Academic Excellence

Winner

Natalie Navarrete

Boca Raton High School

Natalie Navarrete is ranked first in her graduating class and is a National Merit Semifinalist. She has an honors point average of 5.7. She's the only student at her school to have earned the prestigious AICE International Diploma with Distinction her freshman year. During her high school career, Natalie was named the Most Outstanding Student in AICE Spanish, AP English Language, AP Spanish Literature and AP Physics. This year she's captain of the Congress Team in Congressional Debate. Natalie founded "Improving Voter Opportunities Through Education," or IVOTE. The goal: educating first-time voters by simplifying the complex language of legislation, amendments and ballot initiatives. One project, encouraging classmates to register to vote and to exercise their right to vote, resulted in the highest student involvement of all participating institutions nation-wide. Natalie plans to pursue a career in politics.


Academic Excellence

2nd Place

Charlotte Justak

Jensen Beach High School

Academic Excellence

3rd Place

Robert Zipper

American Heritage School




Art

Winner

Khanh Truong

Saint Andrew's School

Khanh Truong, who goes by "Keith," is a student with extraordinary talent for the visual arts.  Great artists throughout time are known for their innovative ideas and exploration into new media. Keith does just that in his work. He creates powerful narratives but also experiments with various media in new ways. His artwork conveys his commitment to the creative process, exhibiting images that are dynamic, engaging, and deeply personal. Because of this and his focused drive and career path, Keith was our winner for this year's awards!


Art

2nd Place

Njari Anderson

Dreyfoos School of Arts

Art

3rd Place

Mia Zaros

Atlantic High School




Business

Winner

Jordana Schube

Wellington High School

Jordana Schube has applied her marketing talents both in and out of school. She's taken rigorous courses in the Marketing Academy, two of them college level classes. She has a 4.69 honors point average. In DECA, the student marketing association, she serves on the executive board. She placed in district and state DECA competitions and was an international qualifier. Jordana initiated a student-run organization to unify students against gun violence, growing it from one chapter to 40 in 13 states. Among her many outside activities, Jordana works with a real estate company. Her jobs include designing Royal Palm Beach Living magazine's monthly cover and postcard. She maintains their website and social media platforms. She's also a consultant for an e-commerce company, developing their logo and website. Jordana's goal is to start a marketing consulting firm specializing in small business growth.


Business

2nd Place

Adam Herold

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Business

3rd Place

Jonathan Fogel

Martin County High School




Communications

Winner

Valerie Betts

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Film is Valerie Betts' passion. She's dedicated her middle and high school careers to becoming fluent in the world of video production. In 2015 she founded Valography Productions. Valography provides photography and video sevices for business, sporting events and weddings. She holds a leadership position in the Communication Arts Honor Society and is president of her school's Film Association Club. She's the multimedia editor for Dreyfoos' newsmagazine, The Muse. Valerie is credited with growing The Muse's YouTube channel from 400 to 3,000 subscribers in just one year. Valerie has produced eight short films and nine news packages. She directed her school's live on-stage Communication Arts Showcase two years in a row. Her 2018 film, Table 9, shown at the school's annual film festival, is under consideration at several local and national film festivals. Valerie intends to major in Communications and Film.


Communications

2nd Place

Annalise Wellman

Park Vista High School

Communications

3rd Place

Grace Vaughn

Jupiter High School




Community Involvement

Winner

Joseph Rubsamen

Oxbridge Academy

When Joseph sees a problem, he ambitiously finds a solution. After a family trip to Nicaragua where he saw a great need for shoes for needy children and adults, Joseph Rubsamen found Shoes2You. Shoes2You is a non-profit organization that's provided nearly 15,000 pairs of shoes to needy kids and adults in both the U.S. and abroad. In Nicaragua he realized that not having shoes increased the chances for cuts and scrapes on the feet, leading to infection. Shoes collected have been distributed in Kenya, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Haiti and Palm Beach County. The top student in his class, Joseph's curiosity on why he couldn't swim in the ocean due to contaminated water led him to identify the unknown source of bacterial pollution in Palm Beach County. He's presented his award-winning research at numerous water conferences. Joseph plans to attend Cornell University, majoring in biological global health, while continuing to run Shoes2You.


