St. Thomas Hebrew Congregation to honor 7 students during MLK Day celebration

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ST. THOMAS - The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas is honoring seven accomplished students this week in line with its upcoming celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The students, all of who were selected by their respective high schools, will each receive a $500 award and be honored in a ceremony 6:30 p.m. Friday at the synagogue on St. Thomas.

The students come from various backgrounds, but all were required to write an essay as if they were speaking to the King, who would have celebrated his 85th birthday today.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is a federal holiday, annually marks the civil rights leader's birthday on the Monday following the date itself. The congregation has celebrated the day for about 20 years by granting awards to students whose schools feel that they embody the values of King in their own ways.

Each school considered as many students as they wanted and then asked the students to write an essay about what they would tell King that they would do to change the community, nation or world for the better, according to the applications distributed by the congregation.

"The schools then chose the students," said Stella Minion, administrative assistant for the congregation, noting that each school could choose one student.

All of the students are seniors, Minion said.

The seven students chosen are:

Mikaela Carty

V.I. Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy

Mikaela is a member of the student council, Rotary Interact program and other school service programs. She has taken part in a variety of awareness events that help to raise funds for community nonprofits.

Marquisse Brown

All Saints Cathedral School

Marquisse is the youth president for Faith Wesleyan Holiness Church as well as a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions. She also is part of the school's Peer Leadership Program and varsity volleyball team and is a co-captain for the dance team.

Kheana Fahie

Ivanna Eudora Kean High School

Kheana attends church regularly and is a member of the school's marching band. She also is a volunteer at the St. Thomas Humane Society and is a mentor to ninth-grade students at her school.

Rodney Querrard Jr.

Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School

Rodney serves as an altar boy at his local church and is part of the Bound 4 Life youth group. He also is a member of the school's student council.

Keryl Liburd

Seventh-day Adventist School

Keryl has completed more than 400 hours of community service for organizations that include the St. Thomas Humane Society, the Paradise Jam and the Lucinda Millen Home for the Aged. He is an instructor for several church programs and also is a choir member.

Brianna Hairston

Charlotte Amalie High School

Brianna volunteers her time to her church, as well as to the home-bound elderly and homeless. Brianna, who enjoys baking, has held several bake sales to raise money for sick children at St. Jude's Children Research Hospital and for the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Julianna de Haas

Antilles School

Julianna has volunteered at Sea View Nursing Home as well as at the Pistarckle Theater, where she helps with local productions. Julianna also has offered swimming lessons at the St. Thomas Swimming Association community pool and has helped care for marine life at Coral World Ocean Park.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email

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