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Principals Select Standout Students for Awards

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Principals Select Standout Students for Awards
Posted on 04/27/2022
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Each year, Maine high school principals nominate one senior from their schools to receive an MPA Principal’s Award. The award, sponsored by the Maine Principals' Association, is given in recognition of a high school senior's academic achievement and good citizenship.

The 2022 MPA Principal’s Award winners from the Portland Public Schools’ three high schools are: Ashleigh Danielson, Portland High School, selected by Principal Sheila Jepson; Emily Cheung, Deering High School, selected by Co-Principals Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed and Alyson Dame; and Devyn Shaughnessy, Casco Bay High School, selected by Principal Derek Pierce.

Award winners and their principals participated in a virtual event to honor them on April 1. The Principal’s Award is presented in more than 100 Maine public and private high schools by member principals of the MPA, the professional association that represents Maine’s school administrators.

Below is more information about this year’s PPS winners and their accomplishments.

Here’s how CBHS Principal Derek Pierce describes Devyn Shaughnessy:

When Devyn Shaughnessy blurted to me, ‘I am super passionate about what I am passionate about,’ it is somehow an understatement. Devyn Shaughnessy is one of the most impressive scholars we’ve ever had in our seventeen years. She's also co-chair of our Student Cabinet. In the winter of her junior year, Devyn launched a public health campaign at our school promoting mitigation practices and vaccinations, and soon she was all over the TV news urging her peers statewide to get their shots; she was the youngest volunteer at Portland’s biggest vaccine clinic, serving over 150 hours in the two months it was open. By year’s end, she will have completed nine college courses in addition to our demanding curriculum. She has already earned the state Seal of Biliteracy in French and Spanish as a native English speaker and is taking on Arabic next. Last spring, Deven earned the highest honor our faculty bestows, the Navigator Award for Excellence in Leadership. We are super passionate about Devyn Shaughnessy.

PHS Principal Sheila Jepson wrote the following about Ashleigh Danielson:

The award is sponsored by the Maine Principals’ Association and each high school principal gets to select a student who fits the criteria of academic excellence, outstanding school citizenship and leadership. Ashleigh is well deserving of this honor. 
At the end of her sophomore year Ashleigh and another student represented PHS students in support of our SRO.  Her work late in the school year and into the summer was most impressive.  Her voice and her community advocacy were incredible.  From her speaking at board meetings, letters to the editor and interviews on television, she did not waiver in her support and her confidence in leading.  I know many staff and students appreciated all she did!
Last year and this year I have gotten to know Ashleigh more as a member of the Student Council and the work she is doing in support of Student Council in addition to her work with the Foundation for Portland Public Schools as well as supporting our Math Motivators tutoring program. I have found Ashleigh to be a great communicator, organized and so humble in all the work she is doing.  She is generous with her time and incredibly reliable. Ashleigh will also be awarded a plaque for this honor and we recognize her at our Scholarship Night in May.

Deering High School Co-Principal Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed provided the following information about Emily Cheung:

Since her freshman year, Emily has been an active community member in many different extracurricular activities. She served as the representative for our school on the Portland Board of Public Education. She auditioned into the Maine All-State Vocal Festival her junior and senior year. This year, Emily won the Maine State Championship in Public Forum Debate with her partner, Balqies Mohamed. Emily also works with her partner as co-captain of the school’s debate team, helping to recruit and train younger members. In addition, she has held positions on the board of the New England and Bermuda District Key Clubs. As a senior, Emily served as District Governor for those clubs and led a board of 28 high school students from around New England. The District itself comprises over 150 clubs and 5,000 members. During her retirement address, she announced the fulfillment of a $50,000 fundraising project to build a dormitory in northern Vietnam with Children of Peace International.
In regards to academics, Emily is also a proud student at PATHS, where she studies biomedical science. She has balanced taking a rigorous academic load, including Advanced Placement classes, Honors, and University of Southern Maine courses. She plans to end the year with a certification to be a nursing assistant. Throughout her high school career, Emily has pursued opportunities in healthcare such as volunteering at Maine Medical Center, interning with Inside Medicine (a program created by Tufts Medical School and MMC), and interning with Dr. Jeffrey Walker at USM through the Maine Space Grant Consortium program MERITS. 
Emily will be attending Yale University this fall, where she plans to study psychology and neuroscience.

PHOTOS: Pictured (from left) are Devyn Shaughnessy, Ashleigh Danielson and Emily Cheung
Devyn Shaughnessy CBHS Principal's AwardAshleigh Daniels PHS Principal's AwardEmily Cheung, DHS Principal's Award winner