FHSAA names 2013 academic All-State Team, honoring 24 student-athletes for scholastic achievement and community service

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – For the 19th consecutive year, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized 24 of the top student-athletes around Florida as members of the 2013 Academic All-State Team. The group features nine valedictorians, 12 three-sport athletes and four four-sport athletes among those who will be honored for extraordinary academic achievement and community service in addition to their athletic prowess.

“The FHSAA is proud to reward these outstanding students through the Academic All-State scholarship program for excelling in the classroom and yet still finding a way to impact their communities and succeed in the athletic arena,” said FHSAA Executive Director Dr. Roger Dearing.  “This group of student-athletes truly personifies the FHSAA mission of building leaders through teamwork, sportsmanship and citizenship.”

The 12 boys and 12 girls who merited inclusion on this prestigious team will be celebrated at the FHSAA Academic All-State Awards Banquet on Monday, June 10, at 7 p.m. at the Best Western Gateway Grand in Gainesville. Each of the 24 Academic All-State Team members will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the FHSAA. Additionally, one male and one female student-athlete from the group will receive the FHSAA’s most prestigious honor: Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Recipients of that honor will be announced during the banquet, and the two will receive additional $3,000 scholarships and a special trophy.

To be eligible for selection to the Academic All-State Team, a student-athlete must be a graduating senior, have a cumulative unweighted grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, and have earned a varsity letter in at least two different sports during each of his or her junior and senior years. The members were selected based on academic record, athletic participation, non-athletic activities, community service and an essay. The 24 members came from an applicant pool of more than 240 qualified candidates from the Association’s 685 member high schools.

In alphabetical order, the members of the 2013 FHSAA Academic All-State Team are:

Girls

• Kelly Butler, Mandarin (Jacksonville) – Kelly is the daughter of Carol and Richard Butler. She has a 3.94 grade point average and ranks sixth in her senior class of 574 students. During her four years of high school, Kelly earned varsity letters in flag football and basketball plus three varsity letters in volleyball. Kelly was an avid participant in student government throughout high school and was involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society and 4-H Club.  She was a standout in her community, volunteering her time and acquiring more than 673 hours of community service. Kelly has plans to attend the University of South Florida and study biology.

• Kelly Carney, Naples – Kelly is the daughter of Mary and Brendan Carney. She has a 3.98 grade point average, ranks 10th in a senior class of 339 students and is an Advanced Placement Scholar. Kelly earned varsity letters in golf and lacrosse all four years of high school, plus three varsity letters in soccer. She was a class representative and a member of TOMS Campus Club, National Honor Society, Interact Club, and Spanish Honor Society during her high school career.  Kelly’s dedication to her community is shown through more than 330 hours of community service.  Kelly plans to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville and study health science.

• Jillian Dukes, Winter Park – Jillian is the daughter of Suzanne and Steve Dukes. She has a 4.0 grade point average and is a National Merit Scholar Finalist.  Jillian earned varsity letters in water polo and swimming all four years of high school. She was a class representative for student government each of her four years and assisted in planning fundraisers and school service events.  Jillian has earned more than 360 hours of community service by volunteering with the Eatonville Boys and Girls Club and Winter Park Memorial Hospital.  This fall, Jillian plans to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and study government.

Taylor Konrath, Marathon – Taylor is the daughter of Greg and Teresa Konrath. She is the valedictorian of Marathon High School with a 4.0 grade point average. Taylor is the Wendy’s High School Heisman State Winner and has earned varsity letters in volleyball, soccer and softball all four years of high school. She was Class President in 9th, 10th and 11th grade and a member of FHSAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Tobacco-Free Florida Keys. Taylor has compiled more than 371 hours of community service during her high school career.  She will be attending Duke University in Durham, NC, where she will study biomedical engineering.

