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The 16 finalists pose for a photo after being announced to the families and the members of the Cotillion. The finalists now prepare for the upcoming ball in February.

Sixteen high school students from around the area were recognized on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Cotillion for Achievement ceremony at the Pony Express Museum.

The students were Rylee Alden, Lafayette High School; Alexandra Bowie, Savannah High School; Jacqueline Carlson, St. Joseph Christian High School; Anna Carter, St. Joseph Christian High School; Haleigh McCamy, Central High School; LeeAnn Nordstorm, Central High School; Allyah Smith, St. Joseph Christian High School; Juliann Smith, LeBlond High School; Cruz Becerra, Central High School; Carson Gaddie, Central High School; Cameron Gilmore, Central High School; Arsh Gupta, Central High School; Trevor Madison, North Andrew High School; Mason Murphy, Lafayette High School; Michael Tieman, Central High School; and Wyman Wheeler, North Andrew High School.

The Cotillion for Achievement recognizes these students as outstanding students at school and in the community.

One of the founders and board members Vikki Crouch said that having the ceremony and the Cotillion is great because it highlights the students.

“I think it’s important because it honors outstanding youth for doing the right thing,” Crouch said. “These are youth that have excelled in their school work and academics but also they’re involved in their schools in a leadership capacity. But they’re also involved in the community. So these are well rounded, outstanding youth.”

The ceremony began with several members of the board speaking to the families about what the next few months would entail. After the finalists were recognized, they were handed personalized binders explaining in more detail what they should expect.

Mason Murphy is a senior at Lafayette High School and feels very honored to be a finalist.

“It really is quite an honor because these are the cream of the crop out of the entire city,” Murphy said. “I think it’s important to honor people in the community who have a high level of achievement among their peers.”

Finalists will do personal interviews in January with judges. In February, they will participate in the annual ball. By the end of the school year, scholarships will be given out and two members will be selected as Distinguished Members of the Cotillion.

Juliann Smith is a senior at Bishop LeBlond High School and thinks that the Cotillion for Achievement is great for the community and the students.

“It just promotes going above and beyond,” Smith said. “It really promotes excellence and stepping up and stepping out of your box, even as a high schooler.”

Zoe Jones can be reached

at zoe.jones@newspressnow.com.