Top students from Delaware’s 33 public high schools were honored May 7 as exemplary scholars of the class of 2008 by government and education officials at the annual Secretary of Education’s Scholars Dinner held at the Sheraton Inn and Conference Center, Dover.

    Top students from Delaware’s 33 public high schools were honored May 7 as exemplary scholars of the class of 2008 by government and education officials at the annual Secretary of Education’s Scholars Dinner held at the Sheraton Inn and Conference Center, Dover.

    The students, including 11 from local schools, were nominated by their principals and selected based on a record of academic excellence and community service. Many have received awards of state, regional or national significance, and the evening’s dinner was meant to give further recognition for their many achievements and to encourage them to continue to strive for excellence.

    “The academic scholars of the graduating class of 2008 are very talented young men and women,” said Gov. Ruth Ann Minner. “They have not only demonstrated success in the classroom, but they have also dedicated themselves to their schools and their communities.

    “These outstanding young people have set the standard for their fellow students and represent academic excellence in the state of Delaware,” Minner said.

    Deputy Secretary of Education Nancy Wilson, Ph.D. concurred.

    “This evening we praise 68 very talented young men and women who will now continue their academic journey,” she said. “From chosen careers including engineers, doctors, pharmacists and teachers, to chemists, psychologists and lawyers, our scholars will make a difference. I know their future will be bright.”


Nathan Adamson

School: Dover High School

Parents: Scott and Linda Adamson

Activities and honors: I participate in National Honors Society, Interact Club, Science Olym-piad, Marching and Concert Band, cross country, varsity tennis, and work part time. I am very proud to say that this year our tennis team placed first in the Henlopen Conference. I also have earned scholar athlete, varsity athletic, and academic all conference awards, Secretary of Education Scholar and high honor roll.
College plans: I will be attending the University of Delaware in the fall
Intended field of study: Although subject to change, currently I will be studying Plant Science.

What’s your dream job and why? I honestly do not a have a “dream job” in mind. However, I would like to have a career that uses a combination of math, science, and field experience.

Hobbies, interests: In my spare time, I like to watch movies, spend time with my family, friends and pets and most of all play Guitar Hero. I also enjoy gardening and tennis, as well as playing the piano and saxophone.

Outstanding high school memory: My most outstanding high school memory was my freshman year band trip to Nassau, Bahamas. It was my first cruise and the first time ‘on my own.’ We scored superior ratings, got to barter with the natives and I had a great time, making lots of friends that I still have today.


Benjamin Byler

School: Polytech High School

Parents: David and Mary Byler

Activities and honors: Secretary of Education Scholar; Principal’s Honor Roll; Microsoft Certified Professional.

College plans: DelTech under SEEDS program.

Intended field of study: Computer network engineering.

What’s your dream job and why? I would love to own my own computer services business. This way I could have a new and interesting challenge every day and the flexibility of being my own boss and motivator.

Hobbies, interests: Soccer; playing music; world travel; church.

Outstanding high school memory: The relief of passing the intimidating certification tests.


Meghan Elizabeth Elliott

School: Caesar Rodney High School.

Parents: Richard and Sandra Elliott.

Activities and honors: 2008 Secretary of Education Scholar; Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award 2007; Caesar Rodney High School’s Toyota Scholar Nominee; American Legion Girls State Attendee; Who’s Who Among American High School Students; Honor Roll.

College plans: University of Delaware.

Intended field of study: Business.

What’s your dream job and why? At the present time, I am not sure what I want to do with my life. I am currently interested in several different jobs but as I take classes in the different fields, I hope to narrow down the list and eventually find my dream job.
Hobbies, interests: National Honor Society; DECA; Church Youth Group; Younglife; volunteering; Spanish Club; student council; BPA; stage crew and thespians; soccer; working.

Outstanding high school memory: Football games with friends!


Robert Hall

School: Caesar Rodney High School.

Parents: Robert and Deborah Hall.

Activities and honors: Cross country; track; student government; history club; National Honor Society; West Point appointee; Delaware Boy’s State representative; 2007 Delaware Governor’s Youth Volunteer Award.

College plans: I plan to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 30, 2008.

Intended field of study: International relations.

What’s your dream job and why? To become an ambassador to an unstable nation. Inter-national conflict is something that has tarnished the international system since the birth of states. I have taken a deep interest in discovering ways to solve these conflicts so that the world is a better place for all people. Also, I believe in using this position as a peaceful outlet to spread the influence of democracy and freedom throughout the world.

Hobbies, interests: Politics; history; economics; golf; running; marksmanship.

Outstanding high school memory: My supportive family, peers, teachers and coaches that aided me in achieving success in the many avenues of my academic, athletic and personal life.


Erin M. Harvath

School: Dover High School.

