Nashville is rich with ambitious young adults who are looking to make an impact on the world around them. We asked around to Nashville’s many high schools to see what their best and brightest are up to, and we were introduced to the following impressive group of young men and women. The work they are doing in high school is having a substantial impact now, and will that impact will no doubt be felt for years to come. These students are inspiring examples of hard work and perseverance, and their futures are remarkably bright. You’ll be nothing short of impressed by these Davidson County high school students and their many accomplishments.

Katherine Betts

Christ Presbyterian Academy; Class of 2018

Katherine is a senior at Christ Presbyterian Academy. She is the Class of 2018 salutatorian and 1 of 10 students inducted into CPA’s first class of Cum Laude Society. Passionate about math and science, Katherine spent last summer in a microbiology lab at Vanderbilt Medical Center’s Department of Neonatology, researching causes of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, a rare autosomal recessive genetic disorder that is harmful to infants and young children. Katherine worked with a team of international doctors and scientists to conduct genetic research towards a cure. Katherine is captain of the girls’ cross-country and track teams, and she also volunteers for Achilles International, serving as a running guide for people with disabilities. “I have loved my time with Achilles here in Nashville because it gives me a chance to get to know other local athletes and train with a partner. Serving those who are disabled has taught me so much about perseverance and partnership,” says Katherine. She will attend Furman University in the fall and plans to major in Mathematics.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Katherine Betts, Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Class of 2018

Gabriel William Hutchinson

East Nashville Magnet High School; Class of 2018

Gabriel William Hutchinson is a senior at East Nashville Magnet High School, where he takes AP and honors courses and is Vice President of the National Honor Society. Gabriel ran track and cross country and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, serving as a part of their Leadership Team. He serves on the Student Government Association, where he has spearheaded several student-led, school-wide initiatives such as food, coat and shoe drives, as well as collecting coins for terminally ill children. Other extra-curriculars include performing with East’s Choral Department as first tenor; serving as a Boys State Delegate, where he learned the operations of local, county and state government; serving as Master of Ceremonies for the Annual Black History Program at East; hosting the 2018 Mayor’s Youth Summit as a leading member of the Mayor’s Youth Council; participating in the Nashville Debate League; serving as a 2017 Nashville Bar Association’s Summer Intern for Law Offices of Sherrard, Roe, Voigt and Harbison; and serving as an intern for the In Full Motion ACT Prep Program. Gabriel is an enthusiastic member of the Nashville Capitol City Chapter of Top Teens of America, Inc., and his future aspirations are to attend Fisk University, where he will major in English/Education to teach middle school students and eventually attend law school and one day becoming a politician and a social activist.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Gabriel William Hutchinson, East Nashville Magnet High School‘s Class of 2018

Iain Zwiebel

The Ensworth School; Class of 2018

Senior Iain Zwiebel has been swimming competitively for nine years and is a varsity swim team captain. When he is not in the pool, Iain can often be found in the arts building on campus, where he has served as stage manager for a variety of musicals, plays and dance productions and earned the All-Star Tech Crew award for his work on Tarzan. He has also been recognized for his artistry in photography, receiving the Silver Key Award in the Scholastic Art Competition and earning 18th and 19th place out of more than 4,000 entries in the Nashville Arts Magazine photo competition. Also, Iain co-founded and co-leads the high school robotics team. In his spare time, Iain enjoys pursuing his interest in videography. He is an FAA-licensed commercial drone pilot, and he has written and filmed several scripts, including a video for a successful Indiegogo campaign to preserve a cave. For his senior Capstone project, Iain has combined his passions to study the biomechanics of swimming and test the relationship between kick tempo and speed in various age ranges. To do so, he custom designed underwater camera mounts and LED markers for the participating swimmers, which included Olympic swimmer and world record holder Ryan Murphy, who visited the Ensworth natatorium last fall. Iain used the knowledge from his AP classes, including Physics C and Computer Science, to script and aid in aspects of the analysis. Iain looks to work in the field of engineering.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Iain Zwiebel, The Ensworth School‘s Class of 2018

Eric Stoxstill-Diggs

Franklin Road Academy; Class of 2018

Eric is a true Renaissance man who pursues excellence in all he does. With a transcript full of honors and AP classes, he has perfected the balance of academics, athletics and arts, thriving in all aspects of student life. He is a member of Franklin Road Academy’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society, National Honor Society, Emerging Leaders Institute, FRA Choir, Honor Council and president of the FRA Chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Eric is also a standout athlete on the football and track and field teams, and he has signed a football scholarship to play at Cornell University beginning this fall.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Eric Stoxstill-Diggs, Franklin Road Academy’s Class of 2018

