NNPS salutes graduating MVPs


Posted: June 18, 2020
Youth Development at NNPS

A commitment to Youth Development is an essential Core Belief of Newport News Public Schools. Our goal of graduating students who are College, Career, and Citizen-Ready depends greatly on our efforts to empower students to serve as resources for their peers, teachers and school staff, and the community. Our school division is fortunate to have thousands of students who promote a positive school culture and who continually model and inspire greatness while demonstrating exemplary spirit in our schools. Today, Newport News Public Schools salutes graduating seniors from each of our high schools who have made an extraordinary contribution to the culture and success of their school community. Please join us in recognizing the 2020 Newport News Public Schools Student MVPs (Most Valuable Players).

An Achievable Dream

Mario Byrd
Mario has been a member of the Young Men of Distinction (YMOD) Club, since entering An Achievable Dream Middle School. Over the seven years of membership to this club, he developed into a senior member who mentors younger male peers to uphold key principles of the YMOD group. He participates in community service activities, including “Feeding the Homeless” with his church and helping at the local Food Bank. With his love for mathematics which he excels in the most challenging courses, he often volunteers to tutor his peers and enjoys watching them grasp the concepts. He is always willing to help and students vie for his assistance because of his ability to help them overcome barriers. Mario was featured in the AAD Gear Up newsletter March, 2019 for his outstanding contribution to helping his peers. Mario’s academic accomplishments earned him membership into the 3.0 club which he has maintained since 9th grade. Mario will pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering at Old Dominion University.
Kaleb Coleman
Kaleb was elected as the Vice President of the Senior Class, a member of the National Honor Society, the 3.0 Club and the VA Gear Up program. Kaleb utilizes his free time volunteering as a peer tutor for Physics and Mathematics. Kaleb demonstrated leadership as President of the Young Men of Distinction Club for three years and Secretary of the Young Adult Police Commissioners. He was inducted into the Young Adult Police Commissioners program and volunteered for the Community Outreach program (Operation Inasmuch). His leadership and peer influence led him to receiving the “Best Leadership Award” for the Young Adult Police Commissioners. Kaleb will pursue a career in the Shipbuilding industry as an Electrician following training at Thomas Nelson Community College.
Annalicia Goodman
As a student at An Achievable Dream High School, Annalicia has been a member of the Heritage High School Girls Basketball program for 5 years. Annalicia’s leadership skills on and off the court placed her in the role of team captain for several seasons. Her school spirit and overall positive disposition extends beyond the school community. Annalicia serves as an assistant management for World Class Solutions, Inc. and a team members of a local fast food restaurant. She is often observed cheering her peers on to be their best and excel academically. Annalicia is one of the first Achievable Dream High School player to join the Athletes’ “Wall of Fame” at Heritage High School and received a full basketball scholarship. Following graduating from An Achievable Dream High School, Annalicia will study Pediatric Nursing at James Madison University.
Serenidy Harris
Serenidy has served as an AADMHS cheerleader and held the position as captain. As a high school student she served as a volunteer to the middle school cheering squad and choreographed routines for the team. Throughout her high school years, she has been a member of the Platinum Dance Line in the Heritage High School Band. Serenidy embraced opportunities to take on leadership roles and represented her school well. She enjoys spending time with younger female peers as a mentor and role model. Serenidy has a strong commitment to her aspiration to excel in the Arts. She embraces opportunities presented to her through the VA Gear Up and Hampton University’s Upward Bound program. Serenidy serves on the 2020 Graduation Task Force to offer insight, feedback and ideals that reflect the views of her fellow students, task to developing a plan to carry out culminating events to honor the NNPS class of 2020. Serenidy will pursue a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Graphic Design and Visual Arts at Virginia State University.
Nasha Taylor
Nasha has demonstrated pride and dependability through countless hours of volunteering at school, church and in the community. Nasha availed herself for several years at the Annual Tennis Ball sponsored by Achievable Dream, Inc. Nasha has been a relentless volunteer for special occasions at school by decorating, hosting and cleaning up following these events. She served as a manager for the AAD Middle School volleyball teams. Her leadership skills were executed by holding the office of President for the Criminal Justice Club. Nasha spent her weekends, Spring and Summers breaks maximizing opportunities to develop her leadership skills by participating in Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP) summer retreats, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. ASCEND program, Tina Vick’s Girls Empowerment camp, Newport News Police Department’s Young Adult Police Commissioners and the Youth Ambassadors Corp. Her commitment to self-improvement is demonstrated by totally utilizing services of VA Gear Up and Hampton University’s Upward Bound program. Nasha was selected to represent her classmates on the 2020 Graduation Task Force charged to provide insight and planning ideals for the culminating events to honor the NNPS class of 2020. Nasha will major in Criminal Justice at Richard Bland Community College.

