Portsmouth Christian Academy Announces Top Seniors from the Class of 2023

Portsmouth Christian Academy recognizes the Class of 2023’s top students, whose hard work and dedication to excellence helped them achieve highest honors status all four years. These students completed every quarter of high school with a 96% average or higher. Let’s congratulate each of them on their amazing accomplishments!

Amber Sun – Valedictorian

Zhejiang, China

Amber Sun is the daughter of Minfeng Sun and Xiaoyan Weng. She’s from Zhejiang, China. During her time at Portsmouth Christian Academy, she resided with Lewis and Alicia DiTommaso of York. Amber will commence her studies in Engineering at the University of Florida in the upcoming fall semester. She was also accepted by Northeastern University, University of California at San Diego, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of California at Irvine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ohio State University, and Pennsylvania State University.

Throughout her tenure at Portsmouth Christian Academy, Amber consistently maintained highest honors status. Her academic prowess earned her the distinction of receiving the Highest GPA and the Teacher’s Choice Award in various courses. Amber’s dedication to learning extended beyond the classroom, as evidenced by her participation in enriching summer programs.

During her junior year, she attended a summer camp at Philips Academy in Andover, where she explored the realm of programming. In her senior year, she further expanded her knowledge by attending a secondary school program at Harvard, where she delved into mathematical modeling and business. Amber actively engaged in initiatives to support international students in their adjustment to a new country and culture through her involvement in the “Anti Emo” program with a group of college students studying psychology. Additionally, she generously volunteered her time at the International Family Church in MA.

Amber played a role as the captain of the math team at Portsmouth Christian Academy for two consecutive years. Under her leadership, the team achieved great success, securing first place in the Southeast Math League this year. Furthermore, Amber was a member of the Tennis Club for two years.

Sierra LignosSalutatorian

Eliot, Maine

Sierra Lignos is the daughter of Peter and Liz Lignos of Eliot, Maine. Sierra will be attending Liberty University in the fall and will pursue a degree in Business Management with a focus on Project Management and Data Analytics. She loves to travel and hopes to study abroad during her time at Liberty.

Sierra has maintained highest honors while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy. She served as a Small Group Leader, member of the Student Government, and she served as an Academic Prefect her senior year where she worked with other student leaders to improve the academic environment of the school through a peer-tutoring program and teacher’s assistant program.

She was a teacher’s assistant for the Spanish teacher her senior year, after completing the Spanish program. She started the school’s Missions Club and led a team to Puerto Rico, which provided hurricane relief and service to the local community. She hopes to continue serving in her community and participating in more missions trips to help those in need.

Sierra was a three-season athlete and captain of the varsity soccer and track team. She excelled in soccer, being nominated as second team all-state her senior year and competed in the Division IV State Championship. She participated in varsity track and qualified for the state championships in the hurdle events her junior and senior years. She also was a recipient of the New Hampshire State Scholar Athlete Award.

Sierra plays viola for the school orchestra and participated in the New Hampshire All-State Music Festival her freshman and sophomore years. She plays guitar for the worship team at school and enjoys playing piano in her free time.

Brianna Malone

Barrington, New Hampshire

Brianna Malone is the daughter of Justin and Christian Malone and lives in Barrington, NH. Brianna will be attending High Point University in the fall and will be pursuing a degree in Biochemistry, with the long-term goal of working in pharmaceutical science.

For volunteer work, Brianna played piano for the chapel team and has also participated in multiple worship nights at her school. She also was a volunteer math tutor for her peers.

Brianna has maintained highest honors while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy. Brianna has served in various leadership roles throughout her four years there. She was a captain for two years on the track and cross country teams. She served as the class treasurer in her sophomore and junior year. Her senior year, Brianna served as a Unity Prefect for Portsmouth Christian Academy and was also a small group leader.

Brianna participated in track and cross country for four years. In cross country, she was awarded all-state for all four years and won multiple state championships. She won championships in track as well and holds an NHIAA Division 3 record.

Emily Esters

Brentwood, New Hampshire

Emily Esters is the daughter of Michael and Kimberly Esters. Emily lives in Brentwood, New Hampshire and has attended Portsmouth Christian Academy for 13 years, from pre-k through 12th grade. Emily will be attending Gordon College in the fall and will pursue a degree in Human Biology, with the ultimate goal of becoming a physician assistant. Emily was also accepted at High Point University, Endicott College, and Emmanuel College.

Emily has maintained highest honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy.

Emily participated in volleyball at Portsmouth Christian Academy for 6 years and lead the varsity team as a co-captain in her senior year. Emily also served as a Small Group Leader for girls in the high school, worked for four years at her local Market Basket, and took advantage of many volunteer opportunities such as making blankets for hospital patients and assisting at blood drives. Emily has a passion for learning about the human body and is excited to continue her education and growth at Gordon College.