Community Involvement

2nd Place

Sophia Zheng

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Community Involvement

3rd Place

Jacob Pasternack

Olympic Heights High School




Computer Science

Winner

Karen Copeland

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Karen Copeland sees computer science as the future. She became even more convinced after conducting research at the University of Florida last summer in its Student Summer Training Program. Creatively employing her computer science knowledge, Karen wrote code related to analyzing lung vessel damage in cancer patients who receive radiation to the lung. Marveling at the detail and documentation in her paper, her professor said he'd never seen its equal, even among graduate level students in his lab. The year before, Karen performed research at the Max Planck Institute that produced analytic and diagnostic power, also never seen, in image analysis. Her awards have included first place in the Palm Beach Regional Science and Engineering Fair for 2017/2018 and Intel's Excellence in Computer Science Award in 2017. Karen wants to become a software designer at a research institution.


Computer Science

2nd Place

Varun Lakshmanan

South Fork High School

Computer Science

3rd Place

Michelle Huang

Spanish River High School




Drama

Winner

Olivia Payson

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

It was her role at age 6 as Rope Twirler #1 in "Annie Get Your Gun" that Olivia Payson knew theatre would be her life's work. To prepare, she's had 14 years of dance training and eight years of vocal and acting training. She boasts more than 15 productions and showcases for which she performed, worked on camera or was part of creative teams as a director/choreographer. During her junior year, Olivia was a key performer in a peer's choreography piece, "Money," from Cabaret. It won the coveted Critic's Choice at the ITS State Festival. As president of her school's International Thespian Society, Olivia implemented Lunch Time Cabarets. These venues give students a place to be the lead, performing any piece of their choosing. Olivia plans to move to New York after college to pursue her art.


Drama

2nd Place

Sophie McClung

South Fork High School

Drama

3rd Place

Bria Weisz

Saint Andrew's School




Foreign Language

Winner

Chloe Curreri

Boca Raton High School

Chloe Curreri is fluent in four languages: English. Spanish. Catalan. And French. She's also proficient in Ilonggo, a language spoken in the Philippines. In the past three years Chloe has competed in the Palm Beach County World Language Fair. She won "superior" ratings there for Spanish impromptu speech and French reading comprehension. Her junior year she won "Sobresaliente," the highest achievement, and Excellent, at the Florida State Spanish Conference. She is president of the French Honor Society and co-president of the Spanish Honor Society and Model United Nations. In those roles Chloe helps plan cultural events and celebrations to encourage students to learn about other cultures. Chloe tutors Spanish for fellow Boca High students and volunteers at a local French elementary school. She’s earned Gold Biliteracy Seals for both Spanish and French, and the AICE Diploma with merit.


Foreign Language

2nd Place

Morgan Teman

American Heritage School

Foreign Language

3rd Place

Bryce Sontag

Olympic Heights High School




Forensics/Speech

Winner

Emily Williams

Martin County High School

Emily Williams is ranked 13th in the State of Florida in Program and Oral Interpretations. She's been a quarter-finalist, semi-finalist and finalist in nearly a dozen national forensics tournaments. She is president of the Speech and Debate Team and Historian for the National Honor Society and the International Club. As Speech and Debate Team president, she has run tournaments, fundraisers and performance showcases. Passionate about ending violence against women and changing the culture that perpetuates it, Emily has become engrossed in political advocacy. Her activities have included attending protests, speaking at marches, hosting voter education assemblies and interning on a congressional campaign. Emily has maintained a 6.06 weighted GPA while taking numerous AP, Honors and College level courses. She plans to be a political science major in order to continue asking the hard questions and discovering the harder answers.


Forensics/Speech

2nd Place

Michael Bole

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Forensics/Speech

3rd Place

David Jakubiak

Jupiter High School




History/Political Science

Winner

John McCabe

William T. Dwyer High School

John McCabe developed a passion for history after competing in Social Studies Academic Games in 5th grade. Since then he's channeled his love of history into a variety of outlets. He's qualified for 7 state and 7 national Academic Games tournaments, winning first place individually at the national tournament four times. He's one of only 128 players in the 55-year history of the program inducted into its National Hall of Fame. In 2018 John was the highest-scoring player in the county on the social studies questions at the Commissioner's Academic Challenge. John, an Eagle Scout, founded an Academic Games Summer camp to teach kids how to play Academic Games. He's also authored a 371-page book, Guide to the American Presidents, detailing the presidents' personal lives and significant events during each administration. John hopes to enter government service after college.


