South Charlotte

Local students recognized for excellence

Every spring, representatives from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools ask high school guidance counselors to submit information about graduating seniors who stand out. The students can excel in academics, extracurricular activities, school spirit, community involvement or a combination of all factors, said CMS spokeswoman Lauren Bell.

The students' resumes are impressive. Some seniors founded programs and led schoolwide efforts. Some were recognized nationally for their achievements and plan to attend Ivy League universities.

And many of CMS' finest are from south Charlotte.

Ardrey Kell High: Imani Augustus

Imani Augustus transferred to Ardrey Kell at the beginning of her senior year and quickly immersed herself in a number of clubs and fundraisers. As a member of the advisory board for the Hands on Charlotte Youth Organization, Augustus helped create service projects for youths in the greater Charlotte area. Last November, Imani received a grant from the Triad Health and Wellness Foundation to start a program called Each One Teach One to help lessen the negative impact seasonal farm labor can have on Hispanic children in the migrant farm laboring population. The program, which will be implemented in August, provides educational tools such as flashcards, workbooks and taped lessons.

Ardrey Kell High: Yuma Shimamori

Yuma Shimamori and his two siblings moved to the U.S. two years ago from Japan when their father took a job in the U.S. Shimamori's mother is from a town near the epicenter of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that devastated northeast Japan in March. Shimamori led a campaign at the school to raise funds for the victims, raising $150 in three days.

Myers Park High: Mason Jefferies

An athlete and scholar, Mason Jefferies is ranked second in her class with a 5.29 GPA. During basketball season, Jefferies organized a charity event called Points for Breast Cancer to raise money to fight the disease. Mason, who is attending Davidson College next year, plans to study biology and history and be a walk-on for the Davidson basketball team.

Myers Park High: Michael Griggs

The 2011 Student of the Year for Speech and Debate, Michael Griggs is only the second student in Myers Park history to receive the Degree of Premier Distinction from the National Forensics League. Griggs is the first Myers Park student to be a four-time national qualifier for forensics, where he was one of 24 chosen out of 100,000 students nationwide. He sang in the master singers choir at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Charlotte, and plans to study history and music at Trinity College in Connecticut.

Myers Park High: Emily Auerbach

Graduating sixth in her class, International Baccalaureate student Emily Auerbach is a Morehead-Cain scholar headed to UNC Chapel Hill to study environmental science and geology. Auerbach is a four-year varsity lacrosse player, the drum major of the Myers Park band and a member of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra. A peer tutor at Myers Park and the president of the astronomy club, Auerbach often judged elementary school science fairs in CMS.

Myers Park High: James Marsicano

James "Jamie" Marsicano is a full International Baccalaureate diploma candidate and four-time member of Myers Park's Odyssey of the Mind team, which has won first and second place at the world competition. He's a recipient of the Harvard Book Award, an achievement award from the Harvard Alumni Association given to select high school juniors who show excellence in scholarship and character as well as success in other fields. Marsicano sings in his church choir and has been in several Children's Theatre productions. He will attend Brown University in the fall.

Myers Park High: Taylor McLendon

A first-generation college student, Taylor McLendon is headed to the Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania, where she plans to double major in marketing and music. She was in the International Baccalaureate program and started the Stepping Stones program at Myers Park, which reaches out to at-risk freshmen and sophomores to help them achieve success in school. She works for the nonprofit Youth Empowered Solution, where she is focusing on a tobacco prevention campaign.

Providence High: Olufolake Ogunmola

Graduating 14th in her class, Olufolake Ogunmola took eight Advanced Placement courses her senior year. Her mother, a CMS teacher, instilled in her the value of academic excellence and hard work. She will attend Yale in the fall, where she plans to major in biology on the pre-med course. Ogunmola was selected to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Mighty MITES, a rigorous summer program for talented minority students interested in the engineering or science fields.

South Mecklenburg: John Chamberlain

John Chamberlain is adept at balancing academics with athletics and music. He trained on an atypical instrument, the organ, and was president of the school's chorus and a member of the N.C. Honors Chorus. Outside of school, he held an apprenticeship for the Charlotte Renaissance Choir. Chamberlain's athletic skill has earned him a spot on the All-Conference football team as linebacker and the title of defensive MVP for South Mecklenburg. Chamberlain is attending the Naval Academy in the fall, and after he graduates, he'll serve in the military.

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