Exchange Club Honors Teachers, Students of the Year

Parents, teachers and school board members joined the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands Friday to honor students and teachers who have had a lasting impact in our community.

Amy Burger, Deena Gonzalez, Todd Paquette, Judy Boone and Mandee Menefee were named Teachers of the Year by Exchange Club President Patrick Brown.

Teacher of the Year Awards went to Deena Gonzalez of Aiken Elementary, Mandee Menefee of Moss Haven, Judy Boone of Wallace Elementary, Amy Burger of White Rock and Todd Paquette of Lake Highlands High.

Katie Gray and Colt Brock were named Exchange Club Students of the Year by VP-Youth Robert Walne (left) and President Patrick Brown.

Youth of the Year were Katie Gray and Colt Brock.

Exchange Club President Patrick Brown presents ACE Awards to Osazuwa Aikhionbare and Michelle Vazquez

A.C.E. Awards (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) went to Michelle Vazquez and Osazuwa Aikhionbare.

The Club will host their annual scholarship breakfast next Friday at LHUMC at 7 a.m. to present college scholarships to outstanding and hardworking Wildcats.

Students of the Month -December 2017

Exchange  Club of Lake Highlands members honored exceptional students from Lake Highlands High School Friday and celebrated the teens’ achievements and grit.

LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich, Javar Duckett, Avery Vaquera, Carson Brown, Nora Balli and ECLH VP Robert Walne

Nori Balli and Carson Brown were named Students of the Month for December, while Avery Vaquera and Javar Duckett received the Character Counts Award.

Balli dances with the Highlandette drill team, sings with the choir and volunteers as a Peer Helper. She is a leader in Mu Alpha Theta, serving as their secretary, and she teaches Sunday school at St. Thomas Aquinas. She’s headed to UT-Austin and plans to become a pediatric cardiologist.

Brown, a member of the City of Dallas Youth Commission, sings with LH’s show choir, Espree. Brown runs cross country and earned a spot in National Honor Society. He’ll study advertising at UT.

Vaquera will attend University of North Texas to study graphic design and computer programming. Already becoming well-known in the gaming world, she’s working on a YouTube channel, Instagram and Twitch account to build her brand.

Duckett manages the tennis team and dances as a Wildcat Wrangler, and he says his mentor is David Silva, father of deceased fellow teammate Austin Silva. He recently ran a half-marathon with David. Duckett will study business at Texas A&M before going to law school.

Congratulations students, and thank you Exchange Club!


Students of the Month

Exchange Club VP Robert Walne, Zhanirina Hall, Matthew Hughes and LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich

Exchange Club of Lake Highlands members recognized four outstanding Lake Highlands High School students Friday for their accomplishments and actions both inside and outside of the classroom.

Zhanirina Hall and Matthew Hughes received Character Counts Awards, and Katie Gray and Jacob Seddelmeyer were named Students of the Month.

Zhanirina is the daughter of Shalon Hall, and Matthew is the son of David and Beverly Hughes. Both students received high praise from LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich.

Katie, daughter of Dawn and Andy Gray, serves as drum major for the Wildcat marching band. Seddelmeyer, son of Jonathon and Michelle Seddelmeyer, swims on the Wildcat swim team.

Exchange Club VP Robert Walne, Katie Gray, Jacob Seddelmeyer and LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich

The Exchange Club recognizes four high-achieving students each month, culminating in their annual scholarship presentation each May. This year’s Oktoberfest fundraiser earned more than $100,000, resulting in more money for scholarships and other community projects by the club.

Youth-of-the-Month and Character Counts for October

Exchange Club of Lake Highlands members recognized outstanding students from Lake Highlands High School at their weekly meeting Friday.

Robert Walne, VP of Youth for the Club, presented Tamdan Khuu and Preston Eggert with Character Counts Awards.

Tamdan came to America from Vietnam 4 years ago with her parents, Thuyguynh Ngo and Tan Khuu. She hopes to study nursing at Texas Women University. Tamdan is interested in photography and says she’d love to travel the world. If she could go back in time, she would advise her freshman self “not to be lazy,” and says she’s looking forward to finishing her senior year and beginning the next chapter.

