The Harvard Club of the Research Triangle awarded the Harvard Prize Book Award to nine outstanding high school juniors during the month of May.  Our recipients spanned our region from the Triangle to the coast.  Peruse the descriptions below (provided by each student's high school) to learn about some of the amazing things these rising high school seniors have done.  Fantastic! 

While the Award Sponsors and Book Prize committee usually strive to personally award the book at the school’s award ceremony, this year, some awards were presented in person and some were presented virtually.  Thanks to all our sponsors!

Sophia Fisher

Wakefield High School (Raleigh)


Sophia is a dedicated AP Language and Composition student who has very high expectations of herself.  She eagerly participates in class and her enthusiasm inspires her classmates.  She is a talented writer and a brave thinker.  In addition to her efforts in class, she also participates in the National English Honor Society.  She's been a joy to teach.

Sofia Fisher is a vital part of our theatre department in classes and after school production.  Sofia maintains a rigorous academic schedule in conjunction with many after school productions on top of her community involvement in the arts.  Sofia carries herself with pride in any role she is given and strives to develop her characters she plays as completely as possible.  Sofia consistently brings energy, inspiration and life to her work in the arts.  She is a joy to teach and to see her grow throughout her time at Wakefield High School.


Broughton High School (Raleigh)


Olivia Hartung has been selected as Broughton High School's Harvard Book Prize recipient for the 2022-23 school year.  She is an outstanding, All-A student in Broughton's IB Diploma Program who has also shown a significant commitment to community service in and out of school.  She contributes to class discussion consistently and has a love of learning across disciplines, including her love of art. 


JH Rose High School (Greenville)

Amelia Taft was chosen for the Harvard Book prize because of her academic excellence, her integrity, and her commitment to our school and community. Amelia has a true passion for learning, and she gives her best effort in all of her classes. She is driven by an intellectual curiosity that compels her to ask great questions and fully engage in discussion. She adds so much to the classroom environment. Amelia also has impeccable character, which is evident in the way she interacts with her peers and teachers and the emphasis that she places on academic integrity. She is an outstanding leader both in the classroom and on the volleyball court. Amelia is well respected by her classmates, her teammates, her teachers, and her coaches



Heritage High (Goldsboro)

Kyra Everette is an explorer of ideas, and she understands the power of books to take us across the horizon of our minds.  Her authentic love of learning is infectious, and she relishes in sharing the fruits of her intellectual labors to help others grow.  But unlike so many other students--and teachers for that matter--she does so intuitively...pragmatically.  She has the gift of providing surgical feedback with tact, humility, and grace, thus becoming an asset to her peers and her teachers.  Kyra will leverage any opportunity to improve herself toward the betterment of others and do so at the highest levels of efficacy.  For those reasons and many more, we honor and recognize her value-added contributions to our learning community.    


Laressia Steadman

Goldsboro High  (Goldsboro)

Laressia is a student whose scholastic excellence and dedication to service is parallel to none. A model of service and leadership, few students have the ability to cultivate leadership and foster growth that impacts their student body in the way that this student has. She worked tirelessly with her peers to plan, recruit, and create our first Speech & Debate Club. This student has the unique ability to draw out the best of her peers as her intellectual prowess sparks curiosity that encourages her peers to think critically about the world around them, feats some teachers are unable to do in a days work. In addition to serving in leadership roles in Speech & Debate, she served as a founding member of our Astronomy Club, another of our schools first. She has ranked in the top five students of her class with a GPA of 3.69 which is a testament to her consistently stellar work ethic as she is always seeking a challenge by taking multiple advanced placement classes throughout her high school career while balancing a robust commitment to her community.

With over a 100 hours of community service, she has served as a North Carolina Virtual Public School tutor, volunteer with Goldsboro Housing Authority, a member of Goldsboro’s Mayor Youth Council, United Way of Goldsboro service member, as well as a curator for Wayne County’s annual, A Taste of Wayne restaurant competition. Her dedication to her community, school, and exemplary academic performance are hallmarks for what the Harvard Book Prize stands for. There is no other student as deserving of this award as Ms. Laressia Steadman and it is with esteemed pleasure that I nominate this student for such a prestigious award.

