Congratulations to the Winton Woods High School Class of 2021! We are proud of #OurWarriorGraduates and wish you the best in all of your future endeavors. Never forget #OnceAWarriorAlwaysAWarrior!
Winton Woods High School Celebrates 39 Honors Diploma Scholars
“I do not know who I would be without you,” said Winton Woods High School senior and honors diploma scholar Alycia Mcbeil to her Choir Director Beth Miller. “I am going to miss you,” Betisha Pohkrel said somberly to her Guidance Counselor Kim Goins. These and other similar heartfelt words were shared throughout the evening of the Superintendent’s Honors Diploma Scholars dinner. An annual event dedicated to celebrating scholars who received an honors diploma recognized by the state of Ohio for high achievement. Students were also provided with an opportunity to honor their “most influential teachers.” Staff members who have had the greatest impact on their lives and academic career. This year, thirty-nine students were honored for achieving this prestigious academic award.
The evening began with families, students, community members, and staff enjoying a tasty and nutritious meal including desserts and refreshing beverages prepared by the Child Nutrition Department. Followed by a ceremony where each student was honored and joined on stage with their most influential teacher. “We know it was not easy for students to pick only one staff member,” said Winton Woods High School Principal Eric Martin. “This is a special place filled with special people who care deeply about our students and want to prepare them for the next chapter of their life. This year has been an unbelievable year but hearing about how much our Warrior staff has impacted them means we’re doing a lot of things right.”
The class of 2021 diploma honors scholars are Valedictorian Nicolantonio Prentosito, Salutatorian Franck Djidjeu, Paige Adams , Faith Augustine, Mark Behrendt, Monica Escobedo-Barahona, Sabina Gurung, Darin Haag, Ayden Hassertt, Derek Hooten, Bianca Horner, Alexander Ingram, Briana James, Ashleigh Johnson, Zy’Reaija Johnson, Camron Love, Elizabeth Mavridoglou, Alycia McNeil, Cris Mejia-Sanchez, Chrishay Miles, Hailey Miller, Kavita Nelson, Renaud Noubieptie, Elizabeth Okemmiri, Victoria Okoh Okai, Jezreel Otchere, Leasiah Payne, Yadira Perez, Betisha Pokhrel, Lailah Robinson, Sheridan Semes, Emma Smith, Michael Stothfang, Anjana Sunwar, Samba Sy, Jamel Rwumasi-Ankrah, Shima Upreti, Alejandra Velasquez.
To receive an honors diploma from the State of Ohio, students must meet all but one of the following criteria, unless it is a minimum graduation requirement:
4 units of Math
4 units of Science
4 units of Social Studies
3 units of World Languages
1 unit of Fine Arts
3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale
27 on the ACT or 1280 or higher on the SAT.
To receive a career technical honors diploma from the State of Ohio (indicated with an asterisk), students must meet the following criteria:
4 units of Math
4 units of Science
4 units of Social Studies
2 units of World Languages
4 units of Career-Technical Courses
3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale
27 on the ACT; 1280 or higher on the SAT; WorkKeys: 6 or higher on Reading for Information and 6 or higher on Applied Mathematics
Additional Assessments: earn an industry-recognized credential or achieve proficiency benchmark for appropriate Ohio Career-Technical Competency Assessment or equivalent.
PHOTO CAPTION: Winton Woods High School class of 2021 honors diplomas scholars. Photo by Drew Jackson.
Winton Woods Community Honors Seniors with Graduation Ribbons
Completing high school is an academic milestone Winton Woods City Schools looks forward to celebrating every year. The community showed their support by decorating graduation ribbons to honor the class of 2021. This is an annual tradition that has spanned nearly three decades and occurs during graduation week. Students can look forward to seeing their name adorned on a blue and green ribbon located south on Winton Road near the high school. “This is a reminder to the students that the community is proud of them. It affirms it is important to us that you graduate,” said Ribbon committee president Rogie Vollmar. These ribbons are a collaborative effort and contribution from Greenhills, Forest Park, and Springfield Township community leaders, members, and businesses. Each year, students line the street to take pictures near their ribbon with their name on it. Gold ribbons are for students who graduate with various of honors. “I’m glad we had a lot of honors this year,” said Vollmar.
