2016 Celebration of Excellence Essays Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Wednesday, May 18, 2050

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Distinguished Student:  Hannah Amtmann                           Honored Educator:  Ms. Brenda Floreen

Mrs. Floreen has made a difference in my life in many ways. My sophomore year I was struggling in math and decided to
change teachers. I had to move from regular Algebra to Advanced Placement (AP) Algebra. I remember being very nervous to be in such a hard class, but Mrs. Floreen made it easy for me to transition. Her daily agenda was very organized and structured, which I loved. Also, she explains things in a way that is not confusing, and easy to remember. This year, in Calculus, I have gone into her office where she is now Vice Principal so she can help me with math. She has made a difference in my life by being patient, helpful, and organized; which is
what a great teacher does. Thank you!  

Distinguished Student:  Taylor Vercella                             Honored Educator:  Ms. Amanda Peterson

My favorite and most memorable teacher has always been Mrs. Peterson. Not only did she help me learn a great deal while only being in fourth grade, but she inspired me to love challenges in school and in life. Most of my favorite school memories come from my time
spent in Mrs. Peterson’s class. Whether it be stories about the Marshall Islands, presidential facts, or learning how to spell difficult college words I know that I was always learning something new and began to love the feeling of learning. Mrs. Peterson always had a way of making students feel important and needed in the classroom by assigning us classroom tasks (mine being the motivational board), awarding classroom students of the month, and helping us make a scrapbook to keep all of our fourth grade memories in. So I would like to say thank you to Mrs. Peterson for teaching me to love the challenges that I will face throughout school and throughout the rest of my life.

Distinguished Student:  Katlyn Norton                                    Honored Educator:  Ms. Amanda Curtis

I have known Mrs. Curtis for three years. Mrs. Curtis was my math teacher sophomore year. She is an extravagant teacher and taught me geometry. The way she taught math is in a way students can understand it. Mrs. Curtis puts an impact on many students, takes a lot of time for the students, and is always there for us. She makes the students feel good about themselves by telling us that everyone struggles one time or another. I also got the chance to have Mrs. Curtis as a teacher in the summer of 2013 with Upward Bound. She taught us
statistics that summer. She is an amazing person and school teacher. She teaches things in a fun way, where students actually learn and understand math. It is such privilege that I got the chance to be her teacher aide this year as well. I am very lucky that I have known Mrs. Curtis for three years.

Distinguished Student:  Kali Taylor                                             Honored Educator:  Ms. Kris Mengon

Kristina Mengon is a Geometry teacher at Butte High School. She is a great educator and loves what she does. This love for teaching and interacting with students shows every day when she comes to school with a great attitude and a smile. Mrs. Mengon is always the first to help a student whether it be with a school related issue or a personal situation. I am very thankful to have known Mrs. Mengon for the last four years and would like to recognize her for her great work. I know that if I need anything even after my graduation she will still
always be there to help me. 

Distinguished Student:  Jessica Rosa                                              Honored Educator:  Mr. Jim O’Neill

Like anybody, when I think of elementary school my friends and teachers and days on the playground come to mind, but more than all
of that I think of the man who made my adolescent learning experience so enjoyable. Mr. Jim O’Neill made learning fun by introducing programs that urged kids to try their hardest and further their education. My best memories in elementary school are not the average day on the playground, but rather they involve things like Hall of Fame, the spelling bee, Battle of the Books, Bikes for Books, and believe it or not MontCas testing. Not only because I enjoy learning, but because Mr. O was always there showing kids how exciting learning
could be. I truly believe it was through these programs and his endorsements of them that I am sitting in this room tonight. He has influenced my education in some of the most important ways, but not my unwavering support of the Cats. 

