2013 Celebration of Excellence Essays Saturday, June 01, 2013 Saturday, June 01, 2052
Distinguished Achiever Nathan Matteson - Honored Educator Mr. Jim O'Neill, Butte School District Curriculum Director
Parents:  Richard Matteson & Kris Schumacher
I, Nathan Matteson, am honored to represent Mr. Jim O’Neill as he is a great man who has made a positive impact on my life. Mr. O’Neill was my grade school principal, track coach, and my idol. He is a big reason why I am who I am today and a reason I have come as far as I have.  Mr. O’Neill was my role model since the third grade when I toured the school that I would soon be attending. From then on he was committed to including everyone, and pushing them to strive to be the best person they could be. He did great activities to get students involved and do the best they could. I will never forget the fear factor night or the student of the month award I was always striving so hard to achieve.  If it wasn’t for Mr. O’Neill, I never would have been involved in grade school sports nor had the opportunity to be the pentathlete for track my sixth grade year. He always told me if I didn’t go out for track he wasn’t letting me move on to the next grade, joking of course. I am now a senior graduating with many honors and have many thanks to be given to Mr. O’Neill for this.  He helped me build a great foundation academically as well as a drive to compete to make myself a better person. I went on to continuously obtain a 3.5 or higher GPA, allowing me to be enrolled in honors classes. I was also a starting linebacker and special team captain for this year’s football team. I am sad to be restricted to such a short thank you, as I could probably go on for pages about what a great man he is. Thank you Mr. O’Neill.
 
Distinguished Scholar Jamie Young - Honored Educator Ms. Colleene Fogarty, Butte High School
Parents:  Courtney & Mariam Young
Mrs. Fogarty has impacted not only my education but also my life in ways that are difficult to describe. For starters she is a great teacher; her classes are fun, and her teaching style is relaxed and straightforward; she’s outgoing, hilarious, easy to talk to, and unafraid to invade your space. She is also one of the few teachers who will talk with her students on a personal level and help with anything. That is why I adore her. She helps me with more than just chemistry: she helps me with life. She helps me when I’m frustrated or confused. She helps me grow by expanding my comfort zone, whether I like it or not. Fogarty has even helped me realize my passions, narrow down and pick out my majors and find my general career path. Thanks to her, I am pursuing a double major in math and metallurgical engineering at Montana Tech. In Fogarty’s own words, “We would be best friends… if we were closer in age. 
Love You Fogs! Thanks for Everything!
 
Distinguished Scholar Riley McNabb - Honored Educator Mr. Eric Zahler, Kennedy Elementary
Parents:  Bob & Mara McNabb
To me Eric Zahler is more than just my soccer coach. He has been a mentor both on and off the field, not only in soccer, but in life as well, and for that I would just like to say thank you. It's hard to express how important of a role Zahler played in my high school career. He set life examples by giving a one hundred percent effort to our team every day, and his positive, hardworking attitude definitely rubbed off. He never dwelled on the negatives and always thrived on the positives. Over the past two years we've built a relationship that has been strengthened by all things good and bad. Before the beginning of this season I suffered an injury I thought would prevent me from playing a game during my senior season, but Eric was there for me and kept things positive. I will always remember Zahler not only as a coach, but as a friend as well. I am extremely thankful to have had a person like Eric Zahler in my life.

Distinguished Achiever Carlie Haeffner - Honored Educator Mr. Scott Cooney, Butte High School
Parents:  Scott & Georgann Haeffner
Mr. Cooney was my sophomore English teacher. I chose Mr. Cooney as the teacher that impacted my education the most because he helped me enjoy my most disliked subject. His technique and energy used while teaching brought excitement and fun into the classroom. Even now, I still remember most of the vocabulary words. Out of all of my teachers I feel I have retained an immense amount of knowledge in Mr. Cooney's class due to his enthusiasm and unique teaching style. He would always be sure to call on the quiet shy students, like me, to talk during a class debate. After many presentations, nerves weren't a problem. Rarely was the class assigned "busy work," as every assignment was useful in some way. Mr. Cooney made English class new and interesting everyday and I will never forget him acting out the vocabulary words. Mr. Cooney, thank you for a memorable year!

