BY CHRIS FAULKNOR, PUBLISHER
While athletics and academics tend to dominate the world of awards ceremonies, Boyne City High School’s People’s Choice Awards honors students for a variety of other important qualities and accomplishments.
The nearly two dozen student award-winners were nominated by members of the Boyne City High School staff for everything from having a positive attitude to reaching out to help others.
The winners and their families are then invited to this ceremony without knowledge of which teacher nominated them, or why, and the teachers take turns presenting their awards.
The award presentations for all 22 students are included below.
The first award was presented by Cindi Place to Nicole Pauley.
“There’s such a lack of appreciation in our world that every day, we need to honor those that make us happy, and my nominee tonight does just that,” said Place. “She’s always been a spitfire. Questioning, challenging, stubborn, independent, caring, loving, and smart.”
Jim Beckering presented his award to Josh Gallup.
“I made my selection of a student who brings good feelings to others every day. I picked a funny, creative, smart, and kind student. There are many students like that in Boyne City, but this one takes it to the next level, he is my friend,” said Beckering.
Brandon Ivie presented his award to Benjamin Forbes, relaying a story from marching band season in which Forbes took the field as Drum Major despite an injury.
“My nominee exemplifies what it means to be in the Boyne City Bands. He’s a terrific musician, he is a positive example, he is Boyne pride,” said Ivie.
John Hertel presented his award to Madison Smith. He stated that he hadn’t met her until her junior year in his ACT Prep class.
“This student stood out, because she didn’t just want to know the material for the test, she wanted to learn the material,” he said. “She had lots of questions and really wanted to know what was going on. But also, as I started to get to know her, she was going through a time of adversity that I as an adult can’t imagine, let alone as a Junior in high school.”
Athletic Director Dave Smith presented his award to Derek Willis.
“I would like to acknowledge a young man who has impressed me since about two years ago. This individual is the epitome of a student athlete. To maintain a 4-point GPA while playing a minimum of three sports all four years of high school is no small feat,” said Smith. “I can’t think of one instance where I’ve had to motivate this student. This student will undoubtedly go on to do some very special things.”
Amy Hertel presented her award to Kelsi Churchill, who was her teacher assistant this year. She spoke of Kelsi’s motivation in finding new things for the students to do, and being a positive part of every day.
“My people’s choice nominee is amazing,” said Hertel. “She is extremely thoughtful and hardworking. I am impressed by this person’s passion for learning every day. This student has helped me have a fantastic year this year, and it’s all because of her.”
Although Principal Karen Jarema read the nomination in his absence, Don Nohel nominated Alexis Beilas. In a prepared written nomination, Nohel stated that his student lights up the room when she enters.
“I’ve heard that there’s nothing stronger than gentleness, and this young lady emits strength through her gentleness every day. I see nothing less than her best in the time that I’ve known her,” he stated.
Principal Karen Jarema nominated Robotics Team President Jacob Brewer, citing the tremendous amount of commitment he puts forth.
“This individual has always been a quality student at BCHS,” said Jarema. “What sets this student apart is the level of commitment in what he does, whether it’s in academics, making sure everything gets done and done well, his work ethic on the job, finishing any job he starts, or spending time with his family.”
Pam McDowell nominated Tanner Kruzel, who she states, despite challenges, continues to make his dreams a reality. She continued to show a video of Tanner during a sporting event as he was interviewed and speaking of his responsibility to be a good example on and off the basketball court. “I know you will be successful as you pursue your dreams at Northern,” said McDowell.
Pamela Crouch nominated Lauren Hernandez.
“This student has a strong work ethic, always puts her best foot forward, and wants to do well in school. This student is a team player, a positive role model to her peers, and the staff enjoys having her in class,” said Crouch. “This student is flexible and easy going, she’s able to go with the flow.”
Nick Redman nominated Tanner Evans, not for his performance on the basketball court, but for his positive influence on his fellow students.
“I’m proud to present my People’s Choice Award to Tanner Evans,” said Redman.
Andy Bryant (and his son, Drew) nominated Jacob Willson. Bryant brought his son because part of his rationale for nominating Jacob was his treatment of all children, and specifically his, despite the focus he maintains to break the pole vaulting record at Boyne City High School.
