Meet the Presidents

by Mary Beth Wallace

Student presidents are recognized as individuals gifted with vision who can lead their peers to a bigger and brighter future. They are held to the highest standard of integrity, and they juggle extra responsibilities all while making sure they aren’t late to class. The 30 young men and women here are just some of the many chosen to represent their student bodies in the Chattanooga area. Accomplished in academics, athletics, and community service, they’re busy spearheading endeavors that will echo throughout the halls of their high schools and beyond.

Noah Sims Heritage High School Senior Class PresidentNoah Sims

Heritage High School, Senior Class President

Favorite extracurricular activity? Playing on Heritage’s football team the past four years has been a great experience. Win or lose, I know I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime. Impact you want to make on the world? I went on a school leadership trip to Nicaragua and helped build a playground for the community’s school. This trip helped me realize that I want to impact my world by bringing love and support to those in need. Lessons learned from leadership? Listening to the people that elect you is the most important part of decision-making. Where would you travel? Washington D.C. I would visit all of the museums and memorials, as well as the government buildings where our country’s leadership is conducted. What do you want to accomplish in life? Graduate from college, become a great father (like mine), and support my family through hard work.

Hannah Moody Collegedale Academy Student Association PresidentHannah Moody 

Collegedale Academy, Student Association President

Impact you want to make on the world? I want to be known as the person who gave back. It’s my dream to start a medical clinic in a third world country. Any education/career goals? I plan to attend medical school and become a doctor. Lessons learned from leadership? I used to think it was my biggest priority to please everyone, but I’ve realized that is impossible. Putting forth your best effort is all you can do, but sometimes that will not be enough for people. Person you admire most? My parents, because they teach me valuable life lessons not just through their words, but through their actions. Where would you travel? Switzerland, to hike the Swiss Alps and explore the mountain towns. What do you want to accomplish in life? I hope to honor God, pursue a successful career, and raise a happy family.

Christian Thomas Brainerd High School Senior Class PresidentChristian Thomas 

Brainerd High School, Senior Class President

Proudest accomplishment? Being named “Best Debater” in the UTC-sponsored Links Debate Competition last year. Favorite extracurricular activity? Running for my school’s cross country and track team, because it taught me dedication and a strong work ethic. Any education/career goals? I plan to acquire my master’s and doctorate degrees in political science; additionally, I plan to serve as an officer in the Army with the ultimate goal of being President of the United States. Lessons learned from leadership? Everyone can contribute positively, and we should not give up on others. Person you admire most? President Obama; he spoke from his heart, admitted his mistakes, and fought for what he believed in. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to become fluent in four languages, demonstrate to others that they can accomplish their dreams by putting forth the effort, and become President of the United States to help make this world better for all.

Nathen Vander Wilt Chattanooga Central High School Senior Class PresidentNathen Vander Wilt 

Chattanooga Central High School, Senior Class President

Proudest accomplishment? I went to state in cross country two years in a row. Favorite extracurricular activity? Running cross country or playing soccer. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to make every day the best and most awesome it can be. I also want to put a smile on at least five people’s faces a day. Any education/career goals? I want to attend college to study youth ministry. With that degree, I would go into the youth ministry field at a church wherever I’m called to go. Person you admire most? My dad, because he’s one of the smartest people I know. What do you want to accomplish in life? First, I want to graduate from college and get my degree. Second, I want to have a good job that I enjoy and get paid well in. Third, I want to run a marathon sometime in my life.

Samantha Pena Tyner Academy Senior Student Body PresidentSamantha Pena 

Tyner Academy, Senior Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? I enjoy helping others, so one of my biggest accomplishments was when I tutored a student who then passed his algebra test with an almost perfect score. Favorite extracurricular activity? I’m involved in clubs like Beta Club, the National Honor Society, and the yearbook staff. Any education/career goals? I plan to graduate from Maryville College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and be the first generation in my family to graduate from college. Lessons learned from leadership? Leadership has taught me to be humble, stand my ground, and never take things personally – at the end of the day, you cannot make everyone happy. Person you admire most? My mom has been a big influence in my life. Through her example, I’ve learned that anything is possible. Where would you travel? I would love to travel to countries like Iraq, China, and Mexico to help those in need.

