The Class of 2014

University School of Jackson is proud to present the Class of 2014. Listed after each student’s name are some highlights of the student’s high school accomplishments and the college he or she plans to attend.

Click here to view a special section on the Class of 2014.


Natalie Allen, captain of the varsity basketball team and member of the varsity volleyball team, was the competition chairman of Science National Honor Society and treasurer of National Honor Society. She was president of Operation Smile Club, SADD Club vice president, treasurer of International Club, junior class president, and editor of the 2014 yearbook. A Leadership University alum, she graduates with more than 200 community service hours. Natalie will major in pre-dentistry at University of Mississippi.

Eric Arnold was a member of the varsity football, basketball, baseball, and track teams. He was named All-District, All-West Tennessee, and All-State for his success on the football field. Eric was in the choir, numerous clubs, and was a volunteer with the Down-Syndrome Teen Club of Jackson. Eric will major in finance at William Jewell College where he will play football.

Harvard Bound: Needless to say, Aisha Suara, seated, and Govind Bindra are excited about attending Harvard College this fall. Both feel that USJ prepared them well for the rigors ahead. “USJ gave me a well-rounded education,” said Govind. “Teachers motivate you to push for excellence.” Govind took advantage of what USJ offers. He took 12 of USJ’s 15 Advanced Placement courses, earning him the top recognition by the College Board. He ran track and cross country, played soccer, played the saxophone in the band, and learned leadership skills through his involvement in USJ’s many clubs and honor societies. Aisha’s resume also is impressive. She took nine AP courses and was active in student government and other groups. “With my AP courses and other classes, I have a good foundation,” she said. “I will be at the same level as everyone else at Harvard.”
Zaid Baba, AP Scholar with Distinction, was a member of Science National Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, Mu Alpha Theta, Social Science Honor Society, and National Honor Society. Zaid was president of the Chemistry Club his junior year and was active in Spanish Club and band. He traveled to Costa Rica with the USJ Spanish study abroad program. Zaid will attend Rhodes College.

Cal Bigford will major in audio engineering at Belmont University. Cal was a member of Tri-M, National Honor Society, and French Club, was vice president of Photography Club, and was a contributor to the USJ literary magazine. Cal placed eighth in the State French Exam in 2010. He was a Madison County Teen Court Officer, 2011-2013.

Govind Bindra, class salutatorian, National Merit Finalist and AP National Scholar, was SGA president his senior year, SGA parliamentarian his junior year, and president of his sophomore class. An Eagle Scout, Govind is a member of several academic honor societies. He placed first in the 2011 National French Competition and first in the 2012 TMTA Calculus and Advanced Topics math competition. He was a Madison County Teen Court Juror; active in theater, choir and band; and an active member of the Mid-South Sikh Association. A Leadership University alum, Govind was a member of the varsity cross country, track, and soccer teams. Govind attended Governor’s School for Emerging Technology. He will attend Harvard College.


Sarah Bond
will attend Jackson State Community College. She was a Girl Scout and a long-time dancer. Sarah was active in theater and choir, a member of the Spanish Club, and a contributor to the USJ fashion show.

At Your Service: Mattie Boyd, who will attend Rhodes College, graduates USJ with more than 500 hours of community service. She is a four-year emergency room volunteer and Jackson Symphony Ambassador. Mattie also founded the after-school art program at Hands Up! preschool. “We try to teach the children about different styles of painting, as well as artists and movements in the art world,” she said. “Some of them have really developed a great passion for the arts.” Her goal is to become a surgeon and live in France.
Mattie Boyd, AP Scholar, will attend Rhodes. Mattie was president of National Art Honor Society and a member of several other honor societies. She was active in the arts and participated in the French study abroad program. Founder of an after-school art program for Hands Up! preschool, a four-year emergency room volunteer, and four-year Jackson Symphony Ambassador, Mattie graduates with more than 500 community service hours.


