Compiled by Sue Kiesewetter and William Croyle
Name: Amanda Stevenson
Her story: Amanda, 18, was the valedictorian out of about 50 students in this year's senior class at Bellevue High School. Never afraid to speak her mind, she was known to write some controversial editorials for the school newspaper, including one on teachers in her school who were not qualified to teach the subjects they were teaching.
Best memory of high school: Senior prom. "It was our last time together. We have a small class, so we all know each other and hang out together. Most of us have known each other since kindergarten."
Person who most inspired you: "My older half-sister, Paula. She was in a serious car wreck in college and had to drop out. She got a job and said she'd go back to college if I went. We're both starting in August."
Plans for immediate future: Will attend Northern Kentucky University to major in education.
In 10 years, I will: "Hopefully be teaching back at Bellevue, having a husband and kids and living in this community."
Quote: "I was voted by my class as "'Most Likely to Become a Bellevue High School Teacher.'"
Name: Tim Broering
Community: Fort Thomas
His story: Tim, 18, was the valedictorian at Newport Central Catholic High School, but it wasn't his only top finish this year. After various lower-profile roles in the school play his first three years, Tim landed the leading role his senior year as Capt. Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, performing four nights before four sold-out audiences.
Best memory of high school: Performing in the school play his senior year. "It was a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun," he said.
Person who most inspired you: "Probably my parents because of how hard they work raising me and my six brothers. It's really got to be a load on them."
Plans for immediate future: Will attend the University of Louisville to study mechanical engineering.
In 10 years: "I hope to be an aerospace engineer. I have two great-aunts I visit in Texas a lot and I could see myself living down there. I'd also like to get married and have a family, but I'll have to wait and see if that happens."
Quote: "I'm going to miss high school. I'm a little nervous about going to college, but I'm looking forward to it."
Name: Rachel Rhyne
Her story: Rachel, 18, was the valedictorian at Heritage Academy in Florence, despite a senior year that she called "the toughest year of my life." One of Rachel's best friends passed away in October, and one of her grandfathers died three months later. "But I believe it just made me stronger," she said.
Best memory of high school: Senior trip to Disney World in April.
Person who most inspired you: "My grandpa, who we call Daddy Rhyne. He's just the happiest man I've ever seen and puts everybody else before him."
Plans for immediate future: Will attend Northern Kentucky University to study ballet.
In 10 years, I will: "be settled down with a husband and kids. I also see myself doing a lot of traveling."
Quote: "It's weird. I never saw myself as a valedictorian, but it's cool."
Name: Liz Fossett
Her story: Liz, 18, was the valedictorian at Holmes High School. While school issues were always a priority, she also kept up with the world around her - a step toward her dream of becoming an ambassador. "Politics affects you so much and ... it scares me how many people aren't interested. I guess I want to change things."
Best memory of high school: Raising $1,000 in the last two years for Bethany House Services in Cincinnati.
Person who most inspired you: Holmes history teacher Joan Gregory. "She's really involved in the community and up on world news. She raised my consciousness of what goes on in society and expected us to know what was going on."
Plans for immediate future: Will attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and major in political science.
In 10 years, I see myself: "Probably practicing law and doing something politically active, maybe working on a campaign. The family will come in maybe 15 years."
Quote: "I have a real desire to get to Washington, D.C. I won't live here (in Northern Kentucky) forever, but I'll probably end up retiring here."
Name: Joseph "Junior" Bataille
Community: Tate Township
His story: Junior, 18, was valedictorian at Felicity-Franklin High School, which had 57 graduates this year. A native of Haiti, Junior is the second youngest of seven children. His father is in Haiti; he and a younger sister have lived with members of their church, Bethel United Methodist, since their mother's death in a deer-car accident nearly two years ago.
Best memory of high school: "A bunch of small things - hanging out with friends, playing Halo (video game) with friends."
Person who most inspired me: "My mom. She was someone who knew what she wanted and trusted in God. She encouraged me to follow God and everything else will just fall in place. So far she hasn't been wrong."
Plans for immediate future: Attend Duke University in the fall, majoring in psychology and speech communication.
In 10 years: "I'll probably be doing some mission work with youth or children - probably in the United States."
Quote: "I'd like to go back to Haiti some day but I'm not sure when."
Name: Brent Watson
Community: Bright, Ind.
His story: Brent, 18, was one of 14 seniors in East Central High School's 280-member Class of 2004 who achieved a 4.0 grade point average. Brent's room is decorated with posters of fighter planes, and fighters hanging from fishing line, simulating a dogfight, a reminder of his ambition: to become a fighter pilot.
