Part Two: Achievement Awards for 2015/2016 Indian River Charter High School Students




In the last thirteen years, Indian River Charter High School (IRCHS) has grown from a school of just over 70 students to a school of over 650.

Formed from a vision held by Board Chairman Gene Waddell and 20 members of the Indian River County community, Ms. Aversa said: “IRCHS became a REALITY. From a school which started as an “alternative choice, it has become THE choice!”

Gene Waddell

Gene Waddell

Further, she said: “This IS a high performance institution as evidenced this evening by our students’ academic performance.

The standards met by our students are due to the expectations of our faculty and staff. These individuals are the back bone of our school. They always stand strong in their belief in each individual student.”

Before beginning the senior class awards, Ms. Aversa acknowledged the future of Indian River Charter High School by presenting the CUB AWARD to a ninth, tenth and eleventh grader who exemplifies the standards and mission of the school:  Character – Leadership – Academics – and Citizenship.

This honor was bestowed upon the following students:

Cub Award 11th grade:
Emily Jane Ottesen

Cub Award 10th grade:
Alexi Dong

Cub Award 9th grade:
Ashley Aguilera

The Wellesley College Book Award also recognized an outstanding underclassman, Shania Mena Noel.


Wellesley College is a four year liberal arts college for women. For more than one hundred thirty years, Wellesley has been known as an institution which values outstanding academic and personal achievement. Wellesley College is honored to select Shania Mena Noel, a student in the junior class of IRCHS whose academic record and character are exceptional and who also made a significant personal contribution to her school and/or community.

Now, to the senior awards, which demonstrate the tremendous success of the senior class.

IRCHS Board member Mr. Casey Lunceford presented the Indian River State College Scholarship Awards.


Scholarship Last Name First Name Amount
CeeCee Ross Lyles Memorial Scholarship REXFORD SAMUEL $653
CeeCee Ross Lyles Memorial Scholarship DENAULT DARIA $653
Coffman Collection Scholarship LOPEZ AISHA $400
George P. Stanich Memorial Transfer- IRSC Bachelor Degree Scholarship MONTGOMERY DANIELLE $3000
James W. Mueller Memorial Transfer-IRSC Bachelor’s Degree Scholarship HENRY DAYTONA $2500
Kenneth Pruitt, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Endowed Fund GOOD MICHAEL $1400
Olive & Osmond Peterson – A.E. Backus Endowed Scholarship ARIZPE NATALIA $550
Take Stock in Children LOPEZ AISHA $20,500
Valedictorian Scholarship ASSELIN JENNIFER 4 yrs Tuition
Vega Scholarship WILLIS NICHOLAS $800


Elizabeth Santiago, a social studies teacher at IRCHS presented the Eldridge A. Wheeler Scholarships.

The Eldridge A. Wheeler Scholarship is awarded to an Indian River County Graduating Senior who is in financial need, who has demonstrated above average academic achievement and who exemplifies character and good citizenship.

Eldridge Wheeler

Eldridge A.  Wheeler

Eldridge was a real salt of the earth, hardworking man who believed, “you earned your keep by the sweat on your brow.” and would often say, “If you make a quarter you should save a dime.”

The Eldridge A. Wheeler Scholarship is made possible through the Camp Youths Foundation. On Behalf of the Camp Youths Foundation and the Gifford Community Center advisory commission award recipients were:

Morgan Golightly, $500.00
Emily Peterson $500.00

Church Women United of Indian River County Scholarship to Daniel Montgomery.

Retired Educators Association of Indian River County Scholarship to Brianna Bass.

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Scholarship to Laura Allen.

Alex MacWilliam Inc., Real Estate Scholarship to Karen Smith.

A $ 1,500 Treasure Coast Gator Club scholarship to Amanda Gard.

Indian River Symphonic Association Scholarships to:

Wyatt Eubanks
Jenna Gurklis
Taylor Jenkins
Kara Mase
Ana Gabriella Scott

Vero Beach Art Club: $ 3,000 scholarships won by Brianna Brodeur, Finnigan Barrett and Emily Wake.

Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) hosted the 2016 Congressional Art Competition, entitled “An Artistic Discovery,” on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art in Vero Beach. The theme of this year’s artwork focused on the Indian River Lagoon.

Three finalists were chosen from District 8 and several entries were also selected for special recognition. This year’s winning piece, titled “A Pelican,” painted by Brianna Brodeur of IRCHS, will be displayed in the United States Capitol in Washington, DC.


Also, Brianna and a family member were flown, compliments of South West Airlines, to Washington, D.C. on June 23rd, where they attended a reception at the Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium and Atrium.

