FHS seniors awards pinpoint excellence

Each department at Farragut High School selects two seniors each year who have exemplified excellence and enthusiasm and awards them with a certificate. This year’s Senior Class Recognition program was held Monday, May 8. In addition, scholarships from local community partners were announced. Here, Salutatorian Ameena Iqbal, left, double department winner Lauren Fiet, center, and Valedictorian Lily Gao pose for a picture on a bench outside the auditorium after the ceremony.
“Seniors at Farragut High School have accumulated millions of dollars’ worth of scholarships this year, so many in fact, it would take about 10 hours to present all the awards,” Susan Bolinger, FHS college and career counselor, said.

But in addition to scholarships, some Class of 2017 seniors have received an additional honor — a monetary award from a local business or special recognition from a department at the school. Each department at FHS was asked to nominate two seniors for excellence in their academic areas and on Monday, May 8, students, parents and staff gathered in Vickiet B. Wells Auditorium where a representative of each department went to the podium to present certificates to the chosen students.

“The seniors truly represent outstanding achievements in their departments,” Bolinger said.

Art: Katrina Scott and Alan Morris; Tom Foti won the Shoup Scholarship Award; Business: Emma Geron and John Paxton; CTE: Jake Hagenow and Maddie Wischmann; English: Remy Tunstall and Emily Weathers; Film: Mary Walter and Austin Sena; Library: Melody Wade and Sarah Kohl; Math: Lily Gao and Han Do; Computer Science: Zaky Hussein and Lauren Fiet; Band: Ryan Wiberley and Joseph Jeter; Orchestra: Sarah Johnson; Chorus: Emily Stevens; Physical Education: Thunder Ralston and Michael Ruciniski; Student Support: James McKeefery and Celestial Baumann; Science: Rachel Penumadu and Alex Levi; Social Studies: Lauren Fiet and Sam Landon; World Languages: Katrina Scott, French, and Graham Montgomery, Spanish; Counseling Office: Anne Abernathy and Graham Montgomery.

Students received awards from local partners: Ameena Iqbal: Salutatorian Award, Commercial Bank; Sydney Beck, Spencer Dye, Justen Freeman, Adam Fulton, Jacob Kohlmeyer, Shelby Matthews, Jennifer McBride and Callie Moore: CBFO Scholarships; Camri Carbaugh: Hubbs Scholarship; Trevor Parham and Victoria Dukes: CTE Scholarships; Lorna Wood, Joao Pedro Gusson, Eunice Baek and Lorna Wood: Knoxville Area Urban League and Ashlyn Hodges: Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

The Montgomery Family Foundation awarded the Legacy Scholarship of $25,000 to Jacob Kohlmeyer and General Scholarships to Allie Rogers, Emily Wellman, Tyler Noll, Felicia Barrickman and Madeline Hutchens.

Three seniors really stand out, said Bolinger: Valedictorian, Lily Gao, Salutatorian, Ameena Iqbal, and Lauren Fiet, who won two departmental awards.

“I’ll be attending MIT in the fall,” Iqbal said. “I’ll be majoring in biology and hopefully will be on the pre-med track. I’m just thankful for my family and everyone here at Farragut High School who really helped me get where I am today because I wouldn’t have been able to have done it without them.” Iqbal has an unweighted GPA of 4.0 and a weighted GPA of about 4.7.

“I got awards for computer programming and social studies,” Lauren Fiet said, “and both of them were for research and websites that I made for competitions. Those were a lot of fun to do because they were independent and you could pick your own topics. In social studies, I did a project on one of my family members who was in the Dutch Resistance, so I flew to Michigan and I interviewed her. That was a lot of fun.”

Fiet is planning to go The University of Tennessee to study math. She has a weighted GPA of 4.4.

“I got a [departmental] award for math,” said Lily Gao, Valedictorian. “I’m just really honored to be here, really thankful. The ceremony is kind of reminding me that we sometimes get caught up in academics, but the teachers here really care about us as people and I’m really going to miss that connection with a lot of the teachers who were up there today. I’m attending school at Harvard this fall and I’m going to be studying biology with some connection to math.” Her weighted GPA is a 4.7.

Their advice for making good grades?

“Practice,” Fiet said. “And lots and lots of time. Go for the hardest path in the very beginning because if you challenge yourself at the start, then you’re going to be used to that level of competition and you’re going to be able to keep up.”

“Also keep what you like in mind and not just what you think is best for you,” Gao said. “In terms of challenging courses, do what you’re passionate about.”

“Yes,” Iqbal said. “Do what you’re passionate about. Grades will follow.”