Schools nominated students and three finalists were named in each category: all-around student, academics, creative arts, athletics, extracurricular activities, the unsung hero or underdog and volunteerism. The finalists each submitted an essay, and a committee of the Optimist Club selected one overall winner from each group.
The top three finishes in each category were invited to attend the banquet.
Anna Krueger of Darlington School received the top award as best all-around student. Whitney Griffin of Armuchee High and Meredith Smith of Rome High were runners-up.
I was very excited that Darlington nominated me to represent the school and to win the award is such an honor, Anna said. I have worked extremely hard in high school with my studies, my sports and my extracurricular activities, and to be recognized for my efforts is rewarding but also humbling.
In the academics category, Chera Watts of Pepperell High was the winner. Also nominated were Brett Henson of Darlington School and Isaac Payne of Rome High.
The winner for creative arts was Jessica Leigh Smith of Model High. Other students honored in this category were Michelle Kelly of Coosa High and Terence Hight of Rome High.
The top student in athletics was David Guilford of Rome, followed by Kendall Davis of Model High and Steven Pruitt of Pepperell High.
Megan Lovell of Armuchee High won for extracurricular activities. Others nominated were Nikki McAllister of Pepperell High and Laura Hamilton of Rome High.
The unsung hero or underdog award went to Christopher Stuart of Rome High. Also honored in this category were Ashley Tucker of Coosa High and Jonathon Cannon of Model High.
Katie McCullough of Armuchee High was the winner in the volunteerism category, followed by Brandilyn Packer of Coosa High and Hope Fillingim of Rome High.
Anna was proud to be recognized with the other students. Every student at the banquet deserved to be there, and I was honored to be a part of such a strong group of high school leaders, she said.