News-Star/Patriot Auto Group Car Finalists: Casteel, Adamek

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star

April Student of the Month: Shawnee High School senior Kayla Casteel

Kayla Casteel, of Shawnee, is one of April's Students of the Month.

Senior Kayla Casteel is a leader at Shawnee High School and maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA.

She has been selected as one of The Shawnee News-Star and Patriot Auto Group Students of the Month for April and is now in the running to win a car.

“One can tell by her grades, GPA, and class rank of 13 out of 280, Kayla is an intelligent, hard working, dedicated young lady,” Shawnee High School Counselor Cindy Bartley said. “Kayla has proven she is very capable of handling the rigors of high school while still being active in extra curricular activities and the community.”

She said Casteel is a recipient of an Academic Letter Jacket, which is received by the top 5 percent of the senior class.

“Kayla has challenged herself academically during each of her four years at Shawnee High School,” Bartley said. “She has accumulated nine advanced placement credits of the 25 credits required for graduation.”

She said Casteel is enrolled in two concurrent college classes.

“Kayla is committed to excelling in college and her high school performance is a great predictor that she will be successful,” she said.

Casteel was on the SHS cheer squad her freshman and sophomore years and has been a varsity athlete in cross country and track all four years, Bartley said.

“She has been active in Student Council, serving as a class representative, chair of assemblies and is currently vice president,” she said. “She has been a member of the National Honor Society since her sophomore year.”

Bartley said Casteel is co-president of Shawnee Youth Coalition (SYC), a student-led organization striving to decrease underage drinking and smoking.

“She is willing to complete any task she is given with enthusiasm and diligence,” Bartley said. “Kayla is a young woman of true character, sound judgment and unwavering commitment to making Shawnee a better city.”

Parents are Rodney and Tiffany Casteel.

April Student of the Month: Bethel High School senior Jaryn Adamek

Jaryn Adamek, of Bethel, is one of April's Students of the Month.

Senior Jaryn Adamek is a leader at Bethel High School and maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA.

He has been selected as one of The Shawnee News-Star and Patriot Auto Group Students of the Month for April and is now in the running to win a car.

Ranked seven of 83 seniors, Adamek has been a participating member of the Gifted and Talented program throughout his high school career.

“I have witnessed both Jaryn's academic accomplishments and his personal strengths and temperament, which are wise beyond his years,” Bethel High School Librarian Leah O'Rorke said. “He has a servant's heart, and I was always impressed by the way he worked alongside his peers, always willing to help those who need a hand.”

She said in addition to Adamek being loved by his peers, he has captured the respect of those who have had the pleasure of teaching him because of his caring respectful nature.

O'Rorke said Adamek's passion for knowledge is evident.

“From the first day of class, he impressed me greatly with his focus and work ethic,” she said. “His hard work was awarded with his induction into the National Honor Society, and because of his outstanding GPA he qualified for an academic letter jacket.”

Outside of regular high school class work, O'Rorke said Adamek attended the pre-engineering program at Gordon Cooper Technology Center (GCTC) during his sophomore and junior years, taking many courses geared toward physics and math that earned him weighted credits because of the advanced college level.

O'Rorke said Adamek's academic qualities alongside his personality and conscious efforts to always treat others kindly guarantee that he will positively contribute to any community that he is a part of.

Parents are Jim and Darcey Adamek.

Best of Preps 2020-21: Fourth year for Jeep Prize

For the fourth year, Patriot Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Chandler is going to provide a brand new Jeep Renegade for the Patriot Student of the Year to a student from participating high schools in the area.

The Patriot Auto Group is teaming up with The Shawnee News-Star to recognize the area’s best student.

During the school year, two students of the month will be selected by an impartial panel of judges based off nominations from administrators at the school. Those 16 students will be finalists to win the Patriot Student of the Year award and one will drive home in a new car after the News-Star's fifth annual Best of Tri-County Preps banquet at FireLake Arena in May. The remaining 15 students can win scholarships.

Each month administrators at participating area high schools will submit a nomination for a senior who has an excellent grade point average, displays community leadership qualities, is an active volunteer and displays high moral integrity.

Additional sponsors of the program include Communications Federal Credit Union, Pioneer Library System, First National Bank and Trust Co., and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

There are 16 finalists total, two each during the months of September through April; finalists include:

• September — Callie Roberts, of Prague, and Kulson Yates, of Tecumseh

• October — Daniel King, of Shawnee, and Kylee Greenwalt, of Dale

• November — Kaycee Babek, of Meeker, and Chandler Wilson, of Bethel

• December — Isaac Mohr, of Bethel, and Haley Kidney, of Bethel

• January — MacKenzie Steele, of Shawnee, and Cale Richardson, of Dale

• February — Conner Benn, of Meeker, and Paisley Sturgill, of Bethel

• March — Noah Drew, of Bethel, and Hannah VanDenBrand, of Chandler

• April — Kayla Casteel, of Shawnee, and Jaryn Adamek, of Bethel

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at