Michael Valencia

Father Ryan High School; Class of 2018

Michael Valencia is an artist, a scholar, leader, scientist, brilliant speaker and this year’s Valedictorian at Father Ryan High School. Michael is not only a National Merit Finalist and a National Hispanic Scholar, he is a proven leader who has been front and center of his class since his freshman year. As Captain of the Science Olympiad, Michael not only inspired his teammates to one of their best finishes to date, placing first and second in the state in astronomy, he also earned another state title as a member of the speech and debate team. Michael won the state title in Congressional Debate, and his team won first in Interpretation Theatre for State Qualifications.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Michael Valencia, Father Ryan High School’s Class of 2018

Alina “Lizzy” Asad

Harpeth Hall School; Class of 2018

Lizzy Asad is a member of the Cum Laude Society and is a National Merit Commended Scholar. She has been an active participant in Model UN, serving as vice president and earning recognition at multiple Model UN conferences. As president of the Science Olympiad club this year, Lizzy earned the First Place Award in wind power from the Tennessee State University Regional Science Olympiad Competition. She is a gifted writer recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards organization. Regionally, she was awarded two Gold Keys for critical essays, five Silver Keys for poetry and personal essays and three Honorable Mentions for poetry. On the national level, she was awarded a silver medal for her critical essay entitled US and UN Relations. Additionally, Lizzy participated in dance, orchestra and Harpeth Hall Playmakers. A passionate proponent of female empowerment, Lizzy attended the Brown University Leadership Institute for Global Engagement, where she researched and developed an action plan to address “girls’ plummeting self-confidence during puberty.” She plans to partner with the Girl Scouts to further explore and enact her findings. Lizzy Asad will attend University College London (UCL) in the fall of 2018.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Alina “Lizzy” Asad, Harpeth Hall School’s Class of 2018

Tiyanna Gentry

Hillsboro High School; class of 2019

Tiyanna Gentry is a junior at Hillsboro High School, where she is highly active in the theater department. She was recently named Best Actress at the 2018 Spotlight Awards ceremony, and as a result, she will travel to New York next month to compete nationally in the Jimmy Awards taking place on June 25, 2018. The Fifth Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, or Spotlight Awards, were created by Mike Fernandez, Dean of Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts, to recognize excellence in local high school theater. Now, presented in partnership with the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the program evaluates musical productions from 26 Tennessee high schools. Tiyanna was selected as Best Actress out of every female student from those 26 high schools for her role as The Witch in Hillsboro High School’s “Into the Woods.” Tiyanna will have the opportunity to compete nationally on a Broadway stage as well as spend a week in New York City working with some of Broadway’s leading industry clinicians. Her future plans include continuing to grow as an artist, vocalist and dancer and attending college for musical theater and spending time auditioning in New York City.

Tiyanna Gentry Hillsboro High School; class of 2021

Tiyanna Gentry, Hillsboro High School‘s Class of 2019

Mena Gamil and Michael Khalil

LEAD Academy High; class of 2020

These two LEAD Academy sophomores spearheaded a sidewalk proposal as part of their Civic Design Project during their freshmen and sophomore years. The solar panel sidewalks project brings the future of transportation into a neighborhood and is focused on making good use of the space that sidewalks occupy. The students’ idea is to fix existing sidewalks or build new ones made out of solar panels. The group, with support from teacher Ms. Lyzette Garza and Ms. Melody Gibson, is in the process of applying for a grant from the Mayor’s Youth Council.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Mena Gamil and Michael Khalil, LEAD Academy High‘s Class of 2020

Eli Bradley

Lipscomb Academy; Class of 2018

During his 13 years at Lipscomb Academy, senior and Valedictorian Eli Bradley has made a remarkable impact on the Lipscomb Academy campus and in the Nashville community. This fall, Eli will attend Washington & Lee University after accepting a scholarship and research stipend. A few of his achievements include being named a National Merit Finalist this spring, earning 45 hours of college credit as a high school student and studying Japanese at the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute. Eli plays the flute in the high school band along with the piano as a hobby, serves as president of the robotics club, participates in high school theater performances and runs cross country. Eli also volunteers at Alive Hospice in downtown Nashville. While undecided on his college major, Eli looks forward to having new experiences in an unfamiliar place while finding opportunities to grow in knowledge about the diverse world around him.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Eli Bradley, Lipscomb Academy’s Class of 2018