Three of IRCHS seniors, two juniors and one freshman were recognized for their participation in the Vero Beach Museum of Art Juried student Exhibition.

First Place Three Dimensional —-Emily Wake (senior)

Third Place Drawing/Mixed Media — Jennifer Asselin for “Fat the Cat” (senior)

First Place Photography/Digital Art — Brianna Brodeur for “Little Drummer Boy” (senior)

Second Place Photography/Digital Art — Samantha Petrucci for “Pyro” (senior)

Second Place Three Dimensional – Erin Mays (senior)

Third Place Photography/Digital Art — Jacelyn Shepherd for “Old Mill” (junior)

First Place, Painting — Tasha Reiner for “Baroque Still Life” (junior)

First Place Drawing/Mixed Media — Daisy Cabanas for “Clarity in Monochrome” (ninth)

PNC Wealth Management John W. Friend Scholarship was awarded to Taylor Morgan Jenkins.

Dr. Ray Adams presented Emily Comes with $ 500 for Wells Fargo Senior Award of Excellence / Indian River County 4H. 


IRCHS Assistant Director Dr. Ray Adams

A $ 1,000 Michael Aversa Humanitarian Scholarship Award was presented to Joshua Cintron.

Mark Surles presented Aaron Dell with $ 500.00 from the Major Surles Memorial Scholarship.

Cynthia Aversa presented the Harvey & Margot Kornicks Visual Arts Scholarship.

Harvey Kornicks and Ms. Aversa began teaching in Indian River County in 1985. They taught at the same schools for many years and were ultimately blessed to become part of the Charter Family. Harvey is a true supporter of the Arts and of the students of this school. He and his wife showed their support by offering the Harvey and Margo Kornicks Arts Scholarship in the amount of $500.00 to Erin Mays

Thomas Warren Memorial Scholarship was presented to Sarah Doe and Lee Olsen.

Sean Sexton presented the Ralph Waldo Sexton Scholarships.


Ralph Waldo Sexton

The Ralph Waldo Sexton awards are presented to one outstanding Visual and Performing Arts Senior who has demonstrated excellence in his/her discipline.

Vocal Music: Gary Miller
Instrumental Music: David Heroux
Visual Art: Lucie Burke
Dance: Cherith Bounds
Acting/Technical & Musical Theatre: Mike Naffziger

World Language Awards:
Liming Tang (Chinese)
Ineitza Stromak (Spanish)

IRCHS Yearbook:
The following seniors worked diligently toward creating the 2015/2016 yearbook. The theme for the yearbook is “Be Yourself!”

Victoria Henrotte
John Cochran
Geena Dimech
Deine Scott Braswell
Nicolas Grebe
Joshua Sims
Morgan Golightly

Key Club:
Key Club is an international student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership. The following seniors became competent, capable, and caring leaders through the vehicle of service.

President – Morgan Golightly
Vice President – Rebecca Vollmann
Secretary – Savanna Williams/Emerick Gilliams (Co-secretary)
Treasurer – Anthony Phan
Editor/Historian – Devoy Colley

Leadership Council members:
Hannah Colkitt, Co-President
Megan Witt, Co-President
Paris Welker- Walker, Treasurer
Cameron Barnes- Evanes, Secretary

National Honor Society Officers Recognition:
Abigail Keithahn  – President
Alexandra Wendel
Alyson Krieger
Amanda Gard
Annie Lin
Avery Norman
Chase Hallam
Courtney Brooks
Danielle Montgomery
Emily Peterson
Emilka Wake
Hailey DeArrastia
Isabella DeGracia
Jade Bohse  –  Secretary
Jane Kramer
Jenna Gurklis
Jennifer Asselin
Jonathan Capen
Julia Dingee
Kara Mase
Kyleigh Savoie
Melanie Funka
Rebecca Vollmann
Ryan Barhorst
Sydney Alvey
Taylor Jenkins
Taylor Ziegler
Vlad Stefan Bogdan Bradescu
Yevgeniya Gilmore

Model United Nations Team: Greg Zajicek

University scholarships which were awarded to IRCHS’ finest seniors.

