By: Christine A. Davis, ED.S. Director of Communications, Brevard Public Schools
This spring more than 5,000 students will don caps and gowns and walk in commencement ceremonies around Brevard County. Most of them will be about 18 years old, born in 1994, the last year known as Generation Y. The 2012 graduating class surpassed the state averages on the ACT college entrance exam, surpassed the national averages on the SAT exam, and Brevard seniors’ AP test results exceeded the global average. In addition, more Brevard graduating seniors earned an AA degree through dual enrollment at Brevard Community College than in any other school district in Florida. They have been a part of championship sports teams, outstanding drama productions and musical performances, and state, national and internationally recognized extracurricular groups. Represented in the following pages are students from every public and private high school in Brevard. Each of them has begun to find a calling where they will take their skills and talents and make this world a better place. Most are attending Florida universities, two are going to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy – but all have fond memories of high school and friends, of individuals who inspired and influenced them to be what they are today, and of their accomplishments in everything from academics, to sports, to humanitarian efforts. As they proudly accept their diplomas, these high school graduates will have their futures ahead of them – futures that will be exhilarating and overflowing with new challenges, new opportunities, and new dreams. Class of 2012, I hope your futures take you to the corners of your smiles, to the heights of your dreams, to the doors of your opportunities, and to the most exceptional places your hearts have ever known.
Nicolas Fleig Viera High School
Nicolas’ guidance counselor described him as a multi-faceted student that excels in all disciplines whether in the classroom or on the field, playing football or running track. He placed first in the nation in the Under Armor Combine, designed to provide a measure of each athlete’s potential, in the summer of 2011. He also has a weighted 4.4 grade point average and has taken seven Advanced Placement classes.
Aaron Jordan Palm Bay High School
Aaron completed the rigorous Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) Program at MIT during which he fostered an interest in chemistry and material properties. Outside of his many academic achievements, he is also captain of the varsity soccer team and serves as a junior counselor through Club Esteem. Aaron is the recipient of the National Achievement Scholarship and plans to attend Georgia Institute of Technology.
Sufyan Dawoodjee Edgewood Jr/Sr High School
Sufyan is a 16-year-old who has completed 11 Advanced Placement courses and plans to complete his AA degree from Brevard Community College by graduation. He has a perfect 4.0 grade point average while taking all honors, AP and BCC classes. Sufyan plans to study electrical engineering at the University of South Florida because he enjoys learning how things work.
Aimee Ferguson Brevard Virtual Secondary School
Aimee’s favorite high school experiences involve her opportunity to travel all over the United States to dance. “This has helped get training from so many different choreographers in so many different styles,” she said. She plans to move to Los Angeles and launch a dance career in the performance industry and was recently selected to be on a television show about dance.
Danielle George Merritt Island High School
As a member of the South East Consortium of Minority Engineers Danielle was approached to work with NASA engineers to be the second high school in the nation to design, build, and potentially launch a CubeSat into outer space. For the past two years she has acted as the Project Manager and has even represented NASA at a satellite conference in Utah. She plans to study biomedical engineering.
Favian Upshaw Astronaut High School
Talented in the classroom and as an athlete, playing football and basketball, Favian earned a full scholarship to Florida International University to play football. He hopes to study sports management and become an agent. Voted the basketball MVP his junior and senior year and District player of the year for football, Favian’s favorite high school memory is making the winning shot against Rockledge from half-court.
Carolyn Kreuzkamp Viera High School
Voted “Most likely to appear on the cover of Time magazine” by her peers, Carolyn’s ultimate aspiration is to become a laboratory geneticist in the field of hereditary diseases. “To work with a renowned genetic engineering company in order to find the cause of such diseases, and then formulate a cure to prevent them, would be surreal,” she said.
Abby Cullen Space Coast Jr/Sr High School
Abby’s favorite memory is completing her last cross country race and earning a personal record. “I found my mom and we had this really intense hug. It was just perfect. I have a picture of it, every time I see it I tear up,” she said. Abby aspires to be a surgeon one day, after majoring in physics at Florida State University.
Jamie Dodson Astronaut High School
As a cheerleader and the varsity cheer captain for 2 years Jamie has many great memories. “Some of my best memories have been from my experiences with cheerleading. Cheering really got me involved with many fun school activities and gave me a lot of school spirit.” Jamie considers being accepted into Florida State University’s Honors Program to be her biggest accomplishment.
Mariel McLaughlin Melbourne Central Catholic High School
Mariel will attend Louisiana State University and play on the women’s soccer team. She was a state finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award in 2012 and counts playing soccer and making it to the Final Four as her favorite memory. She also served as Student Council president and Anchor Club president. She will study biology and hopes to one day become a pediatric oncologist.
