Below are December's winners. Congratulations.

Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling, White Castle, College Advantage and ThisWeek Community Newspapers are recognizing exemplary students who represent their school and community by demonstrating hard work and strength of service.

Throughout the 2011-12 school year, Atlas Butler's panel of judges will select 10 monthly nominees, who are featured in their respective ThisWeek communities. A $250 award will be provided in the student's name to a local classroom of the teacher of the nominee's choice.

All selected monthly nominees are featured on Over the course of the ninth-month school year, 90 nominees are selected. Each nominee becomes eligible for an annual prize: three Atlas Butler students of the year, $2,500; five first-place winners, $1,000 each; and 15 honorable mentions, $500 each. To read other students' profiles or to nominate your student, visit

Nominations close on the 15th of each month. Help our panel decide winners on Facebook from the 17th to the 23rd of each month.


AlRitia Gore

Senior at Pickerington North High School

Nominated by: Marci Truex

Class with A: Honors Anatomy & Physiology

Teacher of winning classroom: Marci Truex

AlRitia Gore is an outstanding young lady. She is a smart and driven student with integrity. She is what I would call "a giver" She is not only active in our school, but volunteers with several different groups within our community. She teaches and coaches cheerleading to young girls and also works in the nursery at her church. She is also involved in our Nelly's club, which is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children with cancer.

They hold events such as lock-ins, charity drives, hat/yellow shirt days in which AlRitia helps to promote, organize and participate. AlRitia leads our school in spirit by being on the cheerleading squad. She demonstrates her leadership skills and her ability to serve others by her participation in our National Honor Society, documenting 60 hours a year of service to community. AlRitia is also musically inclined and gives piano lessons along with playing in our school's orchestra.

She has so many talents and has performed extremely well in the classroom due to her persistence for excellence. She translates that to the sports fields as well. She runs track and cheers for our school as well as an All-Star team. She attended the Real-World Career Experience Exploring Program for engineering and for nursing. She also attended the University of Dayton's Women of Engineering Summer Camp. AlRitia also has been a part of the National African-American Youth Initiative in Health and Policy Development Scholars Program. She also attended the summer institute for diversity in nursing. She also worked the Relay for Life Survivor Luncheon for the past three years.

As you can see, AlRitia is an amazing, well-rounded, intelligent, athletic, service-oriented young lady that strives for excellence.


Ariel Oppong

Senior at Bishop Hartley High School

Nominated by: Daniel DeCrane

Class with A: Government

Teacher of winning classroom: Daniel DeCrane

Ariel has volunteered over 200 hours of her time throughout the Columbus area at local hospitals for children, youth groups, libraries, and the Ronald McDonald House. She depicts the ideal global citizen, as she continually reaches out to all members of her community, especially those in most need. City and school leaders alike have commended her involvement in fundraisers for local charities; noting her dedication and friendliness to all involved.

Ariel's mastery of content in U.S. Government is shown as she has earned the highest academic honors through her first quarter. She has constantly put her educational goals into civic action and leadership, as seen in her involvement in the Bishop Hartley House System, MUN team, Varsity Tennis, and other service events. Ariel is viewed as a role model for all students and youth who cross her path and many in the classroom, community neighborhoods, and athletic fields model her work ethic.

Ariel has not only the determination, but the academic and social skills to succeed at the college level and make a tremendous impact in her future communities.


Brandon Damopoulos

Senior at Grove City High School

Class with A: Advanced Ceramics

Teacher of winning classroom: Brian Bosworth

Brandon approached me in the fall wanting to stage a fundraiser for Autism. My son had been diagnosed just this past January and of course I was very touched by his inspiring idea.

Eventually we determined that we could make ceramic mugs and sell coffee and hot chocolate at our local Christmas festival.

With my guidance, and support from his classmates and friends, Brandon developed a production schedule for his project. He planned for the needed materials and made arrangements with a local autism organization to help us the evening of the event. Brandon also made many of the 85 coffee mugs we sold that night.

On the evening of the festival we filled a tent with mugs, hot chocolate, coffee and lots of holiday cheer. When it was over Brandon's project, Kups for Kids, raised over $1,300, which we will be donating to the Stynchula Foundation.

Way to go Brandon!


Emilee Downing

Senior at Central Crossing High School

Nominated by: Anne Downing

Classroom with A: Pre Calculus

Teacher of winning classroom: Ms. Halleck

Emilee is a very caring and loving young woman. She maintains a 3.6 grade point average, taking AP courses and involving herself in many activities. Emilee has always involved herself in activities. She was a member of the volleyball team for 4 years, a member of National Honor Society for 2 years. She is an active member of the Key Club and has held and office for 3 years. She has also volunteered for her church religious education program for 4 years and Emilee is a hospice volunteer enriching the lives of the elderly and dying. She also is involved in her community through parks and rec as a referee for volleyball. Emilee plans to continue being active in volunteer work and extra curricular activities at the college level as she has learned to know the value of both!


Emma Pierpont

Junior at Bishop Watterson High School

Nominated by: Julia Pierpont

Class with A: A.P. Psychology

Teacher of winning classroom: Mr. Crisp

Emma Pierpont volunteers twice a week at Citizens for Humane Action working in the kitten and cat rooms. Cleaning and feeding the cats and kittens is majority of her responsibility. When time permits, she often helps in the sick room, assisting in administering medications and socializing with both the sick and well cats. She spends six hours a week at their Westerville facility.

She also devotes every Sunday for four hours working with neglected/abused animals at Circle P sanctuary. Cleaning stalls, cages and fields is the majority of responsibility. She grooms as many horses as time permits with the hopes that she will be permitted to exercise horses in the future.