Preston Eggert, the son of Mark and Linda, is a member of the Wildcat gymnastics team and Espree show choir. He enjoys writing songs and making films and is considering Belmont University, OU or UNT to study film or media arts. “I love to tell a story,” says Preston. “Visual storytelling is a passion of mine, and I love to create music videos or short films for my songs.”

Rachel Obenhaus and Luca Gisellu were named Youth of the Month for October.

Rachel, the daughter of Stacy and Rebecca Obenhaus, serves as stage manager for LHHS performances including plays, musicals and Dette shows. She considers leadership and helping others her strongest traits and hopes to attend UT. She enjoys theater and cooking and says the best advice she’s received is “take the initiative.” She would advise her freshman self to “be more confident in who you are.”

Luca, son of Jeanne-Marie and Salvatore Gisellu, plays on the Wildcat football team and dances with the Wranglers. He hopes to study business at OU or UT then go on to medical school to become a radiologist. Japan is on his travel bucket list, and the best advice he’s received is to “take pride in everything he does.” He would tell his freshman self to “hit the weight room and stay on his grades.”

LHHS Principal Dr. Joshua Delich, Preston Eggert, Tamdan Khuu, Rachel Obenhaus, Luca Gisellu and Exchange Club’s Robert Walne

September Character Counts & Youth-of-the-Month

Exchange Club of Lake Highlands presented awards to LHHS students Friday. Shown are: LHHS Principal Dr. Josh Delich, Dominique Conway, Imani Johnson, Colt Brock and Exchange Club VP Robert Walne. Not pictured: Victor Maya.

Thank you all that showed up last Friday at Lake Highlands High School to honor our Character Counts and Youth of the Month awards.

Youth of the Year Awards

The Exchange club of Lake Highlands announced its annual Youth of the

Year Awards at Lake Highlands High School at its meeting on May 5. These are selected from Youth of the Month recipients named throughout the year.

 The selections are based on academic achievement, school and community activities, and character. The winners for 2017 are–


Catherine Bryant  is ranked No 6 out of a class of 567. She has been involved in numerous school activities.  She plans to attend Auburn University and her long term goal is to be an orthopedic surgeon.  Her parents are Graham and Ellen Bryant of Dallas.


Kevin Lieb is ranked No 11 in the Senior Class.  He is a National Merit finalist and

is also active in many school organizations. Kevin is an Eagle Scout and plans to attend Texas A&M to major in aeronautical engineering.  He is the son of Mike and

Ann Lieb of Dallas.


Both received plaques  and $1,000 college scholarship awards.  Catherine has been

selected to enter the Texas District of Exchange Club’s Youth of the Year competition.

Youth of Year

Pictured are Dr. Jeanie Stone, RISD Superintendent, Catherine Bryant, Kevin Lieb, and Frank Miller, Principal of Lake Highlands High School.

ACE Breakfast, Teacher Recognition and Youth of the Year

ACE and Youth of the Year

A.C.E. Awardees and Youth of the Year | Left to Right-Rebuma Kedir – A.C.E. Awards, Karla Ruiz – A.C.E Awards, Peyton Cabaniss – Youth of the Year, Mark Gaarwood – Youth of the Year

The ECLH gives 8 Youth-of-the-Month awards during our calendar year, and the Youth-of-the-Year (YOY) is chosen from among those to represent our club at the local, state and national level of Exchange.

YOY—An award designed to recognize industrious high school students who have high levels of academic achievement while also demonstrating leadership/involvement/participation and a willing desire to serve others in their school, community and beyond.

A.C.E. – “Accepting the Challenge of Excellence”: These awards are given to students who have overcome adversity and have achieved positive outcomes during their HS careers. It is a national Exchange Club program and a national winner is selected.