Parents: Barry and Sharon Harvath.

Activities and honors: 12th grade: Interact; National Honor Society; cross country; tennis; Science Olympiad; Spanish Honor Society; cross country, captain, MVP, all county, all conference, four year varsity award and team was conference champions twice; tennis: team was conference champions or co-champions three times; have been a scholar athlete and Academic All Conference for every season of every sport played; received AP Scholar with Honor Award; Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award; United States Achievement Academy Recognition and Award; News Journal Academic All Star; Secretary of Education Scholar; and three-time winner of Challenge Program for Highest GPA; our Science Olympiad team placed first in the county and fourth in the state in 2008; have received seven Olympiad medals for my junior and senior years; was accepted into the National Youth Science Camp; I have also received certificates for excellence in social studies, animal science, and Ag science.

College plans: Will attend the University of Delaware.

Intended field of study: Will major in biology.

What’s your dream job and why? My dream job is to be an interventional radiologist at a reputable hospital. Interventional radiology is extremely fascinating, especially considering that through that field of medicine a doctor can save a person’s life with the smallest of incisions. Despite the tremendous amount of work and studying required to be a radiologist, I know it will be a very rewarding job.

Hobbies, interests: Running cross country, playing tennis and basketball, watching movies and TV, listening to music, completing puzzles, juggling, playing the piano, drawing and reading books.

Outstanding high school memory: My outstanding high school memory came from this year when I received my acceptance into the National Youth Science Camp. Two seniors are chosen from every state to attend the camp in West Virginia during the summer, and I really did not believe I would be chosen as one of Delaware’s two delegates. I am very honored to be in the company of such brilliant students from around the United States and other countries. The camp is very eye opening to those students interested in the sciences and I cannot wait to attend the camp this summer.


Derrick Kelley

School: Lake Forest High School.

Parents: Dave and Libby Kelley.

Activities and honors: Drama; marching band drum major; band; jazz band; Kent County Honors Band; All-State Band honors program; National Honor Society President; Leo’s Club treasurer; 4-H Club; Department of Education Scholar 2008; U.N. Pilgrimage Tour Delegate 2007.

College plans: University of Delaware for four years.

Intended field of study: Music education.

What’s your dream job and why? My dream has changed dramatically over the last four years during high school but recently I really believe I have found it. My dream is to teach music and be able to always play myself. I love being in front of a group of kids that I have helped teach a piece of music and finally hear them perform it to the ability I know they really do possess. It may not be the most prestigious or high paying job in the world, but that’s never been my objective for the future, I love music, I always have, and always knew that I would never let it go after high school, and more and more I see myself wanting it to be a major part of my life, and what better way than to pass on that love to others.

Hobbies, interests: Performing music; conducting; composing; photography; acting; singing; reading; detailing automobiles; friends.

Outstanding high school memory: There’s no way for me to possibly pick out one moment from high school and it label it as my one outstanding moment, there have been multitudes of moments in time that I would like to live over again just from the sheer joy or satisfaction they gave me. However, my friends stand out as the one thing that I’m never going to forget. I have made many and lost even more to graduated classes but all the friends I have become exceptionally close with over the years have really helped shape who I am. When I entered high school I began to really find myself as I never had before and associated myself with those around me that provided me an outlet to express myself however I felt and did so themselves. One of my best friends, Jenna MacKenzie, the other recipient of this honor is one of my closest friends, although we weren’t always, and she has been there in any capacity I might need her, helped me find myself, been there to talk, and never failed to make me smile and laugh until it hurts; of all my friends, and all my memories, if I could really call her a moment, she would be the outstanding one.


Jennifer Lloyd

School: Campus Community High School.

Parents: Andrew and Pamela Lloyd.

Activities and honors: Mock trial; field hockey; soccer; Children’s Thea-ter; National Honor Society; Secretary of Education Scholar Award; Comcast Leader and Achiever Scholarship; Campus Community’s Scholar-Athlete.

College plans: Attend Knox College in Illinois for four years then go to graduate school and possibly more.

Intended field of study: Neuroscience.

What’s your dream job and why? A job where I could research ways to help people through science while working with children and traveling the world; learning and bettering people’s lives.

Hobbies, interests: Sports; art; acting; science (genetics, behavioral neuroscience, developmental psychology and evolutionary biology).

Outstanding high school memory: I don’t have one memory that sticks out more than the others. What I will always remember about high school is my small group of friends that I have known since eighth grade. We have had some very funny and interesting times together that I know I will never forget.


Jenna MacKenzie

School: Lake Forest High School.

Parents: William Mac-Kenzie and Margie MacKenzie.