Abigail Hoyt
Alejandra Cadavid
Abigail Keithahn
Alexandra Wendel
Alexandra Zimmer
Amanda Gard
Ana Scott
Anjelica Fonseca
Aurora Arrington
Brianna Brodeur
Damean Murphy-Short
Daniel Montgomery
Emilia Murillo
Emily Wake
Emily Peterson
Fabiola Regis
Finn Barrett
Isabella Degracia
Jacob Daniel Phelan
Jane Kramer
Jennifer Asselin
Joshua Cintron
Julia Dingee
Kara Mase
Kyleigh Savoie
Maxine Cazeau
Melanie Funka
Michael Darby
Michaela Etter
Morgan Golightly
Paris Welker Widell
Rebecca Vollman
Sophie Siegel
Taylor Ziegler
Taylor Jenkins
Ting Wei (Rachel) Lu
Yevgeniya Gilmore
Zachary Beneduce
Zachary Jones
Zachary Laviolette

Elizabeth Santiago acknowledged seniors who qualified for Florida Bright Future Academic and Merit Scholars. These awards are based on seventh semester grades.

Florida Bright Futures

Aurora Arrington
Jennifer Asselin
Julia Dingee
Amanda Gard
Yevgeniya Gilmore
Annie Lin
Danielle Montgomery
Emily Peterson
Ryan Barhorst
Zachary Beneduce
Jonathan Capen
Timothy Crooker
Isabella Degracia
Jenna Gurklis
Frederick Hahn
Abigail Hoyt
Jane Kramer
Alyson Krieger
Kara Mase
Damean Murphy-Short
Connor Riley
Abigail Threlkeld
Rebecca Vollmann
Alexndra Wendel
Alexandra Zimmer

The Gold Seal Vocational Scholar Award was presented to:

Brianna Brodeur
Samantha Petrucci

Elizabeth Santiago recognized Yevgeniya Gilmore for being named a Commended Student in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. She said: “The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success. The students who earn Commended status represent a valuable national resource which is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.”


Cynthia Aversa recognized nine AA Degree Recipients.

Emily Peterson
Isabella Degracia
Courtney Brooks
Abigail Keithahn
Daytona Henry
Jane Kramer
Vlad Stefan Bogdan-Bradescu
Jade Alora Bohse
Rebecca Vollmann

Assistant IRCHS Director Dr. Ray Adams recognized students who qualified for IRCHS
Advanced Placement Program.  

The Advanced Placement Program is designed to provide a rigorous academic curriculum.  In order to remain in the program and be eligible for special recognition at graduation, the following requirements must be met:

•        Complete a minimum of five full-year AP courses or a combination of full-year courses and semester courses totaling five
•        Earn a minimum score of 3.0 on three AP exams by the end of their Junior year

The following students qualified for this program:

Alexandra Zimmer
Jennifer Asselin
Julia Dingee
Kylie Savoie
Melanie Funka

Cynthia Aversa presented IRCHS top ten seniors:
1 Asselin, Jennifer Michelle
2 Brooks, Courtney Elice
3 Gurklis, Jenna
4 Ziegler, Taylor Leigh
5 Montgomery, Danielle Lynn
6 Kramer, Jane Maria
7 Degracia, Isabella Nicole
8 Mase, Kara
9 Norman, Avery
10 Gilmore, Yevgeniya Sophia
11 Gard, Amanda Farall
12 Bohse, Jade Alora
13 Dingee, Julia Pauline
14 Keithahn, Abigail
15 Murphy Short, Damean
15 Savoie, Kyleigh

2015/2016 Valedictorian: Jennifer Asselin

2015/2016 Salutatorian: Courtney Brooks

Ms. Aversa also recognized some important members of the IRCHS staff. These individuals have worked diligently the entire school year to guide the senior class towards their future endeavors. They spent numerous hours researching universities, making phone calls, filling out applications; writing letters of recommendation…the list goes on. The end result of their care and their effort are the awards distinguished above.

IRCHS Senior Homebase Teachers:
Ms. Cher Bounds
Ms. Mandy Cox
Ms. Krista Harmon
Mr. Zachary Holloway
Mr. Brian McCandless
Mr. Gary Miller
Ms. Nicole Moreaux
Ms. Ineitza Stromak

In conclusion, Ms. Aversa presented a special award, The Alpha Award, which is presented to select students who exemplify the standards and mission of IRCHS. These are students who throughout their career at IRCHS:

  • Demonstrated respect to all others on and off campus;
  • Fulfilled their required hours every week;
  • Dressed and acted appropriately at all times;
  • Demonstrated a tobacco free and drug free life style; and
  • Worked to the best of their academic abilities in every possible situation

This is a prestigious award and one that the IRCHS holds in very high esteem. It was indeed an honor  for Ms. Aversa to present this award to Morgan Danielle Golightly.

“Thank you for joining us this evening in celebration of our best and our finest. These students’ accomplishments are truly an inspiration. Congratulations for helping us make Indian River Charter High School the future of public education,” concluded IRCHS Director Cynthia Aversa.


IRCHS Director Cynthia Aversa

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