Exchange Club honors top students

You might say Elizabeth Hall was the last to know.


At noon Thursday, she sat in a room at the Academy of Richmond County, devoting all her attention to her International Baccalaureate exam, a requirement for graduating seniors studying in the program.

Across town, at a meeting of the Exchange Club of Augusta, her father grinned ear-to-ear as he accepted congratulations on his daughter's selection as the club's Youth of the Year.

"I will probably send her a text and call her as soon as she is out of the exam," Randy Hall said.

Every year, the Exchange Club honors some of the area's top high school seniors. Nine were recognized this year with a check, certificate and plaque.

"It really is a sneak peak at our future leaders," said Philip Kent, an Exchange Club member who led the program. "Each of them have pushed themselves to the top of their class, they are highly motivated self-starters who want to make a difference in the world around them."

Each student wrote about that difference in the essays they submitted on the subject "America's Youth and Community Service: Shining the Light on Volunteerism."

One student is then awarded the title of Youth of the Year, an additional check and the opportunity to compete at the district and perhaps national levels.

Hall accepted on his daughter's behalf.

"She's just going to be so excited and honored," he said. "As a parent, you're always proud. She's worked so hard."

Elizabeth, who goes by Betsy, is a senior at Richmond Academy who holds a 4.0 GPA, was a 2009 Governor's Honor's Semi-Finalist, 2010 AP Scholar, 2010 National Merit participant, 2010 FLAIR Student of the Year and won the 2010 Volleyball Coach's Award.

Betsy will also be the ARC Class of 2011 valedictorian. She will attend Furman University in the fall in the pre-med track.

Although her parents are thrilled at her many accomplishments, Hall said they're going to hate to see her go.

Eight other students were awarded for their hard work Thursday: MacKenzie McDaniel, Westside High School; Beverly Elizabeth Tarver, John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School; Christopher Gaines, A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School; Mary Rose Ziemba, Aquinas High School; Grace Bellmer, Lakeside High School; Kirby Kenny, Evans High School; Amarachi Erondu, Greenbrier High School; and Emily Harless, Westminster Schools of Augusta.

Top seniors

Eight other graduating high school seniors were honored Thursday by the Exchange Club of Augusta:

  • Grace Bellmer, Lakeside High School
  • Amarachi Erondu, Greenbrier High School
  • Christopher Gaines, A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School
  • Emily Harless, Westminster Schools of Augusta
  • Kirby Kenny, Evans High School
  • MacKenzie McDaniel, Westside High School
  • Beverly Elizabeth Tarver, John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School
  • Mary Rose Ziemba, Aquinas High School



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