Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover Announces Top Seniors
Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover is pleased to announce the names of Upper School Class of 2015 seniors whose consistent hard work and focus on excellence helped them achieve high or highest honors throughout their high school career.
Carly Baracco, Valedictorian, is the daughter of Adrien and Susan Baracco of Kennebunkport, Maine. She will be attending Boston University in the fall where she plans on studying biomedical engineering. She was also accepted to the University of Connecticut Honors Program, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Wentworth Institute of Technology. Carly received the Turbocam Cross Culture Scholarship and was named a National Merit Commended Student.
Carly earned highest honors during all four of her high school years at Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. She was the treasurer for her class in her sophomore through senior years, and was an active member of the math team. Carly also led the SOAR Literary and Fine Arts Magazine team, becoming Editor-in-Chief her senior year. Additionally, Carly went on mission trips to Guatemala through her church during her sophomore and junior years, and volunteered at a horse farm providing therapy for the handicapped during the summers.
Carly runs on the cross country, winter track and spring track teams at PCA. She was a captain of both the winter and spring track teams her junior and senior years. She is an active member of Church on the Cape in Cape Porpoise, Maine. Carly hopes to continue with service and mission trips in the future and to continue to use her talents to help others.
Connor Foley, Salutatorian, is the son of Tim and Carol Foley of Somersworth. Connor will be attending Boston College in the fall, where he will pursue a degree in business through the Honors Program at the Carroll School of Management. Connor was also accepted at Babson College, Bentley University, Fordham University, the University of New Hampshire, and Villanova University. He is a National Merit Scholar Finalist and winner of the Turbocam Cross Culture Scholarship.
Connor has maintained highest honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. Connor played varsity baseball and varsity soccer all four years of high school. He served as a team captain in baseball his junior and senior years, and as a team captain in soccer during his senior year. Connor was also a member of the PCA Quiz Bowl team throughout high school. As a junior, he was a member of the four-person team that won the New Hampshire League State Championship and participated in the National Academic Quiz Tournament in Chicago, IL. Connor served as a captain of the Quiz Bowl team during his senior year.
Connor attends First Parish Church in Dover and works part-time at Golick’s Dairy Bar.
Jennifer Burke (Jenny) is the daughter of Dennis and Susan Burke of Hampton Falls. Jenny will be pursuing her dual passions of theater and education at St. Michael’s College in the fall. Jenny was also accepted at Elon University, St. Lawrence University and Stonehill College. She has been awarded the St. Michael’s Scholarship, SMC Parish Scholarship and Future Knight Scholarships at St. Michael’s.
Jenny has maintained highest honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. She has been actively involved in the theater program participating in the spring musical every year playing everything from a Russian Jew (Chava, Fiddler on the Roof) to a Civil War era spirited writer (Jo, Little Women) to a French maid (Babette, Beauty and the Beast) to a 16 year old girl going on 17 (Liesl, Sound of Music).
Jenny also loves running and ran varsity cross country all four years at PCA. Due to the support and camaraderie that is instilled in the track program at PCA, Jenny branched out and participated in the varsity winter track team for last three years as well, becoming captain her junior and senior year. She won the Spirit Award in both cross country and winter track for her enthusiasm and dedication to the teams.
Mission work has also been a focus for Jenny at PCA where she has been a member of the missions team for the last four years. Trips to New York City and Guatemala the past few years as part of this team were transformative experiences.
Paul Choi is an international student from South Korea. Paul will be majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the fall semester this year. Paul was also accepted to Purdue University, Wisconsin University and UC San Diego for engineering.
Paul has maintained high honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. He was a member of the school worship team, and also played soccer, basketball, and baseball.
Paul also did a research internship at the Department of Energy and Biotechnology, Myongji University, Korea during the summer of his freshman and junior year. As part of his internships, he co-authored an article which was accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The paper is called “Identification of alcohol dehydrogenase(s) responsible for the last enzymatic step in the synthesis of 1,2,4-butanetriol in E. coli.”
