6. Lauren Bowersock, GPA 4.7365, University of MarylandOcean City High School No. 6: Lauren BowersockLauren is a student with very high standards and values. Coupled with her incredible work ethic, Lauren has an innate intelligence that allows her to do well in a variety of academic areas. She also is a self-motivated individual who has high standards and has sought out the most challenging courses offered in our high school. By graduation she will have completed 11 Advanced Placement courses. He favorite courses are AP Spanish 5 with the Fantastic 5, Biology and Chemistry.Lauren is a tremendous student who has immersed herself in the school community. Lauren is a member of the Junior State of America and a leader for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is also on the soccer and swimming teams. Lauren volunteers at the Son Club at Ocean City Tabernacle and teaches kids at church. She also likes volunteering at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.Inspired by her mission trips to Haiti with her church she told me she has tried independently learning Haitian Creole. This is truly a sign of a student ready for the rigors and challenges of a college curriculum and environment.Lauren was part of the SSEP Mission 6 that went into space with their E. coli experiment. The SSEP team got to experience real scientific research and experiments. Throughout the entire experience Lauren displayed flexibility, strong work ethic, and teamwork. Her presentations at the Mission Control in Virginia were so professional and captivating that you can see how passionate she was about this project. She isn’t afraid to call the National Director for Science Education or a Professor of University of North Carolina for answers to her many thoughtful questions.Aside from academic achievement, community involvement is very important to Lauren as well. She has been able to juggle her busy academic load with a strong involvement in school and community activities. Lauren has been unselfish in giving her time to these organizations. She has enjoyed all of her experiences in these activities, but her favorite has been in her role in her church. Lauren said she enjoys being a worship leader; it has deepened her faith and influenced her deep concern for her fellow man. Mission trips and working a rescue center has had an added impact on Lauren. This experience has even prompted her to see a career path in her life of influencing public policy.I can easily see Lauren as having an influential role in our society, her concern for others is inspiring. She certainly has the people skills and ambition to be successful in this endeavor. While balancing a very busy life Lauren has always been an engaging and charming young lady. Lauren has been an enormous asset to this school for the past four years; her leadership and achievement are to be commended.Lauren will be attending the University of Maryland in the Integrated Life Science Honors College. She is not sure which profession, but she hopes to work for a Christian organization and combine her love for science, Spanish and helping people.Favorite quote: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus Christ 9. Benjamin Fischer, GPA 4.6378, Rutgers UniversityOcean City High School No. 9: Benjamin FischerBen has accomplished much in his four years at Ocean City High School. There hasn’t been any aspect of the school in which Ben did not have some sort of presence. Ben is one of the most highly regarded students in his senior class. His academic performance is impeccable and extracurricular involvement is impressive. Some of the classes Ben has challenged himself with are AP Psychology, AP Calculus 2 BC, AP Physics B, AP English Language and Composition, AP United States History, AP Calculus AB, AP Statistics, Honors Logic & Probability, Honors Physics and Honors Spanish IV.His rank and GPA surely indicate his commitment to his studies. His near perfect SAT score further represents a young man of high intelligence and capabilities. However, as most faculty members would attest, it is Ben’s demeanor that will be remembered.Ben is the President of the Marching Band, President of the Jazz Band, Treasurer of National Honor Society, Coordinator for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, President of the Chess Club, member of the Pit Orchestra, Peer Mediation, Academic Team, and Junior States of America.He has performed Community Service at the OC PTA Spring Carnival, OC Annual Beach Cleanup, FCA Surfing for Autism, and Operation Christmas Child Volunteer. His favorite courses are Mathematics, Physics, and Music. He enjoys science because he is fascinated with how science defines life.I’ve never seen Ben without a smile and his positivity is infectious. It’s difficult not to be in a good mood around Ben Fischer. His positive optimism is infectious and when you mix that with his overall intellectual ability, you have a young man that will be not only successful but influential as well. For all that he has accomplished in and out of school, you could not ask to meet a better gentleman.Ben plans to pursue degrees in astrophysics and music composition at Rutgers University. His future goals include perhaps discovering a new planet or star here and