Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Athena Society honors young women for potential, promise

Westchase teenager Victoria de Lelys received a marriage proposal last summer. That it came from a 6-year-old didn't bother her at all.

"I love to hear, 'Miss Tori, Miss Tori, help me do a cartwheel,' '' de Lelys said. "'Miss Tori, I drew this picture for you.' Or even the best one yet, 'Miss Tori, will you marry me?'

"It was hard breaking Jacob's 6-year-old heart at science camp last summer, but we remain good buddies."

Victoria's work mentoring children and her stellar academic success in Robinson High's IB program led the prestigious Athena Society to name her one of its 2010 Young Women of Promise. The group, a veritable who's who of female leaders, annually honors 10 high school junior girls who show the potential to make extraordinary contributions to society in future years.

Whether she teaches children swim techniques, guides them through religious education or schools them on science during summer camps, Victoria relishes her work with kids as a wonderful escape from the hectic side of her demanding academic pursuits.

"Everyone needs to squeeze in some laughter and fun into their days, and children are a beautiful source of that," Victoria told society members at an April 1 luncheon.

"These children have blessed me time and time again."

Wharton High's Jasmine Roberts, one of three other winners

with connections to the North of Tampa area, hopes to someday bless the world with a major scientific discovery — and she's already on her way.

Jasmine, whose science fair project about bacteria in restaurant ice drew national attention and landed her on Oprah four years ago, now does research at the Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer's Center. Her work with cell-therapy treatment with mice already has proven to be effective in leading to possible advancements.

"This treatment could help not just me, because I do have family with Alzheimer's, but it could help individuals with Alzheimer's," Jasmine said. "It could increase the survival rate and lower health care costs."

She also won a recent piano guild contest, successfully remembering 15 individual pieces of music.

Memorization certainly plays a role in helping Middleton High's Kathryn Gertz succeed in math. As one of the leaders of Middleton's Mu Alpha Theta math competition team, she cherishes the success of her team and the camaraderie crafted over the years.

"Basically, 'nerd' becomes a compliment," said Kathryn, who lives in Carrollwood. "They share my love of math and card games and wearing ties, and we even sang Yellow Submarine on the way back from the last competition. And of course, there's all those ridiculous math jokes."

Kathryn also plays piano and saxophone, winning prestigious awards at both.

Hillsborough High's Jennifer West leads the high school swim team, ranks in the 95th percentile of her class and is active with Girl Scouts. Her biggest mark, however, comes from an awareness campaign she sparked to help reduce the needless euthanizing of cats and dogs.

"You cannot only work with people but you can also work with animals and help animals with your project, too," said Jennifer, who lives in Egypt Lake.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio saluted the winners, saying that none of the Athena members was as accomplished as this year's recipients when they were in high school.

"I just hung around," Iorio laughed. "I didn't do any of this stuff."

Iorio also challenged the girls to meet the obligation of making the world a better place.

In a way, it's a responsibility they've already met.

That's all I'm saying.

Athena Society's 2010 Young Women of Promise

Alexis Bargamin,

Newsome High

Margaret Carraway,

Tampa Prep

Analise Coffee,

Plant City High

Victoria de Lelys,

Robinson High

Kathryn Gertz,

Middleton High

Pamela Mayo,

Riverview High

Isabella Rindosh,

Spoto High

Jasmine Roberts,

Wharton High

Abby Taub,

Plant High

Jennifer West,

Hillsborough High

Athena Society honors young women for potential, promise 04/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Bruno Mars' charisma glitters like gold at Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Nothing in this world should be as easy as Bruno Mars makes it look. Not singing, not dancing, and certainly not playfully seducing more than 17,500 starry-eyed Tampa fans with one of pop music’s best bands at your back.

    Bruno Mars performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Oct. 19, 2017.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88


    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Another suspicious death in Tampa's Seminole Heights


    TAMPA — Police were investigating what they were calling a suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night, near the location of two fatal shootings last week.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]
  5. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7


    Duke has been tabbed basketball's preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.