Julie Stevens

Julie Stevens is the daughter of Carroll and Susie Stevens. After 13 years of attending Portsmouth Christian Academy, Julie will be attending Wheaton College in Illinois this fall to pursue a degree in Music Performance in Voice at the Conservatory. Julie was also accepted to Baldwin Wallace University and Houghton College for music.

Julie has maintained highest honors throughout high school and has received many awards including the Outstanding Musicianship award in Honors Voices, Highest GPA award in Honors Analyzing Writing, and several Teacher’s Choice awards. She also served in many leadership roles such as the chapel team leader, concert master of her school symphony, and Fine Arts Prefect for her senior year.

Julie has received the Presidential Scholarship and the Music Merit Scholarship from Wheaton College. She has also received the Jordan Scholarship from the Jordan Foundation and was named the Noreen Hannah Scholarship Recipient by her high score.

            Julie actively attends the Commons Evangelical Covenant Church. Outside of school, Julie has been taking both violin and voice lessons weekly. This has led her to audition and being accepted into the prestigious All State Orchestra all four years and Jazz All State Honors Choir for one year. She also has a job at Lone Oak in Rochester. In addition, she’s taken plenty of volunteering opportunities such as playing violin for patients at Frisbie Memorial Hospital, serving at a soup kitchen with her church, and providing much of her time to support school needs and events.

Lula Wamberg

Dover, New Hampshire

Lula Wamberg is the daughter of Dodd and Heather Wamberg of Dover, New Hampshire. Lula will be attending Gordon College in the fall and will pursue a degree in Professional Kinesiology with a Pre-Med concentration and a Minor in Anatomy and Physiology. In the future she hopes to pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. 

Lula received The Founder’s Scholarship and Grapevine Scholarship at Gordon College and was the recipient of the Turbocam Cross Culture Scholarship.  Lula was also accepted to Baylor University, University of Nebraska (CASNR Scholarship), Notre Dame (Presidential Scholarship), Southeastern, Franklin Pierce University (Presidential Scholarship, Health Scholar’s Award), Norwich University (Presidential Scholarship, Maroon and Gold Grant) and the University of New Hampshire (Presidential scholarship, Honors College).  

Lula has maintained highest honors throughout high school at Portsmouth Christian Academy. She has received multiple Teacher’s Choice Awards and earned Highest GPA awards for numerous courses.  She served on student government for two years and was also a small group leader. Lula’s volunteer efforts include planning and working many PCA events, hosting students, serving at open houses, working at youth soccer camps, mentoring and coaching for peers and younger kids, and tutoring peers. She was also a member of Medical Club, Calligraphy Club, Praise and Prayer, and Missions Club.

Lula is a multi-sport athlete, playing basketball for two seasons, winter track for one season and was a four year starter for the women’s varsity soccer team. While playing for the soccer team, Lula was a Second Team All-State selection her Sophomore and Junior years (forward) and a First Team All-State selection (forward) her senior year. Lula received Granite State All-Conference Honors both Junior and Senior years. Lula was nominated for Player of the Week twice and Player of the Year. She was both team captain and team MVP her Junior and Senior years. Lula holds two PCA soccer records, most goals scored in a season (46) and most career goals (118). Lula was part of the first PCA women’s soccer team to attend state quarterfinals, state semifinals and the state championship. Lula will continue her soccer career playing for the Gordon College Women’s Soccer team.

Hanjun (Eddie) Xiao

Tianjin, China

Hanjun (Eddie) Xiao is the son of Wei Xiao and Xuehui Wang and an international student from Tianjin, China. Eddie has maintained highest honors throughout his entire career at Portsmouth Christian Academy. Eddie accomplished this while also taking a vigorous course load of Dual-Enrollment, AP, and Honors level classes. He has received many awards during his time at PCA, including highest GPA in Honor Algebra 2, highest GPA in Honor Chemistry, Highest GPA in AP Physics 1: Algebra 2, Teacher’s Choice award in Honor Pre-Calculus, Best TA (teacher assistant) Reward and AP Scholar with Honors Reward. He also received the Rensselaer Medal Award which is awarded to one student who has distinguished themselves as an exceptional student in Math and Science.

While at Portsmouth Christian Academy, Eddie was a member of the Math Club all four years, serving as President for the last two years. During this time, the Math Team placed 3rd in the NH Mathematic Contest for two consecutive years, also placing 3rd and 1st in the Southeastern Math League Math Contest. Eddie is a seasoned Pianist who has contributed to both the Orchestra and Choral programs at PCA. He has also served as class treasurer and most recently, Vice President of the Senior class.

Outside of school, Eddie attended multiple summer programs, including a course through Columbia University. At the same time, he received an internship where he developed a computer system to control logistics flow for a large trucking company, which prevented trucks from overloading in the street. He also attended Harvard University Summer School.

Eddie will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall and will pursue a degree in Computer Science. Eddie was also accepted to the University of Washington, University of Richmond, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbra, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution, UC Davis, Virginia Tech, Lehigh University, The College of William and Mary, Brandeis University, and Syracuse University.