All photos courtesy students unless otherwise marked

15. Emma Sloan

Classen School of Advanced Studies at Northeast
Attending: Oklahoma City University 

Intended major: Pre-engineering because of my love for math and science. I have always looked up to engineers because of how brilliant they seem. 

Biggest influences: My parents. They always push me to do my best and work as hard as I can. I would not have been able to achieve what I have without them. 

Greatest achievement: Graduating from high school as a summa cum laude valedictorian. 

Career plans: I am participating in a 3/2 program for engineering. I will attend Oklahoma City University for three years, pursuing a Bachelor of Science. Then I will attend Washington University in St. Louis for two years, pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. I plan on working towards a master’s in business or civil engineering at Washington St. Louis as well. 

I would trade places for one day with: Iron Man. He is a genius, and who wouldn’t want to save the world on multiple occasions? Plus, it would be fun to be able to fly. 

The next 10-20 years: In 10 years I hope to have completed all my education. I hope to be a successful engineer that is making a difference in the world. In 20 years, I hope to be more on the business management side of engineering. My overall goal is to make progress in resolving issues that deal with gentrification. 

Bonus fact: I love film photography. I am not a very creative or artistic person, but film is a huge passion of mine. 

14. L’aria Rose Krautter

Augustine Christian Academy
Attending: University of Tulsa 

Intended major: Biology, Pre-Med. The majority of my family works in healthcare, and I have gotten to see first hand how rewarding and interesting the life of a healthcare worker is. My high school chemistry and anatomy classes also sparked a love for all things science in me.

Biggest influences: One name or person just doesn’t cut it for me; I have the most amazing people in my life that give me so much advice. My best friends Annika and Abby, my sisters Lilian, Linnea, Lark, Liesl and Lacey, and my brother Matt are a few people that stand out to me. 

Greatest achievement: Acting and singing on stage as Dolly Levi in my high school musical Hello, Dolly! I can confidently say I would not be the person I am today if not for the lessons I learned performing this role. I learned about teamwork, leadership, responsibility, kindness, confidence and my own passions in life. 

Career plans: I plan to dive into some healthcare field. My goal is to attend medical school and become a physician. 

I would trade places for one day with: Meryl Streep. I would love to experience being the best actress of all time!

Unique characteristics: Ever since I was younger, I have considered myself to be extremely independent. I don’t like asking for help very much, and although that has ended up making some things harder for me, I have since developed a strong work ethic and independence that I know I will be able to utilize in my coming years.

Bonus fact: As a child, I ran a fan account for the sci-fi television series Doctor Who. It had over 10,000 followers!

13. Joseph Ye

Union High School
Attending: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Intended major: Engineering – Electrical Engineering or Civil Engineering. I love solving life’s problems; it keeps me busy and thinking.

Biggest influence: My father. He came to America when he was 18, working for less than $5 an hour in restaurants. Now we have two family-run businesses.

Greatest achievement: Getting through high school!

Career plans: Electrical engineering or civil engineering. I’m thinking about starting my own business in the future.

I would trade places for one day with: My nephew. I want to be the kid whose mom gives me everything I want: toys, hugs/kisses, food, TV.

The next 10-20 years: In 10 years, I’ll have gained experience in the engineering field, and in 20 years, I’ll have started my engineering firm business.

Unique characteristics: I literally hate it when I lose, so screw rejection. I’m getting back up and trying again until I win.

Most surprising detail: I tend to find absorbing ‘no’s’ from people quite exhilarating.

Bonus fact: My high school superlative was ‘Most Likely to Get Fired on the First Day of Work.’ So you can tell my friends think highly of me.

12. Gabreilla Nettey

Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics
Attending: Emory University 

Intended major: I am leaning towards Anthropology and Human Biology.

Biggest influences: My whole family including my mom, dad and younger sister. Throughout my whole life they have encouraged me to work hard to succeed and never settle.

Greatest achievement: Becoming a Quest Bridge College prep scholar and National College Match recipient, where I received a four-year, full-ride scholarship to Emory University.

Career plans: I am currently planning to pursue a pre-med track, in hopes of working in pediatrics.

The next 10-20 years: In 10 years I see myself graduated from college, and hopefully medical school, and beginning my career. I also hope that I will have traveled a bit and experienced more of the world. In 20 years, I hope to possibly have my own private practice and started to settle in a location I like with my own family.

