2014 Celebration of Excellence Essays Monday, September 29, 2014 Friday, October 30, 2099
Distinguished Achiever: Kayla
Ericson

Honored Educator:  Ms. Andrea Birk,
Hillcrest School Counselor

Parents:  Dean
& Mary Kaye Ericson

Ms. Birk is a caring, strong and compassionate
counselor and the children within the Butte School District are very fortunate.
 She cares about each and every student
that she comes in contact with and is always willing to go the extra mile to
make a difference.  Andrea has not only
taught me a lot, but she has encouraged me to always be myself.  I can’t express what she has done for me and
the lifelong friendship that we have built.  She still continues to be a huge part of my
life and I am so grateful she came into my life 8 years ago.  I would like to say thank you Andrea for
being my friend and mentor.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Jessica
Herzog

Honored Educator:  Ms. Sandy Shutey,
Butte High School

Parents:  Jim
& Cindy Herzog

Educators who extend their influence beyond
classroom teachings are to be remembered for the special imprint they leave on
students’ lives. Mrs. Shutey is one such educator. Because of Mrs. Shutey, I
participated in the Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars Program and met
prominent NASA engineers. That experience inspired me to pursue an engineering
degree.  Mrs. Shutey and I conversed over challenging physics problems and
life experiences she had such as travelling to Antarctica. Those conversations
excited me to adventures I could have as I appreciated how Mrs. Shutey’s
welcoming personality brightened my day. Because of Mrs. Shutey, I had many
nice starts to high school days and a great experience to shape my future. I
aspire to be like her, leaving a positive mark on the people I encounter.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Andrew
Anderson

Honored Educator: Ms. Arlene Garvy, Retired West Elementary School

Parents: 
Brian & Danielle Anderson

When I was asked by the Butte Education Foundation
to pick a favorite teacher, I had a very difficult choice ahead of me.  Finally, I asked myself one question “What
has each of these teachers done outside of school to help me?”  The answer came clear to me, Ms. Arlene
Garvy.  From elementary school, where Ms.
Garvy inspired my love of reading, to high school, where she has helped me
obtain my National Honor Society volunteer hours, she has influenced me in many
ways.  She has become a family friend,
and is always kind and helpful.  Ms.
Garvy can always be counted on for help or for advice.  For all of her past help and for what I hope
is a long lasting friendship, I must thank Ms. Arlene Garvy.

Distinguished Scholar: Forrest
Kultgen

Honored Educator: Ms. Wendy Schoonen, Butte High School

Parents:  Rob
& Lucinda Kultgen

Mrs. Schoonen, or as we students fondly call her,
Frau, has been the teacher that every student hopes to meet in high school.
Freshman year was a brand new world for me, attending public school for the
first time. Fortunately enough, I had signed up for German I. Out of the six teachers, Frau stood out as one who was
easy-going, friendly, always smiling and yet pushed you towards success. In the
classroom she was a great role model and teacher while outside the school she
cheered me on in Cross-Country. It was quite hilarious hearing “Run Forrest Run!”
as she ran along-side the course. Perhaps one of the greatest adventures was
our trip to Germany, opening my eyes to the world and wetting my appetite for
future adventures. Thank you Frau for not only being a great mentor, teacher,
and travel buddy, but also an amazing friend.

 

Distinguished Achiever: Ashton
LaFond

Honored Educator: Mr. Terry Faulkner, Butte High School

Parents: 
Brian & Dana LaFond

I have known Mr. Faulkner since my freshman
year of high school. Even then he was making me laugh and bringing me out of my
shell in class. Though I didn't have him as a teacher my sophomore or junior
year, we could still talk and make jokes whenever we saw each other in the
halls. My senior year I had the privilege of being his aid in class. I got to
sit for an hour everyday and listen to his crazy life stories and lessons.
Getting to know Mr. Faulkner and his enthusiastic personality has given me many
laughs over the years. I'm very thankful to have been able to be taught by Mr.
Faulkner.