there, as well as composing for (and performing with) a professional orchestra. Well, when you find that new planet, please be sure to pick a good name for it – like mine. But you don’t need to find a star as we already have found a new star – it’s you. 5. Mercy Griffith, GPA 4.7911, American UniversityOcean City High School No. 5: Mercy GriffithIn eighth grade, Mercy began taking online Arabic courses through Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. The language and culture continue to intrigue her and each class is truly unique. Mercy will graduate haven taken 10 Advanced Placement courses, such as AP Biology, AP US History 1 & 2, AP English Language & Composition, AP Psychology, AP American Government/Politics, AP Human Geography, AP Calculus AB and AP Physics B. Throughout high school a few more courses have stood out to her: US government, US history, and biology. She loved studying current events in government and being able to apply them to past events she learned in history. And while biology may not seem to fit her interests, she is simply fascinated by its complexity, especially at the cellular level.Mercy has been a member of the Literary Magazine since freshman year, and is now the editor. The fall of her junior year she joined SSEP where her team (5 members) designed, wrote, and performed an experiment testing the effects of microgravity on E. coli bacteria’s attachment rates. In addition to this, she has been a member of NHS since junior year. This year two students were selected to represent OCHS at the Youth Advisory Council which held both meetings with Congressman LoBiondo and informational sessions in facilities such as fighter wings and police departments.Mercy has managed the varsity baseball team since freshman year, keeping the scorebook for the team. She also has ten years of karate training under her belt.In eighth grade, Mercy began volunteering at the Ocean City Tabernacle’s summer youth programs, acting as assistant teacher to the kindergarten class. The fall of tenth grade, she became involved in Son Club, the after school program at the Tabernacle where she helped tutor and mentor second and third graders every day after school. In 2013 the Tabernacle hired her and offered her a head teaching position at its summer camps.In addition to the Tabernacle, Mercy is involved in other outreach opportunities with local churches. Since 2013 she has baked pies and cobblers with Pie Girl, a nonprofit that works out of St. Peter’s kitchen raising money for food kitchens in Atlantic and Ocean City. Last summer, Mercy traveled to the mountains in Jamaica on an 8-day mission trip in which they built bathrooms for an elementary school.Mercy also loves to laugh, she is deeply caring and has the ability to empathize with others and is one of the most poised speakers I have seen.In the fall she will be living in Washington, D.C. attending American University where she has been accepted into the Honors Program (45 members chosen out of 1,600). There she plans to study International Relations in the School of International Service with concentrations in Arabic and Middle Eastern History. Her dream is to one day work for the government crafting and/or advising foreign policy decisions with goals to improve human rights and stop the spread of tension, turmoil, and poverty. 4. Emma Leeds, GPA 4.8195, Lafayette CollegeOcean City High School No. 4: Emma LeedsEmma had a plan for her high school career – make the most of it! After browsing through her resume, it is easy to see that she did exactly that. Last year, she qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by scoring a three or higher on three or more exams. Emma has taken AP Biology, AP English Literature/Composition, AP Calculus 2 BC, AP Psychology and AP Physics in her senior year.Emma was accepted into the Governor’s School of the Sciences this summer and spent three weeks at Drew University campus studying different scientific topics. It is here where she found a passion for cognitive science. A final group project using the “Tobii” eye tracker left Emma wanting to continue researching the brain and its’ processes. Eye tracking makes it possible for computers to know where users are looking. Tobii has transformed research in many fields and has enabled communication for people with special needs.Emma is a member of National Honor Society. She has participated in various sports and clubs, volunteered her time to many organizations and traveled the world. She was able to do all of this while still succeeding in the classroom. Emma is a true scholar who enjoys learning and loves an academic challenge.Emma is a recipient of the Yale Book Award, the first for any student at Ocean City High School. The Yale Book Award is a way for local Yale University clubs to recognize high school students who have shown outstanding personal character and intellectual promise. As an aside Emma plays the ukulele to stay balanced and sane. Emma fills her free time with athletics and volunteer services. She demonstrates her leadership through participation on the tennis team as a co-captain and she is also President of the Math Club. Emma also plays lacrosse and field hockey.She has volunteered her time to the SADD Club, Class Council and the “Challengers Sports Program” which enables young children with physical and/or developmental disabilities to enjoy the benefits of team sports participation in an adapted environment. She has also joined the fight against cancer by helping to raise money for cancer through Relay for Life and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. She will be attending Lafayette College majoring in neuroscience/biology. 