Commercial Appeal Academic All-Stars


The Commercial Appeal Academic All-Stars is "a program designed to recognize top high school students in the Memphis Metro area for academic excellence."  Each year, several St. Benedict students are recognized by this program in the areas of Art, Career-Technical, Drama & Speech, English & Literature, Foreign Langauage, General Scholarship, Mathematics, Music, Science, & Social Sciences & History.  Below you will find a list of Students who have been recognized this year by The Commercial Appeal.  If you would like to look through our winners from past years, you can browse the archives in the menu on the left.


2015-16 Academic All-stars

Name Category of Excellence Date
Vanessa Tejada Art November 8, 2015
Jake Griesmer Mathematics November 15, 2015
Carter Pruett General Scholarship December 6, 2015
Sophie Bougeois Music December 27, 2015
Ben Jones General Scholarship January 3, 2016
Ashley Buckingham Science January 10, 2016
Monika Milczek Foreign Language January 17, 2016
Emma Norman Art January 24, 2016
Kate Dudek English & Literature February 28, 2016

 

Vanessa Tejada

Vanessa, a senior, is an impressive artist and conscientious student. She currently ranks first in her class of 214 seniors with a 4.67 weighted grade point average. She scored 30 on the ACT and plans to study architectural engineering in college. She has taken a rigorous schedule of Honors and Advanced Placement classes that has included AP Studio Art. She won two Silver Keys and two Honorable Mentions in the Mid-South Scholastic Art Competition last year. She recently won the “Best Overall Student Art Award,” “First Award,” and “Memphis College of Art Award” at the 2015 Delta Fair. She also won the Belz Museum Chinese Art Contest in 2014.

Using her artistic talent, Vanessa helped create calendars for an art department fundraiser. She also supports St. Jude patients by designing Valentine cards for distribution and makes Christmas cards for U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. She has been selected for the National Art Honor Society, National Honor Society, National French Honor Society, National Science Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She is a member of the Art Club, French Club and Key Club. In addition, she tutors other students in math and French.



Jake Griesmer

Jake, a senior, is a determined student whose work ethic and creativity set him apart from his peers. He holds a 4.57 weighted grade point average and scored 33 on the ACT. Currently ranked third in a class of 214 seniors, Jake has taken a rigorous course load filled with AP and Honors classes. By year’s end, he will have taken five math classes. Jake is a meticulous and disciplined student who is able to grasp abstract concepts in math and science. He also has outstanding deductive reasoning abilities.

Active in school life, Jake has taken the initiative with the school’s robot design team. He is assisting in the use of sophisticated CAD software. He also is learning programming in a C++ environment for controllers for the robot. His love for robotics led him to sponsoring a middle school robotics team. Jake is an involved member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta, National Science Honor Society, Ecology Club, Knowledge Bowl Team and Robotics Club. Jake started a Nintendo Club because of his love for gaming. As president, he arranged a tournament that included 30 participants from two schools. Jake also tutors in math and English.

 

Carter Pruett

Carter, a senior, is a well-rounded student, who is active in his school and community. Ranked third in a class of 214 seniors, he holds a 4.4 weighted grade point average and scored 34 on the ACT with a perfect 36 on the science portion of the test. He is taking a difficult schedule of classes this year including three AP courses, three Honors courses and two Dual Enrollment classes.

A diligent, goal-oriented student, Carter is committed to excellence as he prepares for college. His work reflects a dedication to his studies. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Honor Council. He achieved Magna Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam and placed in the top ten for Pre-Calculus and Algebra II at the Tennessee Math Teachers Association competition. He has been tapped for membership in the National Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National Science Honor Society and the Thespian Honor Society.

Carter hones his dramatic skills through participation in Mock Trial and Model UN. He also is a member of the Thespian Club, Latin Club, Ecology Club and Computer Club.

 


Sophie Bougeois

Sophie, a senior, is an exceptional vocalist and talented actress. She ranks in the top ten of her class of 214 seniors, holds a 4.3 weighted grade point average and scored 29 on the ACT. She has appeared in many concerts on the school stage as well as in the community. She performed in the John Angotti “Come Home for Christmas” Concert at the Cannon Center. She was a member of the Chamber Choir as a freshman and has been a member of the school Show Choir the last three years. Both choirs won either first place or superior awards at national competitions.

A gifted musician, Sophie aspires toward a double major in vocal performance and music education. She auditioned for and was accepted into the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. She recently participated in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition at The University of Memphis, placing second for musical theatre and third for classical. She advances to state competition. She received the Outstanding Lead Actress Award for a performance at another school.

Sophie is vice president of the National Spanish Honor Society and a member of the National Honor Society, National Thespian Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and National Science Honor Society.