Alex Robinson Baylor School Honor Council ChairAlex Robinson 

Baylor School, Honor Council Chair

Proudest accomplishment? Being elected to the Baylor Honor Council for four years by my classmates and being trusted enough to lead the council as chair this year. Favorite extracurricular activity? Playing football has provided me with a physical and mental challenge that I have yet to find in other ways. Any education/career goals? I hope to graduate from college with a degree in political science/international relations, and then enter into a career in public service. Person you admire most? My mother – she is by far the most resilient and outstanding person I know. I am endlessly thankful for everything she has done for me. Where would you travel? I think it would be an interesting adventure to hike the Appalachian Trail. What do you want to accomplish in life? I hope to make the world a better place, visit and explore every national park in America, and forge a sword.

Hannah Engelbrecht Grace Baptist Academy Student Body PresidentHannah Engelbrecht 

Grace Baptist Academy, Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? Writing my first book. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and I have almost completed my first novel. Favorite extracurricular activity? Being a part of my school’s spring play. Everyone makes it so much fun. Impact you want to make on the world? To bring joy and love to as many as I can while being a light for Christ in the world. Any education/career goals? Go to UTC and major in dietetics as a pre-med student, then go to medical school to become a pediatrician. Person you admire most? My mother. She is the perfect example of kindness, patience, and love. Where would you travel? My goal is to travel to six continents (Antarctica still pending) to see as much of the world as I can. What do you want to accomplish in life? To travel, have a family, and be happy.

Torr Coulthard Cleveland High School Student Government President Class President Torr Coulthard 

Cleveland High School, Student Government President/Class President

Proudest accomplishment? Being elected by my class as SGA president. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to be the leader that people look up to for the example I set. I want to inspire others to do good, serve others, and explore the world. Any education/career goals? I dream of either becoming the CEO of a hospital or getting a position on the board of directors for an airline. Lessons learned from leadership? Fear of failure is no reason not to try. Person you admire most? My mother is the hardest-working person I know and a constant encourager in my life. Where would you travel? Everywhere. I am obsessed with travel, and anywhere I go, I want to soak up the culture. What do you want to accomplish in life? I would like to adopt a Haitian child, work in Europe for some time, and become bilingual.

Kyndall Blum East Hamilton High School Senior Class PresidentKyndall Blum 

East Hamilton High School, Senior Class President

Impact you want to make on the world? I just want to make people happy and spread Jesus’ love wherever I go. Any education/career goals? I plan to major in psychology and use my degree to become a music therapist. In music therapy, I would love to work with nonverbal children to help them learn to communicate and express themselves. Lessons learned from leadership? People aren’t always going to agree with or support you, but as a leader you have to support them and listen to their criticism to use it for future growth. Person you admire most? My parents – I can’t choose just one! They’re helpful, hardworking, determined, caring, and never fail to put others before themselves. Where would you travel? Key West. The Hemingway House has over 50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats, and the beautiful area is home to lots of history and animals roaming the streets.

Deandre Rowe Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High School Senior Class PresidentDeandre Rowe 

Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High School, Senior Class President

Proudest accomplishment? Being able to uphold the class president position since my freshman year of high school. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to show the world that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. Any education/career goals? I want to go to college and get my degree to become a teacher. Lessons learned from leadership? You always have to make the best decisions wherever you are, because as a leader, you never know who is watching you and who you could affect. Person you admire most? My mother never fails to amaze me with her actions. She has been through so much, but she still prospers with a smile on her face. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to have a successful career, take care of my mom when I get older, and live without having any regrets.

Allison Smith Girls Preparatory School Student Council PresidentAllison Smith 

Girls Preparatory School, Student Council President

Favorite extracurricular activity? Rowing! I don’t know who I would be today without the sport; it’s been such a huge factor in shaping me into a driven, goal-oriented person and a capable leader. Impact you want to make on the world? I’ve always known that I’ve been given a lot of privileges just by growing up in America, and I want to use those privileges to help the people the system doesn’t. Any education/career goals? My goal is to sign for a Division 1 rowing program and then continue my education in law school. Lessons learned from leadership? There is no better way to lead than to lead with kindness and encouragement. Person you admire most? Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s always held steady to her principles; she never backs down. Where would you travel? I’ve always wanted to travel to India to experience a culture that’s different from my Western norms.

Lauren Pepping Silverdale Baptist Academy Student Council PresidentLauren Pepping 

Silverdale Baptist Academy, Student Council President

Proudest accomplishment? Building relationships through tutoring English at a local elementary school. Favorite extracurricular activity? Playing tennis with my close friends. Any education/career goals? I plan to attend Ole Miss and pursue a career in accounting. Lessons learned from leadership? Being a servant leader is what matters the most; it’s about placing others before yourself and serving in all you do. Person you admire most? Angela Vereen, one of my senior teachers, is one of the most humble and loving people I know. She inspires me daily to prioritize and show kindness to others. Where would you travel? Santorini, Greece – I want to see the beauty of the island for myself. What do you want to accomplish in life? Loving and serving others both here and abroad, mentoring young women toward leadership, and raising a family who holds strong to their values.

