Twenty HS seniors honored


PERRYSBURG – Twenty of the top seniors in local high schools were honored Tuesday for their academic
success, but were praised even more highly for their character, during the 16th annual Achievement of
Excellence awards banquet.
The event was organized by the Wood County Educational Service Center.
As the program concluded, Chrys Peterson, news anchor on WTOL-Channel 11, said it was going to be hard to
forget the stories she’d heard that night about the students.
"More important than GPA are the hearts you have. That is what people see," Peterson said.
Pointing to her head she said, "No doubt you will be successful here." Then she put her hands
over her heart, "And you’ll be successful here."
The following are the students with comments from their individual favorite teacher.
Bowling Green
High school English teacher Jennifer Dever said she could not encapsulate everything good about senior
Marissa Martin in two minutes. "She is intelligent without being arrogant, kind without being pushy
and confident without being cocky. … She’s balanced. She knows who she is and what she needs to
do." Excelling in classes was done "for the sheer enjoyment of a job well done." Martin
is also kind to fellow students.
Ryan Stefanich received one of two rounds of applause when chemistry teacher Beverly Anthony announced
he’d earned an Eagle Scout ranking. Among his many character traits listed were patient, caring,
supportive, poised and articulate. "He approaches all challenges with a true sense of purpose. You
are a credit to your parents, and you represent a promise that the best is yet to come."Eastwood