Chris Burton, an Eagle Scout, was a member of Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, Mu Alpha Theta, Tri-M, and National Honor Society. He was historian of Spanish Club and active in numerous clubs. Chris participated in the Spanish study abroad program. Active in theater and choir, he was in the 2011 All-State Honor Choir and the All-West Honor Choir from 2009 to 2013. He was a member of the varsity cross country team, track team, and soccer team. He will major in animation and visual effects at Savannah College of Art and Design.

Austin Campbell, junior volunteer at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, was a member of Mu Alpha Theta and National Honor Society. He received the Honors Biology medal his freshman year, the Honors Chemistry certificate and Honors Spanish II certificate his sophomore year, and the AP Biology certificate his junior year. He was a member of the varsity football team and the Spanish Club. Austin was accepted into the Chancellor’s Honor Program at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Hayden Cardwell, a 13-year USJ student and member of Spanish Club, will pursue a military career after graduation.

Careers in the Arts: USJ’s fine arts program covers a broad spectrum, from photography, band, and video production classes to theater, choir, and visual arts. Several USJ graduates will pursue careers in the arts. This includes, from left, Spencer Poole, who will study music business at Belmont University; Jennylyn Caterina, who will study theater and math at Rockford University; Chris Burton, who will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design and study animation; and Jacob Denbrock, who will major in video production at Middle Tennessee State University and who then plans to transfer to Belmont to complete his degree.

Jennylyn Caterina, National Merit Commended student and AP Scholar with Distinction, was president of Science National Honor Society, and a member of several other academic honor societies. She was active in the arts, chemistry and Spanish clubs, and participated in the Spanish study abroad program. She also participated in numerous USJ and community theater productions. Jennylyn will attend Rockford University.


Rebecca Cloar
, a dedicated artist, received first place and honorable mention in the West Tennessee Regional Juried Student Art Competition. Rebecca was named Rising Junior Artist and attended Tennessee Governor’s School for Visual Art. She plans to attend Watkins College of Art and Design.

Will Cobb was a member of Science National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta and was historian of National Social Science Honor Society. Will was selected to the All-West Honor Choir in 2011-2013 and placed first in the TMTA statistics math competition. He played varsity football and soccer, and Jackson Wolves soccer. He was active in First United Methodist Youth Group and Young Life. Will plans to major in math at Rhodes.

Scholarships: Neither Ben Coffman nor Leah Sanders will need to worry about paying for their college educations. Both are attending college on full scholarships. Based on her resume and application, Leah was invited to apply for Louisiana State University’s E. Roe Stamps Scholarship, awarded to the top five entering freshmen at LSU. She wrote an essay and went through interviews. She was awarded the scholarship, valued at $184,000. Besides paying for books, tuition, and room and board, it also gives her $14,000 to study abroad and an extra $2,000 a year for living expenses. Leah plans to study petroleum engineering. Ben is attending the University of Alabama at Huntsville on a full scholarship worth $125,000. He will study engineering. He’ll also play soccer.

Ben Coffman, class essayist, National Merit Finalist, and AP Scholar with Honor, attended Tennessee Governor’s School for Emerging Technology. He received the Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology and the Bill Moss Memorial Book Award, and was an American Legion Boys State delegate. Ben placed first in the TMTA Regional mathematics competition in 2011, 2012, and 2014, and first in the American Mathematics Competition in 2012 and 2014. Co-captain of the varsity soccer team, Ben was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association 2013 All-State Soccer Team. Ben will major in engineering at University of Alabama in Huntsville and play soccer.


Will Cooper will attend Mississippi State University. Will was a member of National Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, and Mu Alpha Theta, and was treasurer of Science National Honor Society. He played football and ran cross country and track. He attended the Christian Leadership Institute and the National Young Leaders Conference. Will organized the logistics for the record-setting 2014 RIFA food drive.