Bob Moore McCallie School Student Council PresidentBob Moore 

McCallie School, Student Council President

Favorite extracurricular activity? Rowing on the Tennessee River as a member of McCallie’s varsity rowing team. I love the brotherhood that results from the daily sacrifice of the sport. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to inspire everyone I work with to be passionate about their role in the world. Person you admire most? I want to be like my English teacher, Mr. David Cook, when I grow up, because he uses his job to change the world each and every day. Where would you travel? I want to go to London in 2066 for England’s thousandth birthday. Learning about the kings and queens in medieval times was my favorite area of study as a kid. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to build a school in Kampala, Uganda; find a job where I am happy; and teach – at least for a year.

Olivia Sisk Boyd Buchanan High School Student Council Co President Olivia Sisk 

Boyd Buchanan High School, Student Council Co-President

Favorite extracurricular activity? I really enjoy volunteering with the Hamilton County Youth Court every month. Impact you want to make on the world? I hope one day I am able to look back and say that I was able to live a life that reflected God through how I treated others. Any education/career goals? I plan to attend a university where I will study pre-law. Lessons learned from leadership? From my experience in leadership, I have gained a greater appreciation for the adults in my life who lead. It may not seem like it, but there is always something going on behind the scenes. Person you admire most? My mom. Through her battle with breast cancer, she always kept a positive attitude and turned things over to God. She often offers encouragement to those battling breast cancer. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to laugh often, love others, and honor God.

Ashlyn Jenkins Soddy Daisy High School Student Body Co PresidentAshlyn Jenkins 

Soddy Daisy High School, Student Body Co-President

Proudest accomplishment? Helping start up the very first Vida Nueva girls’ retreat in Tennessee. Favorite extracurricular activity? Anything involving student council. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to be able to shine the light of Jesus wherever I go and whatever I do, so that people know how loved and wanted they are. Any education/career goals? I want to attend Lee College to become a special education teacher. Where would you travel? I would love to go back to Nicaragua to serve the children in Padre Ramos. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to continue serving on Vida Nueva weekends and eventually become the director. I want to continue my involvement in student council. And I want to successfully graduate from college so that I can follow my passion of becoming a special education teacher.

Molly McNamara Notre Dame High School Senior Captain House of FonsMolly McNamara 

Notre Dame High School, Senior Captain, House of Fons

Proudest accomplishment? Passing all of my AP exams so far and maintaining a high GPA. I have learned time management and study skills that have allowed me to succeed despite my demanding schedule. Favorite extracurricular activity? Cheerleading! Impact you want to make on the world? I want to radiate positive energy and contagious smiles to as many people as possible. Lessons learned from leadership? I have learned that being a leader does not make me a boss, but an example. I lead by joining others in working toward a common goal. Where would you travel? Barcelona, Spain, because I’m fascinated by the history, the architecture is beautiful, and I would be able to practice my Spanish-speaking skills. What do you want to accomplish in life? I hope to complete medical school and residency (achieving the title of physician), deepen my relationship with God, and become fluent in Spanish.

Logan Thomas Griffith Hixson High School Senior Class PresidentLogan Thomas Griffith 

Hixson High School, Senior Class President

Proudest accomplishment? Becoming an Eagle Scout, attending Boys State, and attending Mountaineer Cadet Officer Leadership School each summer for four years. Favorite extracurricular activity? Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps drill team. Impact you want to make on the world? I hope to leave a legacy of helping in the community. Any education/career goals? I’d like to attend Air Force ROTC at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and become an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Lessons learned from leadership? I’ve learned that mistakes will happen – just know how to recover and move on. Person you admire most? My father, who taught me integrity and morals. Where would you travel? Asia, so that I could learn a different language. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to become an officer in the U.S. Air Force, become a father, and be successful in whatever I pursue.

Sarah Levine Chattanooga Christian School Student Body PresidentSarah Levine 

Chattanooga Christian School, Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? Being elected as student body president and being a captain on the cheer team. It’s a lot of responsibility to lead two different groups, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Impact you want to make on the world? I would hope that I can be someone who lifts others up and be a source of comfort and positivity. Any education/career goals? To attend nursing school where I’ll pursue an MSN to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. Lessons learned from leadership? I’ve learned to stay humble and put the people I am representing first. Where would you travel? Zermatt, Switzerland. I went there with my family, and I immediately fell in love with the beauty of the country and its culture. What do you want to accomplish in life? To pursue the plan God has for me, to travel the world, and to remember to enjoy the journey!

