STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is honoring local students who gained high marks on their ACT exams.
Fourteen graduating seniors from Edison, Indian Creek, Steubenville Catholic Central, Steubenville and Toronto High Schools are being recognized as 2022 ACT honorees for scoring a 30 or higher on their composite tests. JCESC held an ACT Recognition Breakfast for four years before COVID-19 canceled events, but those soon-to-be-alumni are still being spotlighted for their achievements.
Larry George, president of the JCESC Governing Board, was amazed at the students’ abilities to succeed on the exams and said it was a testament to the encouragement of their families and the educational practices of their schools.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment and I am proud that the ESC sponsors this award,” George added. “It’s a simple token of our appreciation for these students who scored so well on their exams, and I wish them all the success of higher education and in their future.”
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said only 5 percent of an estimated 1.85 million test-takers—or about 92,000 students—attain such high scores and may also apply to 1,382 colleges or universities across the nation with a good chance of being admitted. The State of Ohio tests 75 percent of their graduates with an average composite score of 22, compared to the national average of 60 percent of students tested with an average score of 21.
“Each year, we see students recognized for a variety of accomplishments,” Dr. Kokiko commented. “The JCESC believes, in addition to the many recognitions that take place over the school year, that we take time to recognize those students who excelled academically on the ACT. We would like to congratulate the students, their families and the schools the students attend on this outstanding achievement. Although the test itself is single-day event and represented by a number, we know their success is the result of years of hard work and would like to wish the students continued success in the future endeavors.”
Among Edison’s achievers are Katelin Kowalczyk, Kathryn Maille, Emma Phillips, Tommy Phillips and Mikayla Reed.
Kowalczyk, the daughter of Scott and Lisa Kowalczyk of Bergholz, received a 31 on her exam. She holds a 4.0 grade point average and has been active in volleyball, Beta Club, FFA, Spanish Club and prom committee. She plans to attend The Ohio State University and study environmental science.
Maille, the daughter of Dan and Victoria Maille of Bloomingdale, scored a 30 on her exam and yields a 4.0 GPA. She was a band member during her high school career and plans to study history at Penn State University-Altoona, then hopes to become a librarian.
Emma Phillips, the daughter of James and Jamie Phillips of Amsterdam, earned a 33 and has an unweighted GPA of 4.00. She has been involved in the marching, concert and jazz bands playing clarinet and serving as an officer, plus she co-founded the chess club, is co-captain of the academic competition team and is a member of Spanish and drama clubs, Jefferson County Youth Coalition and the Valley Youth Initiative. Phillips plans to attend Columbia University to study biochemistry and minor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, but her goal is to attend medical school, complete a surgical residency and become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at a research hospital.
Tommy Phillips, son of Robert Phillips and Christina Gilday of Steubenville, scored a 33 and has a 3.99 GPA. He has participated in golf, academic team, Valley Youth Initiative, drama club and Spanish Club. Phillips plans to attend either Harvard, OSU or the University of Michigan to pursue a double major in mathematics and political science.
Reed, the daughter of Michael and Tina Reed of Richmond, scored a 30 and holds a 4.0 GPA. Activities include varsity sideline football and basketball cheerleading captain and varsity competition cheerleading, National Sr. Beta Club as president with 350 hours of community service, marching band secretary, concert band, Valley Youth Initiative, Spanish Club, Fall 2020 EGCC Student Ambassador, freshman choir, 2021-22 Homecoming and Prom courts and a lifeguard at Belleview Pool. She plans to attend University of Pittsburgh Honors College and medical school to become a doctor of anesthesiology.
Indian Creek senior Kendall Driscoll, the daughter of David and Dawn Driscoll of Wintersville, scored a 30 and has an unweighted 3.97 GPA. She is a four-year member of Key Club and served as treasurer, academic team co-captain and in the marching band with the mellophone squad and as a section leader. Additionally, she is a three-year member of drama club and has been vice president and a two-year member of the robotics club and the National Honor Society, serving in the latter as president. Driscoll plans to attend OSU and major in biomedical engineering.
Steubenville Catholic Central honorees include Francesca Asci, Jack Blake, Johnny O’Karma and Eleanor Stoutz.
Asci, the daughter of Donald and Michelle Asci of Steubenville, received a 33 on her ACT exam and holds a 4.5 GPA. She has participated in tennis, chess club, academic team, band, National Honor Society, Key Club, International Thespian Society as well as miscellaneous community service projects. She plans to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Blake, the son of Jeff and Julie Blake of Wintersville, scored a 35 on his exam and holds a 4.579 GPA. He has participated in marching band, theater, swimming, the Kairos Retreat, football, tennis, chess club, as a soccer referee, lifeguard and Steubenville Nutcracker Village volunteer. He plans to attend Notre Dame to study computer science.
O’Karma, the son of John and Michelle O’Karma of Weirton, earned a 33 and has a weighted GPA of 4.491. He has earned 10 varsity letters in golf, swimming and tennis as well as three academic letters; received the 2020 All-Ohio Golf Academic Award and was part of the 2020 OVAC Golf Championship team; has volunteered for 262 community service hours of community service; served as a two-time leader for the Lisieux household, two-year class vice president, three-year academic team member, four-year treasurer for the Key Club and an NHS member. He will attend the University of Notre Dame to study aerospace engineering.
Stoutz, the daughter of Eric and Monica Stoutz of Steubenville, received a 32 on her ACT exam and holds a 4.3 GPA. She played clarinet in the CCHS Marching Band, participated in drama club, was inducted into the NHS and International Thespians Society, became a Kairos Leader, attended the annual Kairos Retreat and assisted the Steubenville Dance Committee. Her future plans are to attend an unnamed college and pursue a master’s degree in psychology.
Steubenville seniors who made the grade include Cole Antill, Theo Loot and Caitlin Lukacena.
Antill, the son of Charles and Judy Antill of Steubenville, scored a 30 on his ACT and holds a 4.54 GPA. He has been active in wrestling, golf, tennis, Key Club, Rotary-Interact and NHS. Antill plans to attend Youngstown State University and major in mechanical engineering.
Loot, the son of Brian and Emily Loot of Steubenville, scored a 32 on his ACT composite exam and holds a 4.5 GPA. He played varsity soccer for all four years of high school and plans to attend Franciscan University, then earn a law degree.
Lukacena, the daughter of James and Holly Lukacena of Wintersville, received a 30 on her exam and yields a 4.64 GPA. School activities include softball, band, majorette, Key Club, Rotary-Interact, Nike Club, NHS in addition to 300 hours of community service plus employment at the Follansbee Municipal Pool. She plans to attend Ohio University to major in chemistry pre-med, complete medical school and become a cosmetic dermatologist.
Toronto senior Kyle Leonard, the son of Chris and Tracey Leonard of Toronto, received a 30 on his test and has a 4.0 GPA. Leonard has participated in Key Club, student senate where he was president, Beta Club, Phi Theta Kappa, NHS, Close Up and the National Society of High School Scholars. He plans to attend St. Olaf College in Minnesota and his major is undecided.
(Photos: Kowalczyk, Maille, Phillips E, Phillips T, Reed of Edison; Driscoll of IC; Asci, Blake, O'Karma and Stoutz of SCC; Antill, Loot and Lukacena of SHS; and Leonard of Toronto)