• Mary Kay Kujak, Ridgewood (New Port Richey) – Mary is the daughter of Teri Kujak. A Presidential Scholar, Advanced Placement Scholar and valedictorian of Ridgewood High School, Mary has a 4.0 grade point average. Mary has earned four varsity letters in basketball and volleyball, three in track and one in tennis. She also placed in the Top 10 as a state finalist for Wendy’s High School Heisman.  Her extracurricular activities include Ridgewood High School Interact, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Mary has acquired mre than 800 hours of community service by volunteering her time with St. James Catholic Church, RHS Interact, Salvation Army and SPCA. Upon graduation, Mary plans to attend Baylor University in Waco, TX, and study pre-medicine.

• Danielle Leavitt, Lake Highland Prep (Orlando) – Danielle is the daughter of Drs. Matt and Judye Leavitt. She has a 4.0 grade point average and is a National Merit Semifinalist, Advanced Placement Scholar and Merit Studies Scholar.  Danielle earned four varsity letters in tennis and three in volleyball. She was a member of Honor Council, Mu Alpha Theta, Pre-Medical Club, Spanish State Team, Captain’s Council and Gina Martin Run. In addition to totaling more than 680 community service hours, Danielle took part in a fundraising effort for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and helped raised $15,000. She plans to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and study pre-medicine and stem cell research.

• Rachel Mosley, Rocky Bayou Christian (Niceville) – Rachel is the daughter of Michael and Juliana Mosley. She has a 3.56 grade point average and ranks fourth in a senior class of 53 students. Rachel earned varsity letters all four years in volleyball, basketball and softball and was a state finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman.  In addition to athletics, she was a member of student government, choir, Beta Honor Society, Junior Classical League, Homecoming Court, Mu Alpha Theta, Shakespeare Club and RBCS Morning Announcement Broadcasting. Rachel has attained more than 230 community service hours during her high school career.  She plans to attend Bryan College in Dayton, TN, and study secondary education and coaching.

• Corey Salzer, Berkeley Prep (Tampa) – Corey is the daughter of Steven and Laura Salzer. She has a 4.0 grade point average, ranks third in a senior class of 118 students and is a National Merit Commended Scholar and Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor. She is a member of the Science, Math, and English Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Cum Laude Society.  Corey earned varsity letters in volleyball and basketball all four years of high school plus one varsity letter in lacrosse her senior year. She was also a member of the Rocketry Club, Mu Alpha Theta and club volleyball.  Corey has shared her knowledge and academic excellence with others in her community, earning more than 385 hours of community service through many different tutoring organizations. She plans to attend the Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and study biomedical engineering.

• Brenda Kaitlyn Sirmons, Munroe (Quincy) – Kaitlyn is the daughter of Don and Donna Sirmons. She has a 3.94 grade point average, ranking number fourth in her senior class of 20 students. Kaitlyn earned varsity letters in volleyball, basketball and softball all four years in high school, plus two varsity letters in competitive cheerleading. In addition to her academics and athletics, Kaitlyn was involved with student government, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Senior Beta Club, Senior Brain Bowl, piano, dance, Spirit Club, Environmental Club and journalism throughout her high school career.  Kaitlyn has also been active in her community and has acquired more than 769 hours of volunteer service.  Upon graduation, Kaitlyn will attend Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA, to study biology and pre-medicine.

• Christine Sullivan, Pope John Paul II (Boca Raton) – Christine is the daughter of Gregory and Mary Jane Sullivan. She has a 4.0 grade point average and ranks second in a senior class of 112 students. Christine earned varsity letters in cross country and track and field all four years of high school. During her time in high school, she participated in National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Science Club, Doctors of Tomorrow, and French Club.  Community service was a large part of Christine’s high school experience as she volunteered her time at the Boca Raton Art Museum, First United Methodist Church, St. Joan of Arc Church, and Nail Depot Breast Cancer Fundraiser all four years of high school.  She plans to attend John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and study chemistry.