Vollmar and another ribbon committee volunteer Betty Dunn begin working on the ribbons as early as January. “It is a very personal activity,” said Vollmar. Each graduate name is written by Vollmar and every ribbon is tied by Dunn. “We are particular about how they look. These ribbons are made for them to keep.” Congratulations to the class of 2021 graduates. The community celebrates this momentous achievement with you.
PHOTO CAPTION: Winton Woods Community Honors Winton Woods High School graduates with graduation ribbons. Photo by Drew Jackson.
WWHS Theater Performs Last Show in Former High School Building
And the curtain was drawn for the last time. Winton Woods High School Theater Department said their final goodbyes to their former high school auditorium also known as the David Bell Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 18. Theater and longtime students who had spent the entirety of their academic career in what is now the former high school were glad they could complete their final show at a building they had come to know and love and call a second home.
Like many Winton Woods High School students, senior and theater student Alycia McNeil was introduced to theater and the art of storytelling and performing live on stage her freshman year. “The first show I did was ‘The Wiz’ and after that I knew I wanted to do this. I loved it. I have a poster from every show I performed in. All those memories make me so happy. I grew up with these people on that stage, so although singing my last song was bittersweet and sad, I am glad I was able to spend my last moments with the people I started with who are now dear friends.”
For the last show, students performed the musical “Songs for a New World” by Jason Robert Brown accompanied by the high school orchestra. “It feels surreal,” said senior and theater student Briana James. “It did not hit me at first. I remember when I saw all these other seniors graduate and thought that is so far ahead of me. I have time but when it was the final performance and we did our bows, it hit me. It was the last time I would ever do this again with these people on this stage. In the midst of the excitement from my peers, I also got teary eyed. There is an honor of being the last group to perform on that stage but also a sadness because we are truly the last actors and actresses to perform on that stage.”
Theater Department Director and former Forest Park High School Alumni Michelle Kolowski shared with her students that it had been 32 years since she first walked onto that stage as a freshman in high school. “I saw my first theatrical production in that theater in 1983 because my siblings were a part of the musical that year, which was ‘Guys and Dolls’. It is hard to explain the impact that show had on my life. Suffice it to say I was hooked. That auditorium became my home away from home and when Larry Day offered me the opportunity to be his successor, I was afforded the chance to provide that home away from home to the next generation of theater enthusiasts. I know when other people look at the auditorium they see a space that is old and worn out. I will admit, it has seen better days. But when I look at that space, I see all of the songs that were sung, the dances that were performed, and the characters that were brought to life so to see it go is bittersweet, to say the least.” After the final bows and once the crowd had dispersed, students celebrated and created their ritual circle. A meeting where the performers, crew, and staff create a circle and share encouraging thoughts and positive comments about their peers', the show, and their performances. This meeting, being a little different, was met with tears - more of joy, as they concluded their final night under the lights together; the show will go on.
PHOTO CAPTION: Winton Woods High School Theater students and crew for the last musical in the David Bell Performing Arts Center. Shown from left to right . Photo by Drew Jackson.
WWMS Softball Girls Step Up to the Plate
Winton Woods Middle School began the softball season with fourteen seventh and eighth-grade girls, twelve of whom never played the game before. However, these young ladies continue to show they are excited and ready to step up to the plate. In 2019, Head Softball Coach Kelly Rozelle and Assistant Coach Courtney Wilson became the first coaches of the girls middle softball program - a program the district had not offered before. The team was started to create more opportunities for students and provide a head start for those who wanted to play in high school and eventually in college.
Practices begin with the girls discussing their highs and lows of the previous game, and areas of improvement, over nutritious water and snacks that are provided by the coaches. Coach Rozelle made it a priority to create a safe and open space where the girls can communicate, share and receive feedback from their teammates. “If you are doing your best that is all you can do,” said Coach Rozelle. “When you make a mistake, keep going. Once you get out of your game, it is really hard to get back. The game will continue to go on. You have to keep moving forward as well and remember your teammates are only there to help you. Shake it off and keep working as hard as you can to give your best.” The girls practice five days a week unless there is a game on Friday. Practices include working on their form, learning the game, practicing plays as a team, throwing, pitching, and batting techniques. On Saturdays, there is an optional practice at a local batting cage. “We are preparing them to play at the varsity level,” said Coach Rozelle.