Jansen Cupples, member of Mu Alpha Theta, received the CP mathematics award his freshman and junior years. He was a member of the choir, International Club, and Spanish Club. Jansen will major in mechanical engineering technology at University of Arkansas in Little Rock.

Helping People: Haley Daughtery will attend UT Knoxville and study biochemistry and pre-pharmacy. She wants to find a career doing research for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help people who have diseases that cannot be cured. “I want to help people,” Haley said.

Haley Daugherty was secretary of Societe Honoraire de Francais, French Club chaplain, and a member of National Honor Society, Tri-M, choir, SADD Club, Operation Smile Club, and DSA Buddy Club. She was involved in the USJ fashion show and was a co-captain for the junior varsity volleyball team. She earned a top ten ranking on the state level in the National French Contest in 2011 and 2012. Haley will major in bio-chemistry and pre-pharmacy at UT Knoxville.


Holly Deming, member of the National Honor Society and vice president of the National French Honor Society, participated in the French study abroad program in France. Holly was chairman of the Student Affairs Committee and secretary of the Honor Council. She was a volunteer at Barn Cat Rescue and a peer tutor. Holly will double major in marine biology and French at Eckerd College.

Jacob Denbrock, winner of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce “This is My Jackson” video contest, will major in video production at Middle Tennessee State University. Jacob played varsity football and tennis. He received All-District Honorable Mention in football and was named to the All-West Tennessee Team. He served as production assistant for Vacation Bible School at Englewood Baptist Church and served on a mission trip in the Virgin Islands.

Nikki Duckworth was a varsity cheerleader and member of the track team. She was also a member of the International, SADD, Art, Spanish, Operation Smile, and Photography clubs. She is active in Young Life and her church youth group and is a volunteer with Runway for a Cure. Nikki plans to attend Birmingham-Southern College where she will run track.

Earning Money for College: Isabella Edwards, president of USJ’s Photography Club, has juggled her school activities and studies with a part-time job to earn money for college. During the school year, she worked for M and M Consignment. She’s also a freelance photographer and a volunteer, after-school art instructor. This summer, she will be a full-time teller at a local bank. Isabella will attend UT Knoxville and major in clinical psychology. ”USJ is a great school,” she said. “It gives you so many opportunities to do what you want to do.”

Isabella Edwards, president of Photography Club, was a member of International Club, Art Club, Environmental Club, and Spanish Club. She is a freelance photographer and after-school art instructor. She placed third in the Congressional Art Competition. Isabella was a Vacation Bible School leader with her church. She will major in clinical psychology at UT Knoxville.

Katie Exum was a member of Key Service Club, SADD Club, and Spanish Club. She played varsity basketball and softball. Active in Young Life, Katie is a member of Englewood Baptist Church. Katie will attend Murray State University.

Jessica Garland, member of National Art Honor Society, was involved in the USJ Art Show and USJ Fashion Show. She was captain of the varsity cross country team, and was named to the All-State team in 2011 and 2012. She placed third in the 2012 TSSAA State Cross Country Meet. Jessica has completed a semester of college through dual enrollment at Jackson State and will major in environmental engineering at UT Knoxville.

The Buddy Club: Ally Glover, class valedictorian, founded the Buddy Club, which provides opportunities for students to volunteer with the Down Syndrome Association of West TN. She said it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. “I’ve sought to encourage students to dignify others, and that is truly what the club has been about from day one,” she said. “I’ve been overwhelmed by the hearts of USJ students; they have shown such an enthusiasm at every event and meeting the club has had.” Ally will major in chemical engineering and minor in French at UT Knoxville.

Ally Glover, USJ’s 2014 valedictorian, was the founder and president of USJ’s Down Syndrome Association Buddy Club. An AP Scholar with Honor, Ally was awarded Top Research Presentation in Chemical Engineering at the University of Tennessee High School Introduction to Engineering Systems. She also was named the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Scholar Grade Representative. A varsity softball player, Ally was named an All-State Player in 2011 and 2013, was a member of the 2010 and 2012 TSSAA State Championship softball teams, and was named to the TN Softball Coaches Association All-Academic Team. Ally will major in chemical engineering and minor in French at UT Knoxville.