Nicole Dudley is the daughter of Anne Marie and Todd Dudley of Dover. She will be attending the University of New Hampshire in the fall and will pursue a degree in athletic training in the College of Health and Human Services. Nicole was also accepted to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Nicole has maintained highest honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. She received various scholarships including a merit scholarship from the University of New Hampshire, the Dean’s Scholar award. While at school, Nicole served as a co-leader of a small group focused on Biblical studies. She organized a breast cancer awareness fundraiser volleyball game two years in a row that raised over two thousand dollars for the Side Out Foundation. Nicole was also an active volunteer at school summer camps and middle school athletic practices.
Nicole was a student athlete who was committed to excellence both in the classroom and on the field. She was a four-year and three-sport varsity athlete at PCA. She played volleyball in the fall, recorded 1,388 digs during her four years on varsity and earned a first team all-state selection. She played basketball in the winter, was nominated for Player of the Year in the conference and was selected to the Foster’s Dream Team. She played softball in the spring, was selected to the second team all-state and in 2014, helped her team play through a successful season, finishing as runner up in the 2014 state championship game. Nicole earned two ‘most improved’ player awards, five ‘most valuable’ player awards, three Granite State Conference awards, and was elected captain seven times by teammates on all three teams.
Asja James is the daughter of Amra James and stepdaughter of Joshua Stewart of Sanford ME and the daughter of Eric James of Rosemont, PA. This upcoming fall, she will be attending Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, entering the Physician Assistant program. In six years she hopes to be working as an intern at one of the many great hospitals in the city. Asja was also accepted to the University of New England, Quinnipiac, Temple, Drexel , and Hofstra University.
Asja participated in soccer and basketball all four years of high school and had many great learning experiences. In her final year playing soccer, she received the ‘most spiritual ‘award. This past summer she was baptized and officially dedicated her life to God. Her dream is to pursue a medical degree and travel the world not only to help heal people, but also to spread the Word and love of the Lord.
Vibhav Jha is the son of Bibhas and Alka Jha of Dover, NH. Vibhav will be attending Boston University in the fall and will pursue a degree in biology specializing in genetics. Vibhav has also been accepted at the George Washington University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Connecticut and University of New Hampshire.
Vibhav has maintained highest honors while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. He served on student council for three years and was also a member of the school’s Quiz Bowl academic team for four years. He became a member of the A team in his senior year.
Vibhav has volunteered at two local hospitals for the past two years. He works at Portsmouth Regional Hospital and in the Emergency Department at Frisbie Memorial Hospital. He enjoys playing the violin and was a member of the school’s symphony orchestra, serving as soloist and member of the pit orchestra for a number of theatrical productions. Vibhav plays tennis and is the senior captain of the PCA boys’ varsity tennis team.
Rebekah Lee (Becka) is the daughter of Bob and Brenda Lee of Dover, Becka will be attending Great Bay Community College for one year and then transferring to a college with her chosen major. Becka was awarded the Turbocam Cross Culture Scholarship to assist with her college education.
Becka has maintained high honor status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. She served as treasurer for the freshman class and as secretary for the following three years. She has served as small group leader for two years and played soccer for two years as well.
Becka has worked at Bellamy Fields assisted living facility for three years. She works mainly in Dietary Services, occasionally cooks, and helps in Activities as well. Becka also enjoys photography and travel.
Thomas Longo is the son of Joseph and Marie Longo of Madbury. In the fall, he will be attending Villanova University with a full tuition Naval ROTC Scholarship. He will be majoring in Physics with a minor in Engineering.
Thomas maintained highest honor status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. He served as captain of the winter track and field team from 2012 to 2014, the spring track and field team from 2013 to 2015, and the cross country team in 2014. In addition to cross country, he played on the soccer team, as a two sport athlete, from 2011 to 2013. In May of 2014, he competed in Boston’s “A Run to Remember” Half Marathon where he placed first in his age group, and he placed 72nd out of 7,300 overall. He has also played on PCA’s Quiz Bowl Team and Math Team since 2012.
Thomas has participated in a number of community service projects including a Missions Trip to New York City in 2013 to help the homeless. He has worked with his cross country team to make and maintain a variety of trails that the team uses. He worked as an usher at Durham Congregational in the summer of 2014.