Denbigh High School

Andres Gonzalez
Andres served as the drum major for the Marching Patriots. He also took time out of his schedule to work with elementary students interested in music. Andres also served on the Principal’s Advisory Group on Education. He was an active member of Mu Alpha Theta. Andres will attend Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez in Puerto Rico.

Elvira DeLeon
Elvira demonstrated her leadership skills as a captain in JROTC. She was also a member of the color guard. She also represented the Patriots on the field hockey and girls’ soccer team. She took great pride in representing students as a member of PAGE. Elvira plans to attend Norfolk State University.

Gabrielle McCormick
Gabrielle was a four-year member of the girls’ volleyball team. She was also the captain this year. Gabrielle represented Denbigh on the soccer field and on the track. She was an editor for Traditions, the yearbook. Gabrielle also volunteered to cheer on the One City Marathon annually. She plans to attend Thomas Nelson Community for nursing.

Kaleese Bluiett
Kaleese has served as a class president for two years. She was also a valuable member of NHS, PAGE, SAGE and the senior class. She also worked on the profile of a graduate on the superintendent’s committee. Kaleese played tennis for two years. As a member of Teens Against Violence, she was one of the students who organized a peaceful walkout after the Parkland tragedy. Kaleese is considering attending Virginia Tech.

Orlando Abreus-Suarez
Orlando quietly showcased his leadership skills on the varsity basketball team as the point guard. He also ran cross country. Despite a hectic schedule, he found time to be a member of the Scholastic Bowl team. Orlando was a member of Traditions, the yearbook. An Early-College graduate, he remained engaged in planning activities for the senior class. Orlando plans to continue attending Thomas Nelson Community College.

Heritage High School

Monica Demery
Monica served as a member in Project Discovery, Project Inclusion, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Youth Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP), Scholastic Bowl and a Student Leadership Ambassador. In addition to her commitment to student organizations and community service, Monica was inducted in the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. While participating in the Early College program at Thomas Nelson Community College, Monica received the Early College Student Award. When not participating in school, Monica volunteers at her Church. She will study Nursing at Thomas Nelson Community College.
Tyler Goode
Tyler served as the Student Council Association President, a member of the City-Wide Student Council Association Executive Board, National Honor Society, Principal’s Advisory Group on Education (P.A.G.E), Student Advisory Group on Education (S.A.G.E) and a Student Leadership Ambassador. Tyler recently received the Maintaining Excellence Award from the Newport News Police Department. He is not only dedicated to the school but also the community. Tyler assisted with the local recycling program and helped neighbors in need. After graduation, Tyler will attend Old Dominion University, majoring in Engineering.
Emauni Crawley
Emauni is a well-rounded student athlete whose leadership extended from the classroom to the athletic courts. While serving as the NJROTC Commanding Officer of more than 120 Cadets, her Unit was recognized with two first ever achievements in Heritage NJROTC History. Emauni has been an active member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), National Technical Honor Society, Athletes in Action, and a Student Leadership Ambassador. In addition, she was also on the Varsity Volleyball, Tennis and Cheerleading teams. She also gave back to the community by participating in feeding programs and cleaning neighborhoods. After graduation, she plans to attend Spelman College with an Army ROTC Scholarship, majoring in Sociology and Pre-Law.
Antonio Martin
Compassion, dedication, commitment to the school climate and culture are attributes that describe Antonio. Being named the Jostens Renaissance National Student of the month is just one recognition that demonstrated his level of leadership. Antonio was a member of the Varsity Volleyball team where he was named VHSL Player of the Year and the Colonial Volleyball Club. He also served as an active member of Student Advisory Group on Education (S.A.G.E), Principal’s Advisory Group on Education (P.A.G.E), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Youth Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP), National Honor Society, Athletes in Action, Student Athletic Leadership Team (SALT) and a Student Leadership Ambassador. Antonio will attend Bluefield College where he will major in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology.
Emmanuel McNeill
Emmanuel is very active in school and is committed to community service. His exemplary volunteer service earned him the President’s Volunteer Service Award granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Emmanuel was a member of the Varsity Basketball, Track and Cross Country Teams. He also served as an active member of Principal’s Advisory Group on Education (P.A.G.E), National Honor Society, Athletes in Action, Project Inclusion, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Youth Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP), and a Student Leadership Ambassador. Emmanuel will be attending Virginia Tech majoring in Civil Engineering.

Menchville High School

Michael Garrett
Michael found his niche as one of our premiere ambassadors to the next generation of Monarchs. Charismatic, smart, and musically talented, he quickly became a fixture as both speaker and performer at school events such as Freshman Welcome Night, Freshman Orientation, and countless other evening and weekend events. Michael served as a section leader and associate conductor for our guitar program, and has even used his musical talents professionally, playing live music at a number of local venues. Michael plans to take a gap year before making a final decision on college, and will continue to work, play music locally, and repair and build guitars.

Courtney Hodge
Multitalented and dedicated, Courtney brings a myriad of skills and experience with her into post-graduate life. An All-State clarinetist, Courtney served as co-Drum Major for our Marching Band for the past two years. She is a member of Tri-M, as well as the Spanish, Science, and National Honor Societies. As an office assistant this year, she helped translate for our English language learners and their families. She also gave of her time to speak to young students at B.C. Charles Elementary about the importance of responsibility, and about how to be successful in middle and high school. Courtney will attend Baylor University on a full scholarship as a Computer Science major with a double minor in Spanish and Music.

Nathaniel Jones
Nathaniel was Menchville’s senior class president during a truly unique school year. He also served as the District and Chapter President of DECA, and as a team captain on the Varsity Football team, which reached the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. An aspiring pastor and fitness facility owner, Nathaniel serves his community as a student teller for the Monarch Student Credit Union, a youth volunteer on the Community Knights Marketing Committee, and a board member for the non-profit, The Heart of Giving. As a Monarch, he has embodied school spirit, athletic achievement, and kindness. Nathaniel’s high standard of academic excellence earned him a scholarship at Liberty University, where he plans to major in Exercise Science.
Vontrez Moore
Vontrez has proven to be a true rock star, from representing District 21 DECA at the Innovations and Entrepreneurship Conference, to competing at the state DECA Competition, to serving as the Vice President of Leadership for the DECA chapter. He accomplished all of this while developing, licensing, and networking his own business, Only Artistry. Vontrez is no stranger to serving others, having both developed and taught an introductory production and theory course to Menchville underclassmen. Although he was initially a more reserved Monarch, Vontrez eventually found his voice as a member of the STARS Mock Trial club, a competitor on the Debate team, and a leader in YMOVE. Vontrez plans to keep his talents local and attend Christopher Newport University, pursuing a major in Communications with a minor in Business Management.
Sarah Riske
Sarah is the epitome of service and dependability. A Girl Scout since kindergarten, she maintained her involvement in the organization through high school, completing the journey from Daisy to Ambassador. As Menchville’s lead light and sound technician, Sarah worked nearly every concert, assembly, production, and other event over the past two years. She is also an accomplished musician and artist herself, and played in our orchestra for three years and attended Summer Institute for the Arts for five summers. As a member of the National Honor Society, Sarah gave of her talents by designing posters, promotional materials, and shirts for a number of Menchville organizations. Sarah has already started college as part of the NNPS Early College Program, and plans to finish her two years at Thomas Nelson Community College before transferring to a state university.