8. Amber Angelucci, GPA 4.6494, University of VermontOcean City High School No. 8: Amber AngelucciSince eighth grade, it was evident that Amber was a talented student who was going to take advantage of every opportunity she could to improve her skills and knowledge. This seemingly quiet young woman is fierce in academics. It was clear she was developing a plan and was going to execute it. As a senior she is handling a rigorous schedule which includes 5 Advanced Placement courses. Her favorite courses are AP Spanish and AP Psychology. She has also taken AP English Literature/Composition, AP Statistics & Probability, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, and AP US History 1 & 2. She also loves learning about anatomy and physiology. Amber has actively prepared to be fully equipped for the rigors of any academic environment.Amber has always enjoyed the study of science and now defines it as a career pathway. She loves her volunteer work at a local animal hospital and envisions a possible career in the sciences. Her volunteerism has been a personally rewarding experience but also has assisted her in her appreciation of the role a veterinarian fills and the innate reward that comes with assisting those in need. This opportunity has allowed her to reaffirm her vision of a career path and was able to learn directly from medical professionals. She has been actively involved in her preparation throughout high school by selecting the most challenging science and math courses she could. She has also helped organize and participated in the Relay for Life which is a benefit to assist and support cancer patients and survivors. Add to this list her recent foray into learning to play guitar along with her employment role as a babysitter and you have quite the busy and well-rounded young woman.Amber is a member of the OCHS Select Choir, Bell Choir, Drama Guild, and Yearbook Staff. She volunteers by cleaning at Beach Buddies Animal Hospital, and at Beacon Animal Rescue.Amber plans to major in Nursing and minor in Spanish at the University of Vermont. She aspires to be a positive influence in people’s lives both professionally and socially. She would love to travel frequently to fulfill her interest in cultures. Amber hopes to visit the United Kingdom and as many countries in Europe as possible. She also plans to integrate her love of animals, singing, and theatre into her daily life. 7. Kira Kelly, GPA 4.7040, Catholic UniversityOcean City High School No. 7: Kira KellyKira’s success in high school began with her academic achievements. When she graduates this June, she will have taken 6 Advanced Placement courses and 12 Honors classes. For her senior year, Kira carried a challenging workload and remained very successful. She has taken AP English Literature/Composition, AP Psychology, AP Statistics & Probability, AP US History I & II, Honors Logic & Probability Calculus, Honors Physics, Honors Spanish 4, Honors Chemistry, Honors Pre-Calculus, Honors Spanish 3, Honors Biology and Honors Algebra 2.Other than posting an impressive class rank and GPA numbers, Kira has earned an impressive SAT score. Both her SAT Critical Reading and mathematics scores are section scores are equivalent. And she scored well on her SAT writing section. Kira is an all-around equally talented student.Kira enjoys volunteering through Best Buddies or spending her free time so the Class of 2015 can enjoy their various Class events, Kira has been a positively uplifting presence in her graduating class. Certainly, the field of Education (and the kids) will be lucky to have her in the fold.As Class President, Kira possesses the innate ability to lead; her peers have been looking up to her since the Intermediate School. She combines her impressive leadership and interpersonal skills in the classroom and in her outside activities. The responsibilities of Class President are not taken lightly by Kira, she actively participates in leadership roles on committees, and she communicates effectively with other class officers, and listens to her classmates to better the grade, education and the overall high school experience.Kira has a warm personality with a strong desire to help others which has been on display the last four years. Kira is engaged in school and community life, she gets the job done. She has held herself to high standards and expectations, and has succeeded.She will be attending The Catholic University of America, majoring in early childhood education, with a minor in Spanish. She plans on studying abroad, earning degrees in early childhood education and special education, having a successful career in education, and eventually starting a family. 