• Kristin Sweeney, Maclay (Tallahassee) – Kristin is the daughter of Timothy and Renee Sweeney. She has a 4.0 grade point average and is a National Merit Finalist, Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and valedictorian of the Maclay School. Kristin earned four varsity letters in swimming, cross country, and track and field and lettered once in soccer. She was active in student government all four years of high school and was a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Junior Classical League, and Model United Nations.  Kristin completed lab training by working in the Florida State University Neuroscience Laboratory.  She also has participated in more than 339 hours of community service.  Kristin is unsure where she plans to attend college but is interested in studying biomedical engineering or pre-medicine. 

• Aalekhya Tenali, West Shore (Melbourne) – Aalekhya is the daughter of Gnana Bhaskar and Usha Tenali. She is the valedictorian of West Shore Junior/Senior High School with a 4.0 grade point average. Aalekhya earned varsity letters in tennis and volleyball all four years of high school. In addition to athletics, she also was a committed member of student government, speech, debate, Indian Classical Music, Future Problem Solving, National Honor Society, Quill and Scroll, and Mu Alpha Theta. Aalekhya has also logged more than 250 hours of community service by volunteering with Hospice, tutoring and other medical and spiritual organizations.  She plans to attend Columbia University in New York, NY, and study pre-medicine.

 

Boys

• Derek Bass, LaBelle – Derek is the son of Richard and Tammy Kay Bass. He has a 4.0 grade point average, ranks fourth in a senior class of 253 students and is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. Derek earned four varsity letters in basketball along with three in football and baseball.  He was a class representative all four years of high school and is a member of the National Honor Society.  Derek has given back to his community’s youth sports programs by volunteering more than 445 hours through his participation in LaBelle Little League, LaBelle Pop Warner, LaBelle High School Basketball Facilities, and LaBelle Middle School Basketball Camp. He plans to attend either Berry College in Rome, GA, or Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and study engineering. 

• Daniel Cooksey, Fleming Island – Daniel is the son of Joseph and Rebecca Cooksey. He has a 4.0 grade point average and ranks eighth in his senior class of 460 students. Daniel earned varsity letters in cross country and track and field all four years of high school, as well as two varsity letters in soccer. In addition to sports, Daniel has participated in French Club, Mu Alpha Theta, math team, and National Honor Society. His dedication to his community is shown through more than 150 hours of community service. Daniel plans to attend George Washington University in Washington, DC, and study international relations and global affairs.

• Matthew Edwards, The Pine School (Hobe Sound) – Matthew is the son of Michael and Laurie Edwards. He has a 4.0 grade point average and is the valedictorian of The Pine School. His academic accomplishments include National Advanced Placement Scholar, National Merit Commendation, and ACT Siemens State Qualifier.  Matthew earned varsity letters in track and field and cross country all four years of high school, as well as one varsity letter in soccer. His extracurricular activities include National Chinese Honor Society, National Honor Society, New York City and Everglades Outward Bound.  He plans to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, and study mathematics.

• Nicholas Fernandez, Citrus (Inverness) – Nicholas is the son of Marc and Heather Fernandez. An Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, Daniel will be graduating as the valedictorian of Citrus High School with a 4.0 grade point average. Nicholas earned varsity letters in football and wrestling all four years of high school plus three varsity letters in weightlifting.  His extracurricular activities include Link Club, National Honor Society, and Interact Club. Nicholas plans to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, to study engineering.

• John Finlayson III, Aucilla Christian (Monticello) – John is the son of Mac and Mary Beth Finlayson. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school. John earned four varsity letters in basketball and cross country, as well as one in football. He was active in student government and participated in Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Brain Bowl all four years of high school.  Upon graduation, John will attend Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA, to study business.

• Grant Kushner, Miami Country Day – Grant is the son of Dr. David and Brooke Kushner. He has a 3.9 grade point average. Grant is a member of five honor societies at his school, including Mu Alpha Theta, English Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, History Honor Society and National Honor Society.  Grant has earned varsity letters in swimming and water polo each of his four years of high school. He participated in student government, Model United Nations, Key Club, Debate Club and peer counseling. He is unsure where he will be attending college but is interested in studying public health.