Ali Graham, voted Miss USJ by her peers, was chaplain of her class, president of Key Club, concert choir accompanist, editor of The Paw school newspaper, and active in many organizations at USJ. Also an active volunteer, she tutored at RIFA’s Adult Literacy Center and organized Jeans for Jared and the record-breaking USJ RIFA food drive. Ali, a Leadership University alum, was a Volunteer Girls State delegate her junior year and was selected as a Girls State counselor her senior year. She also ran cross country. Ali will major in early childhood education at Mississippi State.

Haley Hall, co-captain of the 2014 varsity basketball team, was selected as the USJ Female Athlete of the Year in the Jackson-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame. She was named Varsity Softball All-State 2012, All-District 2011-2013, and All-West Tennessee 2012, and Varsity Basketball All-District and All-Region 2012-2013. She also ran cross country and played volleyball. She was a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta and was yearbook co-editor. Haley will attend University of Alabama.

Laura Harmon was a member of National Honor Society, Tri-M, and Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica. She participated in the Spanish study abroad program in Costa Rica. She was active in choir, Spanish Club, and DSA Buddy Club. Laura will major in nursing at UT Knoxville.

Hunter Harrison, member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, was a 2013 All-District Honorable Mention football player. He participated in International Club and Spanish Club, and was a member of the varsity track and varsity baseball teams. Active in West Jackson Baptist Church, he played church league basketball. Hunter will attend UT Knoxville.

Charlie Hughes played varsity baseball and football, receiving an All-Region Honorable Mention. An AP Scholar, he was a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, and Mu Alpha Theta. He was involved in theater productions and was junior class vice president, Boys State delegate, and a participant in the Spanish study abroad program. Charlie will play football at Rhodes College.

Logan Hughes will attend Mississippi State University. He participated in theater and choir productions, was a member of the French Club, and played varsity golf and varsity baseball. He received a 2013 All-West Tennessee Honorable Mention for his performance on the baseball field.

Claire Jaggers served as SGA vice president, National English Honor Society president, Tri-M treasurer, National Honor Society service chairman, and Key Club historian. Claire also was co-editor of the USJ literary magazine, founder of the USJ Spirit Store, and a Volunteer Girls State delegate. She was active in Young Life and Fellowship Student Ministries. Claire was selected to the All-Northwest Honor Choir from 2010 to 2014, All-State Honor Choir in 2012, and Quad State Honor Choir in 2013. She was a member of the nationally-ranked USJ varsity cheer squad in 2012. Claire helped develop the “Be a Better U” anti-bullying assembly series. She will major in journalism at Samford University.

A Foreign Exchange Student: Lucas Ortega, a foreign exchange student from São Paulo, Brazil, also will go through graduation with the class. He will return to Brazil in July after spending a year in the United States. He plans to go to college in São Paulo next year. At USJ, Lucas played soccer and made several friends. “My life has changed,” he said. “I’m a better person. But I miss my family and friends. It’s been a long time.”

Kody Kilburn, treasurer of SADD Club, played varsity football, basketball, and baseball. In 2012, Kody received All-District Honorable Mention and was named to the All-West Tennessee Second Team in football. In 2013, he was selected to the All-District, All-West Tennessee Team, and to play in the West Tennessee All-Star game. He also received All-West Tennessee Honorable Mention in baseball. Kody will major in kinesiology at UT Knoxville.


Cody Kinniburgh
, AP Scholar, was a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and Science National Honor Society. He was active in International Club, Chemistry Club, and Spanish Club. He received the English II Honors award, Algebra II Honors award, and Geometry Honors award. Cody will major in mathematics at UT Knoxville.