Distinguished Scholar Tanner Tregidga - Honored Educator Ms. Sandy Shutey, Butte High School 
Parents:  Todd & Shannon Tregidga
I was lucky enough to have Ms. Shutey twice in my high school career.  As a freshman, I was in her pre-chemistry/pre-physics class. This
class really increased my interest in science. I found both physics and chemistry to be very interesting subjects. The way she taught the material made it very easy for me to understand. This year I chose to take her Physics class. I really enjoy this class. I feel like I learn something new in her class every day. I feel like her “hands on approach” to the material really helps me learn.  Not only is she a good
teacher, she is a really good person. She is always very nice and helps me whenever I need it. She is always prepared for class and hardly ever misses school. Ms. Shutey is a major reason why I have decided to pursue a science based degree in college. 

Distinguished Scholar Kayla Sessions - Honored Educator Ms. Diana Kujawa, Butte High School
Parents:  Dale & Lisa Sessions
I would like to honor Ms. Kujawa as a teacher who has greatly impacted my education and self-image. I have been acquainted with her for
twelve years, but feel I truly came to know her as a freshman.  I was on a staircase crying about a crushing heartbreak I can scarcely recall, when Ms. Kujawa found me.  She was a voice of comfort, and advice about ignoring those who do not believe in you.  Two years later, I enrolled in her Yearbook class.  She treated me like an adult whose opinions mattered, which means so much, even now.  My senior year, she helped me obtain a key scholarship by providing an exceptionally well-written reference letter.  She truly believed in me.  What’s more, she made me believe in myself.   As I prepare for college, I remember the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”. I am truly honored Ms. Kujawa is a member of mine.
 
Distinguished Achiever Blaine Berrington - Honored Educator Mr. Arie Grey, Butte High School
Parents:  Steve Berrington & Melanie Watts
The last four years at Butte High I have met many teachers, but from all of these teachers I have been acquainted to, very few have expressed interest in my life outside of school. Mr. Grey has been one of those few teachers to convey concern about the instances of my life that occur outside of the classrooms. This is what means the most to me; a teacher taking interest in something other than my missing assignments or whether I had studied lansoprazol apotek or not. The fact that Mr. Grey makes an effort to ask me how I'm doing, or to question me about how well I did at a meet and hold genuine curiosity while doing so. For this reason Mr. Grey has been one of my favorite teachers and has made
waking up to go to government class over the past year worthwhile. So I'd like to say, Thank you Coach Grey, for going that extra mile. 
 
Distinguished Scholar Baili Connors - Honored Educator Mr. Dale Burgman, Butte High School
Parents:  Ted & Julie Connors
Terrified!  That’s how I felt the first time I walked into Mr. Burgman’s class.  I had heard rumors about how hard his class was.  As it turned out, the rumors were true, but through the class, I gained a deep appreciation for a teacher who knew more about the subjects he taught than I will ever hope to learn in my lifetime.  In addition to his vast knowledge, his unique sense of humor creates a fun learning environment.  I am absolutely convinced that the reason I learned as much as I did from Mr. Burgman is because he made the process so entertaining. Author William Arthur Ward once said, “The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.”  If this quote was used to describe Mr. Burgman, he would be a good, superior, and great teacher all mixed together to create an excellent educator!  Thank you, Mr. Burgman, for all you have taught me.
(I hope this essay is up to your standards, Mr. Burgman!)
 
Distinguished Scholar Logan Schuelke - Honored Educator Mr. Lloyd Magnuson, East Middle School
Parents:  Bruce & Judith Schuelke
Mr. Magnuson is one of the best teachers and people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  In all of his teachings Mr. Magnuson could explain and simplify the most complex astronomical and science concepts so that an eighth grader could understand them.  His lessons on geology were rock solid and his teachings on astronomy made every student aspire to shoot for the stars.  Even concepts that first seemed like rocket science quickly became comprehendible.  As a member of Mr. Magnuson’s Rocket Club, he not only allowed my knowledge to reach new heights but encouraged responsibility and dedication.  After hours of designing, constructing, and adjusting my rockets I felt a passion for what I had built and for improving upon it.  This experience helped to give me a passion for scientific creation that has culminated in my pursuit of a degree in engineering.  Without Mr. Magnusson I doubt that I would have the passion for science and space in particular, that I now do.
 