Unique characteristics: I am a very optimistic person and I always look for the good in the situation, even if others may have given up or lost hope. I am also very family oriented, so even though I do enjoy my independence, I really do like spending time with my family.

Bonus fact: My parents are both from Ghana, and as a result I know another language.

11. Jonathan Wilson

Metro Christian Academy
Attending: Vanderbilt University

Intended major: Mechanical Engineering. I have always loved designing new things and learning how different systems and technologies function.

Biggest influence: My grandfather; he always looked at life from a different perspective and challenged me to think outside the box.

Great achievement: Probably playing in my school’s jazz band all four years of high school, ultimately taking home the state title my senior year.

Career plans: I intend to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. I’d love to one day work in some sort of research and development context.

I would trade places for one day with: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson for one day. I play drums, and I think it would be very fun to play on the Tonight Show or just with the Roots in general.

The next 10-20 years: I hope to be making a living doing something I love and helping other people.

Unique characteristics: I like to think that everyone stands out from each other. The nuances of people’s personalities make everyone truly individualistic. I have always been a very curious person and possessed a desire to learn and understand life to the fullest extent.

Bonus fact: My favorite sport is boxing.

10. Catie Leonard

Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School
Attending: University of Michigan 

Intended major: Musical Theatre

Biggest influence: My mom, Carrie Leonard. As a person, she uses her talent for the well-being of others. As a mother, she has instilled these traits in me, as well as encouraged me to follow my dreams every day. Both of my parents are my biggest support systems.

Greatest achievement: When I was a national finalist at the 2020 National Speech and Debate Association Tournament in duo interpretation. 

Career plans: I want to be a working actor. I intend to try many branches that sprout from the root of “acting,” but I ultimately want to be a creative performing artist. 

The next 10-20 years: In ten years, I see myself living in a New York City apartment, drinking coffee and living as an actor. In twenty years, I ultimately see a similar vision but hopefully by then I may have a family of my own.

Unique characteristics: Everyone has notable traits that are individualistic and make each of us who we are. I am definitely ambitious and have been in pursuit of a dream for many years. I’ve worked really hard, both artistically and academically, and will continue to do so as long as that dream continues to bring me joy.  

Bonus fact: I am not the biggest fan of social media as a way of communication, although I do use it. I believe that the more social media evolves, the more human beings become disconnected from others. In my opinion, this can hurt the authenticity in friendships. I try to write letters to my friends and family as a physical sign of my love for them. 

9. Harrison Baker

Photo by Brittany Stover

Oklahoma Christian School
Attending: Oklahoma State University

Intended major: General Business – Marketing

Biggest influence: My grandfather, David DeLana (owner of Heritage in El Reno). He has run his own business for over 40 years, and I admire the strong work ethic he has shown in his business and personal life. He’s also a great guitar player.

Greatest achievement: I was voted senior class president this past year, and I was part of a student council that had to navigate and adapt to leading our student body during the pandemic. 

I would trade places for one day with: Taj Alavi, head of marketing at Spotify. This opportunity would blend my love of music with a marketing job at one of the premier technology companies in the world.

The next 10-20 years: In 10 years, I hope to be married and been able to work myself into a steady job. I’d love to live and work in a big city, since I never have and would enjoy the opportunity. In 20 years, I hope to have started my own company and be well on my way to retirement. Oh, I’d really like a nice car – maybe a Jaguar.

Most surprising detail: I like to produce music, and I taught myself how to play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, drums and a little piano.

Bonus fact: I was blessed to be adopted from Guatemala as a baby and have had the opportunity to go back with my family a couple of times.

8. Maddy Palmer

Cascia Hall Preparatory School
Attending: University of California, Los Angeles

Intended major: Theater – Acting. I discovered my love for theater in middle school by participating in drama club and school productions. My love for acting continued throughout high school, and now I am excited to see where it will take me in college.

Biggest influence: My mother, Wilma Palmer, because she is one of the most hardworking and kind people I know. She has taught me how to do my best while also supporting me through all of my endeavors. She is who I look up to the most, and she inspires me every day.

Career plans: I would love to act in the theater and film industries.

I would trade places for one day with: Emma Watson. She’s a great film actress, and I would love to be on a professional film set for a day. Not only is she a talented actress, but she is a women’s rights activist. I admire her women’s rights work, and I think it would be interesting to see what she does for a day.