Kesley Kirk was a member of the Spanish Club and a four-year member of the varsity football team. He was named a D-II West All-District Football Player in 2013. Kesley will attend UT Knoxville where he plans to major in pre-medicine.

Maddie Koester will major in general business at Austin Peay State University. She was the Art Club secretary her junior and senior years, a Spanish Club member, and a contributor to the USJ art show. She won third place for her artwork in the West Tennessee Regional Juried Art Competition. Maddie was a member of the TSSAA State Championship soccer team and a volunteer at Hands Up! preschool’s after-school art program.

Anna Lax, choreographer of the dance portion of USJ’s “Be a Better U” assembly, was a performing member and a senior council member of Ballet Arts, Inc. of Jackson, and participated in Ballet Rejoice. She was Senior Mentoring assistant coordinator, active in the arts, and a member of the International, SADD, Art, French, and Spanish clubs. Anna plans to major in biology at Union University.

A Double Major: Marisa Mariencheck will major in both biology and vocal performance at Washington University in St. Louis. Her education at USJ “has been amazing,” she said, adding that she feels quite prepared for the rigor of courses at the academically selective university. She took 10 of USJ’s 15 Advanced Placement courses. Her defense of her thesis in AP English Literature taught her how to present herself in a professional setting, she said. She uses her 12 years of private piano instruction and six years of voice lessons to be both an accompanist and a singer in the USJ concert choir. She also teaches Kindermusik classes at West Jackson Baptist Church.

Ely Mandle will major in geological engineering at Ole Miss. President of his senior class and Key Club officer, Eli was a member of the Spanish Club and played on the golf team five years. He played in the TSSAA State Championship for three years. Eli was selected for the All-Northwest Honor Choir his freshman year. Ely was a 2013 Homecoming representative and was voted Most School Spirited by his peers.

Marisa Mariencheck, National Merit Commended Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction, was vice president of Tri-M, treasurer of National English Honor Society, secretary of National History Honor Society, a member of several other honor societies, and held offices in several clubs. An avid musician, she received the Six-Year Award for her performances in the All-Northwest Honor Choir, and placed in the All-State Honor Choir twice. She was selected to the NAfME National Mixed Choir, placed in University of Tennessee’s piano competition, and was selected to participate in the Vocal Performance Summer Program with the director of Opera at the University of Notre Dame. Marisa will double major in biology and vocal performance at Washington University in St. Louis.

A Future NFL Reporter: Meredith Maroney will major in journalism and electronic media and Spanish at UT Knoxville. She was the color commentator for USJ varsity football on Grace Network and a statistician and broadcaster for varsity football and basketball on WNWS News Talk 101.5 FM. She also gives sports analysis with Dan Reeves on the station’s weeknight talk show, The Cheap Seats. Meredith’s goal is to become a sideline reporter in the NFL. “I’ve done a lot of theater at USJ, which has helped my communication skills and performing skills,” she said.

Meredith Maroney, AP Scholar with Honor, was a member of National Honor Society and Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica. She was president of Social Science Honor Society, vice president of Spanish Club, secretary of Tri-M, and chaplain of National English Honor Society. Meredith participated in the Spanish study abroad program. Active in choir, she received Solo Ensemble Superior Rating four times. She was first chair in the 2013 All-West Honor Choir, and received a Six-Year Award. She was a participant in the 2013 NAfME All-National Honor Choir and the 2012-2014 WTVMEA All-State Honor Choir. Meredith was a co-organizer of the “Be a Better U” assembly series and the lead actress in several USJ musicals. Meredith will major in journalism and electronic media at UT Knoxville.


Banks Mayo
, who plans to study English in college, is undecided about his college choice. Banks was active in theater and was a member of the French Club.

Semaye Mengistu was president of Environmental Club, treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta, and senior class treasurer. He also was a member of Science National Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, National Honor Society, and several USJ clubs. He was a Science Bowl participant. Semaye will major in biology/pre-medicine at Rhodes.

