Northwest Counseling Services honored 70 northwest-area high school students for their achievements May 3 during the 22nd annual All Star Salute.
Students from 14 high schools were selected for the honor by their schools in recognition of their academic achievements, demonstrated leadership at school, participation in extracurricular activities and service to the community.
Keynote speaker Simon Fraser, former Ohio State University and pro football player, said he was honored to be in the presence of students who have earned "elite status."
"You represent your schools with professionalism and class," he said.
Fraser encouraged the students to embrace the word yes as a small word that can be life-changing.
His life was changed when he finally said "yes"in ninth grade to his friends' recommendations that he start playing football, Fraser said.
By being part of the 2003 national championship Buckeyes team and moving on to play in the NFL, his dreams came true, he said.
"You can't plan for everything in your life," Fraser said. "Sometimes you have to take a deviation."
For Fraser, the crossroads came when he and his wife moved back to Columbus because of complications from her pregnancy with twins, who were born prematurely but survived.
The experience reignited his interest in a medical career, Fraser said, and he is now enrolled in medical school at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
"In the end, as long as you're willing to say 'yes' to certain situations and to dig down deep (within yourself), there's nothing to stop you from getting to where you want to go in life," he said.
Following Fraser's speech, the students from each school were called up to receive their awards.
The honored students from each school are:
* Bishop Watterson High School: Barry Robert Bryant, Bryn Dougherty, Gina Delaney Livecchi, Jordan Lucki, Edward Passen.
* Centennial High School: Jesse Feltz, Aaliyah Slappy, Trace Watkins, Sophia Yahnke, Christine Zheng.
* Columbus Academy: Suesan Chen, Brad Luckett, Elliot Nick, Kat Restrepo, Lauren Vodnick.
* Columbus School for Girls: Katherine Hohl, Audrey Rollins, Molly Thomas, Tzu-Ting "Emily" Yang, Yu Fei Zheng.
* Grandview Heights High School: Chadwick Carter, Anna Field, Erica Jackson, Lauren Jones, Kyle Modlich.
* Hilliard Bradley High School: Devin Baith, Christian Deiderich, Joshua Guy, Lauren Thai, Dana Turner.
* Hilliard Darby High School: Nicholas Antos, Heather Fogarty, Alan Li, Steve Prosser, Fatima Shaik.
* Hilliard Davidson High School: Matthias Heinz, Lauren Hoover, Michael Kreiser, Michael Porter, Patricia Woellert.
* Metro Early College High School: Derek Ault, Dominick Bailey, Alana Bruzzese, Melissa Cameron, Joshua Kurtz.
* St. Charles Prepratory School: Russell Bateman, Christopher Brake Jr., Brandon Burdine, Jack France, Michael Lutter.
* The Graham School: Chris Cree, Alison Easter, Kwabena Maccarthy, Janella Ossorio Montetta, Zackary Phillips-Gary.
* The Wellington School: Iakovos Anastasakis, Helen M. Fite, Coleen Kletzly, Erin K. O'Neil, Jordan Tunnell.
* Upper Arlington High School: Roberta Blaho, Adrianna Cannone, Abby Godard, Stu Little, Kelsey Schultz.
* Whetstone High School: Audrey Bollas, Steven Foster, LaDaysheia Hampton, Asher Pollock, Dora Mase.