Avery Cox Sale Creek High School Student Government PresidentAvery Cox 

Sale Creek High School, Student Government President

Proudest accomplishment? Being selected to attend Volunteer Girls State over the summer. Favorite extracurricular activity? Playing volleyball with my amazing team. Any education/career goals? After high school, I hope to further my education at Lee University and study pathology. Lessons learned from leadership? I have learned that the best leaders are always the best listeners, so in this position I strive to make sure that everyone has a voice and is engaged in our school activities. Person you admire most? My mother. I am so thankful to have someone that is so independent and strong, yet approachable. She has guided me through every little thing, and I don’t know where I would be without her. What do you want to accomplish in life? I hope to complete my education, start a family, and above all serve the Lord in all that I do.

Zavier Chavez Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts Senior Class PresidentZavier Chavez 

Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, Senior Class President

Favorite extracurricular activity? Jazz band, for not only does it give me the chance to guide underclassmen in music studies, but it also allows me to further my appreciation for this genre. Any education/career goals? My goal is to receive my degree in economics and then pursue a career in law. Lessons learned from leadership? That the opinions and ideas of the minority are no less valuable than those of the majority. Where would you travel? Mexico. I would love to travel back to the birthplace of the Chavez family and immerse myself in my father and grandparents’ patrimonio, for which I have deep respect and fascination. What do you want to accomplish in life? To reshape the legislation and public opinion of U.S. immigration policies, strengthen my fluency in both Spanish and American Sign Language, and finally solidify to the world that my name is spelled with a “Z” and not an “X.”

Alma Smith Tennessee Christian Preparatory School Student Council PresidentAlma Smith 

Tennessee Christian Preparatory School, Student Council President

Proudest accomplishment? Helping start Chapel Leadership and watching it succeed. Favorite extracurricular activity? Chapel Leadership, because it’s the place where I’ve grown the most. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to travel and help those in need, but most of all, I want to show people just how loved they are. Any education/career goals? I plan on attending a four-year university and becoming a missionary in Central or South America. Lessons learned from leadership? My abilities are limited. This has been the most important lesson for me, because seeing my weaknesses has helped me be more understanding toward others. Person you admire most? I admire my parents because of the ways that they selflessly give to aid my future. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to write a book, travel to at least three continents, and earn a master’s degree.

Wilmer Perez The Howard School Student Government Association PresidentWilmer Perez 

The Howard School, Student Government Association President

Proudest accomplishment? Winning the Southern Adventist Community Youth Servant Leader Award. It showed me that even the smallest of things are recognized by the community! Favorite extracurricular activity? Nooga Chatt – it’s a community book club that meets to discuss current world issues through books, two of the things I enjoy most. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to be able to give back to my community and school. Any education/career goals? I want to enter either the education or nursing field by becoming an elementary teacher or a nurse practitioner. Person you admire most? Steve Jobs. Life seemed to want to knock him down, but he fought back and became very successful. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to have a stable job that I love and enjoy, travel the world, and just be content and happy with my life.

Sam Sawyer Signal Mountain Middle High School Student Body PresidentSam Sawyer 

Signal Mountain Middle High School, Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? Being elected to the student council the three years I’ve run, and then becoming the student body president this year. Favorite extracurricular activity? Being on the program team at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church. Any education/career goals? I want to get a degree in finance and possibly my MBA. I’d like to either become a financial advisor or start my own business. Lessons learned from leadership? It’s fun to lead, but you can’t please everybody all the time. Person you admire most? My dad, because he’s a hard worker and a great example of how to support and raise a family. Where would you travel? Somewhere in Europe, because Canada is the only country I’ve visited. What do you want to accomplish in life? Graduate from college, support a family, and leave the world (or at least my community) a better place than it was.

Shelby Manning Ooltewah High School Senior Class PresidentShelby Manning 

Ooltewah High School, Senior Class President

Favorite extracurricular activity? Being a part of Silverdale’s youth group has been the best activity I have been involved in through my high school years. Any education/career goals? I plan to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga next fall. I will begin as a second semester freshman and pursue a degree in finance. I hope to be in the business world by 2025 with a master’s degree. Lessons learned from leadership? The most valuable lessons I have learned through my leadership positions are humility and the importance of forming relationships, both with my fellow classmates and the authorities in the school and county. Person you admire most? Joanna Gaines. The simplicity of her faith, appearance, and persistence constantly inspire others to not only be kind, but to chase their dreams. Where would you travel? Israel, in order to experience first-hand the historical places of the Bible and see the beauty of a different region.

