Vienna Optimists honor high-schoolers

2018 Olympic hopeful Veronica Day (left) and Mike Fitzella (right), vice president for youth of the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna, pose April 20 with winners of the club's 2016 T.R. Cook Youth Awards of Excellence. This year's winners were Calvin Krist, Casey Kendall and Michele Wang of Oakton High School; Claire Heiden and Joey Welsh of George C. Marshall High School;and Neal Going of James Madison High School. (Photo contributed)

The Optimist Club of Greater Vienna on April 20 held its annual T.R. Cook Youth Awards of Excellence – now named after long time member and former president, T.R. Cook – at James Madison High School’s Warhawk Hall.

The club presents the awards every year to rising high-school seniors for six areas of excellence: academics, citizenship, fine arts, science, sports and technology.

Eighty-eight students from Oakton, James Madison and George C. Marshall high schools were nominated this year by career-center specialists at their respective  schools. This year’s winners, listed by categories of excellence, were: Academics – Calvin Krist, Oakton High; Citizenship – Claire Heiden, Marshall High; Fine Arts – Neal Going, Madison High; Science – Joey Welsh, Marshall High; Sports – Casey Kendall, Oakton  High; and Technology – Michele Wang, Oakton High.

In addition, Madison High School’s Veronica Day, a 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic Team hopeful in the skeleton event, spoke about her experiences and urged the students present to be willing to pursue their interests, try new pursuits and not fear failure.

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