• Ian Ludden, Bloomingdale (Valrico) – Ian is the son of Brendan and Carol Ludden. He is a National Merit Finalist, Sunshine State Scholar for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and a National Advancement Placement Scholar. Ian has a 4.0 grade point average and ranks second in a senior class of 566. Ian earned varsity letters all four years of high school in cross country and track and field.  During his time in school, Ian participated in the orchestra string ensemble and Mu Alpha Theta, and with the Computer Programming Team during his junior and senior years. Ian plans to attend the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN, and study computer and electrical engineering. 

• Caleb Punt, First Academy-Leesburg – Caleb is the son of Gordon and Margaret Punt. He has a 4.0 grade point average and was named a National Merit Commended Scholar in 2012.  Caleb will be graduating as the valedictorian of First Academy-Leesburg this year. Caleb earned varsity letters in football and basketball in each of his four years of high school, as well as one varsity letter in track. He currently holds the school record for number of receptions, receiving yards and tackles in football and the high jump in track.  During his high school career, Caleb participated in the National Forensic League, concert band, National Hispanic Honor Society and National Honor Society, and acquired more than 100 hours of community service. He plans to attend Samford University Fellows Program in Birmingham, AL, to study philosophy.

• Jeremy Reiskind, Shorecrest Prep (St. Petersburg) – Jeremy is the son of Laurie and Marc Reiskind. He has a 3.98 grade point average and currently ranks fourth in his class of 69 students. Jeremy earned four varsity letters in soccer, two varsity letters in football and bowling, and one varsity letter in track and field. He was active in student government throughout high school, serving as president during his junior and senior years. Jeremy was active in the Interact Service Club, Global Scholars Initiative, Chargers Who Encourage Ethical Decisions and PlayOn Technology-Shorecrest Sports Network.  He has earned more than 250 hours of community service through his efforts with Relay for Life, American Red Cross, United Synagogue and StandWithUs MZ Teen Internship.  He plans to attend Rice University in Houston, TX, to study sports management.

• Daniel Salas, Trinity Prep (Winter Park) – Daniel is the son of Pablo and Tamara Salas. He has a 4.0 grade point average and was named a National Merit Finalist and a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. Daniel earned varsity letters all four years of high school in cross country and track and field. He is the school record holder for the 5K in cross country and a member of the school record-holding 4 x 800 relay team. Daniel was involved in the National Honor Society, National Hispanic Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) organization while in school. He was the recipient of the President’s Award for Volunteer Service with more than 100 community service hours. Daniel plans to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, and study engineering.

• Simon Shuham, Cooper City – Simon is the son of Caryl and Martin Shuham. He is the valedictorian of Cooper City High School with a 3.99 grade point average. Simon is a National Merit Finalist and National Advanced Placement Scholar and is the Cooper City High School Wendy’s High School Heisman recipient. Simon earned varsity letters in golf, soccer and volleyball all four years of high school and was captain of each team. In addition to his athletic participation, Simon served as National Honor Society president and was a member Debate Club, Spanish Honor Society and Spanish Club. Simon excelled in volunteer activities by accumulating more than 600 hours of community service. He plans to attend  Harvard University in Cambridge, MA or Duke University in Durham, NC and is interested in studying engineering.

• Jacob Smithe, West Shore (Melbourne) – Jacob is the son of Jason and Stella Smithe. He is the valedictorian of West Shore Junior/Senior High School with a 4.0 grade point average. In addition to his many academic accomplishments, Jacob is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Commended Scholar. Jacob earned four varsity letters in cross country and three in track and field. Jacob was recognized by his school with the West Shore Junior/Senior High School Community Service Award for acquiring more than 100 hours of community service. He plans to attend Yale University in New Haven, CT, and study biology and pre-medicine.
 

About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing body for interscholastic athletic competition in Florida. It has a membership of more than 780 middle, junior and senior high schools.

Contact:
Quinten Ershock
Marketing Specialist, FHSAA
(352) 372-9551 ext. 190
QErshock [at] fhsaa [dot] org