Charlotte Parent's 2016 Terrific Teen Honorees

Charlotte Parent received so many impressive nominations for Terrific Teens this year that we decided to honor six additional students in this special online feature. We were inspired by their stories of leadership, service, and exploration of the academics and arts, and are sure you will be, too.

Amanda Conti

Eager, Innovative, Humble

Senior, Porter Ridge High School

Amanda Conti has always loved riddles and Sudoku puzzles, which led her to gravitate toward the problem-solving aspect of STEM. She spent last summer at the North Carolina Governor’s School studying nuclear chemistry, environmental biology and physics.

She is the founder of local program Girls in STEM, designed to provide a forum space for girls to discuss current scientific topics. To build upon the excitement of female involvement in STEM fields, she planned service projects with local elementary schools.

Amanda holds school records in track and field and cross-country while also maintaining the highest GPA in her class and being recognized as a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist and a College Board AP Scholar with Distinction.

She serves as a Novant Hospital Junior Volunteer and is enjoying working in the emergency department this year. Next year she plans on attending Duke University, with a career goal of becoming a physician and researcher of neurodegenerative diseases.

“What makes Amanda a terrific teen is her humility she displays when being honored and her relentless pursuit of excellence,” says Jonathan Williams, school counselor at Porter Ridge High School.


Elijah Deveaux

Approachable, Positive, Hardworking

Senior, Charlotte Christian School

Elijah Deveaux may have already signed his letter of intent to play football with Duke University, but his peers and faculty at Charlotte Christian School know he is much more than a three-time, All-Conference, two-time All-State football player. He is described as “everyone’s friend,” and greets all he sees in the school halls with a friendly smile.

Elijah comes from a family that was one of the first to settle in the Bahamas. He credits his love for football to his father, grandfather and uncles who all played either college or professional football. He respects the work ethic of his 96-year-old grandfather, and knows the value of all his family has sacrificed and accomplished.

He is a member of the Knights Knews Broadcasting Team, an audition-only team of students who writes, directs, edits and acts in a weekly sketch comedy video production. In the future, he hopes to have a career in medicine as a team doctor.

“He is a committed athlete, outstanding student, and without a doubt, one of the kindest, most humble young men you will ever meet,” says Candace Gowan, communications specialist with Charlotte Christian School.


Andrew Fish

Inventive, Curious, Helpful

Senior, Charlotte Latin School

Andrew Fish says he became hooked on Apple computers from the first time he used a Mac in the second grade. He received his own Mac three years later. When he started school at Charlotte Latin in seventh grade, he went to the IT department and asked if he could work there. He went on to work there for five consecutive years.

After receiving his Apple/Mac Integration 10.9 Certification, he assisted the administration with developing a certification program for his fellow students, as well as a student-led help desk or “Genius Bar.”

“He thrives with challenges that are placed before him and his friendly nature makes him a natural with teachers, students or those who he may serve in some other capacity,” says Jody Jennings, co-director of college counseling for Charlotte Latin School.

His other interests include working with the school’s technical theatre department, assisting with the production of plays, musicals and other campus events. He volunteers twice a week with Autism Charlotte, and loves bees so much he gained admittance to a North Carolina Beekeeping Certification class.

“I love knowing that I am having a positive impact on the environment, and providing a safe and loving home for a colony of bees,” Andrew says. He has his sights set on college at N.C. State University or Northeastern University.


Charlie Mace

Driven, Talented, Dedicated

Senior, Northwest School of the Arts

Charlie Mace started playing piano at age 6, but didn’t truly develop a passion for music until learned the drums four years later. After a few years playing percussion in his school’s wind ensemble, he knew his future was set.

“Playing in an ensemble setting and working with other musicians to make a great piece of music was more rewarding than any of my solo playing had been, and I knew there was no way I’d stop doing that, whether I majored in music or not,” he says.

In addition to playing percussion, he’s a pianist, bassist, accompanist and composer.

Last year he organized a concert with fellow classical groups and soloists, and a jazz combo and guitarist from Northwest School of the Arts for the nursing home where his grandfather lives. He played jazz piano and performed duets with percussion and bass clarinet. This year, he played jazz and classical piano at a performance a friend organized at a different nursing home.

Charlie, who is ranked second in his class, plans to major in music theory and composition in college with a minor in physics. He has been accepted at UNC-Chapel Hill and is still waiting to hear back from a few Ivy League schools before he makes a final decision about where he will attend.

“Charlie has a drive for success that is incredibly rare for students his age,” says Mark Johnson, director of bands for Northwest School of the Arts. “I’ve never heard him say ‘I can’t.’ He excels at everything he does.”


Avery Lewis

Energetic, Gracious, Compassionate

Senior, David W. Butler High School

A tireless leader within the school and the community of Matthews is how John LeGrand, principal at David W. Butler High School describes Avery Lewis. She coaches Mecklenburg County’s Special Olympics bocce ball teams, is active with Camp SOAR (Special Olympic Athletic Retreat) and volunteers at the JOY prom for individuals with special needs. She is a third year leader with Charlotte Young Life Capernaum, a Christian ministry that reaches out to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It is so rewarding to see them having such a great time each week,” Avery says. Her volunteer work has earned the US Congressional Gold Award and she has completed more than 750 hours of community service.

A lacrosse player, Avery was selected to be a 2015 Carolina Panthers Community Captain, a program that recognizes outstanding high school student-athletes that excel in their sport, classroom and community. She is also a member of the NCHSAA Student Athlete Advisory Council — one of 16 scholar athletes selected to represent more than 200,000 North Carolina high school athletes.

Avery says her favorite class has been AP Macroeconomics because “it was so interesting and the principles can be used in my everyday life,” plans to attend Appalachian State University next year and major in marketing.


Devin Jamal McClure

Committed, Enthusiastic, Dedicated

Junior, North Mecklenburg High School

Devin McClure fell in love with cooking at a very young age, along with developing an interest in helping children. He works with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, a literacy and character-building program, where he has accumulated nearly 200 volunteer hours.

“These children often exhibit very challenging behavior problems, but Devin works patiently with each and every one looking for their best,” says Jacqueline Stinson, director of the PEN Pals Book Club. “He also volunteers with PEN Pals Book Club and Support Group for Children of Incarcerated Parents, and serves as a peer mentor within the group.”

Devin is a member of the National Honor High School Honors Society and is consistently on the A-B Honor Roll at his school. He runs track and enjoys being a part of the North Mecklenburg High School Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute. He plans to be a chef one day and hopes to open restaurants where he can share food with the homeless.

View all 2016 Terrific Teens »

Renee Roberson is a freelance writer who lives in Huntersville, and mom to two tweens.