Brette Moore, president of the French Club, participated in the French study abroad program. She is a member of the Art Club and Operation Smile Club, and was a contributor in the USJ fashion show. She runs a social justice blog and participates in online activism. Brette will major in wildlife biology at Mississippi State University.

Singer, Soccer Player: Christophe Nabhan is a great example of a student who has explored USJ’s opportunities. One day, he’s a stand-out varsity soccer player, who also was named to Tennessee’s Olympic Development Program team. The next day, he’s starring as Tarzan in the Upper School musical. He also was involved in several USJ organizations. “I’ve really tried to take advantage of all the activities at USJ,”  he said. Christophe will study pre-med at Boston College.

Christophe Nabhan, AP Scholar with Honor, was president of Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica and was a member of several other honor societies. Christophe was active in theater and choir, selected for All-West choir twice and All-State Choir. He has a black belt in tae kwon do and was an accomplished soccer player both at USJ and in club league. Christophe was selected to the All-Region Soccer Team, Best of the West All-Tournament team, and the Olympic Development Program soccer team. Christophe will major in pre-medicine at Boston College.

Gram Northern, a member of several academic honor societies, will major in chemical engineering and minor in business and Spanish at UT Knoxville. Gram was treasurer of the Spanish Club and participated in the Spanish study abroad program. Gram ran cross country and was captain of the USJ inline hockey team. Co-captain and MVP of the Germantown Red Devils ice hockey team, Gram was the 2013 Mid-South Ice Hockey High School League scoring leader.

Harrison Norton will attend MTSU. He was a member of the 2013 TSSAA State Championship runner-up varsity tennis team and was also the individual TSSAA State Championship tennis runner-up. Harrison was a member of the USJ choir and played church league basketball and inline hockey.

College Football and Baseball Players: Each year, several graduates sign to play sports at the college level. College athletes this year include, from left, Charlie Hughes, who will play football at Rhodes College; Eric Arnold, who will play football at William Jewell College; Joseph Patterson, who will play football at Mississippi College; and Austin Orr, who will play baseball at Union University.

Austin Orr, who was voted Mr. USJ by his peers, was captain of the varsity football team, speaker of the Honor Council, president of the Spanish Club, new student ambassador, and participant in the Spanish study abroad program. He was named to the All-State Honor Choir twice. Successful in football, baseball, and basketball, he was the USJ Male Athlete of the Year in the Jackson-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame. Austin was named the 2013 D-II West Offensive Football Player of the Year and selected to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Football Team. Austin will play baseball at Union University, where he will major in pre-medicine.

Joseph Patterson was varsity football co-captain and Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. Also succeeding in varsity baseball and basketball, Joseph was voted “Most Athletic” by his peers. He was a member of the 2012 TSSAA State Championship baseball team and the 2011 state championship runner-up football team. Joseph was named to the Tennessee Sports Writer’s All-State Team, the Division II-A West All District Team, and the All-West Tennessee Team in 2012 and 2013. Joseph will play football at Mississippi College.

Spencer Poole, an avid musician, will major in music business at Belmont University. Spencer was active in the choir, band, and Spanish Club, and was a contributor to the USJ literary magazine and USJ fashion show. He is often hired to play guitar professionally at events. Spencer was selected to the All-West Jazz Band for guitar and attended Governor’s School for the Arts in classical guitar.

Community Service: Many students go way beyond USJ’s requirement of 50 hours of community service to graduate. Among them are Leah Margaret Strope, from left, Drew Presson, and Nikki Duckworth, who collectively have 1,736 hours of community service. Drew, with 822 hours, spent most of that time videotaping services at Lighthouse Church. Leah Margaret, who has 532 hours, has been a camp counselor and a volunteer for her church, First Baptist in Bolivar, and helped raise money for several causes. Nikki, with 382 hours, has spent much of her time volunteering at Hollywood Club Canine. “I just like helping people and animals,” she said.

