BY CHRIS FAULKNOR, PUBLISHER
Boyne City High School held its ninth annual People’s Choice awards on April 24.
By design, the ceremony allows staff members to honor students for acts and characteristics that go beyond typical academic and athletic achievement.
Examples cited include work ethic, positive attitude, maturity, positive impact, and acts of kindness. Students are then invited to the ceremony with their parents and friends, and until announced by the nominating teacher, are not aware of what they have done to be recognized or from whom the recognition comes.
Organizing the event was social studies Teacher Michele Deming.
“Parents, family members, and friends, thank you for sharing your student with us,” she said. “I know you are just as proud of them as we are.”
High School Social Studies Teacher Michele Deming nominated Ackeem Larmond.
“My nominee is a true student,” said Deming.
“He immerses himself in the learning process. Daily, he will ask me a question about what we are learning, each and every day, just because he’s curious or he wants to know,” she added.
Deming described a presentation the student shared with the class and his failure to mention that he wrote the music to go with it.
“He taught himself how to speak French, he’s a master with his music, he has goals of traveling to Europe, and enjoys learning for the sake of learning. I hope this young man knows just how talented he really is,” said Deming.
Industrial Arts teacher Don Nohel nominated Leah Calo, and did so with a poem.
“It’s a lovely young lady inside and out, eager to share a smile, no doubt, a youngest, a treasure to find, happy, pleasant, and godly, compassionate and caring, always serving and sharing, a light that always brightens the mix, and the only girl in a family of six, Nohel read.”
“I’ve watched Leah grow into a lovely young lady,” he added.
Anna Harmeling was nominated by Government Teacher Mark Pontoni.
“She’s grown. She’s stood up for things that she believes in, and she absolutely knows there’s more out there,” said Pontoni.
“This young lady, when she sees a spark she doesn’t yell, “Fire!” and run. She kindles that and she makes something out of it, and she will probably go down in history as one of Boyne’s finest,” he added.
Additionally, he added that she’s been accepted to Stanford and Harvard, and continues to seek challenges.
“I will always treasure and honor the moment she came up to me in September of this year and said, “I don’t have enough classes. Give me something hard to do.” And that has really fostered a relationship challenging her,” he added.
Ray Cutler was nominated by Athletic Director and Student Success Coordinator John Hertel.
“My People’s Choice Award is someone over the last couple of years that I met with quite a few times. I’m very happy that this year, I have not had to meet with him as much, really at all, and he has done a great job in his capacity to always communicate positive things,” said Hertel. “He’s also joined the Pride Team. I’m really happy to see all the success that Raymond Cutler has had this year.”
Kyler Price was nominated by English Teacher Aaron Fritzsche.
Fritzsche explained that, though his class structure, he teaches Freshmen and Juniors, and highlighted that he gets to see the progress in between.
“So this particular kid, when he came in as a freshman, I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t wait for him to be a junior,” said Fritzsche.
“By the junior year, this kid was really trying to figure things out and had made a lot of progress and was pretty impressive,” he added.
Fritzsche described an assignment he gave requiring students to write a manual for a process, and Kyler’s was “How to Be a Man.”
“What’s so amazing is it’s really symbolic of what this kid went through and what he was accomplishing as a student here at Boyne City High School. I was really excited to see it and experience it with him,” said Fritzsche.
Kelsey Hubbard was nominated by Spanish Teacher Amy Hertel.
“When you graduate and move on to the next step in your life I hope that you know how smart, interesting, and thoughtful you are, and how special it is to see the kindness that you give to others and please know that that’s not a gift that everyone has,” said Hertel.
“I hope you know how proud I am of you. I hope you know what a good listener you are. You have a big heart and you really pay attention to people when they talk to you,” she added.
Hertel said Kelsey brought happiness to her room and heart.
Brandon Ivie nominated Aurora Seelye for her leadership abilities.
“For seven years, my nominee has come to class seemingly every day, every activity, with an impetuous smile, excitement, enthusiasm and pride; she shows commitment and dedication,” said Ivie.
“She is a leader. But not just in my classroom, in the entire school,” he added.
Ivie described the student-led walkout even in March in remembrance of school shooting victims, much of which was organized by Aurora.
“I wasn’t able to be here that day because I was at a middle school band activity, but I was able to see the news feed while I was there, and I almost started crying just because of the pride that I felt and what this student brings to our school,” said Ivie
Grace Wells was nominated by Principal Karen Jarema. Jarema began by describing a poster on her door in which the letter of the word “Rambler” are expanded to discuss positive personality traits.
“My choice this year is definitely an R, having respect for self and others. A, is very accepting of others for who they are, not who she would want them to be. M, acts with much maturity. B, believes in herself and others. L, is very loyal. E, puts much effort in everything she does. R, demonstrates much responsibility in her everyday actions. And S, is a true scholar,” said Jarema.
“She works hard and her grades are well-earned because she has to work hard in order to maintain what she would like,” she added.
Paige Heron was nominated by Special Education teacher Pam Crouch.
“This student is a team player, responsible, caring, respectful and kind,” said Crouch. “This student always has a friendly word for other students and staff.”
Crouch further mentioned that Paige plans to be a veterinary assistant, and that her calm personality will help her excel in this field.
Cheerleading Coach Alicia Cole nominated Kami Chapp.
“(Cami) came to us as a freshman, very shy, quiet and through our seasons really blossomed and became outspoken,” said Cole. “She has a very strong work ethic, is always at practice, always willing to do whatever it is asked of her or came up with.”
