yourself.
I have learned so much from each of you during my time at Vicksburg Catholic School, and I look forward to seeing how the men and women of the St. Aloysius Class of 2015 continue to change the world.
Scholarships: Mississippi State University National Merit, Auburn, Louisiana Tech, University of Birmingham, Rensselaer Poly
Awards/honors: Silver Presidential Service Award.
Activities: Robotics Team, Math and Science team.
Favorite subject: AP physics
Favorite service project: Good Shepherd Community Center and Operation Christmas Child.
Plans to attend: Mississippi State University to study aerospace engineering.