Niles High School announces Class of 2023 Top 10

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, May 21, 2023

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NILES — With graduation less than a month away, Niles High School has proudly announced the Class of 2023’s Top 10 Seniors.

  1. Samuel Kaufmann
    The Valedictorian of Niles High School’s graduating class of 2023 is Samuel Kaufmann, son of Dr. Ken and Chrissie Kaufmann. Samuel is a National Merit Finalist, Niles Viking Marching Band member, Niles Symphonic Band French Horn Section Leader (all four years), National French Contest Gold Medalist and Notre Dame Children’s Choir Member.
    After graduation, he plans on attending the University of Alabama to study international affairs/foreign language, and possibly with a pre-med track. Samuel’s hobbies and interests include cooking, reading, foreign languages; church and family activities. “Friends are important; find ones that actually support you in your pursuits,” advises Samuel. When preparing for college, take Samuel’s advice and “Draft all essays early – as soon as you know about them. Apply to colleges Early Action for best results; I’m valedictorian but was waitlisted for my top school that others got into.”
  2. Mason Taberski
    The Salutatorian of the graduating class of 2023 is Mason Taberski, son of Jessica and Brian Taberski. He is ranked second in his class with a GPA of 4.28. After high school graduation, he plans to attend a university to study organic chemistry. Mason’s hobbies and interests include physical fitness and reading. His advice to younger classmates comes from his favorite novel: “It is impossible to live in the past, difficult to live in the present and a waste to live in the future.” — Dune by Frank Herbert
  3. Jason Hartzke
    Hartzke, graduating third in his class, is the son of Anesley Moser and David Hartzke. Jason has earned the Michigan Mathematics League Certificate of Merit, was March Student of the Month, and has received numerous athletic achievements and trophies in his time at Niles High School. Jason plans to study at University of Michigan to improve my knowledge of Computer Science, programming, and robotics. His hobbies include Baseball, card games, and programming/development. Jason has this advice for underclassmen: “Opportunism is powerful and addicting if managed well.”
  4. Parker Taberski
    Fourth in the graduating class of 2023 is Parker Taberski, son of Jessica and Brian Taberski. After high school Parker plans to attend college. In his free time he enjoys going to the gym, reading and cooking. His advice to fellow classmates hoping to find themselves in the top ten of their graduating class, “Treat education like a business.”
  5. Victoria Yates
    Graduating fifth in the class of 2023 is Victoria “Tori” Yates, daughter of Nichole and Michael Yates. Tori is a member of National Honor Society, 2-year captain of the girls soccer team, member of the cross country team and a member of the Class Leadership Council. After high school Tori plans to run cross country at SMC and earn an associates degree in one year. After that she will transfer to the University of Michigan to complete her bachelor’s degree. Tori enjoys running and playing soccer. Her advice to underclassmen, “You’ll always regret not doing something more than doing it.”
  6. Anna Johnson
    Johnson, daughter of Jenni Johnson and Kevin Johnson, will graduate sixth in her class. Anna’s personal achievements include volunteer work: Howard Cookies and Canvas 2021, Brian Parker Memorial Foundation 2017-Present, Kinder-Screening 2022 and Niles YMCA Thanksgiving Run 2022. Ann is also a member of the Senior Class “”Committee””, has a 4.1522 GPA, is a National Honors Society Member 21, 22, 23, SADD Member 22, 23, Nominated & Awarded Daughters of the American Revolution Scholarship and Nominated for the MHSAA Scholar Athlete Award (Not Awarded).
    Johnson plans on attending SMC for two years to play volleyball and find her passion. Her preliminary plans are to major in Criminal Justice. Her hobbies include playing volleyball, playing tennis, reading and shopping. Anna’s advice to younger classmates, “Work hard and stay consistent. It is going to get hard, but if you work for it, all of the work will pay off.”
  7. Mary Saylor
    Graduating seventh in her class is Mary Saylor, the daughter of Sarah and Jeffrey Saylor. Mary was named Outstanding Student of Excellence for Graphics, she is the secretary of the National Honor Society, plays Varsity Soccer and is a two-year captain, runs Varsity Cross Country, and will graduate Board Scholar and CTE Board Scholar. After graduation, Mary plans on attending the University of Michigan to study Architecture. In her free time she enjoys running, and has beat her mom in a few 5Ks, she likes to read, play soccer, swim, and spend time with family and friends. Mary’s advice to those seeking to one day stand among the top of their class, “Take opportunities presented to you, especially the AP classes. Join clubs and sports to make the most of your time, the time really does fly by.”
  8. Kierstyn Thompson
    At eighth in her class, Kierstyn Thompson, daughter of Mindy and Kenny Thompson, advises her younger counterparts to, “Set your standards high and don’t settle for anything less. Hard work pays off!” While at Niles High School, Kierstyn participated in Varsity Cross Country and Track for four years and captained both for two of those years. She is a member of National Honor Society, class President, a member of Key Club and a sports campaign creator. After high school, Kierstyn plans to attend a 4 year university to study a medical profession. Her hobbies and interests include cross country, track, competitive cheerleading and piano.
  9. Casey Marlin
    Graduating ninth in his class is Casey Marlin, son of Kara and Jerry Marlin, Jr. While working to achieve a GPA of 4.1156 Casey became a member of the National Honor Society, obtained six Varsity letters and was named All Conference for soccer twice. He was the team captain for soccer for two years and has over 35 hours of volunteer service. After high school he plans to attend Southwestern Michigan College to earn a degree in business, and transfer to Western Michigan University. In his spare time Casey likes to workout, make workouts for other people and hang out with his girlfriend and friends. He is interested in trivia, sports, history, and business/stocks. His advice to underclassmen who hope to find themselves in the top ten one day: “Stay in your books, and work hard. Putting in the work now will pay off in the future. Also, take AP classes, and Math and Science Center in order to help raise your GPA to the highest it can be.”
  10. (Tie) Peyton Bolyard
    Graduating tenth in her class is Peyton Bolyard, daughter of Travis and Jodi Bolyard. Peyton plays the flute in the high school band and is a Drum Major in the Niles Viking Marching band, she is also a member of National Honor Society. After high school she plans on majoring in English at West Virginia University. Her hobbies include writing, reading and studying different languages and cultures. Peyton’s advice to underclassmen hoping to find themselves at the top of their class one day, “Relax. Have fun. Sometimes the best work you can do comes from just taking a deep breath, putting your shoulders down, and relaxing.”
    Stella McDaniel
    Graduating tenth in her class is Stella McDaniel, daughter of Viki and Ray Cole. Stella has also been nominated three times as Student of the Month, named Outstanding Earth Science Student (2022), received Outstanding Social Studies Award (2022), Outstanding Performance in Precalculus (2022), has a 4.0952 GPA and is a member of National Honor Society (2022-23). After high school, Stella plans to attend Southwestern Michigan College for two years, majoring in Business or General Studies and plans to transfer to Western Michigan University to continue her academic career. Her hobbies include playing sports, like tennis and volleyball, reading mystery/drama books, coloring and spending time with her boyfriend, friends, and family.
    Stella would like younger students to know that, “Studying and doing homework can look different for everyone, find a way that suits you best and helps you retain the knowledge. Also, extracurriculars are just as important as academics so find athletics, clubs, or any community service groups that interest you and partake in them.”