Unique characteristics: I am focused, reliable and consistent. These are all characteristics that make me stand out from others my age. I choose my friends wisely, and I am not easily influenced when faced with peer pressure.

Most surprising detail: I taught myself, with the help of the internet, knitting and embroidery.

Bonus fact: I’ve been learning to play guitar since I was 15.  I can play at an intermediate level.

7. Kurt Lemai-Nguyen

Broken Arrow High School
Attending: Princeton University

Intended major: Comparative Literature

Biggest influence: Mrs. English, my middle school librarian, essentially gave me my life’s path. Her constant zeal towards providing the appropriate research resources and teaching efficient research methods sparked my own interest in the field. Her encouragement to go out and try volunteering in libraries helped teach me initiative, which has carried me through my incessant contacting of different libraries. She was also an icon to me both for her dry wit and her impeccable sense of fashion. 

Greatest achievement: It means a lot to me when someone says I have good manners. I read Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior in middle school, and have tried to follow its credence religiously. When the head custodian wrote to my teacher that I was the “most respectable and mannerly student I have yet to meet,” I may or may not have gushed about it to my friends a few times too many.

I would trade places for one day with: Leonardo Da Vinci. As the one who inspired the term “Renaissance man,” Da Vinci truly represents the idea of a genius who went far and beyond anyone else during his time period, with his works even predicting future inventions. 

Unique characteristics: I have a borderline irrational amount of open mindedness. I will listen to any perspective, no matter how removed it is from my own in order to try and better understand the world around me. 

Bonus fact: I crowd surfed during prom.

6. Maria de Asis

Bishop Kelley High School
Attending: University of Oklahoma

Intended major: Public Relations and Economics. I love reading, writing and being able to strategically deliver news and stories to others. I also have a curiosity for how money flows through our everyday lives, and how it plays an enormous role in the decisions that individuals, companies and governments make.

Biggest influence: My brother, Enriq. The way he treats every individual like they are the most important person alive has led me to do the same.

Greatest achievement: How I changed the way I thought of myself between middle school and high school. I used to be extremely shy, self-conscious and submissive. As I grew up, I began to be more open and vocal towards what I believed in. I know 12-year-old me is extremely proud of the woman I am today. Loving who you are and being confident in yourself is key.

Career plans: I plan on going to business or law school after my undergrad and pursuing a career in corporate/tax law, and later immigration. I am also interested in marketing and management.

Unique characteristics: How comfortable I am in being myself. I will always choose to live authentically over living in fear of what others think of me.

Bonus fact: “Passion is not a job, sport or hobby; it is the full force of your attention and energy that you give to whatever is right in front of you.” This is a quote from a TED Talk that changed my life forever.

5. Robert Hale

Riverfield Country Day School
Attending: University of Chicago

Intended major: Math, as it is something that has always interested me. I would also love to double major or minor in an area of foreign languages.

Biggest influence: Apart from my family and friends, my biggest influence would be Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. I’ve always loved the inspiring albeit clichéd message that you can do anything with enough determination.

Greatest achievement: I’m really honored to have gotten into Chicago for the class of 2025. Also, I was excited to be named a National Merit Finalist. 

Career plans: I really hope to be a teacher or professor in mathematics. I also think it would be fun to teach English as a foreign language.

I would trade places for one day with: Someone in a foreign country like Mexico or Italy to practice my Spanish or Italian.

The next 10-20 years: 10 years from now, I hope to be seeing the world. 20 years from now, I mostly just want a stable job.

Unique characteristics: I can be really stubborn, but I think that has worked to my advantage in times when persistence has been necessary.

Most surprising detail: My music taste. ABBA is my all-time favorite band, and my favorite album is Hounds of Love.

Bonus fact: I love studying foreign languages, so I’m constantly looking for books, TV shows and songs in other languages like Spanish.

4. Nayna Nambiar

Holland Hall
Attending: Rice University 

Intended major: Biosciences with a minor in Global Health

Biggest influence: My mom. She has always been my No. 1 supporter. She gives me the best advice and helps me through any situation. Most importantly, my mom is the hardest worker I have ever seen. My mom is Superwoman, and I aspire to be as dedicated and hardworking as she is. 

