Mercer County Schools’ Top Scholars Honored at Banquet


PRINCETON, WV, April 23, 2018: The annual event honoring the top graduates from each of the four high schools was held Monday night at the Chuck Mathena Center in Princeton. Now in its ninth year, the event is one of the highlights of the school year for graduating students, for parents and for administrators.

The evening began with entertainment featuring Mr. Dan Turner, Guidance Counselor at PikeView Middle School, and Ms. Angie Sharp, Music Instructor at Montcalm Elementary School and Montcalm High School. Assistant Superintendent of Schools and Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Todd Browning, then introduced Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Deborah Akers, who welcomed guests. In her opening remarks, she shared thoughts and ideas about success and how to achieve success. Additionally, she asked students to always remember that each of them may face adversities in life; however, they need to remember that sometimes these trials are only opportunities in disguise. She said, Winston Churchill probably said it best – Never, never give up.

Immediately following dinner, Ms. Lori Comer, Principal of PSHS, introduced keynote speaker, Mr. Jim Miller, PSHS Class of 1981. Miller is currently the COE of Miller Financial in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is probably best remembered for his years as a standout basketball player for Princeton Senior High School and for the University of Virginia. Currently, he is the basketball analyst for the Cavaliers Radio Network. Miller spoke to attendees about the Five Pillars of Life.

Board of Education members honored each Top Scholar with a commemorative plaque in recognition of his or her achievements. Board Members present included Mr. Paul Hodges, president, Mr. Gene Bailey, Mrs. Mary Alice Kaufman, and Ms. Jacinda Santon Smith who contributed the closing remarks.

Top Scholars included the following: Bluefield High School - Jody Shawn Brooks, Jr., Ashley Cheyenne Cochran, Zoe Alana Colley, Erin Carene Duffy, Brent Alexander Jenkins, Zachary Nathan Lawless, Colton Elliott Lively, Autumn Marie Meadows, Kelly Rose Neal, Nathan Kyle Nichols, Katelyn Larae Roberts, Madison Nicole Shanklin, Nichole Raeann Tyree, and Lillian Ruth Wright; Montcalm High School - Hunter Wayne Bouldin, Remington Trevor Scott Darago, Kameron Jeffary Doughty, Benjamin Tyler Bennett, Dakota James Parnell, and Jared David Parnell; PikeView High School - Daniel Cole Baldwin, Jenna-Kay Elizabeth Basham, Brett Matthew Cox, Aaron Kai Craig, Matthew Douglas Damewood, Maeghan Alivia Ellison, Nathaniel Joseph Gonzales, Abby Rachelle Lester, Brandon Michael Lester, Grace Barberie Lucas, Shanekiqua Remona Mitchell, Trent Bailey Pendleton, Marisha Nadine Poore, Hannah Grace Stauffer, Brittany Marlene Vaught, and Teagan Hope Waugh; Princeton Senior High School - Dalton Alexander Ash, Christopher Adam Billings, Bariana Lyn Bowman, Autumn Grace Bradley, Katherine Elizabeth Curran, Brittany Renee Dye, Cortney Sierra Hamilton, Makayla Renee Kelly, Madison Reah Knight, Gerald Stephen Linkous, McKenzi Faith Olonko, Nisa Fatima Rana, Vaughn Shanen Thacker, Oran Andrew Trimble, Zachary Evan White, and Le Trae Marcuis Wilborn.