An event in Lansing recognized a group of seniors from the 8th District that have shown great leadership and academic excellence throughout their high school careers.

19 students were chosen to receive the Congressional Medal of Merit for Outstanding Youth Leadership, which was presented by Congressman Mike Bishop at the Capitol Building Friday. In addition to family members, some teachers and principals attended the ceremony as it is the school administrators who nominate students with exemplary leadership and citizenship qualities. One senior from each participating school in the district is chosen to receive the medal. The 8th District is comprised of Livingston County, northern Oakland and Ingham counties.

The students selected from Livingston County are Cecilia Mikat from Brighton High School, Kyle Gnass from Pinckney High School, Teaghan Germane from Hartland High School and Faith Williams from Kensington Woods High School. Williams says her post-high school plans include attending a community college for the first two years, and then transferring to the University of Michigan’s law program. The 17-year-old, whose ultimate goal is to become a corporate lawyer, was surprised to find out she was even nominated for the Medal of Merit. Williams is the president of her school's mock trial club, a volunteer on LACASA's teen advisory council and last year's class president.

Congressman Bishop says the event gives credit where credit is due, adding that the accomplished and engaging students are already well on their way as leaders in the community. After acknowledging the students, Bishop took time to praise the family members and educators that supported them along the way. One educator in particular is special to award recipient Sam Spitzley, an 18-year-old from Mason High School.

Spitzley says he's very close with his principal, who encouraged him as he pursued leadership roles in a variety of fields. Spitzley is a member of his school's student senate, a volunteer with the National Honor Society and captain of the varsity soccer team. He plans to attend business school at Michigan State University to study supply chain management.

Other award recipients include: Hunter Arnett of Leslie High School, Luis Borrero of Okemos High School, Wendy Dong from Rochester Adams High School, Kennedy Ferguson of Haslett High School, Max Ford of Holly High School, Mustafa Hadi of ACE High School, Zachary Jewison from Williamston High School, Jessica Kruger of Lansing Christian High School, Kalli Mulholland of Oxford High School, Sage Paris from Clarkston High School, Brendan Ryder of Dansville High School, Sophia Simon of East Lansing High School, Meredith Stalions of Lake Orion High School and Tanner Thering of Holt High School. (DK)