   





Distinguished Scholar: Andie Palagi

Honored Educator: Ms. Janet Pascoe, East Middle School

Parents:  Mark
& Linda Palagi

As a student in Mrs.
Pascoe’s algebra class, I knew how to evaluate expressions, factor trinomials,
and say many more fancy math terms with confidence. Her algebra class always
provided a challenge, but also created a good work ethic for all of her students.
Her wonderful teaching helped me establish an understanding of math that has
helped me throughout all my high school math classes. Mrs. Pascoe was a teacher
who always encouraged her students to go beyond what was typically expected.
Under her guidance, I participated in a MathCounts competition where our team
advanced to the state level, and Mrs. Pascoe awarded our team with ice cream
and cheerful words. The skills and encouragement Mrs. Pascoe provided impacted
me far beyond the eighth grade.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Caleb
Reichhardt

Honored Educator: Ms. Lynn Shrader, Butte High School

Parents: 
David & Stephanie Reichhardt

I not only
had the opportunity to have Mrs. Lynn Shrader as my sophomore health teacher,
but I also was fortunate enough to have her as my swim coach for four years.
Through those four years Mrs. Shrader taught me many things, both in and out of
the pool. The most important was that you can improve your performance by
believing in yourself and working hard.  Mrs. Shrader believes we can do
better and encourages us to believe in ourselves. She teaches you how to work
hard to accomplish your goals. These were important lessons that I learned
swimming for Mrs. Shrader that carried over into my school work, encouraging me
to always do my best and for that I am thankful. 

 

Distinguished Scholar: McKenzee
O'Neill

Honored Educator: Ms. Julie Johns, Butte High School

Parents: Jim & Traci O'Neill

From a former engineer to not only my favorite
teacher of all time but one of my closest friends,  I have had the distinct pleasure of being in
Mrs. Johns’ class for two years now.  I
can honestly say it’s the class I look forward to the most each day. Since
grade school, math had always been my least favorite subject, but having Mrs.
Johns has transformed it into being my favorite. She makes math seem easy and
enjoyable!  Aside from being a tremendous
teacher, she is an even better friend and role model. Mrs. Johns is someone I
look up to in all aspects of life and can talk to about anything, not just math.
She has been there for me since day 1 and is not afraid to ask me if something
more is going on that I need to talk about. Mrs. Johns is a second mother to
me, I cannot thank her enough for being such a great friend to me throughout
these two years!

 

Distinguished Scholar: Jonathan
Dupuis

Honored Educator: Ms. Judy Boyle, Divide School

Parents:  Jim
& Audrey Dupuis

Growing up, school was always a large part of my
life and it was those teachers that really shaped who I am today. But, tonight
I give thanks to Mrs. Boyle for starting me out on my educational journey with
a little kick in the butt. She was always involved in every little thing that
happened in my schooling, both as a friend and a teacher. Always able to teach
a full day's worth of lessons and still teach me something about life and about
being a kid. She, single handedly taught me not only what to learn, but also
how to learn. Without her, I believe that I would not be where I am today.  Thank you Mrs. Boyle for giving me such a
great opportunity and the courage to be all that I can be.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Andie Hogan

Honored Educator: Mr. Bob Liva, Retired, East Middle School

Parents:  Jerry & Patty Hogan

Of all the brilliant teachers I have encountered
thus far in my structured education, there was a man who stood apart from all,
and that man was Mr. Liva. Maybe it was his sense of humor; he could brighten
absolutely anyone's day and put a smile on his or her face with his goofiness,
no matter what. Maybe it was because of his dedication, showing up every single
day with the ambition to help his students strive to be the best that they
could possibly be. Or maybe it was simply the inspiration he portrayed that
made him stand out. In my seventh grade yearbook he wrote "SPELL VALEDICTORIAN."
I have glued my eyes to this target ever since. In that seventh grade
pre-algebra class, I fell in love with mathematics because of this man. He
touched the lives of many students with his caring and generous nature, and he
was never afraid to tell someone to get their butt in gear. I give this man
much credit for helping me get to where I am today. Thank you for everything.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Chase Plum

Honored Educator: Mr. Arie Grey, Butte High School

Parents:  Jason & Lyndsy Plum

Coach
Grey has taught me so much over these past four years. We have had our ups and
downs and even at times I'll admit that we've wanted to strangle each other.
However, without him I wouldn't be the person I am today. He has taught me that
not everything you want in life is just handed to you. That if you want to be
successful in life you have to work for it. His life lessons I will take with
me for the rest of my life. He has honestly made me a better person. Thank you
Coach Grey for everything you've done for me.