Science teacher and gifted student coordinator Terry McKibben marveled
that he had followed Megan Boyk since kindergarten when she was found so
bright that she spent half of her days in first grade. “She asks deep,
thought-provoking questions while other students look at me with
thought-provoking confusion,” he recalled. McKibben said it was not
Boyk’s abilities and grades that impressed him the most, but what he saw
in her character in the Carpe Diem leadership retreat, to which she
return-ed as a student leader.
Julie Russell’s fifth-grade teacher, Holly Chap-puies, announced there
are “very few people among us with the ability to touch things and make
them shine. Julie has been that type of student.” The teen could walk
into a tense situation and “make all the tension melt away.” Chappuies
remembered wishing that if she ever had a daughter, she wanted her to be
like Russell. Today she does have her own daughter and said she still
has the same wish.
Music theory teacher Dean Bell summed Zackery Deininger up in one word:
Masterpiece. Bell said teachers work with several thousand students in a
lifetime, and if they’re lucky, have one or two truly outstanding teens
with a passion for their subject area. But he said he found the
“crowning jewel” of his career in Deininger, someone he acknowledged was
more gifted and talented than himself. “The opportunity to work with
you has been one of the greatest joys of my career. It is an honor to
call you my colleague, and a blessing to call you my friend. You’re a
Staci Thomson worked with yearbook adviser Diane Reynolds-Miller for two
years and was de-scribed as a student “who gives 110 percent.”
Reynolds-Miller described Thomson’s continual big smile and greetings in
her classroom doorway, saying the “go-getter never has a bad day. She’s
a role model; a student any parent would be proud to have a daughter
like her. … Staci’s personality will carry her throughout her life.”
Chemistry and physics teacher Tyler Bates said being the favorite
teacher of Kaysie Brittenham was the greatest honor of all his
invitations to the banquet, citing her as “one of the top students ever
at Lake” in his 24 years there. Besides being an excellent student and
athlete, Bates said Brittenham was liked and respected by the students
and teachers. “Kaysie leads by the fact of her humility and grace. She
puts other people above herself.”
Volleyball coach Melissa Edwards marveled that after last June’s tornado
in Lake Township, Lauren Densic was helping neighbors clean up their
yards and lifting their spirits when she herself had lost her car. The
coach praised Densic for being poised, “incredibly self assured at all
times, incredibly passionate and humble at the same time … very driven
and motivated in ways high school students can’t understand.” Extremely
mature, Densic was not caught up in the “drama” of high school and
could reach out to students who looked as if they could use a friend.
“She is one of the strongest kids I have ever known.”
North Baltimore
Spanish teacher Martin Zamudio heard Felicia Konrad thanked several
teachers after she got her ACT scores and admitted he was both proud and
jealous, wanting her to say something about him. She ended up choosing
him as her favorite teacher. Zamudio praised Konrad for juggling well
her classes, sports, band, clubs, being a post secondary options
student, showcasing her talents on the stage and being in Civil War
Band Director Ben Pack had excellent musician Jane Powell in his
marching, concert and jazz bands and discovered she had an outstanding
work ethic. Even as a freshman saxophone squad leader she exceeded his
expectations. Pack recalled that it was an all-male section except her,
but they were always among the first to memorize their music. “She did a
great job ‘corralling the herd,’” he said, adding Powell also had a
great sense of humor, listened attentively, was well respected and could
converse during long music trips on a variety of subjects.
English teacher Tim Laird found Rebecca Avery quiet, committed and
compassionate in class; fully prepared; with a steady resolve to do her
best; yet with keen insight when she responded on-line to an assignment.
He said that since Avery could be counted on to volunteer to help
others and is committed to service, she should excel in the field of
nursing, “working in the trenches with patients,” and helping to make
their lives “full and complete.”
Seventh-grade social studies teacher Andrew Dickey is still proud of
Tiffany Kehlmeier who was in his “first crop of kids.” “Academically,
she’s number one. She’s intelligent. She can do anything.” As her
basketball coach Dickey also observed that Kehlmeier “showed what she’s
like with her commitment and dedication.” He liked that she worked hard
in the weight room to improve herself. “I couldn’t be prouder of her.”
Calculus, physics and computer science teacher Jim Grindstaff was
intrigued to find out that Rachel Fouts described herself in a
college-application essay as a “paper clip.” “Rachel’s nothing like a
paper clip,” he countered, describing her as “excellent academically,
very unassuming, the kind of person who never says, ‘look what I can
do.’” When he mentioned that Fouts had received a perfect score of 36 on
her ACT, the audience applauded. “Really, you reward us all by being
here at Otsego, and you certainly are an extraordinary paper clip.”
To librarian Brenda Mackey, Alissa Zapiecki “epitomizes the honor
student.” She took all honors classes, was active in the school’s music
program and clubs, her church and community theater, plus being a
library aide for two periods a day. “She has a genuine eagerness to
learn all she can in every area and then apply it to her life. … She
has a very teachable spirit.” Mackey praised Zapiecki as the top reader
at OHS after reading more than 75 books this year, an average of three
per week.
Penta Career Center
To public safety and criminal justice teacher Matthew Herrig, Audrey
Herroon incorporates the four core values of his class, including her
discipline and integrity. He is proud she will receive a letter from
President Obama recognizing her community service activities. Herroon
was on the school’s quiz bowl team, played lacrosse and was a class
captain. Herrig said he is very excited she will stay local and attend
Bowling Green State University, and wants to be an FBI special agent. “I
know deep in my heart this young lady will excel.”
Allison Koldan excels in math today because of her favorite teacher in
seventh grade, Steve Aungst. He was unable to attend the banquet, so ESC
Interim Superintendent Fred Susor read Koldan’s description of Aungst.
The senior wrote that she had taken her least favorite class, math, and
Aungst made it easy to understand. “Mr. Aungst changed my whole
understanding of the subject. I learned how math could be useful in
life, so it’s one of my favorite subjects. He helped me to enjoy math
and become the great math student I am today.”
In 26 years of teaching French, Lynda Fox has not seen a harder working
student than Morgan Bakies who she’s taught for four years. She praised
Bakies for having a great sense of humor and for being a “lifelong
learner who continuously learns from her mistakes and asks questions.”
In addition, Bakies is genuinely interested in others and their feelings
and is a natural leader, as shown while she was president of French
Honors trigonometry and AP calculus teacher Kris Harvey admitted he will
purposely say wrong things in class to see if students catch it and
correct him. He recalled Kaitlin Moore as a student who was like a
“scared deer in the headlights,” but “then you could see she really got
it. She’s tenacious at what she tries.” Harvey said there are “many
(students) you never forget. I’m honored Kaitlin chose me” as her
favorite teacher.
To history and government teacher Chuck Cox, Daniel Duggan is a superior
student, having had him for three years and two AP classes. “He is a
historian, a true scholar.” Though Duggan was quiet in class, he shone
on stage with leads in several plays. “He is a learner, not just
completing a task. He’s hungry to learn, highly skilled, very attentive.
His quiet manner sort of hides his drive for excellence. His
expectations are high.” Cox told Duggan, “I have great respect for you.
… You are one of the finest of all time.”
Choir director D.J. Hiner found Allison Gerren his most talented student
in 26 years of teaching, especially after having her from seventh
through 12th grades. She assisted him in making learning tracks for
other students, placed second in barbershop quartet and earned two
superior ratings. Hiner noted he was a jingle singer for 13 years, and
Gerren could have stepped in to sing with him, which “would have been
fabulous. It will be very difficult to say good-bye to this young lady.”

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