Laken Land Dalton High School Student Council Executive PresidentLaken Land  

Dalton High School, Student Council Executive President

Proudest accomplishment? Being a Top Ten student all four years of high school. Favorite extracurricular activity? Lacrosse. Impact you want to make on the world? I’d like to make the world a place where opinions don’t have to be oppressed because they aren’t the popular view at the time. Any education/career goals? I’d like to go to college and major in either graphic design or architecture. Lessons learned from leadership? I have learned that it’s important to know everyone that you lead and understand their personalities to work together better. Person you admire most? My mom, because she is always able to help me in things that aren’t necessarily important to her but are important for me. What do you want to accomplish in life? Graduate from college, learn a second language, and own my own business in either graphic design or architecture.

Mithon Ai Paul East Ridge High School Student Body PresidentMithon’Ai Paul 

East Ridge High School, Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? My best accomplishment would have to be getting selected to be a CONA (Conference on National Affairs) delegate. It was a great learning experience that I hope to attend again. Favorite extracurricular activity? Softball (I love being on the field) and Youth in Government, where I get to voice my opinion on certain ideas. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to win souls for the Lord. Any education/career goals? I plan to attend a four-year private university with the intention of majoring in criminal justice and minoring in sociology, then attend law school. Person you admire most? My mom, because she has taught me that success doesn’t revolve strictly around education. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to obtain my master’s degree, attend law school, and eventually start my own law firm.

Hannah Teske Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Student Government PresidentHannah Teske 

Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, Student Government President

Proudest accomplishment? I was part of an exchange group that went to a school in Madrid, Spain, last year. This experience taught me so much about adapting to another culture and immersing myself in a language I’ve studied for 12 years. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to be a part of Second Life Chattanooga and similar organizations that help women who are rescued from human trafficking. Person you admire most? My junior English teacher, Kevin Aslinger. As a teacher, he always pushed me to do my best, and outside of class, he’s taught me so much about life and becoming a well-rounded person. Where would you travel? South America, to work in women’s health clinics. What do you want to accomplish in life? I want to travel as much and as far as possible, work in medical clinics to serve unreached populations, and make a positive impact on someone’s life each day.

Kimbra Denise Dunning Red Bank High School Student Body PresidentKimbra Denise Dunning 

Red Bank High School, Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? Competing in Track & Field High School New Balance Nationals. I competed against 236 girls in the long jump and placed #6 overall. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to help people open their eyes and ears to understanding the needs of others. Any education/career goals? I plan to go to college to study exercise science. Lessons learned from leadership? You have to do what’s right no matter what anyone thinks. As long as it’s doing good for everyone, you can’t go wrong. Where would you travel? Egypt, because it’s the richest country for minerals and ingredients. I’m also in love with the culture. What do you want to accomplish in life? To develop my own business, motivate people to keep grinding for what they want regardless of anything that gets in their way, and head to the Olympics for Track & Field.

Autumn Millard Walker Valley High School Student Body PresidentAutumn Millard 

Walker Valley High School, Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? Helping my parents coach volleyball at the local YMCA and helping those young girls win the tournament. Favorite extracurricular activity? I love participating in public forum debate, where I learned about topics I would have never discussed before. Impact you want to make on the world? I want to show people the truth and love of Jesus Christ in everything I say and do, and help lift people up. Any education/career goals? I seek to obtain a doctorate in atmospheric sciences and do research to improve severe weather forecasting. I would love to work for a station like The Weather Channel someday. Lessons learned from leadership? I can’t do everything by myself; I have to delegate to my team members and trust them in order to succeed. Where would you travel? Ireland – I have family history there, and Ireland has an amazing landscape, wildlife, and culture.

Cooper Shull Ringgold High School Student Body PresidentCooper Shull 

Ringgold High School, Student Body President

Proudest accomplishment? Being elected as the National Honor Society president, along with being class president for the past two years. Impact you want to make on the world? I hope to be a faithful public servant who people can point to and say, “Now that was a good leader.” Any education/career goals? I want to obtain a degree in political science and then earn my commercial pilot’s license and fly for the airlines. Lessons learned from leadership? Being a leader is anything but easy. It takes confidence, dedication, and a great deal of patience. Person you admire most? Ronald Reagan, because of the genuine care he had for others. What do you want to accomplish in life? I hope to follow whatever God has in store for me. Whether that means taking to the skies as a pilot, being a politician, or scrubbing the floors at a restaurant.

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