Lehighton Area High School's top academic students recently were recognized at the 26th annual Top 10 Percent Awards Banquet. The event was held May 23 at the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Co.

Timothy Tkach, high school principal, welcomed students, parents and friends to a night when academics was not only recognized, but celebrated.

"We're here to recognize the hard work these student have done all year," said Tkach.

Nicholas Mantz, introduced the guests, administrators and school board members attending the event.

Tkach said that the students who attained the top rankings are also good athletes and to prove his point he noted that Mantz, who presently is the top senior in the class of 2012, was number one in his class in his junior year, and his sophomore year and freshman year and was also named the golf scholar athlete and the tennis scholar athlete. Mantz has been accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy for the engineering program.

Tkach also noted that Kara Serfass was named the field hockey scholar athlete, Jayden Hensley was named the baseball scholar athlete and that Stacey Kershner was named the cheerleading scholar athlete. He also proudly announced that six Lehighton seniors have secured seats at Wilkes University in the pharmacy program. He noted that Wilkes University only accepts 70 students in the pharmacy program. He also announced that Zachary Coleman was the number one accounting student in Pennsylvania and was recognized as the football scholar athlete and overall scholar athlete for 2012.

The invocation was offered by Michael Warkala, who is presently ranked number two student in the senior class.

Actual class rankings will not be announced until commencement exercises on Friday.

Each of the students attaining top 10 percent status for the first time were presented a pewter plate and tiles representing their achievements in school and the community that they made this past year. Students who had attained top 10 percent status in past years were presented certificates and tiles representing their achievements made this year to fill in their plates.

Presentation of the awards was made by LASD superintendent James Kraky and he was assisted on stage by Kyle Spotts, director of student services and facilities planning.

Tkach said that the students are not only gifted academic students, but that they are grounded. He thanked their parents and grandparents for all their support and guidance.

"We are very proud of our students," said Tkach. "We are told after they out in the community that they are welcome back any time because they are so well behaved."

Kraky also welcomed the parents, grandparents, teaching administrators, staff, cooks and servers.

"I've always enjoyed being part of this recognition program," he said. "We are here to recognize the best and brightest students. These students are high achievers. They know what they want to do and their application will provide a career path that will lead them up the ladder to lots of opportunities."

Kraky warned the students that they should sort out their true dreams from their false dreams. He also gave them some advice. He said that for a person to be truly successful, they should love what they are doing. He suggested that they plan for the future but to be open to new paths. He also said they needed to "check in" to see that they remain on track and to be happy, do their best work and stretch their abilities.

"They have done a fantastic job," said Kraky. "They are ready to move on. What good students we have."

Top 10 Percent students in the class of 2012 are: Isabelle Chew, Zachary Coleman, Laura Cressley, Katie Eidem, Evalina Heckman, Jayden Hensley, Stacey Kerschner, Shyanne Kleintop, Nicholas Mantz, Nicole Myrtle, Peter Petrack, Adam Reichard, Caitlin Roth, Sydney Schafer, Kara Serfass, Jonathan Strauss, James Sverchek and Michael Warkala.

Top 10 Percent students in the class of 2013 are, Kaitlyn Bandholz, Hannah Bartron, Alden Everett, Brandon Everett, class president; Keturah Hinkle, Elyse Kistler, Sarah Kistler, Emily Lauer, Tyler Martz, Jacen Nalesnik, number one in his class; Morgan Ott, Elizabeth Reichard, Tia Rex, Alex Rubin and Matthew Schweitzer.

Top 10 Percent students in the class of 2014 are, Christi Beddiges, Allison Butrie, Thatcher David, James Farano, Devin Frantz, Kyle Higgins, Nicholas Hill, Jaclyn Jordan, Michael Perkins, Peter Phelan, Michelle Pomposello, Atasha Rehrig, Amy Smith, Paige Steigerwalt, Matthew Stilwell, Kyle Troch, Kayla Troutman and Sara Wingert.