AVELLA - Avella Junior/Senior High School will hold commencement exercises at 7 p.m. today at the high school.
Maria Villotti, daughter of Beth and Lew Villotti of Avella, is the valedictorian. She is senior class president and a member of the marching band, academic team, National Honor Society and Brain Drain team. Villotti is a National Merit Scholar, two-time Challenge Program Academic Excellence winner and first-place Envirothon team member. She is the volleyball team captain and led the team in scoring. She plans to attend Dickinson College and study history.
Alayne Johnson, whose guardians are Fran and John Skariot of Avella, is the salutatorian.
She is the National Honor Society secretary and a member of the arts club and community service club. She participated in school musicals and received the Challenge Program STEM award, Perfect Attendance award and Academic Excellence award and the SHASDA award. She received the Silver award for community service. She plans to attend the Community College of Allegheny County before transferring to a university and studying secondary education.
Amber Clingenpeel, daughter of Melissa and Scot Clingenpeel of Avella, is ranked third. She is community service club president and class secretary and a member of SADD, National Honor Society and the yearbook staff. She received the West Liberty University Elbin Scholarship, Challenge Program Community Service Award and Pittsburgh Foundation Petrucci Family Community Service Award. She plans to attend West Liberty and study clinical laboratory science.
Dakota Lemaster, son of Dave and LeAnn Heinrichs of Avella, is ranked fourth. He is a member of the National Honor Society and received high honors for four years. He plans to attend the Community College of Allegheny County.
Emily Rush, daughter of Stacey and Patrick Rush of Avella, is ranked fifth. She is class vice president, science club president, National Honor Society president, band vice president and a member of the mock trial and model UN teams. She received the Challenge Program STEM award and was named to the high honor roll. She is a member of the dance, rifle and cross country teams. Rush was rifle section runner-up and a member of the second-place dance team. She plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh and study occupational therapy.
Brandon Miller, son of Roy and Georgeann Miller of Avella, is ranked sixth. He is a member of the basketball and football teams. He was a three-time letterman, a third team all-district member, 1,000-point club member, Roundball Classic participant, Tip-Off Classic all-tourney team member and three-point champion, section championship team member, Greater Pittsburgh Top 50 HM and top five in scoring in Washington and Greene counties. He plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh - Greensburg and study business.
Joseph Yates, son of Cathy Avolio of Avella, is ranked seventh. He is student council treasurer, National Honor Society treasurer, was junior class president and is a member of the peer jury and teen outreach. He received the Leaders of Tomorrow award. He is a member of the football team, two-year letterman, 2012 all-conference and received the Student Athlete award. He plans to attend Robert Morris University and study business.
Kira Doaks, daughter of Donna and John Doaks of Avella, is ranked eighth. She is the newspaper editor and a member of the community service club. She was named student of the month and to the high honor roll for four years. She is the basketball team captain and member of the softball and cross country teams. She was a 2013 section championship team member. She plans to study journalism and communications.
Dylan McKee, daughter of Kara and Robert McKee of Washington, is ranked ninth. She is the newspaper editor in chief and a member of the model UN team and yearbook staff. She was named to the high honors roll. She is a member of the cross country team. She plans to attend Washington and Jefferson College and study business and veterinary medicine.
Lauren Knight, daughter of Dana and James Knight of Avella, is ranked 10th. She is a member of the varsity softball team and participated in community softball for 10 years. She plans to attend the Community College of Allegheny County to study diagnostic sonography.
Other members of the Class of 2014 are Cory Adams, Alexandria Barr, Corey Blosser, Adam Brown, Taylor Brownless, Ralph Bush IV, Shawn Carl, Aaron Casciola, Nathan Connolly, Ryan Cooper, Morgan Corle, Carlie Cousins, Seth Cowden, Laura Craig, Cheyanne Danneker, Makaylee Depetro, Abigail Dobbin, Mackenna Drazich, Sarah Fiorentini, Timothy Fraysier, Joseph Gagliani III, Homer Gorby, Brian Gordon, Cameron Gray, Andrew Haskakis, Rachel Heckathorne, Cobra Herrod, Cody Hull, Michael Johnson, Neil Kirschner, Walter Kopko II, Kathleen Lapina, Sunnie Liggett, Victoria Lloyd, Rachel Marshall, William McKee Jr., Connor McKenzie, Valerie Miller, Richard Moore, Mitchell Olsen, Samantha Rankin, Erin Rice, Jason Ritter, Starr Robison, Dena Simonelli, Thomas Smith, Jacob Temple, Aleesha Thomas, Zachary Thompson, Megan Waddell and Jessica Young.