Thomas enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including tennis, hiking, biking, golf, and skiing.
Devin Lund is the son of Anders and Marcia Lund, Amesbury, Massachusetts. He will be attending North Dakota State University in the fall, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Devin was also accepted at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Grove City College, and Purdue University.
At Portsmouth Christian Academy, Devin has maintained high honors status throughout his high school career. He was a member of the Quiz Bowl team, a member of the Chapel team for three years and has been its leader for two years. He sang with PCA’s chorus, Voices, for four years, and was a member on the missions team for three years, traveling to Guatemala and New York City.
While at PCA, he also participated in four seasons of varsity soccer, two seasons of JV basketball, two seasons of varsity basketball (serving as captain during his senior year), and three seasons of varsity baseball. He is a part of the Worship Team at Regeneration Church in Exeter, New Hampshire.
As a Boy Scout, Devin received the rank of Eagle Scout, building four dugouts on the PCA baseball and softball fields for his Eagle Project. During his senior year, he was awarded the Good Citizen Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Dylan O’Connell, son of Kevin and Lynn O’Connell, Portsmouth, has been a student at Portsmouth Christian Academy since pre-school. Living in Portsmouth, he has commuted to school every day and has worked hard to earn his place amongst the honors students, following in the footsteps of his older siblings.
He will be enlisting in the Air National Guard, and was accepted to Keene State College, University of Vermont, and Champlain College. He will begin his studies in the fall of 2016 at Keene State College.
Dylan has participated in multiple PCA theater productions since 7th grade, as an actor, crew member, and, in his junior and senior year, as Student Technical Director. He was also a member of the winter and spring track teams in his freshman and sophomore year.
Gina Sbrilli is the daughter of Paul and Theresa Sbrilli, Durham. She has attended PCA for 15 years. Gina was accepted to the University of New Hampshire, the Peter T. Paul School at UNH, Rutgers University, and Rutgers Business School in New Jersey.
Next year, she will be attending Rutgers at the New Brunswick campus, entering as a Business/Marketing major in the business school.
Gina was the lead runner of the PCA girls’ varsity cross-country team, named captain and most valuable player for the past three years. She is currently a member of the track and field team, competing in the 400, triple jump, high jump, and relay teams. In addition, she played as a member of the girls’ varsity basketball team as the starting center for two years. She also studies voice and music, and has participated in a number of PCA’s theater productions.
Sheila Tobin is the daughter of James and Anne Tobin of Madbury. She has attended PCA since kindergarten and has maintained high honors throughout her high school career. Sheila attends the church of St. Thomas More in Durham where she was a three year member of the High School Youth Ministry.
Sheila was co-president of the Missions Club. She participated in three mission trips during high school: two to New York City and one to Guatemala. Sheila played volleyball for four years, including three on varsity. She sang in the school chorus, Voices, for five years and performed in five musicals at PCA. Her favorite role was Amy in Little Women. In 2014, Sheila also performed in Patrick Dorow Production’s Home for the Holidays.
Sheila spent her summers at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run in Alton. This summer she will attend the second half of the camp’s sixteen-week Leadership Development Program.
In the fall Sheila will attend Colgate University where she plans to pursue a degree in biochemistry.
Alicia Vining is the daughter of Michael and Gerri Vining of Dover, and older sister to Ashley Vining. Alicia will be attending The American University in the fall and will pursue a degree in business. Alicia was also accepted to 16 other schools as she was being recruited to play soccer and softball.
Alicia has maintained high honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. Alicia plays varsity soccer, where she holds the new state records for “most saves for a goalie’ in one season and in a high school career. She has been pitching for PCA’s varsity softball team for all four years, serving as captain of the 2014 team which earned a place in the State Championship game. Alicia organized two “Throwdown” events with WTSN’s Justin McIsaac, raising over $2000 for the fight against breast cancer.
Alicia also played varsity basketball for two years. She has been an All-State selection in both soccer and softball. Alicia is also a part of the Ambassadors Club and Bible Study, served as small group leader, and served on prom committee. She was named Prom Princess last year and Prom Queen this year.
