Coaler seniors recognized for academic achievement


Coal City High School is home to 14 Illinois State Scholars. The academic recognition was recently announced by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).
“In this 60th year of the Illinois State Scholar program, we are proud to announce another class of outstanding students that will lead us into the future,” said Eric Zarnikow, ISAC executive director.
This year's recipients — Logan Barrus, Giovanni Ferrara, Cassidy Flatness, Kathryn Girot, Booke Hardy, Preston Johnson, David Kovar, Benjamin Kreiger, Alica LaRouech, Samantha Lorenz, Luke Manietta, Helen Onsen, Lauren Phillips and Aras Repond — join the ranks of other exceptional Illinois high school students honored with this prestigious designation.
Introduced in 1958, Illinois State Scholars are recognized for their superior academic achievement. State Scholars rank in approximately the top 10 percent of high school seniors from 757 high schools across the state. Honorees are chosen based on a combination of exemplary ACT or SAT test scores and sixth semester class rank.
This year, ISAC is recognizing more than 21,000 high school seniors for outstanding achievement in the classroom.
Each of the students recognized locally is also active in school and community programs, and have plans to continue their education after graduation in May 2019.
Barrus, the son of James and Jessica Barrus, plans to study physics and chemistry at the University of Illinois.  At CCHS he is involved in National Honor Society (NHS), Coalers with Character, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), science club, math team and scholastic bowl. He plays varsity tennis and takes part in the chess and ping pong clubs.
Ferrara, the son of Rick Ferrara, has plans to attend a four-year university. He is a member of NHS, Coalers with Character, is a link leader and student ambassador, plays football, runs track and is part of the chess and ping pong clubs.
Flatness, the daughter of Amy and Bill Flatness, has plans to study biology pre-optometry at the University of St. Francis and complete her studies at the Chicago College of Optometry. She is a NHS member, serves as a link leader, is a member of the math team and has participated in Footnotes and the fall play.
Girot is the daughter of Anthony and Bonnie Girot.
Hardy, the daughter of Lora Wilder and John Hardy, plans to attend Eureka College to major in Spanish and history. At CCHS she participates in band and scholastic bowl and is a member of the book, chess and ping pong clubs.
Johnson, the son of Travis and Lori Johnson, will begin his studies in neuroscience at a four-year university with plans to attend medical school. He is a member of NHS, scholastic bowl, speech, math team, student council, student ambassadors, FBLA and participated in madrigals and musical.
Kovar is the son of Tama and David Kovar Sr. He plans to seek a degree in mechanical engineering and hopes to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is a member of NHS, FBLA and Hot Rodders of Tomorrow, and participated in math team, Coaler Creations, ping pong and chess club.
Kreiger, the son of Brenda and Kevin Kreiger, will study computer science an at undecided four-year university. He is a member of the CCHS student council, FBLA, NHS and speech team. He serves as a link leader, student ambassador and drama club member, and participates in Coaler Creations, musical, play and track and field.
LaRouech, the daughter of Tiffany LaRouech and Greg Kelleher, will study biological sciences at a four-year university. She is involved in NHS, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), scholastic bowl, band and musical. She serves as a link leader and is a member of the book and chess clubs.
Lorenz, the daughter of Rudolph and Claudia Lorenz, plans to study astrophysics at a four-year university. She is a member of NHS, SADD, science club book club and art club, and serves as a link leader.
Manietta, the son of Jolene and Troy Manietta, plans to attend the University of Wisconsin Madison to study biology and Spanish. He serves as vice president of his class and is involved in NHS, SADD, Spanish National Honor Society, Footnotes, book club, and fall play.
Onsen, the daughter of Jason and Carrie Onsen, plans to attend a four-year university. She is involved in NHS, SADD, Coalers with Character, drama club, science, philanthropy and chess club. She participates in basketball, soccer, volleyball and madrigals, and is a student ambassador.
Phillips, the daughter of Mark and Jennifer Phillips, will study political science at a four-year university. At CCHS she is involved in volleyball, soccer, speech, student council, Coalers with Character, NHS, SADD and FBLA. She participates in madrigals, musical and is a member of the drama club. Additionally, she is a member of the chess and ping pong clubs, and is a student ambassador.
Repond, the son of Davia and Jose Repond, will study partical physics at an undetermined university. He serves as president of the science club and is a member of the robot, chess and book clubs. Is involved in NHS, scholastic bowl, math team and Rube Goldberg.
“We congratulate these scholars on their hard work and accomplishments. Congratulations also and thank you to the families, principals, teachers, counselors, coaches, mentor and all of the other individuals who not only help our students find the path that will allow them to flourish, but also support them every step of the way,” Zarnikow said.
Each of the students will receive a congratulatory letter and certificate of achievement from ISAC. Honorees can also download a digital Illinois State Scholar badge that can be displayed on their online profiles and social media platforms. There is no monetary prize that comes with being a state scholar.
The mission of ISAC is to help make college accessible and affordable to students throughout the state. The organization strives to provide comprehensive, objective and timely information on education and financial aid for students and their families, giving them access to the tools they need to make the educational choices that are right for them. Then, through the state scholarship and grant programs ISAC administers, ISAC can help students make those choices a reality