Following a game, softball captain and eighth-grader Sydnee Short wrote an excellent summary of the game, and then emailed it to her Assistant Principal Adib Dixon in hopes of it being read in the morning announcements. It was. “I wanted my teammates to know they should be proud of themselves and what we have accomplished as a team,” said Short. In the email, Short specifically asked if he could say “good game and effort” and acknowledged individual players' contributions to the game. She was unsure if it would make it into the announcements so she also mentioned if he could say good job if he saw them in the halls as that would be enough too. “We did not tell her to write it. She did it all on her own,” said Coach Rozelle and Assistant Coach Wilson who wrote up their own summary of the game but kept hers after reading it. “We are extremely proud of her and the entire team, who are a sisterhood that looks out for one another. We are determined to help each other and be patient when they make mistakes; we must continue to learn and grow together, as a team.” The softball team holds a 1-3 record.
PHOTO CAPTION: Winton Woods Middle School girls softball team pose for a photo before a game shown left to right is Christine Lawson, Madison Calloway, Kyra Mays, Amariyah Stephens, Raleigh Eberhart, Nezzaryah Rice, Sydnee Short, Crisani Smith, Jayde Elahee, Kamara Burke, Jelana Whitehead, Traci Jones, Nyla Freeman, and front is Damali Siler. Photo by Drew Jackson.
Winton Woods Alum and Former Lacrosse Players Return to Coach
It was the beginning of the season for the Winton Woods High School Lacrosse team when they were told to hang up their cleats and put away their gear. Their season, like the rest of the world, had come to a sudden halt. Now with a new year, season, and fourteen members, two familiar faces have returned to the field - not as players but coaches. Warrior alumni and former lacrosse players Nigel Akalaanana, Class of ‘19, and Daris Stallworth, Class of ‘18, were both recruited by Head Lacrosse Coach Christian Twitty as students when they began the game and now as members of the staff team. “My goal is always to bring alumni back to coach,” said Coach Twitty.
Stallworth played lacrosse at Mount Saint Joseph University and had late practices. This allowed him to help with Winton Woods High School lacrosse practices. Then, one day he was offered a position to coach. The students are given opportunities to participate in summer workouts and spring clinics with Saint Joseph to prepare them to play at the collegiate level and so they can experience collegiate competition and have something to which they can aspire.
During their time at Winton Woods, they were captains and great friends. Stallworth was defensive captain and Akalaanana was a captain and three-year goalie. They earned their positions based on their strengths. “Akalaanana plays video games as a hobby. He is very focused, said Coach Twitty. Akalaanana joined the marines and came back as a marine reservist, working at a recruiting center. Coach Twitty says Akalaanana brings his military background and strong discipline. The workouts will be structured at a high pace and challenging in order to help all players succeed! Stallworth brings a funny characteristic of high intensive energy during practice. Anything that happens, if they are discouraged, he makes them laugh and it is on to the next play.
“The unique thing about lacrosse is anyone can play. There is a position for everyone on this field. Whether you have low stamina or can run for miles, there are no specific body types to be on the field. In football, they are looking for someone with weight or that has speed. In lacrosse, that does not matter.” When asked why he coaches, he used Daris and Nigel as examples. “[The reason why] is to see the students grow - from freshmen to seniors - and be able to prepare them for the next stage of life.”
WWCS Selected as a 2021 Best Communities for Music Education Award for Sixth Year
For the sixth year, Winton Woods City Schools was selected as a 2021 Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. Every year, districts around the nation are selected based on their top quality programs in the fine arts and like previous years, Winton Woods exceeded expectations. “We have a dedicated group of hard-working passionate teachers who love the students and the community. It makes a difference,” said Winton Woods High School (WWHS) Band Director Danelle Ashbrook.