Ciclaliz Morales-Perez

Spring Creek High (Wayne County)

Ciclaliz is a very quiet and reserved young lady.  Currently she is ranked number one in her Junior class and has not made a grade in any class below a 94.  She has been selected to attend our competitive Governor's School program this summer with her discipline of study as Math.  In her spare time she enjoys reading and volleyball.  She regularly attends Catholic church with her family and volunteers there.  Currently she is taking Allied Health courses and college courses to assist in her studies.  Ciclaliz plans to become a registered nurse after high school.  Currently she is a National Society member and next year she will be a North Carolina Academic Scholar, Honor Graduate and Sum Cum Laude Graduate.  We are very proud of Ciclaliz and all of her continued accomplishments.



Chantel Chestnut

Wayne Early / Middle College (Wayne County) 


Chantel is the quintessential all-around student.  She possesses qualities that are most sought after and encouraged by high school teachers and staff.  We would describe her as one of our top school ambassadors.  She sets the bar high for her peers and the underclassmen at our school. What I have come to learn about Chantel over the last few years is that she is passionate about social justice issues and opportunity for all people.  She is highly intelligent and confident in her beliefs and values.  I think she relies on this value system when she looks at the world, but I also think she is wonderfully curious and open to challenging views and the opportunity to understand the perspectives of others as well.

What has impressed me the most about Chantel right from her freshman year was her level of dedication, maturity and focus.  She has set goals in mind for herself and her future and is a methodical planner, choosing opportunities and experiences that will best prepare her for those future goals.  She is highly regarded by both students and staff as being a shining example of what a successful early college student looks like.

kadiatou diawara

New Bern High School (New Bern)

It would be an understatement to say that I am honored to be accepted this year as a Harvard Book Prize 2022 recipient. Before stepping foot into New Bern High School, I knew the path I wanted to take for my higher education in the digital media and business track. Over the course of these past three years, I have taken rigorous honors classes and community college courses as a dual enrolled student. The school has given me the opportunity to complete several certifications, provided by my school’s Career Technical Education department. With the help of my amazing advisors and coaches, I have dedicated myself to leadership positions within numerous club organizations and several sports teams. The experience gained through civic engagement, local community projects, and peer mentorship have allowed me to not only flourish inside the classroom, but outside as well. Taking the time to explore my interests and consult with the adults around me have only expedited my progress in improving as a leader. My goal towards a post-secondary education after high school has only grown with time. Within the next school year, I plan on leading my school’s Junior Civitan chapter as club president, carrying out my roles in affiliated club and honor society organizations, and assisting my track coaches as team captain. This award is a major stepping stone for pursuing my goals throughout high school.”


Jordan High (Durham)   


Pascale works very hard in school because she wants to be a vet. For the past year or more, she’s volunteered at a small spay/neuter clinic in Durham to help decrease the homeless pet population. Next year, Pascale is taking Veterinary Assisting to complete 300 hours of interning and become a certified veterinary assistant. Pascale pushes herself in school by taking AP’s and honor courses wherever possible; she just finished her AP Calculus Exam. Pascale is also active on the girl’s lacrosse team!


Mariam Abdelbarr    

NCSSM (Durham)


Mariam is a leader in class discussions and in her own careful thinking around issues of history, historiography, and the racialized past of America. She is one of the first students to begin discussions, asking driving questions and opening the floor to others. Additionally, her work on researching redlining in Durham produced a professional-quality public-facing educational video. She is one of the most talented writers and thinkers I have worked with.










Brady Andrew

Jordan Matther High (Siler City)

Brady has been in the Dual Language program since kindergarten. As his Spanish teacher I see that he is constantly working to improve his Spanish, learn new vocabulary, new grammatical phrases and how to use them correctly in Spanish. He participated in AP Spanish Language and Culture this semester and would do research outside of class on the cultural/historical lessons that we studied in class. Brady strives to speak in Spanish so that he can improve his communication skills and is a student who I can count on to do his best every day. He has been selected to participate in the prestigious Governor's School this summer in Spanish.  Brady is an accomplished musician and has been a part of the band program throughout high school. He was an international level competitor in DECA, president of the SGA, and played the role of Will Parker in JM's production of Oklahoma! this spring. Brady is respected by his teachers and peers and is a kind, earnest person who loves to cook.


Cameron reid Ratka 

Northern High School (Durham)


















Lily Bentacu 

Lejeune High School (Camp Lejeune-Hubert)



Ann Ruth Horton 

Carrboro High School (Carrboro)