She is presently a junior, dual enrolled in Ohio Dominican University and Bishop Watterson High School. She holds a 3.57 grade point average for the first grading period this school year and an overall grade point average of 3.70. Emma devotes one hour a week to National Honor Society tutoring and belongs to the following clubs: Aerie; Literary Arts Magazine, Nellie's Club, BWHS Book Club and French Club.

She gives freely of her time and provides much needed love to the animals she works with, her family and friends.


Joseph Anderson

Senior at Grandview Heights High School

Nominated by: Jill McNaughton

Class with A: World History

Teacher of winning classroom: Jason Peters

Under Joe's leadership, he rallied the football team and the community to come together for Touchdown for the Cure, his pet project. This was in support of Breast Cancer Awareness and Research. This initiative had a personal connection for Joe as his mother is a breast cancer survivor. Not only did he make an eloquent video which was on our website, but he dyed the football's teams' socks pink and encouraged the team to wear them, which they did. He made PA announcements weekly and put signs up around the school and community. He even had the courage to sport pink hair as a tribute to his mother and others who battled the disease. Primarily through Joe's effort, over $3,000 was raised in one night! Joe was tireless in his efforts and showed the school how all could come together and rally for a cause. I was so proud of him!


Megan Keller

Senior at Buckeye Valley High School

Nominated by: Tina Keller

Class with A: AP Literature

Teacher of winning classroom: Mrs. Hooper

Megan has participated in the Safety Town program for the last 7 years. Each summer she spends the whole month of June helping pre-kindergarteners in her community learn about safety in their homes, their schools and in their own communities.


Michael Reasoner

Senior at Bishop Watterson High School

Nominated by: Sandra Breitfeller

Class with A: Math

Teacher of winning classroom: Mr. Marchi

Michael has volunteered at COSI since age twelve accumulating 1,040+ hours to date. Impressive, nevertheless more remarkable is the COSI Volunteer Hours Sponsorship Program he created which has raised $3,300+ to date. Being one of Michael's sponsors, I received a thank you letter from COSI's president, David Chesebrough. As COSI's president expressed on this letter, Michael "represents the best in volunteer commitment". He goes on stating that "With Michael's story as a shining example, we know we are well on our way to reaching our (COSI's) goals." As a COSI donor, I receive letters from their fund raising campaigns, and guess what? Michael's story was quoted on these letters as an inspiration for people like me who are potential donors. Who will not be inspired by a young man like Michael who goes beyond his volunteer duty to come up with such a smart idea in order to make his volunteer efforts have a bigger impact on COSI's science programs? This year, Michael learned about Gracehaven's mission– an organization that provides a safe home, hope and healing for girls who have been forced into commercial sexual exploitation. Realizing the magnitude of this problem in Ohio, he set himself to find a way to help. Michael ran a garage sale raising $800+ that will be put towards opening their first "safe house" in Ohio. Michael has also volunteered at the Clintonville Resource Center, Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, and school. His mind and heart is what sets him apart from other volunteers.


Rachel Hoser

Senior at Pickerington Central High School

Nominated by: Julie Brunner

Class with A: Thematic Studies English 12

Teacher of winning classroom: Susan Turley

Rachel Hoser lost her little brother to a heart attack during her sophomore year. She has focused her grief on giving back to others. She helped the student council at our school organize two 5K run's in honor of her brother, Jonah. The first run was held just after his death and benefited the family to help with the hospital bills that were quite extensive with 66 days that Jonah spent in intensive care. The following year, Rachel and her family decided that the benefit of the I-Run for Jonah should be given to another member of our community and organized the benefit for a little girl with a tragic disease who attends Pickerington Schools. Rachel unselfishly worked hours to organize, advertise, and help run the events.

In addition, Rachel has been on many mission trips with her church, volunteered countless hours at our school for various food drives, and other school activities, and through their family's favorite charity (her brother had a heart transplant when he was 3), Lifeline of Ohio. She is also very involved in Young Life and has participated in Chrysalis (the youth version of the Walk to Emmaus). Her faith is extremely important to her and I have no doubt that it has gotten Rachel and her family through the tough times. She is also very interested in the Mount Leadership Society Scholars, a community service and leadership program at Ohio State to where she has just been accepted. I know she will be a perfect representative of the ideals that the program teaches and their students demonstrate.

Rachel is an extremely hard worker and very motivated to do well in whatever she is involved. Other activities she has been involved with in high school include: Girls Soccer, Student Council, Sunny-Side-Up, a leadership and community service group in out school. Sunny Side Up is a student leadership club in which teachers nominate the students and she was selected to participate during her junior year. She is also a member of Renaissance, which is an academic club that awards students for excellent grades, behavior and attendance, and a member of National Honor Society. For these reasons, I would like to nominate Rachel for the Atlas Butler award.


Reid Nickole Haller

Junior at Central Crossing High School

Nominated by: Theresa Haller

Classroom with A: Spanish

Teacher of winning classroom: April Bryant

Reid Nickole has been active in the community for many years. In the past, she designed and made buckeye jewelry to raise money for the Holiday Wish List at Franklin County Children Services. Last year she became very active with the Batten Disease. After learning that her teacher at Holt Crossing Intermediate has a child with the fatal disease, she raised over $1,200. This year she was asked to help cochair the Walk. She was the driving force in bringing it home to CCHS (Holt, CCHS, SWCA all are on the same campus.) She solicited many fantastic donations for the raffle table, hot air balloon ride and two hour airplane ride, just to name a few, she was able to raise over $500 in donations. As I compose this letter to you, she is selling Buckeye Jewelry at CCHS to purchase last minute gift items for those in need. Reid Nickole also donates 40 hours a year to the VIP group in Grove City, Ohio. She spends every New Year's Eve with the senior citizens at the Evans Center in Grove City. Also Reid Nickole is a teacher's assistant in Spanish and helps the chemistry teacher.