Please support local news coverage –

Donate Here

Portsmouth High School names its 10 ‘outstanding students’


PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth High School recently came out with its list of “outstanding students” from the Class of 2020. 

Here they are, in alphabetical order. Scroll through photos of each student above.

Jonathan Benson

Jonathan will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall where he will be majoring in Engineering. He feels that the field of Engineering will allow him to use his creative side to design and his problem-solving and analytical skills to put the design in motion. While at PHS, he was a member of the Math Team, the Modern World Language Honor Society and the International Thespian Honor Society. Jonathan also received a National Merit Scholarship from RPI and was recognized as the top AP-C Physics student at PHS. He is an extremely bright and inquisitive young man who considers his greatest strengths his self-motivation and sincere desire to learn. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys photography and is rarely without his camera. 

Macie Donahue

Macie Donahue will attend Boston College in the fall where she will major in Biology/Pre-Med. She is a well-rounded student, involved in activities both in and out of school. Macie is a member of the National Honor Society, the Modern World Language Society, the National Art Society, and the PHS Leadership Academy. As a peer mentor, Macie co-led a group of freshmen and sophomores, focusing on developing social emotional learning skills. While at PHS, Macie was a member of the academic clubs, honor societies, the Green Club and cross country, and graduated with 20 AP/Honors courses on her transcript. She also has studied dance for 16 years, including the Newport Nutcracker for 8. Recognizing the importance of giving back to others and the environment, Macie plans to become a physician to continue to make a positive impact on the world.

Jake Elvin

Jake is an intelligent and motivated student who has earned the respect and admiration of his teachers and peers. While math and science are his passion, Jake is a true scholar, excelling in all academic areas. He was the recipient of the Stonehill College Book Award, Excellence in AP Euro Book Award and Mathematics Junior Award. As a leader in his class, Jake was involved in the PHS Marching Band, the National Honor Society, and the PHS Leadership Academy, and during his junior year, he founded the PHS Percussion Ensemble. He was also a member of the Math Team, the Jazz Band, the Modern World Language Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Jake is an empathetic young man who shows commitment to others through his volunteerism. This fall, Jake will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he will be majoring in Computer Science and Information Technology.

Joseph Gallagher

Joey is an outgoing, hard-working and adventurous young man. He was a member of the National Honor Society, a four year member of the PHS basketball team and the sailing team. Last year, he was recognized for his leadership on the sailing team. While at PHS, Joey carried a rigorous course of studies and has taken 15 Advanced Placement and honors level courses. He is a well-rounded student who believes in service to his community, volunteering his time at his church and a local homeless shelter. His favorite classes in high school have been his engineering Project Lead the Way classes.He enjoys the challenge of critical thinking and problem-solving. In the fall, Joey will be continuing his engineering studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Lauren Griffiths

Lauren is a compassionate, empathetic and insightful student who is committed to making a difference in the world. She is actively involved in her school and local communities. She chairs a student advisory council for the RI Department of Education, traveling weekly to Providence to meet with students in urban schools to understand their challenges and what they need from the state to ensure their academic success. Locally, Lauren created a chapter of the nonprofit organization, Days for Girls, which illustrates her belief that it is her responsibility to give back to others. As co-captain of Model UN, she has earned six paper awards at conferences and was nominated to state-level boards as a student representative. Over her four years at PHS, she has taken 17 Advanced Placement and honors level courses. Pursuing her passion for international relations and humanitarian aid, Lauren will attend Brown University in the fall where she will major in International and Public Affairs. 

Luke Jackson

Luke Jackson is an outstanding human being. He has a natural academic ability coupled with a genuine desire to learn and grow as a person. Luke will attend Harvard University in the fall, and will major in Physics. He is a member of the National Honor Society where he holds the office of President. He is also a member of the Modern World Language Honor Society, the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and the PHS Leadership Academy. He recently organized a “Pay It Forward” movement at the high school through the National Honor Society to help promote school-wide good deeds and kindness toward others. He is passionate about participating in community service and volunteerism, and has been involved in the Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) since the end of his sophomore year. He lives his life striving to give back to his community, and make the world a better place.

Daniel Janssen

Daniel Janssen will attend St. Joseph’s University where he will study Risk Management and Actuarial Science. While at PHS, Dan always brought his best self to any task and values his relationships with others. He was an active, valuable member of the Math Team, credited with helping his teammates solve the most difficult problems to cinch some wins. Dan is most well-known for his contributions to the high school’s baseball team. He continually demonstrates strong leadership skills and sportsmanlike behavior. Mature, independent, and conscientious, Dan is a role model for his peers.

Autumn Pearce

Autumn is a remarkable young woman who consistently demonstrates her passion for knowledge. Over the last two years, Autumn has engaged in a number of different scientific research projects that included finding the distance to two different stars. During her time in high school, she founded the Rubik’s Club, was a member of the Math Team, the National Honor Society, the Modern World Language Honor Society and the International Thespian Society. She has also been recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction. She has strong critical thinking skills and embraces any challenge that will demand she use her problem-solving skills to reach an ultimate solution. In the fall, Autumn will be attending Yale University where she will be majoring in Physics with hopes of obtaining her Ph.D.

Morgan Shea

Morgan is a talented young woman who has been described as “impressive” by her teachers. During her time at PHS, Morgan was a member of the Community Service Club, the Cross Country team where she earned the Coach’s Award and the swim team. This year, she qualified for the RIIL State Championship Swim Meet and was a part of two relay teams that set school records. Throughout high school, Morgan maintained a demanding course load of Advanced Placement and honors levels classes while being an active member of her school community. She will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall with a concentration in Pre Med. 

Isabella Tobin

Isabella is the vice president of the National Honor Society and a member of the Modern World Language Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. She also has been a member of the Symphonic Band, the Flute Ensemble, the Portsmouth Leadership Academy, the Math Team and Science Olympiad. Isabella is a compassionate, bright and articulate young woman who not only excels in math and science, but is also a talented writer. During her junior year, she won the state-level Voice of Democracy essay competition sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign War in the US. She went on to represent RI at the national competition in Washington, D.C. In the fall, Isabella will be attending Purdue University where she will be majoring in Pharmacy.

Please support your local news coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy - and many of the advertisers who support our work - to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at - we believe it is our mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please consider a tax-deductible donation. 

Donate Here

Thank you for your support!

Matt Hayes, Portsmouth Times Publisher

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email