10. Alec Helm, GPA 4.5478, University of PennsylvaniaOcean City High School No. 10: Alec HelmAcademically speaking, Alec is one of the finest from the class of 2015. He currently carries a very high SAT score. He’s done all this while carrying a very competitive schedule that includes some of the most difficult courses that OCHS has to offer especially in the areas of math and science. He will complete his High School career haven taking 7 Advanced Placement classes, AP Calculus 2 BC, AP Biology, AP Physics B, AP Statistics & Probability, AP Computer Science A, AP Calculus AB and AP Chemistry.Performing as well as he does in his classes have led him to be well respected by the teachers that have been fortunate to have him as a student. As high as his teachers expectations have been for Alec, his are even higher of himself.During the past four years Alec has participated in JSA (Junior State of America) through which he has attended several conventions and served as president; Math Club where he has competed twice in the Stockton Mathematical Mayhem tournament; Academic Team, National Honor Society, Chess Club, and for the past six years he has been a member of the Ocean City ShuffleboardClub. He has competed and placed first in two junior national tournaments, and also competed at the international tournament this past summer in Ontario, Canada. Alec has been a member of the crew team throughout his four years of high school. He was a coxswain during his freshman year when his boat won third at the Garden State Championships and first at Atlantic County Championships. During sophomore year he rowed on the novice four boat and won third at the Atlantic Count Championships, and for the past two years he has served as the manager for the team.In his freshman year, Alec instituted our school’s April-long autism awareness events. The month’s activities have expanded over the past four years to include a bubble blowing, fundraisers, and a blue-out day. Through NHS he has helped out with charity walks, clothing drives, and other community service events.Alec’s favorite area of study is mathematics, but he also enjoys chemistry and physics quite a bit. His favorite course is Calculus BC course this year with Mrs. Dill.Alec will be attending the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a degree in mathematics. He plans on earning subsequent degrees in mathematics, and possibly other fields and wants to get into education, either as a high school teacher or college professor. 3. Karissa Bourbeau, GPA 4.8582, Wagner CollegeKarissa has maintained a high level of achievement from the outset of high school. What distinguishes her from some of her peers is the fact she has sought to continually challenge herself with our most demanding classes. By the time she completes high school she will have taken 8 Advanced Placement classes and 13 Honors classes. To name a few of Karissa’s classes this year are Honors English 12, AP Calculus AB, AP Biology, AP World History, Honors Spanish 4, AP Psychology and Advanced Italian 3. Even with an increasingly challenging curriculum Karissa has maintained outstanding grades.She has set her sights on a science-related career and was aware that she needed to push herself into the highest levels of science and math that she could. When she would discuss her options with her guidance counselor, Karissa would never hesitate at the thought of taking such demanding courses. She has a thirst for knowledge that was always at the forefront of her decision making.Outside of the classroom Karissa has been an elite athlete, she was a member of our Varsity Girls’ Soccer and Basketball Teams since freshman year, both are regarded as premier programs in South Jersey. Karissa’s clubs and activities include ecology club, National Honor Society and Interact Club. The Girls in this program dedicate themselves to excellence. The success they have garnered comes at a price in terms of time and hard work in summer camps or during off-season conditioning. It doesn’t surprise me that Karissa is part of this program because she personifies the type of student athlete that has made this program so successful. Her grit and work ethic that are so evident in the classroom readily surface in the athletic arena as well.She volunteers at NovaCare in Marmora where she rehabbed from her knee surgeries. Also, she volunteers with the Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik foundation in Massachusetts. Their mission is to provide stepping-stones for young people to chase and achieve their dreams. They provide aid through financial assistance, encouragement, guidance and community outreach. Her favorite courses have been chemistry with Dr. Wohlrab, all of her history classes, and psychology.She will be attending Wagner College in the accelerated Physician Assistant program and will also be playing soccer! She plans to find a medical field that she enjoys and travel to other countries to provide good healthcare for people where it is inaccessible to them! In addition to her athletic pursuits, she has definitively demonstrated that she is ready for the challenges that college will present academically and socially.Favorite quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt 1. Laura McKinley, GPA 4.9045, Rutgers UniversityOcean City High School No. 1: Laura McKinleyLaura’s commitment to academics is a wonderful attribute, at the conclusion of her senior year, she