BRADENTON -- Eight Southeast High School students were named 2013 Golden Herald Award winners in a rare display of domination before a crowd of 2,000 Thursday at the Bradenton Auditorium.
"It's a great testament to our students and our programs," said Daniel Bradshaw, international baccalaureate adviser at the Southeast High School.
The most moving story of the night came from Bayshore High as Alexandria Priebe dedicated her stunning evening kickoff rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and her Golden Herald victory in music to her mother, Denise "Dee" Priebe, who is battling two benign albeit serious tumors.
"My mother is my inspiration," said Alexandria, a member of Music Members Vocal Ensemble, National Honor Society, American Sign Language Club and captain of Bayshore's color guard.
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Until she was about 12 and discovered music, Alexandria said she was so shy she was "afraid to sing in the shower because someone might hear me."
A voracious reader, she was bullied in school for her reading.
"Kids perceived her as weak," her mother said.
Music gave her the confidence to stand up to bullies, which led to standing up on stages, Alexandria said.
"I would share this award with Deborah Helman, a former choir teacher and Hannah Dahlquist, my current choir teacher, who both taught me to fear nothing," Alexandria said. "What I have learned in my life is that the only thing kids need to fight bullying is confidence in themselves. A bully cannot penetrate confidence."
The charismatic Ingrid Onoriode, whose Golden Herald victory was in business, led the winning Southeast contingent.
"When you meet her for the first time, you will immediately recognize special qualities like maturity, optimism and self-confidence rarely found in a high-school student," said a teacher of Ingrid,
The other seven Southeast High winners include: Raine Sagramsingh in English and literature, Mackenzie Yaryura in general scholarship, Arianna Bartolome in journalism, Teerth Patel in mathematics, Anna Shah in science, Madeline Black in speech and drama and Wyatt Fulghum in vocational.
Bayshore also took athletics behind Golden Herald winner Joshua Freeman
A Lakewood Ranch High student took citizenship when Amanda Baar claimed the top prize.
Manatee High took computer and technology behind Dalton Hicks.
Ashley Deal of Bradenton Christian School won a Golden Herald in foreign language.
Braden River High was honored through social science winner, Morganne Riggs.
Andrew Snow of Bradenton Christian won a Golden Herald for art and BC's Ashley Deale won for foreign language.
All winners received $1,500 cash award and honorable mention earned $300 cash with commemorative plaques for all.
Two $1,000 Brad Borsheim scholarships were awarded through a drawing. Recipients were Casey Davis of Braden River High School and the other went to Fadi Samad of Bayshore High School.
NETV taped the proceedings and will begin airing them on Sunday.
Richard Dymond, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.