Distinguished Achiever Hattie Thatcher - Honored Educator Ms. Brenda Floreen, Butte High School
Parents:  Chunky Thatcher & Leah Fransisco
Mrs. Floreen is one of the greatest of all time. I was lucky enough to have her for two years and she is seriously one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. I’ve learned so much from her and she always put me in a good mood. She has one of the best personalities and I cannot help but smile when she’s around. She wants the best for her students. Mrs. Floreen pushed me to work hard, especially since I never wanted to let her down. I am so grateful to have gotten to know her and learn from her. Many people do not have the opportunity to honor a teacher who has made an impact on their life, but I am thankful I do and just want to say thank you so much to Mrs. Floreen.

Distinguished Scholar Luke Wilde - Honored Educator Ms. Maureen Driscoll, Butte High School
Parents:  Tom Wilde & Lynn Sullivan
My favorite class of the day is also my last.  AP Chemistry is one of the most difficult of classes offered at Butte High School, but with Mrs. Driscoll as a teacher, it is also fun. Mrs. Driscoll teaches her students with an enthusiasm that is uniquely hers, using her aptly named “Driscollisms” to encourage students to memorize even complex chemical processes. She has always been supportive and understanding, especially to me, encouraging and helping me with homework and labs after a day out of school. Mrs. Driscoll often dedicates her resources to prepare the lab for the next class. She knows the importance of knowledge and takes her job very seriously as she teaches in a relaxed and fun environment. Her devotion to the students and her exceptional methods make her the absolute best fit for the job and my most influential teacher.
  
Distinguished Scholar Rebecca Jones - Honored Educator Ms. Wendy Schoonen, Butte High School
Parent:  Lisa Carey
When I was asked to identify a teacher that had impacted my life the most, I knew immediately that my choice would be Frau Schoonen. Whether it is the German language, a volunteer project, or a classmate’s birthday, she has an uncanny ability to infect students with her seemingly never ending enthusiasm for the task at hand.  She has served as my teacher and advisor of Key Club for two years, and over that time I have grown closer to her than I have with any other educator.  One factor certainly sets her apart from the others; she works to connect with her students on a deeper level.  I know her door is always open if I am struggling with something.  I am thankful everyday that I have the opportunity to work with such an inspiring woman.  She is a role model to all and serves as a great asset to this community.
 
Distinguished Scholar Jake Dennehy - Honored Educator Ms. Pat Powers, Butte High School
Parents:  Kevin & Liza Dennehy
Pat Powers has influenced me in several ways. Not only has she passed on knowledge with respect to academics but she takes great pains to educate us in the more practical aspects of life.  As a result she has taught me several more important life lessons, for example – how easy it is to die from hypothermia, drinking and driving don’t mix, and school should be fun but pay attention to business.  She has two rules in her office:  the only sin is stupidity (so…don’t be stupid), and crap runs down hill (slightly edited, of course).  I have been Pat’s aide the last two years, and it has always been my favorite period of the day. We always seem to have fun, but when we need to get serious we manage to get things done. The thing I love most about Pat is she always watches her own back, and if she makes a mistake she owns up to it, takes whatever corrective action is necessary and moves on. There seem to be very few people at times willing to take ownership of their mistakes, and because of Pat I too can say I will take responsibility for something if I have screwed up. I am excited to move onto college, but I will always miss my time as fifth period athletic aide with Ms. Pat Powers.

Distinguished Achiever Faith Setterstrom - Honored Educator Mr. Chris Fisk, Butte High School
Parents:  Richard & Vivian Setterstrom
Chris Fisk is the kind of person who never wants to be honored or recognized, but he is also one of the ones who is most deserving of every honor and award. Mr. Fisk has been an inspiration to me over the past four years. His room has become my locker, refrigerator, lounge, and second home during the school year. His door is always open, and he has created a place where anyone can feel free from anything happening in life.  Mr. Fisk has given me a different perspective on work and service.  He has taught me how to prioritize and how to help others no matter how busy I am.  He has shown me there is always a need for helpful and caring people.  Mr. Fisk is a great man who has affected many people’s lives, and I am very grateful to have had him as a teacher and advisor. 
 
Distinguished Scholar Zachary Erickson - Honored Educator Ms. Dawn Rowling, Retired Butte High  School
Parents:  Dave & Elizabeth Erickson
I was fortunate enough to have an all-star group of teachers my Junior year of high school. Every class was well taught thanks to those same instructors, but the teacher that influenced my educational career the most was Ms. Rowling. Ms. Rowling taught Pre-Calculus in a way that made her rather complicated class seem easy. Every concept was easy to grasp and every problem’s solution was easily attainable so long as she was teaching us. Ms. Rowling also had the ability to really connect with her students. She could explain things in ways we could easily understand by incorporating things like X-man and entertaining ways to remember concepts such as her simple way to remember how to find horizontal asymptotes. She also kept the class interesting, which is no small feat when teaching math, and made you excited to attend her class every day. In the end, Ms. Rowling provided me with a solid foundation that will unquestionably aid my pursuit of an engineering degree and for that I am thankful I had the opportunity to have her as my teacher.

Distinguished Scholar Abigail Wheeler - Honored Educator Ms. Lana Whelan, Butte High School
Parents:  Bill & Lisa Wheeler
I chose Mrs. Whelan because she is one of the many reasons I love science. As a freshman, she opened the door that fueled my interest in chemistry which I still carry today as I plan to attain a degree in Biochemistry. She encouraged me to take as many science classes as
possible which motivated me to enroll in two science credits as a sophomore.  That decision has enabled me get ahead in my school curriculum and more importantly, satisfy my need to learn. I have Mrs. Whelan again this year for physics and her enthusiasm makes her class one of the most enjoyable in the school. Her teaching style is incredibly unique and has provided me with the greatest possible understanding of sometimes very difficult subject matter. Thank you Mrs. Whelan for everything!
 
Distinguished Achiever Megan Hazlett - Honored Educator Mr. Robin Anderson, Ramsay Elementary School
Parents:  Jason & Mary Hazlett
I have had people walk in and out of my life. Some have made extraordinary impacts and others changed how I view things. One man has forever changed my life, Mr. Robin Anderson, from Ramsay Elementary School. I have looked up to and been grateful for everything he has taught me. From helping me understand math, taking a part in my love for guitar playing, or even listening to his jokes that now have a deeper meaning. He has been an inspiration to me the past 11 years. I want to thank him for everything he has taught me and for the life
skills I have acquired. He will always be a big part in my life.

Distinguished Scholar Riley Hash - Honored Educator Ms. Teri Belke, Butte High School  Speech & Debate
Parents: Jim & Sherrie Hash
Mrs. Belke may not be a “teacher,” but her coaching has taught me many things that make me who I am today. Anyone that knows me will undoubtedly say that I have the ability to talk, extensively. Yet Mrs. Belke has taught me how to develop this ability into essential skill of public speaking. Mrs. Belke has an outstanding ability to teach her students and allow them to be successful speakers at any point in their life. There are few educators who are devoted enough to stop and help their students at any point in time, but Mrs. Belke is. Her success is shown in the multiple national qualifiers she has taught.  So despite the technical fact that Mrs. Belke may not be a “teacher”, she has certainly taught me just as much as any other educator.  Due to her unquestionable abilities to give her students the gift of knowledge and success, Mrs. Belke has certainly earned the title of a distinguished educator.
 
Distinguished Scholar Cooper Fisher - Honored Educator Ms. Janeen Walsh, Butte High School
Parent:  Jackie Fisher
Many believe a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of Ms. Janeen Walsh, not even an album full of infinite photographs would depict the impact she has had in my life. Her commitment to the success of any student, as well as the preparation she puts into daily assignments and their enjoyment has constantly left my jaw on the floor. Janeen has selflessly focused on nourishing my success throughout all four years of high school. Most importantly though, she has promoted and encouraged me to become the adult I am today. No teacher has ever gone out of their way to embrace my entire character, flaws and all.  Janeen allowed me to feel welcome and remarkable in one of the most prominent transitions of our lives. I believe a teacher has truly touched the life of a student when they change from Educator and student to friends.  Lucky, I have a friend that will last a life time.
 
Distinguished Achiever Natalie Faupel - Honored Educator Ms. Heidi Grey, West Elementary School
Parents:  Scott & Cheri Faupel
I chose my sixth grade teacher and current track coach, Heidi Grey, as one of the most influential people in my life. When I transferred from Hillcrest to Ramsay, Heidi was my new teacher. She was probably the best teacher I could have asked for at that time. She was fun, outgoing, and made it easy for me to become comfortable. Luckily, I have gotten the opportunity to be her student again. She isn’t teaching me education anymore, but instead, she is teaching me in another aspect of my life, athletics. Every day during practice, Heidi is encouraging, helpful, and positive. I can honestly say I have never seen her in a bad mood. She is someone I always joke around with and someone I can always count on. I am so lucky to have had her teach me in two different stages of my life. She’s the best!
 
Distinguished Scholar Wyatt Call -  Honored Educator Mr. Brian Tobin, Butte High  School
Parents:  Matthew & Christine Call
Several years ago the BHS Band was in poor shape. They had become small in size and not well known. Now the band boasts around 30 members and, while still relatively small, is much larger than it has been for the past few years. In the past, because of the band’s small size, when asked about the band, students would ask, “We have a band?”  The last few years, the band has slowly grown. Two years ago – Mr.
Tobin’s first year as director – the band grew quite a bit. There were a lot of freshman who had just started, and several older students who had not joined previously. This threw much responsibility on the newly hired Mr. Tobin. It was rocky at first – and still is – but he managed to pull through, and now the band is doing quite well. Mr. Tobin has done a fine job keeping it up.
 
Distinguished Scholar McKennah Andrews - Honored Educator Ms. Theo Davis, East Middle School
Parents:  Ben & Lisa Andrews
It is no secret that middle school is an awkward phase of our lives. From searching for our personal identities, to adapting to the adolescent alterations, or thoroughly enjoying the extraordinary ice cream line in the cafeteria, middle school is a period of experimentation and renovation.  Luckily for me, I experienced both years of that “awkward phase” with one of the most compassionate, understanding, creative, and good-humored teachers I have ever met.  As former Oklahoma governor, Brad Henry, put it, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning,” and for me, that good teacher was Ms. Theo Davis.  I chose to honor Ms. Davis because of the surpassing connection I built with her over those two years.  Although employed as an English teacher, Ms. Davis taught far more than spelling, sentence structure, and poetry. She taught tolerance, open-mindedness, and self- expression.  Her assignments focused on ingenuity, while revealing each individual personality in the classroom.  Her gentle nature and motivational approach even made grammar exciting! Whether it is our shared passion for quotes or the aid she openly provided during the emotionally hard year, I will always remember Ms. Theo Davis for guiding me through those “awkward” moments and reminding me of my true potential.
 
Distinguished Achiever Zach Bunney - Honored Educator Mr. Kyle Stenson, Butte High School
Parents:  Tom & Dana Bunney
I had the opportunity to know Mr. Kyle Stenson before he was my teacher.  I was a member of his 7th and 8th grade championship football teams at East Junior High and saw his fun, tough, energetic, and enthusiastic side.  He would push us to do more, encourage us when we were down, and try to prepare us for the next chapter of our lives at Butte High School.  When I was a sophomore and a junior at Butte High, I had the luck to be in his American and World History Classes.  One thing was for sure, there was no difference between him in the classroom and on the field.  He made you feel as important to him as his own family.  Class time was relaxed, and his classroom showed lively discussions and spontaneous conversations.  Sure we had our occasional discussions about the San Francisco 49ers, but he would always make sure that we learned something about history that day.  His main concern was that all his students connected to the material he was teaching, were engaged by the discussions, and let the information sink in to do quality work.  Two years ago when I was in the hospital in Spokane, Mr. Stenson contacted me to lift my spirits.  This wasn’t from a teacher, it was from a friend.  He helped me get through my schoolwork when I was gone and made my transition of coming back easy.  There are many great things that I will remember about Mr. Kyle Stenson from his coaching, his teaching, and even some of life’s lessons that he helped with.