Alicia represented PCA at the National Student Leadership Conference last summer in Washington DC. Alicia works part time at Olympia Sports in Somersworth. She plays summer ball for the 18u RallyCats gold showcase team out of Durham. Alicia attends First Parish Church in Dover and was in the youth group, active in Sunday school and completed her confirmation as a freshman. She has also served as the assistant coach for the PCA junior high softball team the last four years. If not at school or work, she can be found on a softball field somewhere in New England.
Kelsey Warner is the daughter of Elizabeth Warner of Somersworth, New Hampshire. Kelsey will be attending Saint Anselm College in Manchester in the fall, and will pursue degrees in Political Science and Theology. Kelsey was also accepted to Saint Michael’s College, Saint Joseph’s College, Emmanuel College, and Assumption College.
Kelsey has maintained high honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. She has served as vice-president of her class for four years, and been a member of Student Council for two years. Kelsey was a member of the girls’ varsity soccer team for three years, serving as captain in her junior and senior seasons. She was a member of the winter track team her junior year. She is also an avid member of the school’s theater department, having been in four shows at PCA, and serving as Costuming Assistant for the school’s most recent show, The Sound of Music.
Additionally, Kelsey was the manager of the Quiz Bowl team for one year, as well as a member and team captain for three years. She was a small group leader for three years. Kelsey was a member of missions teams which worked at a school in Guatemala in 2014, and went to New York City this past April.
Kelsey has received the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarships as well as the Saint Anselm College Presidential Scholarship. In 2013, Kelsey was chosen as a member of the Franciscan LEAD (Leadership, Evangelism, and Discipleship) Program through the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Kelsey attends Saint Martin’s Church in Somersworth as part of the Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish, where she is a lector. Kelsey also works part time as a barista at Aroma Joe’s in Somersworth.
Jack Wu, an international student at Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover, is the son of Hongya Chen and Zhongping Wu of Shanghai, China. Jack lived with the Pelletier family while attending high school. Jack will be attending the University of Washington in Seattle in the fall and will pursue a degree in architecture or related majors. Jack was also accepted by the Penn State University, University of Illinois, Ohio State University, and the University of California-Irvine.
Jack has maintained high honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. Jack joined the school’s math team and tennis team.
Jack attended Brock High School in Texas for his sophomore year, where he also achieved high honors. Jack was also a member of FFA, the tennis team and the archery team during his time in Texas.
Jack also spent part of the summer time making pottery sculptures and ceramic paintings in China, for which he won several awards.
Yuqi Xu is the daughter of Rong Xu and Yun Ling, Shanghai, China. She will be attending New York University in the fall. Yuqi was also accepted at the University of Rochester, University of California San Diego, University of California Davis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Yuqi has maintained highest honors status while attending Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover. Yuqi was the founder of the debate club and the tutoring club at PCA. She was an active member in Math Team and Quiz Club. Yuqi was also a backstage worker for PCA’s production of The Miracle Worker and The Sound of Music.
Yuqi came to PCA as a senior after attending a one-year junior student foreign exchange program at Lincoln High School in Florida, where she received an Academic Award, second place in the Science and Engineering Fair in the city and Best Calculus Student of the Year award. She was the Co-President of Future Business Leadership of America in which she co-started a program to help students from poor families by raising food and funds in schools and the community. Before coming to the US, Yuqi attended the High School affiliated with Fudan University in Shanghai for her freshman and sophomore years and served in the Student Government for two years.
Yuqi was a member of Club Tennis and played basketball in Shanghai.
Xueying Yuan (Sarah) is the daughter of Qi Yuan and Ping Yao of Shanghai, China. Sarah will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall. She is going to major in biochemistry. Sarah was also accepted at Case Western University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Purdue University.
Sarah earned high honors during freshman year, and maintained highest honors from sophomore year to senior year. She had played in the school JV Volleyball team for three seasons. She was a member of the debate club during her senior year. She is also a member of Voices, the upper school chorus.
Sarah was a Rensselaer Medalist, and received the Rensselaer Medal Scholarship.