2018 Outstanding Student Achievement Awards

Posted On: 3/1/2018 9:00 AM

2018 marks the fifth annual Outstanding Student Achievement Awards event for The Capital Gazette and the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.  On March 7th three AACS students will receive the award along with a number of extraordinary juniors in the Anne Arundel County community. Mellissa McCollum, Jamie Perry, and Sussane Whitney are the three nominated by the AACS Upper School Leadership Team for scholastic achievement, exceptional success in visual or performing arts, and/or outstanding citizenship within the school and its surrounding community. 
Melissa McCollum is a learner who often brings a unique perspective to class discussions and is always up for a good debate.  She enjoys practicing her debating skills as one of the lawyers on the Mock Trial team and in class discussions.  Her Bible teacher described Melissa as “thoughtful, curious, and meticulous. In addition to her outstanding written work, she is a leader in the classroom through her willingness to lead class discussions, ask deep questions, and wrestle with challenging topics and ideas. She displays a passion for the subject as well as a desire to know and understand the material at a deeper level.”  Her AP Spanish teacher wrote, “Having spent five years of her childhood in Bogotá, Colombia, Melissa naturally excels in Spanish class. In addition to maintaining a strong command of the Spanish language, Melissa has brought the relational nature of the Colombian people here to AACS.  As a result, she thrives socially and academically and is a joy to teach. Melissa has been most helpful on our service and missions trips to Colombia and Nicaragua where she is naturally able to share her God-given gifts and her love for children.”  She is also an actor and a key part of our drama club.  Her drama teacher and director put it well saying, “Melissa is a consistently joyful presence on our campus. Her smile is infectious, and she is a quietly powerful leader for her peers.”  Melissa loves serving on Student Council and is a natural leader.

Jamie Perry is truly an impressive young woman who displays incredible humility.  Jamie excels in the classroom and on the stage while also serving others outside of school.  Her health teacher said, “She is respectful, willing to learn new ideas, loves to dialogue, and is very thoughtful.”  Jamie was selected for one of the lead roles in last year’s spring musical as a sophomore.  She is outstanding as an actor and a singer while remaining truly humble desiring only to use her God-given gifts well.  Her director noted, “Jamie’s gifts extend well beyond her keen intellect, unparalleled work ethic, and positive attitude. Her sense of humor brings light and life into the classroom, and her love and care for her peers is evident in her words and actions.”  Jamie is a model citizen at AACS who serves others joyfully.  She is one of those students who a teacher loves having as part of a class discussion because of her ability to think deeply on difficult topics.  According to her Bible teacher, “As a student, Jamie displays confidence, curiosity, and enthusiasm.  In class, Jamie’s hand is constantly in the air, and she is not afraid to ask hard questions or verbalize ‘unpopular’ ideas or opinions.  Jamie likes to challenge the status quo and has a deep desire to understand why things are the way that they are. She does not like easy answers and is more than willing to wrestle with hard topics in order to understand them on a deeper level.”

Susanne Whitney is someone who thrives on learning and experiences.  Her Bible teacher said, “As a student, Susanne is enthusiastic, curious, and dedicated. She often stays after class to continue discussing important topics and ideas, and she asks questions until she understands.  She desires to get as much as she can out of each learning opportunity. Susanne displays a desire not only to gather information, but to look for ways to apply it and put it into practice as well.”  According to her programming teacher, “Susanne has been one of my top programmers, always going above and beyond expectations. Her creativity shines through her work as she thinks outside-of-the-box and is able to make a set of guidelines come to life through her unique animations and short stories.”  Susanne excels outside of academics as well.  She is an outstanding member of Student Council and is a talented actor and singer.  Her drama teacher said, “Susanne demonstrates a desire to grow and improve in all that she does from the classroom to the stage. She is a willing servant, always eagerly offering to assist in any way she can.”  Susanne is certainly worthy of this recognition award.  Her mentor summed Susanne up well when she wrote, “Susanne is unabashedly enthusiastic about the things she loves-- whether theatre, literature, music, being outside, or writing in ancient runes. Though she is very talented, she doesn't seek attention for herself, and instead is quick to praise others. She is independent, thoughtful, caring, and creative.”
Click here to read the story from the Capital Gazette online.


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