Drew Presson, a member of the varsity golf team, plans to major in computer science at Jackson State. He was instrumental in media production with Lighthouse Church and aided with video production upgrades in his USJ broadcasting class. Drew amassed more community service hours than any other USJ senior and will receive the Community Service Award.


Lauren Randolph
will major in English and minor in French and art at Rhodes. She is a three-year representative on the Honor Council, vice president of the National French Honor Society, co-editor of the yearbook, and president of National French Honor Society. Lauren received a Silver Key in the 2014 Scholastic Art Competition, and she attended Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. She served on the Jackson-Madison County Youth Court.

Patrick Richardson, a member of the varsity track and cross country teams, was active in choir, Chemistry Club, Spanish Club, and DSA Buddy Club. He was a member of Science National Honor Society, Socidedad Honoraria Hispanica, Mu Alpha Theta, and National Honor Society. Patrick plans to major in pre-medicine at Rhodes.

Austin Rogers, a Leadership University alum, was a member of the Science National Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, and several clubs. He placed second in the TMTA math competition. Austin was an active member of his youth group at West Jackson Baptist Church. Austin, a varsity football player, was named All-District in 2013. He will major in pre-medicine at Union University.

Ready for College: Sheffiga Rose figures that with the challenging academics she has had at USJ, she will find success in college. A student at USJ since seventh grade, Sheffiga will attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her passion, she says, is medicine. She wants to become a cardiologist.

Kayla Rohlwing plans to major in pre-dentistry at Mississippi State. She was active in SADD, Art, French, Operation Smile, and DSA Buddy clubs, and was involved in the USJ fashion show. Kayla was a member of National Honor Society and was chaplain of National French Honor Society her junior year.


Sheffiga Rose was a member of National Art Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She was involved with theater productions and the USJ art and fashion shows. Chaplain of Operation Smile Club her junior year, Sheffiga was a member of several clubs. Sheffiga will major in biology at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Hannah Russell, AP Scholar, will major in bio-molecular engineering/pre-medicine and minor in Spanish at UT Knoxville. She was president of National Honor Society, treasurer of Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, chaplain of Tri-M, SGA historian, secretary of her junior class, and vice president of the DSA Buddy Club. She was a Madison County Youth Court Juror. Hannah participated in the Spanish study abroad program. An enthusiastic musician, Hannah was a four-year WTVMEA Solo Ensemble Superior Vocalist, a four-year Fall Festival Excellent/Superior Pianist, and a four-year member of the All-Northwest Choir.

Their Blood Runs Orange: For Gram Northern and Hannah Russell, UT Knoxville is a family tradition. “I have more than 25 family members through four generations who have either graduated or are currently enrolled in UTK,” Gram said. “I was raised a Vol and always will be one, and I am very grateful to my parents for exposing me to this passion.” Hannah’s parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousin, and brother have graduated from UTK, and her sister is a junior there. “I guess you could say I have orange in my blood,” she said. “Since I can remember, I have been in orange shirts and screaming, ‘Go Vols!’ I really feel at home there, even though it’s five hours away. I’m so glad I can carry on the tradition.” Gram will major in chemical engineering and minor in business and Spanish. Hannah will major in bio-molecular engineering and pre-medicine and minor in Spanish.
Leah Sanders was an AP Scholar, SGA treasurer, yearbook business manager, Chemistry Club president, vice president of National Science Honor Society, and active in other USJ organizations. She was a member of Madison County Teen Court. Leah placed first in the HITES engineering competition at the University of Tennessee and was chosen to attend the MITE engineering program at the University of Texas. Leah plans to major in petroleum engineering at Louisiana State University where she received the Stamps Scholar Award.