“I’ve always thought you can tell a person’s true character by how they interact with kids, and now I have two indicators of my own in my house, and I can tell the character and heart that this student has,” said Bryant. “He has the greatest patience in the world with my kids while he’s trying to practice and focus on his main goal.”
Kelsey Bricker nominated MaKenna Vincent, who she says she has watched struggle and overcome over the past year.
“This past year, she made the decision to become more involved in her school and community and, to me, she’s become unstoppable,” said Bricker. “She admits that, for the first time, she’s taking pride in her academics and sees potential for her future, and that’s a huge stride toward lifelong success.”
Tony Cutler nominated Jack Trarop, who he met through the DECA marketing club.
“I’m very impressed with his work ethic, sense of humor, and commitment to success,” said Cutler. “He comes from a great family, and is an excellent representative of Boyne City High School.”
Christine Notestine nominated Meghan Reed.
“At ‘meet the teacher’ night, I had an enthusiastic student who seemed to burst into my classroom ready to start freshman year,” she said. “This student was motivated, ready for high school, and had an understanding that effort would open many doors for her. This student continues to challenge herself, serves as class president, has a sense of humor, and a very kind heart.”
Erin Bybee nominated Ashley Sutton, speaking of obstacles she has overcome and her positive attitude.
“This student is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met and she truly embodies the definition of a caretaker,” said Bybee. “I’m always in amazement in how she carries herself with such pride, dignity and, of course, her style.”
She went on to describe Ashley’s dream of helping disabled youth.
Michele Deming, in a prepared statement read by Principal Karen Jarema, nominated Maxwell Burke for his performance in this year’s production of “Footloose.”
“Each and every year I sit in my chair, I always wonder which kid will surprise me this year. This year, it was not only a surprise, but a shocker, as one stood out,” she said. “Talented, funny, and dance moves I had never witnessed before. Your performance will go down in my record book as one of the best ever.”
Cathy Brown nominated Zahrah Koch, who makes her smile. She read comments from other teachers about her willingness to stand up when she disagrees, referring to her as a “real sparkplug.”
“I love that this student is her own person. She dresses in her own unique style, has a fantastic smile, and I always wonder what she’s going to say next,” said Brown. “I can see her on a college campus, and she’s going to be loving it.”
Randy Calcaterra nominated Mary Anderson. He spoke of types of students he’s nominated in the past, wondering aloud if it was time to break the mold. In the end, he said, he couldn’t because he realized he had one student who has all of the characteristics of past great students.
Dennis Crissman nominated Heather Judkins-Ladd for her hard work and good attitude in the hospitality program.
“Every now and then, you come across an individual who is just fun to be around, has a positive attitude, and continues to work hard each day, no matter how busy they are,” said Crissman. “One student in particular really stands out, and really surprised me this year with her love of cooking and hospitality, and I enjoyed watching her grow through the school year.”
He added, “Whether she goes to the Culinary Institute of American, which she has been accepted to, or she chooses to go to a Michigan culinary school, I know that she will do well.”
Mark Pontoni nominated Erika Lockman.
He spoke of the different ways in which people prepare to leave high school, from being confident to downright terrified, and how different students handle it.
“She did a great job here, but she knows this is just one step of something she’s going to do that’s much much greater,” said Pontoni.
Sandra Clausen nominated Forrest Kerr.
“This person has a smile on every day. He is a great student, he’s always thinking, adds to class discussion, and he’s a fruit loop, but he’s a good fruit loop, and I will miss him next year for sure,” said Clausen. “When he was a freshman, a person in the band had heart surgery, and Forrest sent her flowers, because he’s a nice kid and he cares about people.”
Clausen said, unlike a lot of siblings, Forrest really cares for his brother.
“He loves his brother and cares a ton about him, and it will make him a great dad,” she said. “You brighten my heart every day with your smile and how much you care, and you’re a great student. I only want for the other kids and my own kids to be as great as you are.”
Pictured at the top of the page are this year’s BCHS People’s Choice Award winners. See the huge photo gallery from this year’s event at boynegazette.com later this week. Photo by Chris Faulknor