Best memory of high school: "At the senior awards night, when they announced my appointment to the Air Force Academy, I heard everyone cheering for me and it got really loud. That made the whole process (of applying) worth it."
Person who most inspired you: "Glen Barker, my high school math teacher. He helped me through the challenges of calculus. Math is something I'm going to need whatever I do and he helped me through the hard times.''
Plans for the immediate future: Leaves June 30 for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where he hopes to major in aeronautical engineering.
In 10 years: "I'll be a fighter pilot serving my country. Ever since I was a kid I was interested in the military."
Quote: "Kindergarten was rough for me - the pasting and cutting. The pasting made calculus look like a joke. I still haven't mastered it (pasting) yet!"
Name: Chensi Ouyang
Community: Deerfield Township
Her story: Chensi, 17, was the salutatorian out of about 467 seniors at Mason High School. A native of China, Chensi has been in the United States about 10 years, the last four in the Mason Schools. As she's gotten older, Chensi says her appreciation for her own - and other - cultures keeps increasing.
Best memory of high school: Marching band. "On Fridays we always wore our show shirts: black with white dates. The old high school was overcrowded and you would see all these people in black shirts. There was a sense of unity and pride."
Person who most inspired you: "I really don't think there is just one person. Everyone I've been around has influenced me a great deal - my parents, my teachers...My mom tells me when you see all these people around you, you should strive to find out what makes each person special."
Plans for immediate future: Research assistant at the University of Cincinnati this summer, plans to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall where she will be a pre-med major.
In 10 years, I will: "be a resident. I'm leaning toward a specialization in internal medicine."
Quote: "A lot of people might think history is old but it really is a part of what you are. Ground yourself in history. It makes up so much of what you are."
Name: Kristal Dobbins
Community: Liberty Township
Her story: Kristal, 18, was valedictorian at Lakota West High School, which had about 460 graduates this year. The youngest of four high achievers, Kristal is the first valedictorian in her family; her older sister was in the first class to graduate from Lakota West.
Best memory of high school: Eating lunch with friends. "We've been eating together since sophomore year. We laugh a lot. It takes us forever to eat our lunch."
Person who most influenced you: Brother, Kenneth, and mom, Gayle. "Growing up I spent a lot of time with my brother. Whenever he said something was cool, I thought it was cool. We fought a lot when I was little. My mom is my best friend. We can talk and shop and hang out."
Plans for immediate future: Will attend Rose Hulman School of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., majoring in software engineering
In 10 years: "I'll be in a little house on a beach tucked away somewhere writing. Any beach is a good beach as long as it's a warm beach."
Quote: "I really take pride in my education. I've been in Lakota my entire educational career and I think they've done a really good job."
Name: Cassie Diesel
Her story: Cassie, 18, was salutatorian for the 98 graduates at Deer Park Junior/Senior High School. Her father died when Cassie was in fourth grade, and she helped her mom with her three brothers, including her twin, even when times were tough.
Best memory of high school: One particular soccer game. "We were going to a soccer game when my friend realized she had her shorts on backwards. We went to the sidelines with a blanket and held it so she could switch her shorts around."
Person who most inspired you: "My mom. She's always been there for me. We've gotten close. She's so proud of me."
Plans for immediate future: Continue working at Lazarus; attend the College of Mount St. Joseph in the fall, where she plans to major in psychology.
In 10 years, I will: "Hopefully be done with school. I'm not sure what I want to do with psychology. I'd like to work with people who have eating disorders or with young children.
Quote: "My mom always made me push harder. Sometimes it did get a little stressful but it was good for me. I knew subconsciously it would benefit me."
Name: Josh Nohle
Community: Price Hill
His story: Josh, 18, Josh was valedictorian at Elder, which had 239 graduates. He and his twin sister, Katie, attended St. Lawrence School through the fifth grade but was home-schooled for grades 6-8 before returning to the Catholic system for high school. Josh says the members of the St. John Bosco Youth Group encouraged him in his faith and music the last several years.
Best memory of high school: "The craziness that went on at band camp. One day we put out the mattresses and started wrestling. We hit against the wall and left a butt print in the dorm room wall where we were staying."
Person who most inspired you: "My dad, Rick. He always encouraged me in my education... he's probably the most intelligent person I know."
Plans for the immediate future: Major in information systems at the University of Cincinnati. Hopes to get a masters degree in quantitative analysis.
In 10 years: "I won't be too rich. If I do make money I hope I don't keep all of it. I've done a lot of service in high school but I feel I should be doing more. If I do get a high-paying job I would like to do some philanthropy."
Quote: "My whole reason to get a good education was so I could beat my dad in Jeopardy. He still kicks my butt."
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