Ethan Self
, an Eagle Scout, will major in law, justice, and society at Lipscomb University. Ethan was president of SADD Club, vice president of Operation Smile Club, and treasurer of International Club. He was a member of National Art Honor Society and the Key Service, Art, and Spanish clubs. He was a designer in the USJ fashion show and a co-editor of the USJ literary magazine. Ethan was active in Fellowship Student Ministries.

Hunter Smith, varsity basketball captain and volunteer basketball coach for a youth team, was named Most Improved Player and Most Congenial. He was a member of International, Key Service, SADD, Spanish, and Operation Smile clubs. He was active in West Jackson Baptist Church youth group and Young Life. He will attend UT Knoxville.

Jessi Smith was a member of several clubs and served on the yearbook staff. Co-captain of the varsity basketball team, she received All-District Honorable Mention. She played varsity volleyball and ran track, and was active in Young Life and West Jackson Baptist youth group. Jessi will attend University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Whitson Smith was president of Tri-M, a member of Science National Honor Society and several clubs, and active in band and theater. Whitson was captain of the cross country team and co-captain of the track and field team. He was active in Fellowship Student Ministries. Whitson will major in pre-law at UT Knoxville.

Leah Margaret Strope, varsity cheerleading captain, was named a 2012 All-American Cheerleader and was a member of the 2010-2012 Regional Cheerleading Championship team and won other accolades as a member of the cheerleading squad. Leah Margaret served as secretary of her class, vice president of Key Club, historian of DSA Buddy Club, and secretary of National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and SADD Club. Leah Margaret will major in communication sciences and disorders at Ole Miss.

Aisha Suara, AP Scholar with Distinction, was vice president of Mu Alpha Theta, a member of several academic honor societies, SGA parliamentarian her senior year, and SGA recording secretary her junior year. Aisha was the percussion section leader in the USJ band. She was a Volunteer Girls State delegate and attended Governor’s School for Emerging Technologies. She received the 2013 University of Rochester Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony Award. Aisha volunteered at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and was a member of her youth group with Muslim Youth Network of Tennessee. Aisha will major in chemistry at Harvard College.

Monica Subia was a member of the Art Club, French Club, and Photography Club. She ran cross country and track. Monica was a contributor in the USJ fashion show. She plans to major in pre-dentistry at the University of Panama.

Graham Taylor, a Tennessee American Legion Boys State delegate, will major in accounting at UT Knoxville. He was a member of Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica and Mu Alpha Theta. He was captain of the football team. Graham was named an All-State tennis player, was the TSSAA State Championship doubles runner-up, and was a member of the TSSAA State Championship runner-up team.

Be a Better U: Carlee Workman won a “Be a Buddy Not a Bully” scholarship from the Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover Foundation for her artwork that raises awareness about bullying. She also donated two of her pieces to raise money for the organization. Carlee was one of the leaders of the USJ Student Government Association’s “Be a Better U” campaign, which sought to end bullying and promote accountability and character on campus. “People don’t realize the effects of their words and actions,” she said. “I just wanted to put my artwork out there and let it speak for itself.” Carlee will attend UT Knoxville where she will major in pre-pharmacy and minor in art.

Hensley Underwood transferred to USJ her senior year. She is a Leadership University alum and member of Mu Alpha Theta. Hensley is active in Young Life. She will major in diet and nutrition at Ole Miss.


Alyssa Willis
was a member of SADD, Art, French, Operation Smile, and DSA Buddy clubs, and was involved in the USJ fashion show. Alyssa was a member of the varsity track team and the volleyball team, receiving All-West Tennessee honorable mention. Alyssa will major in athletic training at MTSU.

Carlee Workman was vice president of National Honor Society, SGA secretary, National Science Honor Society chaplain and National Art Honor Society chaplain, and a member of Mu Alpha Theta. She attended Governor’s School for the Arts. Carlee was a contributor in the USJ art and fashion show. She was a varsity cheerleader and ran track. She will major in pre-pharmacy at UT Knoxville.