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National Hispanic Recognition Award Recipients

National Hispanic Recognition Award Recipients

Four CCHS seniors were recently honored for their academic accomplishments with the National Hispanic Recognition Award (NHRA) – a College Board National Recognition Program.

Congratulations to these students!

Honored Students

These programs celebrate students' hard work in high school and showcase their strong academic performance. The academic honors for rural area, Black, Indigenous, and/or Latino students are an opportunity for students to share their strong academic achievements with colleges and scholarship programs that are seeking to recruit diverse talent.

NHRA Recipients with principal

"We are so pleased to celebrate these students and recognize them for their commitment to academic excellence,” said Mrs. Doreen Keller '71PMA, CCHS Principal.

“We know that these students will enjoy amazing accomplishments in the future."

The criteria for eligible students include:

  • GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10% of assessment takers in each state for each award program or earned a score of 3 or higher on 2 or more AP Exams in 9th and 10th grade.
  • Attend school in a rural area or small town, or identify as African American/Black, Hispanic American/Latino, or Indigenous/Native.

Eligible students were invited to apply for this program during their sophomore or junior year and were awarded at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

John, Alannis, Ayanna, and Chase Watkins are just the most recent CCHS students to be recognized for their commitment to academics.

In the past few weeks, two of their peers were named National Merit® Scholarship Semifinalists, and two students were named National Merit® Scholarship Commended Students (including NHRA recipient Chase Watkins.

Meet the Award Recipients

John Gannon '24

John Gannon '24

John Gannon '24, of Amesbury, dreams of attending Boston College and hopes to one day be a successful entrepreneur and have a positive impact on the world through his efforts and products.

In addition to a strong academic performance, John is very involved on campus as Secretary of DECA (Entrepreneur Program), Passport Club, Robotics Club, and Knitting Club. Off campus, he works as a Chef at Outrider Restaurant (Amesbury) and is a photographer, videographer, and editor for the Amesbury sports media team.

He also made time to volunteer at a local farmer's market during the summer, helping vendors to set up and shut down and supporting the kid's table.

"The farmer’s market was in Amesbury, so it was truly special to be involved in an event that brought my own community together. I am also very interested in business and entrepreneurship, so I loved learning things from the small businesses in my area and their journeys."

John’s interest in business has been encouraged by Mr. Matthew Sansoucie '12 (Math & Business Teacher).

"My classes with Mr. Sansoucie have fostered my interests in business and I attribute that to him. I would also like to thank Ms. Miner (Ms. Rebekah Miner, English Teacher) for everything she’s done to develop me as a writer. I believe that her class truly elevated my writing skills and I cannot thank her enough for that.”

“I feel like Central Catholic is special because it provides me with a welcoming space that allows me to connect and grow with others.

Alannis Nova '24

Alannis Nova '24

Alannis Nova '24, of Salem, NH, has high hopes of attending Columbia University (NY), where she would like to major in human rights, social sciences, or law.

Beyond academics, she is also an active member of the Central Catholic community as a member of SCOPE (Students Can Open People’s Eyes), Student Ambassadors (Executive Board), Be the CAUSE (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program), and National Honor Society. She also participated in Softball and Indoor Track & Field.

As a highly accomplished student, AIannis believes that all of her CCHS teachers have been very supportive and have had an incredibly positive impact on her Central experience.

"I especially would like to highlight Mr. Lynch (Mr. Joseph Lynch, Social Studies Teacher) and Mrs. O'Connor (Mrs. Laura O'Connor, World Languages Teacher) for supporting me through a difficult junior year. I am very grateful for all of my teachers!"

She also makes time to serve others.

"My favorite volunteering experience was at the Lawrence Public Library during the summer of 2021. I feel very honored to have been able to help young children have a nice library experience, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic."

"I think what makes Central special is how students are so supportive of each other," said Alannis. "I love seeing this support in the fan sections at football games, or even students helping each other with work."

Alannis is part of a CCHS Legacy with father and loyal Raider, Radhames Nova '93 (Chair, CCHS Development Committee), and twin sister Ayanna Nova '24.

Ayanna Nova '24

Ayanna Nova '24

Ayanna Nova '24, of Salem, NH, has a goal to attend a prestigious institution such as Princeton University, Middlebury College, or McGill University, where she hopes to study the social sciences or pursue a more interdisciplinary major like public policy.

Throughout Ayanna's time at Central Catholic, she has been involved in the Student Ambassadors (Executive Board), National Honor Society, SCOPE (Students Can Open People's Eyes), Be the CAUSE (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Program), Softball, Marist Mentors, and Indoor Track & Field.

Outside of CCHS, she loves to dance. "I often learn routines in my free time, and sometimes I choreograph my own dances."

Ayanna appreciates the support from the dedicated faculty members she has encountered at CCHS.

"Specifically, Mrs. O’Connor (Mrs. Laura O'Connor, World Languages Teacher) has had a huge impact on me and my experience at CCHS. Taking her Spanish classes for three consecutive years has allowed me to build meaningful connections with her. I love how Mrs. O'Connor teaches us the ins and outs of the Spanish language while also encouraging us to immerse ourselves in Latin American culture and compare the cultures we learn about to our personal lives."

"This year, I am honored to be in Mrs. O’Connor’s first AP Spanish Literature class, and I admire her passion on the subject, as well as her commitment to her students' success. I am forever grateful to Mrs. O'Connor for fostering such a positive and engaging learning environment, and for helping me further appreciate my Latina heritage.”

Ayanna also makes time to give of herself to others.

"I love tutoring at the Academic Success Center! I enjoy fulfilling my responsibility of leveraging my own academic strengths to propel other students towards academic success. I hope that my contributions have made a difference in someone’s education and overall experience at CCHS."

"Central Catholic is special to me because of its diverse student population,” said Ayanna. "The student body at Central is ethnically, geographically, economically, and academically diverse. I truly appreciate how every student has something different to bring to the table! I feel that being immersed in such an all-encompassing community has taught me to cherish our differences, and it has shaped me into a more open-minded and conscientious person.

Ayanna is part of a CCHS Legacy with father and loyal Raider, Radhames Nova '93 (Chair, CCHS Development Committee), and twin sister Alannis Nova '24.

Chase Watkins '24

Chase Watkins '24

Chase Watkins ’24, of Atkinson, NH, is an aspiring Civil Engineer with a dream of going to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for college.

In addition to his academics, Chase has been a member of the CCHS Boys Swim and Dive Team, CCHS Knitting Club, CCHS Boys Volleyball, and he also works for the YMCA.

Chase also makes time to serve others by volunteering for the entire summer at YMCA Camp Lincoln and visiting House of Mercy in Lawrence to help feed and give resources to those in need.

Though Chase believes all of his teachers have supported him throughout his CCHS experience, he had a specific faculty shout-out.

"Mr. Griffin (Mr. Brian Griffin, Science Teacher) has helped me understand and want to explore physics and engineering. I really like the way he teaches, and I think I’ve learned more in his classes than any others."

"I feel that the sense of community that I have at Central is really unique," said Chase. "I find it easy to connect and talk to everyone that I meet here."