Local leaders recognized 35 Venice High School seniors for exceptional grades, excellent behavior and high test scores during the 31st annual Jacket of Excellence Awards on Jan. 29.

Venice High School hosted the campus ceremony and luncheon with support from the VHS Alumni Association, Venice Chamber of Commerce and Venice Neighborhood Council. State Sen. Ben Allen and LAUSD Board of Education President Steve Zimmer were on hand to present the students with their jackets and achievement certificates.

Winning a Jacket of Excellence requires a high level of commitment to academic success. Beginning in their freshman year, honorees must maintain a GPA of 3.75 or above, at least a 96% attendance rate, and high marks for work habits and cooperation.

This year’s awards went to: Joshua Alaie, Hagar Hassan Ali, Mariam Aly, Tanapat Ampornprapha, Daniel Anderson, Wendy Arce, Sara Smith Babakhyi, Jeny Bannon, Ashley Briones, Catherine Barrie, Maina Cioni, John Covarrubias, Corynn Craig, Alexander De La Cruz, Ugyen Dorji, Simon Greiner, Iris Jacobs, Laura Johnson, Mellia Kanani, Emily Kang, Emily Lui, Benjamin Melechin, Merlyn Miano, Jocelyn Morales, Lauren Moy, Karina Orozco, Ine Richards, Miranda Robinson, Andrew J. Selvo, Anika Troeger, Graciela Trujillo, Yesenia Vargas, Jennifer Vazquez, Blake Wakasa and
William Yi.

“It is incredibly moving to hear their personal statements about their experiences at Venice High, their involvement in activities and the colleges to which they’ve applied,” Venice Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Donna Lasman said. “It’s wonderful to learn all the great work our young people are doing in their schools and for the community.”

— Regan Kibbee