Saline’s brightest students were honored during a banquet at Saline High School, Thursday. They, in turn, honored their most influential educators.
Once called the Highest Honors Banquet, the evening is now known as Compass Night. For years, the district honored the graduating students who ranked in the top five percent of their class in grade point average. For the last two years, the district has also recognized students who achieve in areas relating to the district’s “compass,” a logo and framework that guides the district’s action.
The students, their families and honored educators dined on a meal prepared by students in the culinary arts program. A string section performed as guests arrived and meals were served.
Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden said the annual event serves as a kick off for the stretch run of year-end activities. But more importantly, he said, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2019.
“It’s also an opportunity to think about what it takes for the community of Saline to get to a night like this,” Graden said.
Graden said there are three components to their success: The students, their parents and educators.
“The students did the work. There were a lot of evenings and weekend of work and sacrificing that went into the achievement that allowed them to be here tonight. The parents here tonight set the example and instilled the value of education. And the educators worked nights and weekends, engaged in professional development and pushed the envelope in order to make sure the opportunities our students have are second to none,” Graden said.
The following students achieved highest honors: Leah Abdallah, Lia Ahmed-Zaid, Katherina Andrade-Ozaetta, William Ashton, Bryce Brophy, Erika Chatell, Sphie De Oliveira, Matthew Eitzman, Kayla Fortino, Andrew Franklin, Josiah Goga, Elena Hoerauf, Mrinalini Iyer, Riley Jones, Jennifer Kosek, Kristina Kowalchik, Michael Lance, Jason Landini, Ailen Lao, Madison Luther, Katherine McCombs, Annika Olsen, Grace Reilly, Laurel Schmidt, Alexa Stern, Sabrina Stock, Ruth Sullivan, Jack Sundquist, Connor Terech, Cameron Tressler, Joshua Willwerth, Emily Woodman, Julie Wooldrige and Courtney Zmich.
The following students were honored for achievements aligned with points on the district’s “compass”: Julia Bentley, financial literacy; Brock Boze, collaborative leader; Brittany Bryant, creative innovator; Margaret Downey, globally connected; Maxwell Fair, ethical and responsible citizen; Will Kelley, motivated and self directed; Lucas Schultz, complex thinker; and Timothy Wageman, positive communicator.
The list of honored educators includes several who were honored by more than one student. Jason Schmier, who teaches English and history, was selected by four students. Computer science teacher Blake Foster, band teacher Nate Lampman, and chemistry teacher Bridgette Sparks were recognized by three students. French teacher Daphney Hatz, science and physiology teacher Juan Lauchu and government teacher Jeff Pike were each honored by two students.
Also honored were Debbie Williams-Hoak, Todd Brunty, Kara Stemmer, Ed Gall, Brian Heslip, Kelly Tressler, Andrew Lehmann, Rebecca Groeb, Lisa Latona, Nath Akella, Julie Strieter, Shelly Venema, Trish Molloy, Chris Trainor, Kim Reik, Mark Langkos, Trisca Beasley, Jen Denzin, Carol Melcher, Diana Aikens, Carl Spina, Madelyn Clark, and Drew Denzin.
Below is a video of each of the students talking about their future plans and their honored educator. Below that is a photo gallery.