Teachers of the Year

teachers of the year

Teachers of the Year Left to Right: Cecilia Whitham – Northlake Elementary, James Bradanese – Stults Road Elementary, Alexandra Hines – Forest Lane Academy, Lilana Castillo – Audelia Creek Elementary, Erin Chesal – Lake Highlands Freshman Center, Cecilia Whitham – Northlake Elementary, Lisa Steward – Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet, Lauren Janco – Forest Lane Academy

April Youth of the Month and Character Counts

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands presented monthly student awards for April to four Lake Highlands High School students at its meeting on April 8th. These will be the final awards for the 2015/2016 school year.

Character Counts awards were presented to Christopher Polito and Lanie Jackson. These awards recognize students who display strong character traits, serve as role models to other students, and participate in school and community activities. They are selected by LHHS teachers and staff. Christopher is the son of Nicholas and Sunny Polito. He is an honor student and a member of the National Honor Society. He is a member of the Mens Choir and has performed in the school musicals productions. He is also on the school video production team. He plans to attend Emerson College in Boston and major in media studies. Lainey is the daughter of Judy Craigo. She was unable to attend the event and will be introduced to the club at a future meeting.

Youth of the Month awards were presented to Peyton Cabaniss and

Picture--LHHS Principal Frank Miller, Christopher Polito, Peyton Cabaniss, Brandon Kaylor, and Exchange Club VP Chris Brown.

Picture–LHHS Principal Frank Miller, Christopher Polito, Peyton Cabaniss, Brandon Kaylor, and Exchange Club VP Chris     Brown.

APril CC

Lanie Jackson, April Character Counts

Brandon Kaylor. These awards recognize students who are in the top 20% of their class who articipate in student government, school publications, music, theatre, athletics, or other activities. They are also selected by teachers and staff. Peyton is Number 4 in the Senior Class She is the daughter of Kevin and Carol Cabaniss. She a member of the Highlandette Drill team, and President of the A Cappella Choir. Peyton is a member of the National Honor Society and The Girls Service League. She attends Wilshire Baptist Church where she is in the Student Ministry and choir. She plans to attend Baylor University to major in Business.

Brandon is the son of Len and Patti Kaylor. He is also an honor student and enjoys his English and social studies classes. He has been a member of the school football and wrestling teams. Branson has also been a Dallas Mavericks ball boy. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas to major in Business.

Each student received a plaque and a gift of North Park Gold. Letters from teachers told about the Character Counts recipients. The Youth of the Month recipients read their essay on “Responsible Citizenship”. They will be eligible for the club’s Youth of the Year award, Exchange District award, and the National Exchange Club Youth of the Year award.  Over the past 20 years, the Exchange Club has presented monthly awards, and Scholarship awards to over 1,000 LHHS students.

March Character Counts and Youth of the Month Awards


LHHS Principal Frank Miller, Braden Weitzel, Summer Brown, Ugochi Uche, Justin Yarbrough and ECLH VP Brent Basden

Reprinted from The Advocate.

The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands recognized outstanding Wildcats in February and March and presented them with plaques and gifts of NorthPark gold. Ugochi Uch and Justin Yarbrough were named Students of the Month for March, and Summer Brown and Braden Weitzel received Character Counts Awards.

Ugochi is the daughter of Comfort and Christian Uche. Born in Nigeria, she has a 4.1 GPA and is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council and Mu Alpha Theta math honor society. She volunteers at North Texas Food Bank and teaches Sunday School at Mount Bethel Church. She hopes to attend Texas Tech or UNT to study biology.

Justin is the son of Teresa Rentshler and Jay Yarbrough. He also participates in NHS, Student Council and Mu Alpha Theta and is a member of the Wildcat golf team. Justin is active in Young Life and serves as a summer counselor at church camp. He will major in engineering in the fall.

Summer is the daughter of Kimberly Brown. She is on the Wildcat softball team and hopes to play college softball at UTD or Kennesaw State. She aspires to be a math or chemistry teacher. Summer attends North Highlands Baptist Church, where she teaches Vacation Bible School.

Braden is the son of Ken and Celia Weitzel. An honor student, he performs as part of the pop choir group, Espree, and with LHHS’ theatre program. He plans to attend Trinity University to study music.

Congratulations everyone!

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