 


Ben Jones

Ben, a senior, does it all. He excels in academics, athletics and service. He holds a 4.07 weighted grade point average and scored a perfect 36 on the ACT. He has shown fortitude and perseverance while taking a rigorous course of study. His classmates and teachers respect him for his accomplishments and beliefs. He has maintained a personal integrity that led him to a position on the Student Honor Council. He also was chosen to be president of the Student Government Association, a Senior Retreat Leader and Student Ambassador. His greatest gift is his wisdom and maturity.

A highly involved student, Ben lettered for the golf team, making it to the state tournament as a junior. He has been selected for membership in the National Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society. He is a member of the Make-a-Wish Club, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club, Random Acts of Kindness Club and the track team.

Ben is active in Search. This activity requires a commitment of many weekends of training and leading retreats for other teen. He enjoys tutoring both elementary and high school students.

 


Ashley Buckingham

Ashley, a senior, is a well-rounded student who takes a rigorous class schedule, participates in many extracurricular activities and volunteers actively in the school and community. She holds a 4.38 weighted grade point average and scored 32 on the ACT. She is fearless in her pursuit of knowledge. After attending a medical conference for high school students, she was invited to attend an internship, “Ultimate Med,” in Ahmedabad, Gujarat India, with Youth Futures International. While there, she dissected cadavers, gave an ultrasound, assisted in four C-sections, gave vaccinations, taught rural children about hygiene, examined eyes and experienced third world medicine and life. This experience solidified her desire to pursue a career in medicine.

A tenacious and determined student, Ashley uses her knowledge to help others. She is a science tutor and volunteers for the St. Jude Marathon and other races. She helped form the Animal Rights Club, where she serves as president. She also is the Latin Club vice-president and a member of the Ecology Club, Random Acts of Kindness Club, and Mock Trial Team. She captains the girls’ lacrosse and cross country teams. She has been inducted into the National Latin Honor Society, National English Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. 

 


Monika Milczek

Monika, a senior, has a true facility for languages. She holds a 4.4 weighted grade point average and scored 29 on the ACT. She is a four-year Spanish student and currently is enrolled in AP Spanish. She is of Polish descent and is fluent in the language. Her goal is to major in International Business, minor in Mandarin and become fluent in four languages. She feels that learning the language of a country shows respect for the people and its culture. She spent last summer in Belize on a mission trip. It was a complete cultural immersion. She stayed at a high school with no air conditioning and slept on an air mattress with a mosquito net hanging above her. She spent her days painting the small wooden huts where the people lived.

An involved student, Monika is captain of the tennis team and a student ambassador. She is a member of the Make-a-Wish Club, St. Jude Club, Students for Life and Random Acts of Kindness Club. She has been tapped for membership in the National Spanish Honor Society, National Science Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She also was named an AP Scholar.

 


Emma Norman

Emma, a senior, is a gifted artist and top student. Currently, she holds a 4.57 grade point average, the second highest among the 214 seniors. As an AP art student, she is required to produce a large amount of work in a short amount of time. She is always up for the challenge. According to her teacher, Emma excels in acrylic painting, and her favorite subjects are her horse and her family.

A dedicated student, Emma is taking four Advanced Placement classes and three Honors courses this year. She received Maxima Cum Laude and Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam and has represented the school at the Tennessee Math Teachers Association Competition. She received the “People’s Choice Award” at the Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, Honorable Mention at the Mid-South Scholastic Arts Competition and second place overall at the Cooper-Young Young Artists competition.

Emma has a passion and love for horses. She has been riding since she was six and has been a competitive barrel racer since she was 10, winning numerous titles. She volunteers for the Bartlett Animal Shelter, Horse Camp and downtown soup kitchens. She has been inducted into the National Art Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta.

 


Kate Dudek

Kate, a senior, is a gifted student who loves writing and film production. She holds a 4.3 weighted grade point average and scored 32 on the ACT with a perfect 36 on the English portion of the test. She currently ranks among the top 10 students in a class of 214 seniors. Her teachers praise her writing ability and encourage her to write and produce film. She was selected for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts for Filmmaking, where she co-wrote and co-directed a short film that is currently pending admission to the Nashville Film Festival.

A natural leader, Kate is an enthusiastic film-maker. She participated in the time-based 48 Hour Film Festival as a Team Leader. Her team won the “Best Writing,” “Best Use of Character,” and “Best Choreography,” beating out adult teams. Kate worked around the clock as a producer and co-writer to create the award-winning short film, “It’s Confidential.”

Kate has been tapped for membership into the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National German Honor Society and the National English Honor Society. She is an AP Scholar with Honors. She is a Student Ambassador and volunteers at the Memphis Humane Society and St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen.