FCIAC Exemplary Scholar-Athletes, Winter, 2022-23

Michael Hemmings, Bridgeport Central

This senior three-sport athlete has achieved a weighted GPA of 3.5 while taking additional ECE and honors classes.

Michael has also been a student representative for two years.

He was a captain of the football team this past fall and is also a veteran member of the indoor and outdoor track and field teams. Michael became the conference high jump champion on Feb. 2 as he was the only high jumper in the field to clear 5 feet, 10 inches to win the event at the 2023 FCIAC Boys Indoor Track and Field Championships. He had previously qualified for the FCIAC and state championship meets in the high jump and long jump.

Michael, who has been offered over $200,000 in college scholarships and offers, is currently weighing his offers and will be studying Mechanical Engineering.

Emily Jones, Bridgeport Central

Emily is an Honor Student with all Early College Credit, AP, and honors classes.

She was captain of both the indoor and outdoor track and field teams during her junior year.

For three years, Emily has served as president of her school Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA). She helps plan assemblies and other activities for her school. She volunteers at her local church on weekends, and she works with kids for the city’s youth program.

Emily has already been offered over $400,000 in scholarships and been accepted to the University of New Haven, Southern Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University, Merrimack College, and Mercy College. She is still assessing her options before she finalizes her college decision but has decided that she will major in Psychology in the Pre-Medical Program and continue her track and field career in college.

Amani Lindo, Danbury

Amani is a High Honor Roll student who has achieved a 4.4 GPA while taking a mix of AP and honors classes.

She was a co-captain of her junior varsity cheer teams during her junior year and is now in her third year of cheering for Danbury High School.

Amani is a part of Peer Leadership and is enrolled in the DECO (Danbury Early College Opportunity) program, taking college courses at NVCC. She also took part in the Health and Bioscience Academy (HBSA) during her junior year and received her CNA.

Amani is a member of Amnesty Club and Executive Committee.

Georen Chirayil, Danbury

Georen is an Honor Roll student who has achieved a 4.3 GPA while taking honors and AP classes.

He is a member of Peer Leadership, Senior Class Student Council, National Honor Society, and Class Act Council.

Georen is a co-captain of both the varsity boys basketball team and boys tennis teams during this senior year after having been co-captain of both teams as a junior. He received the Old Timer’s Sportsmanship Award in basketball, earned FCIAC Honorable Mention in tennis in 2022, and was the Danbury High School Heisman High School Scholarship Winner in 2022.

Georen also volunteers in his community, including working at the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen.

Natalie Grimm, Darien

Natalie has a 4.11 GPA while taking mostly AP and honors classes.

She serves on the Scholarship Committee for National Honor Society and as an Olympiad Leader for the Science National Honor Society. Natalie is also a member of the Math, French, and Music national honor societies.

Natalie is a four-year athlete on the girls indoor and outdoor track and field teams and the girls soccer team. She is a captain of girls indoor track and field, having competed at FCIAC and state championship meets as a middle distance runner and high jumper.

Natalie also was a state champion for the 2022 DECA Connecticut Competition. She currently serves as president of the philanthropic Global Connect Club, president and founder of Cupcakes for Creators, VP of Operations for DECA, and a Senior Mentor for Blue Wave Anchors.

Additionally, she volunteers with the Greenwich EMS Explorer Post 911.

Will Moles, Darien

Will has balanced his schedule and handled the challenging demands of being year-round swimmer who has achieved a 4.29 GPA with a class schedule loaded with honors and AP courses.

He was elected a co-captain for Darien’s boys swimming and diving team, and he helps promote a strong sense of community and whole-team engagement both in and out of the pool.

Will was a recipient of the Columbia Book Award and recognized as a National Merit semifinalist. He is in the Science, Math and Spanish honor societies, and an elementary school outreach leader for the former.

Will plans to study computer science in college.

Katie Leonardo, Fairfield Ludlowe

Katie has been on the varsity cheerleading team for all four years and is currently a team captain.

She is a member of the Math Honors Society, for which she is often a tutor. Katie spends a lot of time volunteering outside of school as a member of the National Charity League organization.

And she has achieved many awards during her time on the cheer team. Katie has achieved 2020 FCIAC Grand Champion, 2020 CIAC Coed state champion, 2022 All-State honors, 2022 CIAC Coed state champion, and 2022 UCA All-American honors.

Tyler Bartlett, Fairfield Ludlowe

Tyler, who has achieved a GPA of 3.88 while taking all honors and AP classes, has been a member a member of the indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and boys soccer team all four years. He is a two-year captain for the track team as a junior and senior.

Tyler won the Class LL state championship in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:35.67 and was selected to the All-FCIAC First Team as a junior. He also earned All-State and All-New England honors. A few months later at the end of the outdoor season he anchored the winning 4×800 relay team at the FCIAC championship meet and he earned All-FCIAC and All-New England honors in the 800.

He is a member of the National Business Honor Society as well as the Future Business Leaders of America club.

Tyler has also volunteered locally for the SASO (Scholars & Athletes Serving Others) organization along with Al’s Angels.

Tyler plans on running track for a Division I program in college.

Emma C. Johnson, Fairfield Warde

Emma, who has achieved a 4.5 GPA while taking mostly honors and AP courses, has been a member of Warde’s gymnastics team for four years, the girls swimming and diving team for three years, and captain for both teams as a senior.

She is a two-time all-round champion awarded the Most Outstanding Gymnast at the FCIAC Gymnastics Championships, a two-time All-FCIAC First Team selection, and a two-time All-State First Team selection. Emma is also a National High School Gymnastics Association All-American and All-New England first place balance beam champion.

She is an active member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Math Honor Society, and president of the Spanish National Honor Society.

Emma volunteers with SASO at Merton House, Operation Hope and Bigelow Senior Center, and is a member of Warde’s Regional Hospice Youth Project.

Jack Plesser, Fairfield Warde

Jack has achieved a 4.5 GPA and Headmaster’s List recognition all four years with an AP/Honors curriculum.

He is a senior co-captain and four-year member of the boys basketball team who was selected to the 2021-22 All-FCIAC Second Team and to the 2022 Fairfield Holiday Basketball Tournament All-Tournament Team. Jack previously received the 2019-20 All-Star Freshman Award.

Jack is a member of the National Honor Society, Bust Buddies Club, Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and is the President of the Business Honor Society. He is also a Sacred Heart Book Award recipient, an AP Scholar, and a National Honor Merit Scholarship Commended Scholar.

And active volunteer through the SASO service organization, Jack has also volunteered with the Special Olympics, Fill in the Blanks, and Wakeman Boys and Girls Club. He also worked at Triple Double Basketball and as a math tutor.

An Suzuki, Greenwich

An has been a part of the varsity cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track team since freshman year, all while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 4.94.

During her senior year she was captain of the girls cross country team last fall and is now captain of the girls indoor track and field team.

Last year as a junior, An was a member of the 4×400-meter relay team indoors and the outdoor 4×800 relay team which won FCIAC championships.

This National Honor Society member has taken 12 AP classes, and actively contributes to her community through environmental advocacy clubs, Neighbor to Neighbors, and summer youth track clinic coaching.

Luke Mazzullo, Greenwich

This High Honor Roll student is a member of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Scholar. Luke also serves as chairman of Student Concerns in the GHS Student Government.

The guard-forward swingman and is a four-year member of the boys basketball program. This past fall he was a left back for a strong boys soccer team which advanced to the championship game of the 2022 FCIAC Boys Soccer Tournament.

Luke often tutors at the Homework Club at Central Middle School and at Greenwich High School. He also volunteers as a coach for the Greenwich Basketball Association, the town’s recreational basketball league, and farms on the non-profit Share the Harvest farm which donates food to homeless shelters and food pantries.

Catherine Dragotta, Brien McMahon

Catherine has been a three-sport athlete since her freshman year in the sports of field hockey, basketball, and outdoor track and field. She is co-captain of both the basketball and outdoor track teams.

She is in the IB Diploma program with a weighted 4.4196 cumulative GPA. During her junior year she was accepted into the National Honor Society and awarded the Chatham Book Award.

Catherine participates in Girls Scouts of America and the Best Buddies club.

Ben Welte, Brien McMahon

Ben is a High Honor Roll student with a GPA of 4.33.

He is a member of the National Honor Society and is currently enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Career Program.

Ben is a pole vaulter for both the indoor and outdoor track and field programs. Last year he placed third at the conference indoor championship meet and was selected to the All-FCIAC Second Team. He’ll also play for the golf team as a senior.

He plays piano and guitar and has played in multiple showcases for the Hope in The Dark Club.

During the summer, Ben works at Norwalk Community Sailing as a certified sailing instructor, and he also volunteers at the Roton Middle School food drive.

Victoria Ward, Norwalk

This National Honor Society member is a High Honor Roll student with an unweighted GPA of 3.9 who is on track to receive her Associate’s degree in Web Development in May.

Victoria is a sprinter for Norwalk’s girls indoor track and field team who competes in the 55-meter dash and as a member of the 4×200 relay team.

She also plays softball and is a team captain. Last year she was selected as a member of the junior select game during her first year playing softball.

Tyler Cetinich, Norwalk

This active member of the National Honor Society is a High Honor Roll student who has achieved a 4.4 cumulative GPA while taking several AP and honors courses.

Tyler was a captain of the of the Norwalk/McMahon boys swimming and diving team and has been a member of it for four years. He was a finalist in the FCIAC championship meet, a four-time qualifier for the state Class LL championship meet, and he is recognized by Connecticut Swimming as a scholar-athlete.

He is a recipient of the Cornell Club Award and the Norwalk Public Schools Superintendent’s Recognition.

Tyler is very involved in community service through clubs at his high school and through his church. He is a member of the Key Club and Best Buddies.

Hadley Drever, Ridgefield

This National Honor Society member has made High Honor Roll all four years at Ridgefield High School to achieve a GPA of 4.53.

Hadley has been a varsity member of the girls’ ski team since her freshman year and is currently a team captain. She was a key contributor who helped lead Ridgefield to the program’s first Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League state championship in 2021 and to CISL runner-up finishes in 2020 and ’22.

Hadley was selected to the CISL All-State First Team as a junior. When she was a sophomore, she was All-State Honorable Mention and the recipient of the Most Improved Coach’s Award.

Hadley is also a part of the Tri-State Alpine Racing Team for Catamount Mountain for five years, and she has been dancing with MacDonald-Pin Dancers for 10 years. She has volunteered her time as an assistant teacher with the younger dancers for six years.

Hadley has also volunteered at a camp for kids with cancer. She has participated in the Danbury Music Center Nutcracker since 2016, and she spends her summers working as a certified lifeguard.

Henry Idone, Ridgefield.

This senior has made High Honor Roll every marking period since his freshman year and has earned a weighted GPA of 4.6 while taking many honors and AP courses.

He was also the recipient of the Assumption University Book Award.

Henry has been a member of the boys ice hockey and boys tennis teams for three years. He takes great pride in being a member of the championship team of the 2022 FCIAC Boys Hockey Tournament.

Outside of athletics, Henry is a devoted cellist and has earned opportunities to play in Carnegie Hall and in Italy. Additionally, he enjoys leading the Ridgefield Community Cello Ensemble, volunteering for the Appalachian Service Project, and working on his own small business.

Teagan Cavaliere, St. Joseph

Teagan is a President’s Honor Roll student who has a weighted GPA of 102.65 while taking nine AP courses and other honors classes.

This captain of the girls ice hockey team and member of the girls varsity lacrosse team is President of the National Honor Society, she has been accepted into the English, Mathematics, and French honor societies, and is a recipient of the Yale Book Award.

Teagan is also Publicity Secretary of the Student Council, a Student Ambassador executive board member, and co-manager of her school’s nonprofit coffee shop.

Teagan earned “Student of the Year” for volunteering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and she is recognized as an AP Scholar with Honor and a Commended National Merit Scholar.

Sean Curley, St. Joseph

Sean has made the President’s Honor Roll every quarter of his high school career while taking honors and AP courses and maintaining a GPA of 95.

He is a three-sport athlete as a member of the football, basketball, and track and field teams.

Sean is vice president of Student Council, the Communications Coordinator of National Honor Society, and a member of the Spanish Honor Society, Stock Market Club, Peer Ministry, and Student Ambassadors.

Outside of school he works at numerous camps for children during the spring and summer months and works at Tashua Knolls in Trumbull.

Samantha Yap, Stamford

Samantha, who has a weighted GPA of 4.75 while taking AP and honors classes, is a member of the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.

She is a recipient of the George Eastman Young Leaders Book Award from the University of Rochester and the Holy Cross Book Award.

Samantha is the captain of the boys wrestling team and the girls cross country team, and has been a member of both teams throughout all four years of high school. She became the first-ever female captain of the boys wrestling team last year during her junior year. Samantha is a two-time state champion girls wrestler, she was awarded All-State and was an Exemplary Scholar-Athlete for the FCIAC last year. She placed fourth at last winter’s FCIAC Wrestling Tournament for the highest placing female in tournament history and was FCIAC Honorable Mention.

Samantha is also a member of the Connecticut Women’s National Wrestling Team. She trains with Team Tugman Wrestling Club and Connecticut Marvels, which holds all-girls wrestling practices.

Samantha volunteers at the Nathaniel Witherell Nursing Home.

Hannah Chuckas, Stamford

This FCIAC and state champion diver is a versatile athlete who has been a member of four teams during her career.

And she has excelled in the classroom as well, having achieved a 3.92 unweighted GPA and a 4.7 weighted GPA while taking predominantly AP and honors courses.

Hannah began her high school career at Westhill and was selected to the 2019-20 All-FCIAC Gymnastics First Team and the All-State team as a freshman. She switched her winter sport to ice hockey as a sophomore and is a gymnast again this year. She has been a lacrosse player since her sophomore year.

During the previous two fall seasons as a member of the Westhill/Stamford cooperative girls swimming and diving team, Hannah won the state Class LL diving championship in 2021 and defended that title in 2022, she was the 2021 champion and runner-up in 2022 at the State Open, and this past fall she was the FCIAC champion diver.

Hannah is a member of the National Honor Society and World Language National Honor Society.

She volunteers for gymnastics meets, activities at her church, and at her club diving YMCA.

Madeline Barney, Staples

Madeline has achieved a 3.9 GPA in mostly honors and AP classes and is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Rho Kappa Social Studies National Honor Society.

She is a member of both the girls indoor and outdoor track and field teams after being a part of them for the past four years. Madeline placed 10th in the FCIAC championship meet and ninth in the state championship meet in the long jump last year as a junior.

Madeline is a children and family advocate for the CT Children’s Hospital, and founder and president of club Elevate. She has volunteered for numerous nonprofits such as Homes with Home, Empty Bowls, and the Open Door Shelter.

Madeline plans on attending American University in the fall.

Gavin Rothenberg, Staples

Gavin is in the National Honor Society, has achieved a 4.24 GPA and is a National Merit Scholarship Award finalist.

This captain of the Staples boys basketball team is a multi-year two-sport varsity athlete. He fired in four goals against Darien last spring to help lead the Wreckers to their first state championship in school history with their 12-3 victory in the championship game of the 2022 CIAC Class L Boys Lacrosse Tournament.

Gavin is also very involved in WWPT Staples Radio, holding leadership positions and broadcasting football and girls basketball games. He was nominated for two National Drury awards for Best Sports Play-By-Play and Broadcaster of the Year.

Gavin has committed to play lacrosse at Colby College next year.

Ava Meagher, Trumbull

Ava has achieved a GPA of 4.75 while taking many AP and honors classes.

She is a part of the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish, Rho Kappa, and English honor societies. Ava was also awarded with the AP Scholar with Distinction Award.

She is currently the captain of the girls indoor track and field team and looks forward to being the captain for the outdoor track team this upcoming spring season. She also played on the varsity soccer team and is part of the after-school treble choir.

Ava has volunteered at Special Olympics basketball, the AYSO VIP Special Needs Soccer program, the Next Chapter Books store, and various events at Saint Stephen’s Church.

Ava is looking forward to pursuing her college studies in business.

Jake Terlik, Trumbull

This senior captain of Trumbull’s boys ice hockey team has a cumulative GPA of 4.473.

He has been a member of the boys hockey team and boys lacrosse team for all four years of high school. He also ran cross country for two fall seasons and then made the boys golf team as a senior this past fall.

Jake has won the Coach Eddy Cup in 2021 and 2022 with the hockey team, and in 2022 the hockey team won the Heuchling Swift Tournament at the University of New Hampshire. Jake scored the winning goal in the championship game of that tournament.

Jake also participates throughout the community as a volunteer coach and working as a referee for youth hockey.

He is a member of the Agriscience and Biotechnology program and is a member of the FFA. Jake is in the Yearbook Club, on the Math Team, and is a member of four honors societies.

Ilana Rahim-Braden, Westhill

Ilana has earned a 4.2 unweighted GPA while taking numerous AP and dual credit courses and dedicating herself to both the field hockey and girls track and field teams. She is a sprinter/long jumper for the indoor track and field team.

Ilana is enrolled in college coursework, through which she has earned sophomore standing while maintaining a 4.0 college GPA.

Ilana enjoys music composition, electronic music production and creative satirical writing. She has debuted her original pieces for orchestra, ensemble and voice with the New York Philharmonic and other musicians and performance groups and earned regional awards for her writing.

Ilana also plans and supports service projects, particularly those which support at-risk women and children.

A national Recognition Scholar, Ilana has received numerous college admission and scholarship offers but is presently undecided about where she will attend college.

Jaden Jang, Westhill

This senior captain of the Westhill/Stamford cooperative boys swimming and diving team has a weighted GPA of 5.08 and an unweighted GPA of 3.96.

He earned All-FCIAC and all-state honors last year as a member of the 200-yard freestyle relay team.

Jaden is vice president of Young Political Scientists of America at Westhill, and a member of Future Business Leaders of America.

Jaden will attend West Point (United State Military Academy).

Olivia Mannion, Wilton

Olivia has achieved a 3.88 unweighted GPA throughout her years, taking mostly AP and honors courses.

She is a member of the National Honor Society and German Honor Society.

Olivia has also been a member of the girls golf and gymnastics teams since her freshman year, now being the captain of both teams. During her high school gymnastics career, she has achieved All-State First Team three times, Team All-American three times, Academic All-American three times, All-FCIAC First Team twice, various All-American awards for the individual events, as well as being the vault champion had various FCIAC, state class, and State Open championship meets.

Olivia serves as the president of the Best Buddies club and the fundraising chair of her school’s German Honor Society.

She is a member of Safe Rides, and she also volunteers her time as a gymnastics coach and a recreational basketball coach.

Luke Totten, Wilton

Luke has an unweighted GPA of 3.8 while taking many AP and honors classes, including a major-based independent study through the University of Georgia.

As a four-year, three-season athlete, Luke has been a member of the football team, boys swimming and diving team, and boys lacrosse team which won the state Class M championship last spring with a 22-6 victory over Notre Dame-West Haven. He is currently a captain for the swimming and diving team.

Luke is a Link Leader and active in many Wilton High School service clubs. He also volunteers at the Town of Wilton’s Ambler Farm, where he is a Mentor working with youth on the farm’s day-to-day operations.

Luke is looking forward to attending college in the fall, where he plans to major in agriculture.

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