Top students from Berkeley, Dorchester counties Class of 2014 plan for the future

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The past couple of weeks have been filled with celebrations and goodbyes for Berkeley County and Dorchester County members of the Class of 2014. Here are the valedictorians of public and private schools in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, listed in alphabetical order of school.

James Chandler Gonzales Ashley Ridge High School




College Plans: North Carolina State University

Career plans: Work at a tech company like Google

School involvement: Numerous honor societies, Math Team, concert jazz band, marching band (drum major), Key Club, PLTW Engineering Team.

Family: Parents Mike Gonzales and Lynda Grossman; brothers Jason Gonzales and J.P. Gonzales

Message to fellow classmates: No matter your future, don't forget. Don't forget the lessons you learned, the friends you made, the lives you impacted. Don't forget you will always be a Swampfox.

Bryce Floyd Kunkle Berkeley High School




College plans: Clemson University Honors College

Career Plans: Biomedical engineer or doctor

School involvement: Varsity football, varsity baseball, Beta Club, Palmetto Boys State Delegate, musician.

Family: Parents Terry Kunkle and Nadine Kunkle; siblings Michelle Kunkle and Evan Kunkle

Message to fellow classmates: Hard work is the shortcut to success. Stay focused on what matters and never forget to have fun and make memories.

Ashley McCarthy Berkeley Middle College


College plans: University of South Carolina

Career plans: Criminal prosecutor

School involvement: Volleyball, softball, soccer, National Honors Society and Beta Club

Family: Parents David McCarthy and Lorie McCarthy; sister Marissa McCarthy

Message to fellow classmates: As we leave high school and enter into college, there will be change. The challenges will be greater, the work will be harder, but the success at the end will be even more rewarding.

Glenda Faye West Cane Bay High School




College plans: Ohio State University

Career plans: Social worker/nonprofit work

School involvement: Marching Band: assistant drum major, band captain, high brass section leader; JROTC: Flight Commander, Operations Squadron Commander; National Honor Society, All County Jazz Band, Mu Alpha Theta, Winterguard, Dance Team, Mock Trial, Cobra to Cobra Club, Junior Board

Family: Parents David West and Diana West, Angie West, Kerri Marinucci and Vincent Marinucci; siblings David-Alex West, Rebecca Ellis, Dustin West, Lance Chabotte and Alyssa Yones

Message to fellow classmates: It's time to learn when to speak our minds and when to let our minds speak for themselves.

Aalaiyah Lawrencia Prioleau Cross High School




College plans: University of South Carolina

Career plans: Financial manager

School involvement: Student council vice president; Future Business Leaders of America; senior class vice president; Upward Bound, Scholars Bowl co-captain.

Family: Douglas Prioleau and Margie Prioleau; Ariana.

Message to fellow classmates: Continue to strive for success and don't let anything stop you.

Pranab Sachithanandan Fort Dorchester High School




College plans: The University of Texas at Austin

Career plans: To be a chemical engineer in the field of either nanotechnology or sustainable energy.

School involvement: FIRST Robotics Team 342 (team captain), Math Team (co-founder/co-president), varsity Swim Team, Beta Club, Green Club, Model UN.

Family: Parents Haresh Sachithanandan and Padma Haresh; brother Thillak Sachithanandan.

Message To Fellow Classmates: I try not to take life too seriously. Hard work, dedication and having goals is definitely essential, but life is too short to be busy worrying, so make time for friends, family and fun while you do your part in helping the world.

Savanna Leanne Richmond

Goose Creek High School


College Plans: Clemson University

Career plans: Large animal veterinarian

School involvement: President of National Honor Society; Mu Alpha Theta; School Counseling Advisory Council

Family: Parents Will Richmond and Rhonda Richmond; sister Samantha Richmond; brother William Richmond

Message to fellow classmates: Although perfection may not be possible, excellence is something to strive for daily.

Megan Renee Wright Hanahan High School




College plans: University of South Carolina Capstone Scholar

Career plans: Pharmacist

School involvement: Varsity softball, International Club, Renaissance Committee, Prom Committee, football videographer, QUEST Team, Elite year-round travel softball, Little Hawks Counselor, Summerville Miracle League, East Cooper Meals of Wheels, National Honor Society, Beta Club.

Family: Parents Mitch Wright and Melanie Wright; siblings Mallory Wright and Morgan Wright

Message to fellow classmates: "It is our choices that show us what we are, far more than our abilities." (J.K. Rowling)

Brittany Cook Northwood Academy


College plans: Wofford College

Career plans: Management consultant

School involvement: President of National Honor Society; Senior Beta Club, varsity cross country, varsity basketball, debate team, math team, Quiz Bowl captain, Spanish Club.

Family: Parents John Cook and Ann Cook; brother Johnny Cook.

Message to fellow classmates: Do not take yourself too seriously. It is OK to be a perfectionist but one should not let it ruin one's life. As we strive for greatness, failure is inevitable and must also be embraced. The important thing is to move on from it.

Sean Carter Pinewood Preparatory School


College Plans: Olin College of Engineering

Career Plans: I plan to develop new types of computers.

School Involvement: High School Quiz Bowl, Robotics Team, Math Team, Chess Club and ping-pong.

Family: Parents Anne Gleason and Paul Carter; our exchange student, Chul.

Message to fellow classmates: Live long and prosper.

Savanna Taylor St. John's Christian Academy




College plans: University of South Carolina

Career plans: Degree in business

School involvement: Palmetto Girls State, student council member, Beta Club officer, class representative

Family: Parents Ed Taylor and Inda Taylor

Message to fellow classmates: Hard work pays off. Stay dedicated, stay committed. Don't become distracted by unimportant things.

Matthew Brett Alford Stratford High School




College plans: Clemson University

Career plans: Research and development

School involvement: Captain of the cross country and track teams, co-editor of the Excalibur yearbook, National Honor Society, French National Honor Society

Family: Parents Gary Alford and Diana Alford; siblings Hannah Alford and Emma Alford

Message to fellow classmates: Never give up on your dreams! Keep your eyes on the goal!

Taylor Elizabeth Powell Summerville High School


College Plans: Charleston Southern University

Career Plans: Degree in biomedical engineering; career in designing new prosthetics and technology for amputees.

School Involvement: Four-year varsity softball player, National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Family: Parents Tony Mendez and Amy Mendez

Message to Fellow Classmates: My fellow classmates, I challenge you to seize the moment, cherish the moment, and simply live in the moment. It's great to reflect on the past and look toward the future, but right now ... simply be anything and everything. May God bless you in all you decide to be.

Austin James Rentzel Timberland High School


College plans: University of South Carolina

Career plans: Sports medicine

Family: Parents Gary Rentzel and Teresa Rentzel, sisters Julie Rentzel, Katie Rentzel and Jennifer Rentzel

School involvement: Wrestling accomplishments 7AA All Region Team 2013 and 2014, lower state 4th place in 2013, three-year letterman in wrestling, football and track, member of the 2011 championship football team.

Message to fellow classmates: Congratulations! You have completed this chapter in your life and it's now time to start the next. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength"(NIV). Keep God first in life and the next chapter of your life will be just as good, if not better, than the last.

Ashlen Ashton Woodland High School


College plans: Lander University

Career plans: Neurobiology-genetics

School involvement: Volunteering, journalism class, National Honor Society

Family: Lauren Avants, Cassandra Avants, Gene Roggenkamp.

Message to fellow classmates: Wonder about the future, but try not to get too anxious. Live, laugh and play as hard as you work.

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