Cole Williamson

Montgomery Bell Academy; Class of 2020

Cole Williamson was named Student of the Year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) this year for his efforts to raise $70,056. Cole was energized in part by his father, Charley Williamson, and Headmaster, Brad Gioia, who are both survivors of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. To honor their journey and hardship, Cole creatively fundraised for LLS with a March Madness NCAA basketball bracket challenge for the entire school, a father-son hike in Percy Warner to benefit LLS and an LLS t-shirt sale. Cole was recognized nationally by LLS with a Top Fundraiser Award. Cole balances this incredible effort with one of the most challenging schedules for the 10th grade year at Montgomery Bell Academy, where Cole embodies Gentleman, Scholar, Athlete in every regard.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Cole Williamson, Montgomery Bell Academy’s Class of 2020

Gracie Ray

Nashville School of the Arts; Class of 2018

A senior at Nashville School of the Arts (NSA), Gracie Ray choreographed, lit, costumed and conceptualized a 75-minute dance show that was beautiful. In addition to this year’s dance show, Gracie has been featured in music videos, had her work performed at dance festivals and traveled to the High School Dance Festival twice, where she was accepted into her college of choice: the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. “If it weren’t for being at NSA, I would have never made the connections I’ve made with professionals in the industry, and with future professionals (my peers), that will continue to guide me in my journey of self-discovery and artistic development. NSA was hands down the best thing to ever happen to me.”

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Gracie Ray, Nashville School of the Arts’ Class of 2018

Martha Rose Tarwater

St. Cecilia Academy; Class of 2018

Rose Tarwater was named St. Cecilia Academy’s 2018 St. Cecilia Girl, considered the school’s top honor for a graduating senior. She is well-known for her support of her fellow Scarab athletes, serving as manager of the volleyball and basketball teams and as goalie for the lacrosse team. Rose is a founding member of the Be Happy Haiti Club at St. Cecilia, which grew out of the Be Happy Haiti not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to helping Haiti help themselves, by providing dental care to Haitian schoolchildren. Rose has traveled on a dental mission trip to La Valle, Haiti, over spring break each year of high school. Her love for the people of Haiti and the mission of Be Happy Haiti will bring her back to La Valle to teach conversational English for eight weeks before she leaves for college. Rose was recently awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award for demonstrating a love of country, good citizenship and service. Rose was on the Principal’s List all four years, and she is a member of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, National Honor Society and National Latin Honor Society, maintaining an A average. Rose will attend Samford University in the fall, where she plans to study education.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Martha Rose Tarwater, St. Cecilia Academy’s Class of 2018

Courtney Rabb

University School of Nashville; Class of 2018

Courtney Rabb is a senior at University School of Nashville, where she completed Women’s Introduction to STEM program at Harvey Mudd College. In Vanderbilt University’s Department of Bioinformatics, she did research this year about increasing the pipeline of younger students into bioinformatics, and her paper was submitted to the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association. Additionally, she’s taken Multivariable Calculus at Vanderbilt University, too. To earn the Girl Scout highest honor, the Gold Award, she will soon host a conference to encourage middle and high school girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. Courtney also helped pioneer Tennessee’s first Girl Scout troop for homeless girls to offer them the consistent girl-bonding experience. On Saturday mornings, Courtney leads them on field trips, outdoor experiences and programs filled with life lessons. Courtney is a student ambassador for the Sister Cities of Nashville and serves on the Youth Advisory Board. She hosted an exchange student from Taiyuan, China and was able to practice her Chinese. This summer, an exchange program will take her to Tamworth, Australia. A soccer region MVP, Courtney is also a National Merit Commended Scholar, Cum Laude Scholar, has earned gold and silver medals on the National Latin Exam and has received multiple awards for leadership, academics and athletics. Courtney plans to attend Harvard University in the fall to study mathematics with a focus in business or finance and play Division I soccer for the Crimson.

The Impressive High School Students of Nashville

Courtney Rabb, University School of Nashville’s Class of 2018

Congrats to all these high school stars! We can’t wait to see what these men and women will do next!


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