History/Political Science

2nd Place

William Keen

Saint Andrew's School

History/Political Science

3rd Place

Mia Venezia

American Heritage School




Literature

Winner

Jakub Pawlowski

Suncoast High School

Jakub Pawlowski's native language is Polish, yet he's been able to master not only reading and understanding English but writing it well enough to be published. His first poem was published when he was eight. By eighth grade he began entering writing competitions and was published as a freshman in the Palm Beach County Poetry Competition. One year, Jakub won the Austin International Poetry Festival and was published in the festival's anthology collection. Jakub is an AP Scholar, with a 4.9 cumulative weighted GPA, and candidate for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. He is co-founder of the English Honor Society at Suncoast. As a Reading Buddy volunteer at his local library, Jakub helps younger students with reading, pronunciation, vocabulary and fluency. He plans to major in English or Comparative Literature, earn a Ph.D. and become an educator.


Literature

2nd Place

Katelyn Grosek

G-Star School of the Arts

Literature

3rd Place

Andrew Deferrari

The Benjamin School




Mathematics

Winner

Justin Wang

Suncoast High School

Justin Wang is enrolled in the Computer Science Magnet and International Baccalaureate programs at Suncoast. He's dual-enrolled in Statistics, Calculus 3 and Differential Equations. Justin has won numerous awards, including 2018 Math Mentor of the Year and AP Scholar with Distinction in 2017 and 2018. He's won over 15 regional, state and national awards in calculus and was in the top 2.5% nation-wide in the 2018 American Mathematics Competition. Justin interned last summer as a researcher at FAU in computer science and electrical engineering. He currently interns as a software engineer for South Florida Engineering Consulting. Justin has co-authored four studies published in peer-reviewed journals, two as lead researcher. He's a volunteer coach for Suncoast's competitive Algebra II team, dubbed the "Wang Gang." Justin's goal is to build a start-up company that leads to the next technology wave.


Mathematics

2nd Place

Kaila Tartaro

Boca Raton High School

Mathematics

3rd Place

Alexander Karaluz

West Boca Raton High School




Music/Instrumental

Winner

Giancarlo Llerena

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Giancarlo Llerena, an accomplished pianist, has earned more than two dozen prestigious music awards since 2012. In 2019 he was the National Young Arts Foundation winner in Classical Music. The year before, he won first place in six competitions, among them the Steinway & Sons Junior Piano Competition and the Pompano Beach Piano Competition. Among 21 notable performance venues were the Tanglewood Theater in Boston, the Aspen Music Festival and three Florida Steinway Halls in 2018. He's currently enrolled in Ensemble IV, Klavier, his school's most advanced piano class, and is the pianist for the school's philharmonic orchestra. For the past two years, Giancarlo has served as co-vice president for his school's piano department. Giancarlo handles all those roles, and more, while maintaining a 4.46 honors point average. He plans to study piano performance and become a concert pianist.


Music/Instrumental

2nd Place

Morgan O'Neil

South Fork High School

Music/Instrumental

3rd Place

Nasser Rossman

Park Vista High School




Music/Vocal

Winner

Laura Santamaria-Mendez

Dreyfoos School of the Arts

As the daughter of Colombian immigrants, Laura Santamaria-Mendez was bullied as a child for being different. To combat loneliness, she escaped into books where she gained a passion for poetry. Poetry, she would learn, plays a huge role in opera, which soon became her passion. Laura was chosen in 2016 to join the Palm Beach Opera Studio, a selective high school training program. That allowed her to attend operas, take lessons and masterclasses, and watch rehearsals. She knew then she wanted to be an opera singer. So far, she's performed at 7 prestigious venues, including a solo performance at the 2018 Palm Beach Opera Guild Gala in Palm Beach. Last year Laura earned a Superior with Distinction award from the Florida Vocal Institute Competition. She hopes to become an opera soloist.


Music/Vocal

2nd Place

Madeline Murray

South Fork High School

Music/Vocal

3rd Place

Clayton Hider

The King's Academy




Reach for Excellence

Winner

Cassandra Michel

Olympic Heights High School

From her earliest days in school, Cassandra Michel had trouble learning. She described herself as being "completely lost" in first grade. Later that year she was diagnosed with a visual integration learning disability. She began taking advantage of extra time to complete her work and tests. With grit, determination and willingness to seek help from teachers and classmates, Cassandra soon