Fifty-two graduating high school seniors from Hernando County were honored recently at the 40th annual Student Recognition Banquet.
The banquet, on April 24 at the Palace Grand in Spring Hill, was sponsored by the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Brooksville and the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill.
Top academic students who were honored and their career focus included:
Central High School: Collin Biedenkapp, programmer; Theresa Hancock, biology; Addison Hilyard, veterinary parasitology; Terrance Hudson, actuarial science and math; Samuel McCandless, aeronautical engineering; Megan Roche, environmental conservation and sustainability; Brett Waugh, aerospace engineering.
Hernando High School: Catherine Caldwell, general surgeon; Taylor Day, nursing; Jessee Gaudin, biology; Stephanie Kidd, marketing; Jeremiah Jackson, business/sports administration; Kelsey Kolasa, biochemistry/medicine; Christopher Nix, medicine; Elisha Pager, chemical engineering; Sean Thornton, culinary; Sierra Walsh, accounting.
Nature Coast Technical High School: Jillian Altare, illustration and English; Marshall Aske, medicine; Janardan Bautista; advertising/graphic design; Robert Burns, film production; Rachel Davis, chemistry/pharmacy; Catherine Hurtado, health science/medicine; Nicolas Russo, medicine; David Silva-Melendez, aerospace engineering; Mary Thomson, health, leisure and exercise science; Kendal Worden, exceptional education.
Springstead High School: Troy Arey, Air Force/aerospace engineering; Amanda Buckle, marine biology; Robyn Cotney, medicine; Amanda Mihan, nurse practitioner; Nina Morales, biology/violin; Bailey Peckenpaugh, law; Anna Poholek, environmental studies, Ashley Principe, criminology; Dominic Rufa, engineering; Kylie Van Meter, aerospace engineering.
Weeki Wachee High School: Laura Bennett, criminology; Christian Braz, music; Adam Cooper, chemistry/digital media; Megan Ekstrom, nursing; Andrew Jensen, physical therapy; Jesus Nieves, mechanical engineering; Ethan Puerto, electrical engineering; Naomi Waldron, physical therapy; Jenny Wu, international business.
Hernando Christian Academy: Nicole Klukowski, undecided; Brielle Manuel, medicine.
Spring Hill Christian Academy: Jordan Aleo, forensics.
West Hernando Christian Academy: Rodney Mann, computer science; Samuel Woodring, exploratory.
In addition, 14 scholarships were awarded by local businesses and organizations for student achievement in various categories. They included:
Academics: Catherine Hurtado, $1,000, Walmart Distribution Center; Adam Cooper, $1,000, Kiwanis Club of Brooksville; Jenny Wu, $500, Crystal Automotive; Rachel Davis, $500, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill; Robyn Cotney, $500, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill.
Community service: Christian Braz, $1,000, Tracers Information Specialists; Bailey Peckenbaugh, $500, Turner Funeral Home.
Leadership: Terrance Hudson, $1,000, Walmart Distribution Center; Troy Arey, $500, Walmart Distribution Center.
Entrepreneurial/business: Andrew Jensen, $1,000, Palace Grand; Amanda Buckle, $500, Anew Dawn.
Technical/vocational: Matt Russo, $1,000, Complete Technology Solutions; Ethan Puerto, $500, Universal Soil Solutions.
Special recognition: Addison Hilyard, $500, Superintendent's Award for Leadership.