Activities and honors: I am a part of the National Honor Society; our high school honors program; the PBS committee; the Kent County Youth Philanthropy board; and am a Blue/Gold Senior ambassador for the DFRC. I have taken as many honors courses as possible throughout high school and advanced placement classes in government, calculus, and English Literature.

College plans: I plan on attending the University of Delaware in the fall and pursuing a four-year degree.

Intended field of study: My intended field of study is psychology.

What’s your dream job and why? I have no specific dream job, however I want to pursue a career that helps individuals with cognitive disabilities, whether that be by one on one interaction or through research.

Hobbies, interests: I enjoy my job at the Touchdown restaurant where I have worked for five years this July. I also love to get away from the stresses of life by relaxing with my friends. I also enjoy taking art classes at school.

Outstanding high school memory: An outstanding high school memory of mine is meeting a classmate of mine named Simon. He is an autistic boy that I ate lunch with every day for a year. His perspective on life gave me a new outlook on the world and becoming friends with him truly impacted my high school years.


Kylie Paige

School: Caesar Rodney High School

Parents: James and Tobi Paige

Activities and honors: Governor’s School; Girl’s State; Secretary of Education Scholar; Widener University School of Law Constitution Day Essay Winner; News Journal Academic All-Star; CR Swim team (captain); CR lacrosse team; Spanish Club vice president; National Honor Society; Spanish tutor; Kent County Honors Band.
College plans: Clemson University

Intended field of study: Secondary math education

What’s your dream job and why? My dream job is to be a teacher and a coach because I love working with children and I want to help them learn and grow. Coaching enables me to help children outside the classroom as well as allowing me to still be a part of athletics.

Hobbies, interests: Playing the flute, swimming, lacrosse

Outstanding high school memory: Winning our last regular season lacrosse team match against Sussex Tech in the last 40 seconds and securing a spot in the state tournament for the first time since 2004.


Kana Panchmatia

School: Dover High School.

Parents: Jayshri and Harish Panchmatia.

Activities and honors: Science Olympiad; National Honor Society; Interact Club; Math League; Odyssey of the Mind; dermatology Internship; tutor; web designer; volleyball; Secretary of Education Scholar Award; State Science Olympiad Medalist; Rensselaer Medal $60,000 Scholarship in Mathematics and Science; Rotary Youth Leadership Award, first place; Governor’s School for Excellence Honor Program, first place; American Association of University Women Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics; Volleyball Scholar Athlete; Odyssey of the Mind OMER; Volleyball captain and manager.

College plans: University of Delaware.

Intended field of study: Biochemistry.

What’s your dream job and why? As I sat in the Schwartz Center, learning about genetics, a picture appeared of a child with xeroderma pigmentosum (alien pigmented skin), which prohibits him from going outside. His skin is unable to repair the damage to his DNA that is caused by exposure to UV rays. His family is forced to use candles because the UV rays emitted from light bulbs are too high. It was at this moment that I realized that I wanted to be a dermatologist. I would be able to help children like this one enjoy playing in the sun. These inspiring cases provide me with the momentum I need to excel in the field of dermatology.

Hobbies, interests: Dancing; collecting scarves; scrap booking; listening to music; traveling with family and friends.

Outstanding high school memory: It happened at a pep rally. I was standing out on the football field, facing hundreds of my classmates, waiting. My favorite teacher started to tell a story, a story about an award. This award is considered the highest science and mathematics award at the high school level: the Rensselaer Medal $60,000 Scholarship in Mathematics and Science. And it went to me.

Hannah VanSant

School: Polytech High School.

Parents: David Wayne VanSant and Margaret Regina Rene VanSant.

Activities and honors: Secretary of Education scholar; highest GPA award for both 2006-2007 school year and 2007-2008 school year; church activities including visitation, nursing home ministry, youth rallies, etc.

College plans: DelTech ; UD; Jefferson/Hopkins; med school in Germany.
Intended field of study: Biological sciences.

What is your dream job and why? Ever since I was a young kid, I’ve always wanted to work on the mission field in Germany. As well as being an instrument to work on people’s spiritual hearts, I’ve also picked up the desire to work on their physical hearts as a heart surgeon.

Hobbies, interests: Basketball, baseball, reading, writing, hiking, camping, church activities.

Outstanding high school memory: This is a hard one. To be honest, there are several, but yet none. All my memories have been wonderful. There’ve been tedious ones such as when a friend of mine accidentally spilled hot chocolate over an entire pile of honor roll certificates that had to be redone. But there’ve been so many more. I’ve made so many friends and God has just been so good to me. When I’m late getting to a bus stop, he’ll have the bus arrive late as well. A couple of times would be coincidence, but for the past three years, I can’t number the times he’s come through for me in all areas that I’ve needed help. Let’s just say I will truly cherish my high school experience and carry it with me throughout the rest of my life.