Distinguished Student:  Shannon Tempel            Honored Educator:  Mr. Eric Zahler

Aristotle once said that, “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge and natural ability is the power of teaching.” Today, many secondary school teachers have upwards of 150 unique students, all individuals with different personalities and distinct learning
styles. Insofar, programs like Common Core and No Child Left Behind have created a cookie cutter type education system. In spite of this, Mr. Zahler has easily been my most memorable high school teacher. What sets Mr. Zahler apart is his effort to not only know the subject at hand, but also his inherently natural ability to be able to teach the subject to a wide assortment of students, a quality which cannot simply be learned, and that very few teachers possess. Paired with his passion, patience, and below average joke quality, Mr. Zahler is one of the best teachers Butte High School will ever see, and he has truly made an impact on who I am as a person.

Distinguished Student:  Dawn Marie Ouldhouse                           Honored Educator:  Ms. Becky Fisk

Honoring You.  I am proud to honor someone who has helped and will continue to help students in their journey to success.  Mrs. Fisk, you are shaping our future for us to be able to function in everyday life. Your teaching skills are tremendous and your kindness pulls it all together. You have gone above and beyond for us and I know you will continue to do so. Although I was behind on credits coming
into my senior year, with all your hard work and dedication to me, I have approached my goal of graduating with a positive attitude. For this I thank you, because without you I know it wouldn’t have been possible. It is in my honor to be honoring you, Mrs. Fisk, for being the best teacher I have ever had.


Distinguished Student: Colton Schumacher                                   Honored Educator:  Mr. Pat Kissell

Pat Kissell is the current principal of West Elementary School. He was the principal for most of my time spent at West. Mr.
Kissell is an extraordinary educator. He cares about every student at West, past or present. There is not one thing he wouldn’t do for one of his students. He has a passion for educating, and this is clear if you speak with him. Even though I am about to graduate, I know if I needed anything, Mr. Kissell would be there to help. Pat Kissell has had a very positive influence on my life. It is an honor to know somebody as outstanding as Mr. Kissell. I would like to thank him for all he has done for students both past and present.

Distinguished Student: Lindsey Skeel                                          Honored Educator: Ms. Coleen Boyle

I could say that I chose Mrs. Boyle because she is a wonderful teacher, but I feel that would be cutting her short. I chose her
because she is a wonderful teacher and an even better person. Mrs. Boyle didn’t care that I was quiet or shy, even when it seemed like that’s all anyone else could focus on. She made me feel comfortable and safe, and I truly felt that she cared about what happened to me. Knowing that someone was looking out for me, I actually looked forward to going to school. Until then, I had always thought that school was not a place where I could be myself and be happy. As someone who still gets nervous and has trouble talking to people, I can say
that the way she treated me then means more to me now than anything she could have taught me.

Distinguished Student:  Samantha Johnston                              Honored Educator: Ms. Joana Benach

Joana Benach has been my teacher for 4 years, and is a big part of the reason I have chosen my degree, international studies. Ms. Benach sparked my interest in learning more about the world and how nations work with each other, and pushed for my dream of hopefully finding ways for us to work together to better our world. Ms. Benach has been more than a teacher to me. She has supported me,
helped me through difficult times, and above all become my friend, always expressing interest in my well-being, offering her guidance, and brightening my day. Ms. Benach has given me confidence to pursue my interests in global studies, because every day I am taught by a living example of strong woman in a globalized world, which is exactly what I wish to become. So Ms. Benach, for all you have done in inspiring, teaching, and supporting me- Muchas gracias!

Distinguished Student: Rebecca Schnabel                               Honored Educator: Ms. June Magnuson

Highly influential teachers do not only present information about required material, but they also equipped students with life lessons based on their own experiences. Mrs. June Magnuson was the first teacher to leave me with a lasting effect in regards to the quality of perseverance. Her stories of struggle and hard work instilled in me a self set standard of success at any cost. Although I only had the opportunity to learn from Mrs. Magnuson during my middle school years, her impact has aided me the most during high school. I have not viewed my bad tests, lost elections, or difficult situations as failures because Mrs. Magnuson showed me that her downfalls did not stop her from achieving her goals, and that rather, these incidents were motivation to improve as an individual in order to be the encouraging, wise, and incredible woman she is today.

Distinguished Student:  Hunter Fisk                                         Honored Educator:  Ms. Diana Kujawa

Diana Kujawa, she was only my English Comp teacher for one semester of this year, but she was and is unforgettable.  In those
short few months she not only affected my life on an educational level but also touched me on an emotional basis. Despite being known for her tough love, Mrs. Kujawa is one of the most kindhearted, compassionate, and selfless people I know.  She encourages people to venture out of their shells; she made me find myself through writing.  Although it may take multiple rewrites to get there, I truly believe students who take Diana’s class seriously will not only become a better writer, but a better person. Thank you Mrs. Kujawa for changing
my life indefinitely and making me a better version of myself. 

Distinguished Student:  Nic Raiser                                      Honored Educator:  Ms. Wendy Schoonen

Wendy Ferris Schoonen, or Frau as her students more commonly call her, is one of a handful of teachers I have grown up around. I have known Frau for about as long as I have lived in Butte. My mother helped her with the exchange program back when I was in grade school and I have been around her ever since. Over the years we have caused lots of trouble together, but I think this only strengthens her credibility as a teacher. Fun is the best catalyst for learning, and Frau has an amazing ability to create a high energy environment
where serious work can also be done. While we may see things such as Ziploc bags and Bernie Sanders very differently, Frau and I have much in common by way of perspective. Frau has a unique take on the world, and her advice makes sense to me in a way that no one else’s does. Our similarities often cause us to drive each other crazy, but there are few other teachers that have been as supportive, understanding, kind, and well dressed as Frau, and that is why it is my pleasure to honor her here tonight.

Distinguished Student:  Kim Biere                                             Honored Educator:  Ms. Janeen Walsh

One of my favorite quotes by Rita Pierson claims; “Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who
understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” Ms. Janeen Walsh is my champion. She pushed me to excel both in and out of the classroom and I am forever thankful for her influence and inspiration. I consider myself very lucky. I’ve had the pleasure of taking three classes from Ms.Walsh, all of which have greatly improved my education.
On top of having been a student in her class, I’ve also had the unique and splendid opportunity of traveling to London, Paris, Barcelona, and Rome with her through Butte High School Travel Club. My experiences in high school have helped to shape me into the person that I am today and Ms. Janeen Walsh’s belief in my abilities has made a truly positive impact on both my character and my knowledge base.

Distinguished Student:  Ciera Boggess                                            Honored Educator:  Ms. Amy Stops

Mrs. Stops is a caring, well-respected person.  She’s the type of person that knows everyone in her class.  She knows what they do and
what kind of person they are.  You can tell her things and Mrs. Stops will accept it and let you talk more while she listens to you and gives you advice.  You don’t have to worry that you’ll make yourself look bad in front of her because she understands what you’re trying to say.  One day she was talking to me and completely understood why I am so quiet around people.  I feel like she understands me more than any other person I know.  Before taking her class, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school.  Mrs. Stops helped me figure out that I want to work in the travel industry, and now I’m headed to the Travel Academy in Washington in three months. Mrs. Stops has helped me more than any other person in my life and I want to thank her for that.

Distinguished Student:  Mason Ruppel                                 Honored Educator:  Mr. Lloyd Magnuson

It is both an honor and a luxury to have had the opportunity to be taught and mentored by a teacher who not only inspired, but has made a lasting impact on the lives of many. Mr Magnuson, or Mr. Mag as so many like to call him, was a compassionate, intelligent, and encouraging teacher. He stressed leadership just as much as he stressed education, as he knows how essential it is to encourage young men and woman to strive every day to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Mr. Magnuson led by example, as he himself was one of strongest leaders I have had the privilege of knowing. He taught and led not only in the classrooms of East Middle School, but at his magnum opus, Earth Shuttle.  For 20 years he was responsible for the forging of lifelong friendships and the spark of new passions in Florida on an educational trip that brought both joy and knowledge. Needless to say, he brought life where ever he went. I speak on behalf of not only myself, but for hundreds of kids when I say thank you Mr. Mag. The impact you have had on the lives of all of us are greatly appreciated and will always be remembered.