will have completed 11 Advanced Placement courses. Laura is the valedictorian of her class and she was designated an AP Scholar with Distinction. This award is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken AND scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. Laura has taken AP English Literature, AP Biology, AP Physics B, AP Calculus, AP English Language AP Calculus AB, AP English Literature/Composition, AP US History 1 & 2, AP Chemistry, and AP Human Geography.Laura is President of the SADD Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) As President she has enjoyed talking to kids and others about making good choices, but the billboard sends out our message to so many people. In addition, Laura has been named President of the Math Club, Vice President of Best Buddies, a member of the National Honors Society, Interact Club, Key Club and Drama Guild. She was on the Soccer team grades 9 through 11.Throughout high school Laura has found the most joy in giving back to the community. For the past fourteen years Laura has volunteered her time to the Country Shore Women’s Club by participating in their annual play fundraiser, where she has been a student director for the past three years, as well as helping during their community trash cleanups. Laura has also volunteered for the soccer and baseball seasons of the Challenger Sports Program for the past five years.Although Laura has loved having every one of her teachers over the past four years, she has had the greatest pleasure of having fabulous teachers for her two favorite classes, AP Calculus with Mrs. Dill and Honors Logic with Mrs. Cox. These two teachers allowed Laura to discover her passion for math and she will forever be grateful for all they have done.Next year Laura is attending Rutgers University of New Brunswick, where she plans to major in Biomedical Engineering. She hopes to explore the field in Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Engineering where she could help design technological solutions to problems confronted by individuals with disabilities.Favorite Quote: “Be kind to one another.” Ellen DeGeneres__________Sign up for free Ocean City news updates from OCNJ Daily.__________2. Briar Rose Ginn, GPA 4.8793, University of PennsylvaniaOcean City High School No. 2: Briar Rose GinnBriarRose has had an impressive academic career over her high school career. She has taken 11 Advanced Placement courses and received the 2015 Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction Award. In her time at the High School BriarRose has taken AP Physics B, AP Spanish Language, AP Calculus 2 BC, AP Biology, AP English Literature/Composition, AP US History 2, AP Chemistry, AP Calculus AB, AP Statistics & Probability and AP US History I.With a love for math, her favorite courses have been AP Calculus with Mrs. Dill and Honors Logic with Mrs. Cox. Honors Logic encourages students to discuss truth values of logical expressions and the learning begins by examining reasoning as it occurs informally in writing and classroom conversations. These courses have introduced her to an incredible world of mathematics.With an incredibly strong academic record and test scores, BriarRose also fills leadership roles at the high school and within the community that are unparalleled.BriarRose is the Salutatorian of her class, was 1st runner up to Miss Ocean City, the President of National Honor Society, Student Representative to the Board of Education, Vice President of the Chess Club, Secretary of Select Choir, a member of Class Council of 2015, Peer Mediation, and Drama Guild. BriarRose was the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot & Mayzie LaBird in Seussical. She enjoys singing and playing the playing guitar. She played Field Hockey her freshman and sophomore yearBriar Rose has been acting in Country Shore Women’s Club Productions for the past fifteen years & student director for past three years. She volunteers at beach cleanups, runs and walks, and local events.She plans on majoring in biomedical sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and minoring in music. She wants to then go to Medical School to get a Masters in genetics to study the human genome and find cures for diseases.You do not come across many students like BriarRose. She is so talented in so many facets of life you can’t help but be impressed. Her academic aptitude and artistic endeavors are overshadowed only by her glowing personality. Where ever life takes her, Ocean City can be proud to have called her one of our own. Ocean City High School Class of 2015 top scholars pose with Superintendent Kathleen Taylor (left) and Principal Matthew Jamison and Board of Education President Joe Clark (right) after being honored on Wednesday night at a board meeting.The Ocean City Board of Education announced the Top 10 students of Ocean City High School’s Class of 2015 on Wednesday night.The announcement was part of the board’s annual recognition night, which honors student achievers in a wide variety of non-athletic endeavors.Superintendent Kathleen Taylor read tributes to each student that noted not just academic success but long lists of other interests and accomplishments. The full text of her remarks for each student is included below.