STEUBENVILLE- Twelve students from four area school districts were honored for their major achievements during the ACT Recognition Breakfast on May 2.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center touted seniors from Edison, Indian Creek, Steubenville and Steubenville Catholic Central High Schools for scoring 30 or higher on their ACT exams during the event at Froehlich’s Classic Corner in Steubenville. Eleven of the 12 honorees were on hand for the eighth-annual breakfast, which was briefly shelved during the COVID pandemic but restarted this year. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko greeted honorees, their family members and school leaders and said the students were in a very select group.
“We are here to honor you, the brightest academic performers in the counties we serve: Columbiana, Jefferson and Harrison,” Dr. Kokiko commented. “To put some perspective on your achievement, you are one of only 12 students from the nine school districts the JCESC represents. Today, we will celebrate your hard work and dedication to reaching this benchmark.”
Referring to the latest figures from 2021, he said nearly 1.3 million students took the ACT test and yielded an average composite score of 20.3 out of 36. A score of 30 or higher placed the honorees in the 93rd percentile of all test takers and the students’ scores ranged from 30 to 36. Dr. Kokiko added that only 4,055 students achieved the perfect score two years ago. He congratulated the youth and also recognized parents and family members who played key roles in their lives, plus he thanked school district staff and JCESC Governing Board members for their ongoing support.
JCESC Governing Board President Barry Gullen said he was pleased to be a part of the event and lauded students and those who positively influenced them.
“Whatever you do, just make sure you enjoy what you are doing,” he said, advising the students to thank their family, teachers and mentors who helped them attain their success. “Congratulations! You are going to be here and you are going to guide us.”
Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Cerryn Marshall was the keynote speaker and offered advice as the students forge their paths to the future. Marshall’s theme was “Life’s a Balancing Act,” and she said they will face ups and downs as they make their way in the world, but they should learn and grow from their experiences.
“This is a major milestone in your life. Now you are moving on and it’s a balancing act. You are going on your first steps to reach your goals and dreams,” she said. “You are learning and growing.”
She advised them to find themselves and take chances, take classes outside of their majors, join clubs and step outside of their comfort zone. Marshall said they will face failure in their lives but should learn from it and move forward; listen with curiosity, speak with honesty and act with integrity; respect others and themselves; and have fun and enjoy this time of their lives.
Marshall also quoted inspirational leaders and closed with words from author Leo Tolstoy, who said: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Gullen and JCESC Governing Board Vice President William Schaefer then distributed certificates to the recipients, which included Jaycee Blake, Logan Gubanez and Matthew Whitehill of Edison; Santosh Schaefer and Lindsey Zifzal of Indian Creek; Camden Daley, Francis Desany, Kellen Marshall and Franklin Vostatek of Steubenville; and Theresa Kerker, Daniel Macdonald and Leon Zaleski of Steubenville Catholic Central.
Blake, the son of Eric and Michelle Blake of Bergholz, received a 30 on his exam and holds at 4.0 grade point average. He plans to attend The Ohio State University.
Gubanez, the son of Samuel and Betty Gubanez of Toronto, scored a 32 on his ACT test and holds a 4.0 GPA. His future plans are currently undecided.
Whitehill, the son of William Whitehill of Toronto, earned a 30 on his ACT test and holds a 4.0 GPA. He plans to attend Kent State University.
Schaefer, the son of David and Nantha Schaefer of Wintersville, gained a 36 ACT composite score and has an unweighted 3.992 GPA. He plans on attending The Ohio State University and will likely major in computer science.
Zifzal, the daughter of Dwayne of Melissa Zifzal of Wintersville, yielded a 30 on her exam and holds a 3.98 GPA. She plans to attend the University of Cincinnati and major in mechanical engineering with hopes of participating in the ACCEND program, where she would earn both her bachelor and master’s degrees within five years and complete four co-op experiences.
Daley, the son of Steve and Janet Daley of Mingo Junction, scored a 32 on his exam and holds a 4.657 GPA. His future plans are to attend the University of Dayton and major in civil engineering.
Desany, the son of Matthew Desany and Virginia Stauring of Wintersville, received a 33 on his ACT exam and holds a 4.6 GPA. His plans are to study computer engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and one day start his own software company.
Marshall, the son of James and Cerryn Marshall of Steubenville, scored a 30 on his ACT test and holds a 4.72 GPA. He plans to attend the U.S. Naval Academy to further his education and serve our country.
Vostatek, the son of Frank and Melissa Vostatek of Mingo Junction, received a 32 ACT composite score and has an unweighted GPA of 4.0 with a weighted average of 4.81. He will attend Ohio University as a member of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Early Assurance Program and intends to become a radiologist.
Kerker, the daughter of Joseph and Alyssa Kerker of Bloomingdale, received a 34 on her ACT test and yielded a 4.746 GPA. She will major in biology at the University of Notre Dame with future plans to study pre-med.
Macdonald, the son of Paul and Suzanne Macdonald of Steubenville, scored a 33 on his exam and holds an unweighted GPA of 3.9 and a weighted grade of 4.425. He plans to attend Franciscan University with a double major in psychology and Spanish.
Zaleski, the son of Robert and Laura Zaleski of Wintersville, earned a 32 on his ACT exam and holds a 3.788 GPA. He plans to study biology at Franciscan University.
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center hosted restarted its annual ACT Recognition Breakfast on May 2 for students who achieved a score of 30 or higher on their ACT exams. Pictured are, front from left, Leon Zaleski, Theresa Kerker, Lindsey Zifzal, Daniel Macdonald and Jaycee Blake. Back: Santosh Schaefer, Francis Desany, Kellen Marshall, Camden Daley, Franklin Vostatek and Matthew Whitehill. Not pictured is Logan Gubanez.)