Greatest achievement: Becoming student body president my senior year. It has been a goal of mine to achieve since I joined student council in sixth grade. When I got to high school, every single student body president before me was a girl, and I couldn’t have been more proud to be a part of a long list of powerful and confident women who have impacted the Holland Hall community for the better. 

Career plans: I would love to become a surgeon one day.

Unique characteristics: I have an ability to be very personable with people. I have been told that I act as a thermostat and can adjust to people’s energies and feelings. I am very approachable, and I love when people come to talk to me about issues they may have been dealing with. 

Most surprising detail: I was born in India and moved to the U.S. when I was 3 months old. Since then, I have lived in 5 different states: New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Texas and Oklahoma. 

Bonus fact: I can speak and understand five languages – Malayalam, English, Spanish, Hindi and Tamil.

3. Matthew McQuistion

Casady School
Attending: Brown University

Intended major: Economics/Applied Math. I am fascinated by the ways in which mathematics relates to the real world.

Biggest influence: My father. We share many interests and I really look up to him. He has always been a good role model for me, and he does what he thinks is right regardless of what other people think.

Greatest achievement: I competed in international extemporaneous speaking for six years. Speech and debate taught me so many lessons about competing, and the resilience needed to get back up again after a defeat. I also learned so much about issues shaping our country and international affairs that broadened my perspective and worldview. I often prepared for tournaments and traveled with extempers from schools across the OKC metro. Over the years, we became a community, even though we did not attend the same schools and often were competing against each other. Over time, I realized that being “good at debate” meant more than just convincing others that I was unequivocally correct. “Good” came to mean being part of a community. Through my speech and debate community, I grew as both a person and as a debater.

Unique characteristics: I have a broad range of interests – both academic and extracurricular.  I tend to pursue my interests in depth and with a lot of curiosity– from playing music to competing in speech and debate to photography to advanced mathematics. I like to see how things interrelate and to draw connections between seemingly unrelated topics.

2. Maya Chandwaney

Photo by Poetique Photography

Jenks High School
Attending: University of Chicago

Intended major: Mathematics. I have always been good at math, and I love solving puzzles.

Biggest influences: Definitely my parents. They have taught me directly and through example how to work hard and, more importantly, how to be a good and kind person.

Greatest achievement: Graduating high school as valedictorian and getting into the University of Chicago! 

Career plans: I don’t know. I’m interested in so many areas – too many to even have an idea of what I’ll end up doing.

I would trade places for one day with: Joe Biden. I want to experience being President of the United States.

The next 10-20 years: In 10 years, I love my job, I have ‘Dr.’ in my name and I live in a cool city. In 20 years, I still love my job, I have traveled to all seven continents, and I live in a pretty house.

Unique characteristics: I’m not very competitive. A large portion of my past four years was spent at speech and debate tournaments, but I never was driven by competition with other people; I found the work really interesting and wanted to do the best that I personally could.

Most surprising personal detail: I am a dancer! I have been learning bharatnatyam, a classical Indian dance style, since the age of six at Kripalaya Dance Academy. 

Bonus fact: I love to bake! I’ll do anything sweet and chocolate, but I especially enjoy making and decorating cakes.

1. Ian Gerardo Torres Acuña

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School
Attending: Washington University in St. Louis 

Intended major: Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry with a minor in Aerospace. I want to pursue this because space is my passion. I enjoy watching every rocket launch from SpaceX and every rocket engine test. 

Biggest influence: My mom, because of all the passion she gave to me, my brothers and her students to the very end, even when she was struggling with cancer treatment.

Greatest achievement: Being top 10 of my class. As an immigrant that had just arrived about half a month before my freshman year, I felt like a fish out of water, and I had trouble with a lot of things. So, to eventually succeed as well as I did just felt amazing.

Career plans: I have always been interested in space, so I want to study hard on aerospace and find work in a company that builds rockets, like SpaceX, Boeing, NASA or ULA. And if not, I would want to work on the making of satellite parts.

I would trade places for one day with: Someone in the ISS [International Space Station], because that would be even better than any dream I have. Living in zero gravity, doing science all day with an amazing view of the Earth, it just so mind blowingly incredible.

Unique characteristics: The biggest one, I think, is that I’m an immigrant, so I tend to have a different perspective from others. 

Bonus fact: While I wouldn’t say I’m really talented at it, I do have a passion for drawing and photography! 

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