Lusk Albertson Awards LAunch Scholarships for 2017

Law Firm Gifts $10,000 in Scholarships to High School Seniors

Lusk Albertson has awarded its “LAunch Scholarships”  for 2017 to four graduating high school students.  Each of the students will receive $2,500 from the firm to assist with college costs.

Lusk Albertson established the Scholarship to recognize high academic achievement, community involvement, and exceptional leadership qualities exemplified by high school seniors within a school district represented by the firm.

This year, the firm received over 200 applications from highly-qualified students throughout Michigan.  The Selection Committee awarded scholarships to:

  • Gaby Brakoniecki – Stevenson High School (Utica Community Schools)
  • Kellee Byard – Lapeer High School (Lapeer Community Schools)
  • Kara Manuel – Walled Lake Western High School (Walled Lake Schools)
  • Ricky Young – Troy High School (Troy Schools)

Lapeer High School senior Kellee Byard will pursue her passion for animals and the planet at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, majoring in science. Byard has already engaged in significant research. As a high school student, she collected baseline data on lowering a pond’s water level so future AP Environmental Science students might determine if particular plants could thrive at the altered level. In addition, Byard is a member of Grow to Glow a mentoring program between high school and middle school children, involved in National Honor Society and Key Club, and a varsity athlete.

Gaby Brakoniecki is attending Michigan State University in the fall, where she will study biochemistry and biotechnology with a plan to continue onto medical school. She has already enriched her medical knowledge through volunteer experiences at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in the Pediatrics and Women’s Unit and Oakmont Senior Center.  Brakoniecki is a National Merit Commended Scholar, College Board AP Scholar with Distinction, and a member of Stevenson’s student council.


Kara Manuel will also head to Ann Arbor to attend the University of Michigan to study neurology. She is particularly interested in studying diseases like Alzheimer’s and Autism.  She plans to also continue her Spanish language studies to have the ability to speak with a broader range of patients, when she ultimately becomes a doctor. Manuel is an accomplished violinist serving as the first stand in the Walled Lake Western Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and the Relay for Life Board of Directors.


Ricky Young will begin his college career at Stanford University this fall. He plans to study international business and computer science. As a high school student, he has participated in numerous cultural initiatives that have served as a catalyst for his field of study. Young serves as the current National Honor Society President at Troy High, as well as student body vice president, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) President, and Council of Asian Pacific Americans Youth Chair. Last year, he led fellow students in creating a school-wide event to raise funds to support those affected by the Flint water crisis.


“This year’s LAunch Scholarship recipients each possess a unique constellation of skills – they are academically talented, they serve their respective communities, and they are leaders within their schools.  We have absolute confidence that they will each make a significant impact on the world as they begin the next chapter of their educational journeys,” Kevin Sutton, Partner, Lusk Albertson said.  “The LAunch Scholarship underscores our firm-wide dedication to supporting and celebrating public education; the amazing students, the committed faculty, the dynamic administrators, and the supportive boards of education,” he added.

Since 2012, Lusk Albertson has awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships to high school seniors.