Drama Director Mike Houser nominated Lauren Fitzpatrick.
Houser described his work on High School Musical, and Lauren’s assistance with a basketball scene being truly needed, because unlike many typical drama participants, Lauren is a basketball player.
“Although she started out quietly, we very quickly learned that we can place a show on her shoulders and she, without complaint, would carry through to the end,” said Houser.
English Teacher Nicole Seymour nominated Robin Warren.
“She wears her heart on her sleeve in reading and writing, and you can see her passion each day,” said Seymour. “But, it’s not just that passion and the energy that she brings to class. It is also the fact that she consistently never stops to think about or feel as if she can’t raise her hand to give her idea.”
Seymour explained that Robin reaches out to and helps other students in class, finds people who are falling behind to help, and cares about others.
English Teacher Katherine Palmer nominated Ian Meier.
Palmer began by speaking of the creative writing classes she teaches, and how they often attract students who are shy and looking to branch out as well as students seeking less work-intensive elective classes.
“The student I’m honoring tonight chose to show up to take full-time creative writing and my drama classes and does not fit any of the criteria I described above,” she said.
“If anyone were asked to come up with reasons why this student stands out, one might say his athletic ability or his dazzling smile, but what many of you do not know about this student is his willingness to get out of his comfort zone to excel at a subject he has no previous training or experience for—a subject where creative expression and a willingness to share your real self with others is more important than academic or athletic ability.”
Palmer praised Ian for volunteering to read his work and accepting feedback as well as being willing to let down his guard and express himself.
Social Studies/English Teacher Ross Daniels nominated Brady Butka.
“He’s almost always the first person in my room in the morning and always in a good mood for the most part, said Daniels. “He is an excellent role model in class. Always here, almost never missing.”
Daniels described Brady’s ability to respond well to his sense of humor and lighten the tension in class.
Anna Smith was nominated by math teacher Lisa Rintala.
“In the two years that I’ve known this student, I’ve seen her grow from an unsure athlete to one who volunteers and participates by asking questions that show increase depth of understanding and who helps other students,” said Rintala.
“She does not give up. She manages frustration with increasing maturity and I have come to admire her persistence and her grace under pressure,” she added.
Science Teacher Andy Bryant nominated Yveloute Rea.
“This student came from another school and instantly fit in, socially, with everybody in the school,” said Bryant, who described Yveloute’s sense of humor, stating that her sarcasm was the same as his own.
He further admired her ability to challenge him to be better.
“She calls me out if my outfits don’t fit, if my hair is messed up or something,” he added. Bryant also described her ability to run track and to get along with children.
Counselor Cathy Brown nominated Aliccia Stafford.
“She makes you feel happy just saying ‘Hello’ to her,” said Brown.
“She is one of the friendliest, most polite students I’ve worked with. She’s very outgoing and approachable. She also works hard in class,” she added. Brown described the student’s skills and her prediction that she will do well in the Air Force.
JV FOOTBALL TEAM
In an unusual turn of events, Visual Imaging teacher Randy Calcaterra nominated the JV football team. On Oct. 14, 2017, the team was preparing for a game against TC St. Francis and ended up playing on a field without the usual amenities such as a scoreboard or loudspeaker. The team decided to sing the national anthem, an action which could barely be heard from across the field.
“Everyone just kind of stopped and you’re straining your ears to listen, ‘Is that really what I think it is?’ and it got quiet,” said Calcaterra. “It was the most touching moment and something that these guys should be so proud of. It’s definitely a lifetime memory.”
Jared Hausler was nominated by the Boyne City Hospitality Program.
Two assistants, speaking in nominating him, described a fundraiser event the class was catering.
Due to the higher-than-expected turnout, they ran out of food for the event. This student, as a result, went back to the school to prepare more food. Further showing his dedication, he then cancelled work for the evening in order to stay at the fundraiser and help until it was finished.
Zackery Evans was nominated by special education teacher Chuck Day for his improvement.
“The student that I nominated has totally turned it around: his attitude, his work ethic, his test scores, and his participation in class,” said Day.
“When you dig yourself in a hole it’s hard to get out and he made that choice, he made that decision and that gets my ultimate respect.”
Basketball coach Nick Redman nominated Mason Gardner.
“My nomination has absolutely nothing to do with what a great athlete his person is and has everything to do with what a great person this person is,” said Redman
“He was really proud to be representing Boyne City in every sport he played, and working with the youth kids, you could tell it meant a lot to him,” he added.
Math teacher Pam McDowell nominated Lorin Burch.
“When I see him in the hallway, he greets me and brightens up my day,” said McDowell.”
Further, she described his efforts to help her husband restore a tractor.
“Lorin, who values the traditions of the past, was there to help. And I appreciated that. Lauren, you have restored Richard’s faith in your generation,” she added.
Math Teacher Sandra Clausen described Connor Gabos in a poem.
“I went back to my acronyms: The C in Connor’s name is for that contagious smile that he has. You can’t help but to smile back, and that’s how he greets you on a daily basis. The O is for outstanding. He’s an outstanding role model for the younger kids. The first N is for noticeably committed. He is a great student. He works to his potential. I don’t know how many days this year he’s been in after-school because he expects a lot out of himself for AP Calculus. It’s not an easy course, and he is committed to doing great things. The second N is for number one. The O in Connor is for originality. He is one of a kind. The R in Connor is for respect. He gives respects. He gets respect. He’s respected by his peers, his teachers, and me.”