 

Distinguished Achiever: Amanda
Whiteford

Honored Educator: Ms. Cynthia Kneebone, Retired, Hillcrest Elementary

Parents:  Ben
Whiteford & Tina Donovan

I was absolutely terrified for my first day in Mrs.
Kneebone’s class, I hadn't heard much about this teacher, and going into a
fifth grade classroom blind is the last thing a 10 year old ever wants to do.
Thankfully, I had no reason to be scared. Cynthia Kneebone encouraged us to
think outside the box, and she pushed us to do our very best. Kneebone made learning
enjoyable; during History lessons she had us hanging off her every word, and
for once in my life I was eager to go to school. Always encouraging and
pointing out the good and excellence in everyone, Mrs. Kneebone was a
stupendous fifth grade teacher who would be remembered years after her
retirement.        

 

Distinguished Achiever: Chloe
McClain

Honored Educator: Mr. Mike Kujawa, Butte High School

Parents:  Rob McClain & Jessica Constantine

Mr. Kujawa has been my teacher for at least one
period since freshman year. Over those years, I have come to see how much he
loves teaching those who want to be taught. He has inspired me to want to learn
more about printmaking, pottery, photography, and art in general. Not only has
he inspired me to become a better person creatively in school, but he has shown
me the difference between life and art in Butte, Montana and life and art in
bigger cities like Portland and Seattle. Working with him and Sam Debree in the
Original Haunted House has taught me so much; how to work well with other
people, how to make the perfect zombie, and how to apply my skills for the
benefit of others. Over the past four years, Mr, Kujawa has become more of an
uncle than a teacher. He’s both a mentor and a jokester. He also helped my friends
and me during a crisis. I am forever grateful. Thanks, Mr. Mike.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Haley Hodge

Honored Educator: Ms. Colleen Mandic, East Middle School

Parents:  Bob & Linda Hodge

Mrs.
Mandic taught me sewing, my favorite class at East and what has become one of
my favorite hobbies. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude made class fun. Mrs.
Mandic taught me more than just how to sew. I learned the importance of
following directions, paying attention to detail, and following a project
through to completion. She taught me to be proud of my work and encouraged me
to try new things. These are all skills that I will use throughout my life. Her
interest in her students extends beyond the classroom. When I see her today,
she always asks what project I am working on. I am grateful for the qualities
she instilled in me and I am honored to have had her for a teacher.

  

Distinguished Achiever: Elizabeth
Raiha

Honored Educator: Ms. Diana Kujawa, Butte High School

Parents:  Kevin & Cheryl Alley

During my twelve years in school, I have had many
great teachers, who have all helped to prepare me for my future. Ms. Diana
Kujawa has been the most influential. She has been a dedicated English teacher,
mentor to numerous students, and she was the one to introduce me to what I hope
to make my career. After high school I plan to gain my degree in graphic
design, and I never would have considered the idea had she not persuaded me to
join yearbook. Diana has always been there for me. She has taught me many
useful things to prepare myself for the challenges ahead of me, and has helped
me find a direction I want life to lead me. Thank you, Diana.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Jacob
Eisenbarth

Honored Educator: Ms. Amanda Peterson, Hillcrest Elementary/East Middle School

Parents:  Carey & Joan Eisenbarth

Mrs. Peterson was my fourth grade teacher at
Hillcrest. While in her class, I came to consider her a sweetheart because of
how she loved and treated every student in her class equally. I have many fond
memories from fourth grade all thanks to her. Throughout the year, she went out
of her way to help the class create individual scrapbooks, with letters,
schoolwork, drawings, and photographs so we could remember the fourth grade. Occasionally,
I find myself looking at my scrapbook reminiscing about how much fun I had in
the fourth grade and how I enjoyed having Mrs. Peterson as a teacher.  Even though I haven’t been in her class for
eight years, she continues to send me letters congratulating me on my athletic
and academic achievements which solidifies her as one of my favorite teachers
and people in my life.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Chad Hicks

Honored Educator: Mr. Jaric McElroy, Butte High School

Parents:  Tamila Hicks

Jaric McElroy, or Mr. Mack, as he would like us to
call him, is an exceptional human being. He has been my pole vault coach for
four years now, and there is no such thing as an ordinary day when he is
around. Whether it’s his borderline inappropriate jokes or his unfailing
ability to put a smile on your face, his humor can brighten any atmosphere. In
addition to having a sunny personality, Mr. Mack is also a dedicated coach; the
type of coach that cares more about how you are feeling than how you are
performing. Through your cheerful attitude, caring personality, and one-hundred
twenty pound frame, thank you for all that you do Mr. Mack.

 

Distinguished Achiever: Alaina
Mallard

Honored Educator: Ms. Maureen Driscoll, Butte High School

Parents:  Mark & Pat Mallard

I
have had the pleasure of spending almost two complete years with Mrs. Driscoll,
and it has been a truly gratifying experience. Last year, as a junior, Mrs.
Driscoll was my Chemistry 1 teacher. At first her methods of teaching were
unusual to me; unusual, but fun and educational as compared to past educators.
In her class, I learned how everything we can dream of is related to chemistry,
in one way or another, and with this knowledge I decided to venture down the
path of medicine and chemistry. I hope to one day discover a cure for Diabetes,
and because of Mrs. Driscoll my mind has been broadened to the possibilities of
the future and what it can hold.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Aidan
Amtmann

Honored Educator: Mr. Chris Bugni, West Elementary School

Parents:  John & Kelly Amtmann

Throughout my life, I have had many outstanding and
supportive teachers.  However, there is
one teacher that has influenced me the most, Mr. Bugni.  Mr. Bugni was my 6th grade teacher
at West Elementary.  He made the
classroom very comfortable with his laid back attitude and great sense of
humor.  Mr. Bugni made learning
interesting by bringing deer and bird parts to help the class understand
anatomy.  Our 6th grade class
did many unique crafts that allowed us to express our creativity and
individuality, such as the sand painting project. Something I will never forget
from my 6th grade year is Mr. Bugni encouraging everyone to be their
own person. This lesson has helped me through middle school, high school, and
will continue to help me through college.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Megan Komm

Honored Educator: Ms. Sarah Walton, East Middle School

Parents:  Brian & Alison Komm

“I don’t think Ms. Walton realized how disastrous
putting me in the desk directly next to her classroom ‘library’ would be. I was
constantly perusing over the titles on each shelf, contemplating which three
books I’d check out next. Often, Ms. Walton would recommend more difficult
reads, to which I would somewhat contemplate. Though I didn’t always take her
seemingly outrageous suggestions into consideration, her belief that I could
handle Jane Austen and Charles Dickens as an 8th grader encouraged
my love of reading. All in all, I think she could agree that sometimes the
greatest of stories arise from the simplest of books.”

 

Distinguished Achiever: Robin
Gammons

Honored Educator: Mr. Chris Fisk, Butte High School

Parents:  Chris Gammons & Colleen Elliott

High School is never easy for
anyone, but Mr.Fisk has managed to make my high school experience not only
bearable, but enjoyable. His ever positive attitude and caring personality have
shown me that learning does not have to be straight from a textbook, and that
we can learn from everything around us. Mr.Fisk has a profound understanding of
the problems students face in high school, and he never fails to do everything
in his power to help find effective solutions. For the last four years, I have
taken great solace in knowing that I can go to Mr.Fisk for any problem I may
have.  Mr. Fisk, your kindness has helped
me more than you will know. You are not only an extraordinary teacher, you are
an inspiration. OY!

 

Distinguished Scholar: Daniel
Peters

Honored Educator: Mr. Dale Burgman, Butte High School

Parents:  John Peters & Paula McGarvey

Mr.  Burgman was my junior year American
History teacher. Despite the reputation of “dreaded Burgman’s class,” he proved
to be one of my favorite teachers, and my favorite guest lecturer this year in
Government. Far from having us just read from our books and throwing essays at
us, Mr. Burgman turned what had the potential to be unpleasant and tedious,
into a class that most enjoyed. Whether through creative perspectives or dry
wit, he always managed to make the class something to look forward to.  I
have him to thank for passing the AP history test and for making social studies
entertaining for the past two years. 

 

Distinguished Scholar: Mitchell
Black

Honored Educator: Ms. Lana Whelan, Butte High School

Parents:  Greg Black & Ann Wayrynen

As I struggled with the standard teenage uncertainty
about one's future, the beginning of high school only served as a further
reminder of the looming decision merely four years away. Nothing to this point
in my education had truly been of interest to me, certainly not enough to even
consider pursuing as a career. This made Ms. Whelan's Freshman
Pre-Chemistry/Pre-Physics class the pivotal point in my education that it was;
it exposed me to two entirely new branches of Science which emphasized problem
solving over the rote memorization of past Science courses, a change that
completely altered my pessimistic perspective on Science. Now, these subjects
serve as very real possibilities and, albeit small, I finally have some relief
from the terror of the future, all thanks to Ms. Whelan.

 

Distinguished Achiever: Samantha
McGree

Honored Educator: Ms. Jennifer Liva, Hillcrest & West Elementary School

Parents:  Steve & Terry McGree

I am privileged and honored to tell
you about my absolute favorite teacher, Jennifer Liva. Not many grade
school students are lucky enough to have their favorite teacher two
consecutive years, but I was. Jennifer was a teacher who was kind, caring, and
encouraging. I was slightly shy but I was not afraid
to approach her with questions. This made a huge impact on my
learning and I finally started to comprehend my reading thanks to her.
Jennifer came into my life as my teacher and still
remains in my life. She understood the hurt when my grandma passed
away and in her graciousness, she reached out to me. The greatest blessing
that I have received from knowing Jennifer is our
friendship.  I will cherish her always.

 

Distinguished Scholar: Tanner
Robison

Honored Educator: Ms. Brenda Floreen, Butte High School

Parents:  Dixon & Toni Robison

Many people have helped and influenced me
throughout my time in high school. However, at the forefront of these stands
Ms. Brenda Floreen. As a sophomore, Ms. Floreen taught me Algebra II, and this
year I was excited to have her as my AP Calculus teacher. She has continually
challenged me and encouraged me to work hard not only on my homework but also
on my other activities. It is with confidence that I say that Ms. Floreen is a
great teacher, an exceptional role model, and someone with whom I can have a great
conversation, lighthearted or serious. Ms. Floreen has influenced my high
school career in a positive way and I am glad to have had her as my teacher.
Thank You Ms. Floreen. 

 

Distinguished Scholar: Afton Ferry

Honored Educator: Mr. Brett Huntsman, Principal, Margaret Leary School

Parents:  Steve & Angie Ferry

I have had many wonderful teachers through the
years.  However, my favorite teacher has
been Mr. Huntsman.  From the first day, I
could tell that he loved teaching.  His
teaching style was well defined and enjoyable. 
I loved his class because of his enthusiasm and willingness to help
me.  Mr. Huntsman taught algebra in such
a way that math finally became interesting and actually fun.  Even now, the concepts he taught me are
engrained in my head, especially factoring. 
Much of my success in high school I attribute to Mr. Huntsman, who was
always there, willing to help me with homework, even if it was 7:45 in the
morning.  Mr. Huntsman is an inspiration
for me to do better and to enjoy math and science.  He will always be an influence in my
life.  Thank you, Mr. Huntsman!

 

Distinguished Scholar: Connor
Whelan

Honored Educator: Mr. Gary Berg, East Middle School

Parents:  Bob & Lana Whelan

In eighth grade, I
didn’t have the depth perception required to take woodshop or world to
work.  Although art was usually a
trimester class, I was placed in Mr. Berg’s class for the entire year.   Rather than teach the same material each
trimester, Mr. Berg encouraged me to design my own projects.  When resources were limited, he expected me
to find replacements.   In Mr. Berg’s
classroom I learned there are many different ways to interpret problems and an
infinite number of solutions to each. 
Although I may never be an artist, Mr. Berg taught me to be creative,
have no excuses, and keep searching for answers to any problems I face. 

 

Distinguished Scholar: Hailey
Hoagland

Honored Educator: Ms. Nancy Lacey, Butte High School

Parents:  Hal & Missy Hoagland

If don’t know Nanc, you obviously haven’t made
enough trips to the attendance office at Butte High School. For those of you
that aren’t familiar, she’s the one that greets every student with a smile at
the window willing to help them out in any way she can. You may also recognize
her wearing her Broncos lanyard around her neck.My relationship with Nanc has
rapidly grown over my senior year. I don’t think I have ever seen her wear the
same pair of shoes, or shirt for that matter. She is so passionate about her
family and sports, something we both have in common. I just wanted to say thank
you for everything you have done for me throughout my high school career. You
have shown me what it is to have strength, especially with what you have been
going through the last few months. You always put a smile on my face. Thank you
for coming!

 

Distinguished Scholar: Paige
Plattner

Honored Educator: Ms. Terri Hartline-Belke, Butte High Speech & Debate

Parents:  Bert & Paula Plattner

To say that Mrs. Terri Belke has had an impact on
my life is perhaps the biggest understatement that I have ever spoke or
written. Terri Belke, or Mrs. B as we call her, has repeatedly shaped teens
into young adults. She is THE expert on instilling work ethic and ambition into
her kids. Mrs. Belke may not be a teacher on paper but she is more than just a
speech coach she is to me, and many others, and professor of Life.    It is easy to remember the first time I meet Mrs. Belke.
I was just a timid sophomore who was still trying to recover from the whirlwind
that was Freshman year. Our first meeting was a bit scary because in all
honesty she can be a very stern southern woman! However, once you get to know
her, she is amama bear, always loving and protective of any kid who wants to
join our Speech Bulldogs family.   

Distinguished Scholar: Dustin
LaMiaux

Honored Educator: Ms. Kathleen Foley, East Middle School

Parents:  Rita LaMiaux

Every single day I was excited for 5th
period because that was the period I had Ms. Foley as my teacher. No matter the
day, we would always be doing something fun and exciting whether it be studying
neanderthals or dissecting frogs. And although science has always peaked my
interest, Ms. Foley always made it that much more fun. My favorite memories
were the days when we made projects out of food, because of course, we did
nothing that day except eat each others' projects. I also remember how she
would always play The Temptations in the classroom as we worked on assignments.
I don't think I ever had a boring day in Ms. Foley's class. I will always
remember Ms. Foley as a funny and kind teacher that made middle school that
much easier to bear.

Distinguished Achiever: Kaci Wenger

Honored Educator: Ms. Amy Stops, Butte High School

Parents:  Tammy Wenger & Mike Fisk

My favorite teacher, Ms. Amy Stops, is a current
Jobs for Montana's Graduates Career Specialist. 
She is an amazing woman, teacher, mother, and friend.  I know I'm only supposed to write about how
she has helped my eduational career but she has done so much more than
that.  Not only has she helped my
educational career but she's changed by life as well.  I was placed in Jobs for Montana's Graduates
my junior year and I was extremely shy. 
I was not a social person and I was very uncomfortable.  Ms. Stops was very welcoming and nice.  After meeting her I know right away she was
amazing.  We had a chance to write an
essay about how Jobs for Montana's Graduates has impacted your life.  I has a story to write but I didn't have the
confidence.  Ms. Stops kept me after
class and told me, she believed I could do it and she would help me.  So I did it with Ms. Stops help.  We sent it to Washington D.C. to be judged
and I won.  I couldn't believe it.  Ms. Stops has helped my education by helping
me build confidence and with that confidence I am going to graduate high school
with a 3.0.  I now have amazing grades
and enough confidence to reach the moon. 
Thank you!