Warwick High School

Iyanu Ayodele
Iyanu Ayodele has contributed greatly to the culture at Warwick High School. Iyanu’s positivity has made a huge difference while she has been a student. She served on the Student Council and helped make many positive changes to Warwick. Iyanu helped make a homecoming parade possible for Warwick this year and went on a leadership conference while representing her school. Iyanu played field hockey and also ran track. Iyanu will be attending Old Dominion University for Dental Hygiene in the Fall.
Kayleigh Caldwell
Kayleigh Caldwell has been an amazing leader at Warwick High School. She was a student in the IB Program at Warwick. Kayleigh has played many sports at Warwick which include field hockey, soccer, and swim. Kayleigh has served in the Girl Up Club, Interact Club, SCA, YoungLife, and the Yearbook Club. She was a member of the City Wide SCA Executive Board and was a NNPS Youth Development Intern. She was also inducted in the National Honor Society and National Math Honor Society. In the Fall, Kayleigh will attend VCU and major in Exercise Science.
Nyziah Gore
Nyzaiah Gore consistently demonstrated dedication to serving and improving Warwick. Nyzaiah was a member of the Principles Advisory Group, Model United Nations, Academic Team, Debate Team, the Student Leadership Impact Group, and the Recycling Club. Nyzaiah was a member of the City Wide SCA and he was the 2019-2020 Student Representative to the School Board. Nyzaiah will be attending UVA and majoring in Neuroscience in the Fall.
Ashley Pitt
Ashley Pitt has been a devoted leader and very involved at Warwick High School. Ashley was a member of the Principal Advisory Group, STEM club, Treasure for FBLA, and was a Student Leader. She also did discus and shot put for track and field team. Ashley volunteered for the blood drive, helped at our local food bank, was one of the hosts for our pep rally, helped with our SOL kickoff bash, and volunteered at the Thanksgiving Feeding at Heritage High for the Principal Advisory Committee! She will be attending Clark Atlanta University while majoring in mass media arts and double minoring in sociology and African American studies.
James Sweat
James Sweat III has been very involved while being a student at Warwick. James has played Varsity Soccer for Warwick all 4 years (10 years overall). He has been involved in many clubs and activities at Warwick which include FBLA and Gear Up. He was inducted into the National Honors Society, served as the Vice President in the Principal Advisory Group and was the President of the Student Leadership Impact Group. James will be attending UVA in the fall, and he will major in computer science and cyber security.

Woodside High School

Jahnice Davis
Jahnice has been an outstanding contributor to the dance program over her four years at Woodside. Aside from being a talented dancer, she has one of the strongest work ethics I've ever experienced. The only thing that tops her talent and work ethic is her million watt smile. Jahnice's positivity is infectious and she is truly a light to the rest of the school. Jahnice plans to attend Old Dominion University.

Brandon Hedgepeth
Brandon has been an active participant at Woodside for all 4 years. He has worked diligently in the Principal's Advisory Committee to help address school issues and implement new procedures to help students. He is also a member of the City Wide Student Government Association, and has helped that organization create new ideas to get students involved around the city. He is a positive role model, and has been a true asset to Woodside High School. Brandon has been an active participant at Woodside for all 4 years. He has worked diligently in the Principal's Advisory Committee to help address school issues and implement new procedures to help students. He is also a member of the City Wide Student Government Association, and has helped that organization create new ideas to get students involved around the city. He is a positive role model, and has been a true asset to Woodside High School.
Brandon has been an active participant at Woodside for all 4 years. He has worked diligently in the Principal's Advisory Committee to help address school issues and implement new procedures to help students. He is also a member of the City Wide Student Government Association, and has helped that organization create new ideas to get students involved around the city. He is a positive role model, and has been a true asset to Woodside High School. Brandon plans to attend Old Dominion University.
Amari Simmons
Amari is a member of SCA City-Wide who thrives on community involvement. She acts as the liaison between City-Wide and Woodside, sharing all events, flyers, and opportunities in government class with her peers. She is an excellent role model for her peers, showing how to behave and perform in the school setting to reach optimal success. Amari plans to enter the U.S. Air Force.
Xavier Williams
Xavier Williams is one of the Senior Class Officers. He always helps with whatever task I need done and he never complains. He always volunteers to go out and really talk to his peers about their opinions for upcoming events. Xavier plans to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta.
D’Angelo Wilson
D’Angelo has been a key player in the success of SCA this year. As a dedicated member of the marching band and SCA, he still managed to complete the Early College program and finish high school classes a semester early. Even though he is not physically in the school building second semester, D’Angelo still attends all SCA meetings and events. His ability to reach all populations and his enthusiasm for school spirit make him a great asset to the organization. D'Angelo plans to attend Norfolk State University.