Students recognized for academic excellence

November 19, 1996


Staff Writer

It wasn't glory that motivated Steven Lietuvnikas to strive for good grades.

"It's really just my personal standards that I try to live up to," said the Smithsburg High School senior, who plans to go on to college and major in computer science.

Still, it's nice to know somebody realizes what it takes to keep those grades up throughout your high school years, said Lietuvnikas, 17, son of Joe and Kathi Lietuvnikas.

"It feels good, all the work you've done, to be recognized," said Lietuvnikas, one of 85 high school seniors honored Monday night at the Washington County Public Schools' annual Celebration of Excellence at the Venice Inn. "It means a lot to me."


For more than a decade, the school system has been honoring the outstanding academic achievements of graduating class members with the annual awards banquet, said Bonnie Martin, the school system's public information specialist.

To qualify for the award, students must have a 3.7 or higher grade point average at the end of their junior year, Martin said.

Keynote speaker David L. Dunlop, president of Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and schools Superintendent Wayne F. Gersen spoke to students about the challenges they'll face in the future. Afterward, Gersen presented each student with a framed award certificate.

Williamsport High School senior Michelle Freeman thinks she's typical of the students recognized Monday.

"It's not just academics most of us are involved in," said Freeman, 17, daughter of Carla and Jeffrey Freeman. "Colleges look for the well-rounded student."

While maintaining a 3.9 grade point average, Freeman runs cross country and track, participates in the French Club and student government, and serves as president of her church youth group and Washington County Hospital's youth volunteers.

South Hagerstown High School senior Jasmin Guadalupe said she's thinks academic achievement is earning more recognition than it has in the past, when it was almost entirely overshadowed by sports.

"I think it used to be that way, but it's getting better," said Guadalupe, 17, daughter of Peter and Isabel Guadalupe. "It's an honor for all the hard work I've done since kindergarten, and it's paying off now."

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