William Morgan Melbourne Central Catholic High School
William Morgan is a compassionate student leader who volunteers in the community with several different organizations. He is particularly proud of completing his Eagle Scout project and earning the highest rank in scouting. His project benefited the Women’s Center of South Brevard. He lettered in swimming all four years and plans to attend University of Central Florida.
Shelby Zarm Cocoa High School
At graduation Shelby will receive her Associate of Arts degree from Brevard Community College as well as her high school diploma. She will attend the University of West Florida and major in communications. Shelby’s best memory in high school is winning the district bowling competition and going to state. “It was such an accomplishment!”
Raleigh Sims Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy
Raleigh hopes to one day become a sports analyst because of his love for all sports. He plays varsity basketball and founded a Fellowship of Christian Athletes at his school. His favorite memory is being voted Mr. Tiger (Homecoming King) after a performance of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” in front of the whole school. He plans to study communications and minor in Spanish or Chinese.
Nikki Kilborne Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy
Among her many accomplishments, Nikki counts the completion of her school’s yearbook while editor-in-chief as her biggest accomplishment so far. “I like to think of it as my first real job,” she said. Nikki was also selected to attend the J. Kyle Braid leadership Ranch in Colorado. “The experience took me out of my comfort zone and helped me become a better leader for my school and in my community.”
Catherine Psarakis Melbourne High School
Catherine’s grandparents have had the greatest influence on the student. “They taught me to read, write and speak Greek, which has helped me throughout my schooling,” she said. “They have encouraged me to strive for success and to truly find enjoyment in learning.” Catherine plans to study biology and musical performance at Rollins College while continuing to play violin and piano and sing.
Jennifer Garrido West Shore Jr/Sr High School
Jennifer’s future plans include attending the University of Florida and studying neurobiological sciences, trying out for the UF dance team and traveling during the summers as a dance camp instructor. Jennifer recently coordinated a breast cancer fundraiser, “Dance for a Cure” raising over $3,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It took her just six months to organize the event that she also performed in.
Andrew Cooper Eau Gallie High School
Andrew’s many achievements include being the valedictorian of his class, something he considers to be a culmination of four years of hard work. “This recognition is something I can be proud of my entire life,” he said. Andrew’s favorite memory is playing at Carnegie Hall in New York City with fellow band students. “That really inspired me to continue playing music, not just in school but for my whole life.”
Mackenzie Newell Bayside High School
Mackenzie was selected to play in the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, one of only four students in the state who was chosen. She will attend Vanderbilt University and received the signature Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship, a full tuition scholarship and a stipend to study abroad for one summer – an honor that is only awarded to 1% of their applicants.
Justin Schindler Titusville High School
Justin is a student who excels in academics and dedicates his time to the community, volunteering at the North Brevard Museum and the Enchanted Forest. He was a member of the Student Government Association and the model student senate for two years. He has also been active in the Kiwanis Youth organization for the past eight years.
Laura Gamo Rockledge High School
Laura was born in Bogotá, Columbia and moved to the U.S. when she was 6 years old. She plans to study public administration and international affairs while minoring in modern languages. “My dream job would definitely be a translator for the United Nations.” She was the senior class president, plays the violin and has volunteered over 300 hours of community service.
Lauren Beadle Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School
Named a senior of distinction by the faculty at her school, Lauren excels in sports and academics. She lettered in varsity dive and cheerleading and has a 4.52 weighted grade point average in the International Baccalaureate Program. She hopes to be an intellectual property attorney but her ultimate goal is becoming president of the United States.
Nathan Putira Florida Air Academy
Nathan earned the title of salutatorian of his class and plans to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He is a regional champion in gymnastics, vice president of National Honor Society and 3-time Academic All-American. His nomination stated that, “Nathan is an extremely hard worker and he does not let anything interfere with accomplishing his goals.”
Morgan Kingston Satellite High School
Morgan plans to study management at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and begin her career as an officer in the Coast Guard. “It is an honor to be given the opportunity for a career like this,” Morgan said. While attending Satellite High she played varsity softball for four years and became the captain for three years while also participating in varsity swimming and cheerleading.
Clarissa Findlay Heritage High School
Not only does Clarissa excel as a participant in sports, but she also supports the other athletic teams at Heritage as an athletic trainer. She has committed herself to preparing for her future education and career through her experiences in the sports medicine academy at Heritage. She has been awarded a scholarship to attend Brevard Community College and then plans to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy.