Nine Plymouth Whitemarsh High School students have been selected as College Board National Recognition Program winners based on their outstanding academic performance.

Twelfth-graders Alexandra Anaya, Skyla Coles, Aja España, Lauren Lewis, and Zane Manning, and 11th-graders Samantha Coke, Olivia Eaton, Efrain Ortiz, and Marissa Perez were honored for this achievement at the Oct. 20 School Board meeting. To be considered for recognition, students must have a 3.5 GPA or higher; identify as African American, Hispanic, indigenous, or attend high school in a rural area or small town; and have taken the PSAT/NMSQT or at least two distinct AP exams. 

Please read on for bios of each student:

Aja España, National Hispanic Recognition Award: Aja is a tutor for Plymouth Whitemarsh High School’s Writing Center, where he assists fellow students with writing projects. He also belongs to the Astronomy Club and plays piano, drums, and guitar. Following graduation, Aja would like to attend college and possibly graduate school and study in the area of computer science.

Alexandra Anaya, National Hispanic Recognition Award: Alexandra participates in the Technology Student Association (TSA) and outside of school helps to maintain an online database helping immigrant families to navigate school in America. She wants to study computer science and is hoping to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after she graduates. 

Efrain Ortiz, National Hispanic Recognition Award: Efrain participates in PW Pals, Japanese Club, and Mock Trial. He also volunteers as a poll worker. He is planning to attend a four-year college and study abroad. His “dream job” is one that involves international relations.

Lauren Lewis, National African American Recognition Award: Lauren serves on the yearbook staff and is an active volunteer outside of school with the Spartans cheerleading organization, where she coaches young children. She participates in the ACE Mentor Program, which is a mentoring program to assist students interested in pursuing careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. Lauren, who also works part-time, intends to study at a four-year college after graduation to study architectural design.

Zane Mannings, National African American Recognition Award: Zane belongs to the Robotics Club and is a member of the National Honor Society. He intends to study at a four-year college after graduation but is not sure yet what college he might attend. He also works part-time.

Skyla Coles, National African American Recognition Award: Skyla participates in the high school’s Cancer Awareness Club and is a first-degree black belt in karate. She has been a life-long Girl Scout, an organization where she has learned leadership and team-building skills. She serves as a mentor to Girl Scout troops with younger children and helps plan activities for them. She plans to attend college after graduation to study psychology and has her eye on schools like Villanova, Occidental, San Diego State, and Spellman.

Samantha Coke, National African American Recognition Award: Samantha serves as a copy editor for The Town Crier (high school newspaper), and is also involved in the MiniTHON and Interact clubs. She is an Anti-Defamation League Peer Trainer, an Orientation Leader, and a member of the Principal’s Leadership Committee. In her spare time, she volunteers at the Norristown Library and is a second-degree black belt in karate. She intends to study at a four-year college after graduation and pursue pre-med. 

Olivia Eaton, National African American Recognition Award: Olivia is President of the high school’s Book Club, and also belongs to the Crochet and History clubs. She is a lacrosse player and performs as a member of the Colonial Players. She also serves on the Youth Advisory Board at William Jeanes Library. She intends to go to a four-year college upon graduation.

Marissa Perez, National Hispanic Recognition Award: Marissa is Vice President of the Best Buddies club and captain of the PW softball team. She is a member of the IB Programme Club and volunteers with the Mitzvah Circle in her spare time. She intends to play softball in college and study physical therapy.