At Winton Woods, students are offered music courses as early as kindergarten and can continue through high school. “We have a band, choir, and orchestra. Not all districts offer these opportunities,” said Ashbrook. “In addition to that, we have a ukelele club at the elementary school. We focus not only on the national standards but also on enrichment for our students. We offer jazz band, a capella, fiddlers, chamber music, honors classes, and musical theater.”
In a year unlike any other and with the majority of it spent online, teachers adapted quickly and learned creative ways to engage students while virtual and hybrid. In the application process, NAMM Foundation inquired how they did that. Ms. Ashbrook said she was blown away by the resources that were provided to students to keep them excited about learning music. “From note reading to kahoot games, and creating songs in a music creation software, our music staff worked very hard to keep students learning and loving music. It made me very proud.”
Three Winton Woods Seniors To Graduate with Associate Degrees
Three exceptionally hard-working Winton Woods High School students will be collecting more than a high school diploma on May 20. This incredible trio consists of Mya Jackson, Renaud Noubieptie Kamgang, and Nicolantonio Prentosito. They have much to be proud of. The trio has attained a challenging academic achievement by earning enough college credits to obtain an associate’s degree.
While some were inspired to pursue this goal from watching friends, others saw it as an opportunity to get a first-hand experience of college. “I saw a friend working on his associate’s degree while in high school, and I thought I can do that too,” said Noubieptie Kamgang. Prentosito encouraged students to take advantage of this opportunity. “It is the next step in better preparing for college,” said Prentosito, who became Miami University’s youngest student as an 11-year-old in the eighth grade. “This responsibility is up to you.”
The students mentioned how taking college courses influenced their decision when selecting their major. After taking a sociology class, Mya was so intrigued with the study of human behavior that she decided to major in sociology. “I’m looking forward to learning why people react the way they do.” Advice she would give to students is to “see if you can start taking the courses earlier, even as early as 8th grade. Get as many credits as you can and work at a pace you can handle. College work is different. It takes time,” said Jackson. Prentosito plans to double major in social justice and computer science. “I took Introduction to the Criminal Justice System and Law and the Courts, and the courses were both very interesting. I enjoyed the topics and the robust conversations. Becoming totally immersed in the classes really helped me select the field of law as a future endeavor.” When asked how Prentosito balanced his school workload, extracurriculars and life, he said, “I go to the class, pay attention, complete the homework with fidelity, and participate in extracurriculars. One thing that I can attest to is that a planner is extremely helpful. It keeps you on track to know when assignments are due.” Prentosito is a National Merit Scholar and plans to become a great lawyer.
“It feels good to almost be done,” said Noubieptie Kamgang, who started taking college courses in 2019 as a junior. “At first, I thought it was impossible, then I put my mind to it. Then, I saw my friend complete courses, and I thought I can do this, too. I’m ambitious.” Noubieptie plans to become a philanthropist. “We need each other to survive. I am who I am because of you. Life is about everyone in the world. We cannot keep moving forward while leaving others behind.” Noubieptie plans to double major in computer science and physics with a minor in international affairs. Advice he would give students is “if you want to accomplish a goal, figure out how you’re going to get there and focus.”
Winton Woods City Schools is extremely proud of these students and congratulates them on their success, not only as scholars, but individuals who have grown, persevered, and overcome challenges while becoming future global leaders. “We are a district that looks forward to awarding students who work hard in the classroom,” said Superintendent Anthony G. Smith. “Congratulations to the talented trio, Mya Jackson, Renaud Noubieptie Kamgang, and Nicolantonio Prentosito. You are truly ambassadors for Winton Woods City Schools. We look forward to having more students earn associate's degrees in the near future.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Shown from left to right is Nicolantonio Prentosito, Mya Jackson, and Renaud Noubieptie Kamgang. Photos by Drew Jackson.
Weekly Warrior Highlights
Greenhills-Forest Park Kiwanis Club surprised each third-grade student with a free book accompanied by Superintendent Anthony G. Smith and Officer Rebecca Davis. #CultureThatEmpowers