Distinguished Student:  Jack Corbin                                  Honored Educator:  Ms. Maureen Driscoll

Albert Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.” If this is truly the case, then Mrs. Driscoll
really knows her stuff. Her method of teaching is one of the most effective I’ve experienced. By explaining complex ideas and concepts in a simple light, she helps make the material easier to understand and more memorable. Oftentimes, this even involves creating her own definitions and words to make things like “polarizability” easier to understand. Once the lectures finish, the hands-on experience in the lab takes over. I can only imagine the amount of time she puts into preparing lab materials, just for us to make a mess. It is well worth it though. The labs show real world applications of the things taught in our lectures and help deepen our understanding. Chemistry has been
perhaps the most challenging and rewarding class I’ve taken at Butte High and I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been without Mrs. Driscoll guiding the way.

Distinguished Student:  Jacob Bentley                                         Honored Educator: Ms. Sandy Shutey

My freshman year of high school I was lucky enough to have Ms. Shutey as my Pre-Chemistry and Pre-Physics teacher. Ms. Shutey’s class was the first thing to spark my interest in science. If I was ever confused she was always great about explaining and helping me understand the problem. Ms. Shutey always knew how to make her class fun, and her lessons never failed to keep my interest.
Throughout high school even when I wasn’t in Ms. Shutey’s class anymore, she was still interested in how I was doing and how school was going. Every time I talked with her she encouraged me to do my best. Shortly before my senior year Ms. Shutey retired, so I unfortunately did not get the honor of having her for Physics. Despite missing out on her awesome physics class she was still one of my most favorite teachers, and I cannot thank her enough for inspiring my love of science. Thank you for everything Ms. Shutey!

Distinguished Student:  Gunther Clark                            Honored Educator:  Mr. Roger McCullough

Beginning with the first forensics meeting of the season my freshman year I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Roger McCullough both professionally and personally. As a teacher, I had him for journalism, as a coach for all the other time. He was my head coach for a total of twenty nine speech and debate tournaments over four seasons. As an educator and coach Mr. McCullough has many talents from on
the spot interpretations to frank advice and even field tests for analyzing pet turtles. He puts the pep in the pep rally by assuming the alter ego persona of “The Roge” and helps to showcase the versatility of Interp skills in the process. Without any reservation whatsoever, I can say that Mr. McCullough is the best educator I have encountered in my thirteen years of schooling and I look forward to our final forensics tournament, 2016 Nationals, this June. 

Distinguished Student:  Marki Dauenhauer                             Honored Educator:  Ms. Cindy Powers

One never knows when a mentor is going to walk into their life but mine did in first grade. Mrs. Powers, my first grade teacher, my Irish Dance teacher, and now a lifelong friend, is a very compassionate,  kind and caring person.  Over the last 12 years while dancing for her
she has taught me right from wrong, and has cared for me like I was her own daughter. Even though I tended to talk too much in first grade, she somehow had a way to get me focused on my work without yelling and getting mad.  Mrs. Powers has a way with first graders that
I hope I can have one day as I planned to study education in college.  I have learned so much about the person and teacher I hope to be after college from my lifelong friend, Mrs. Cindy Powers.

Distinguished Student:  Gia Sorini                                                  Honored Educator:  Ms. Julie Johns

I am very fortunate to have been able to have Mrs. Johns for two years of my math education. Mrs. Johns is the type of teacher that cares about each one of her students on a personal level. This is a person who is not only incredibly intelligent and a fabulous teacher but also someone who is very compassionate and inspirational. Math has always been my favorite subjects but Mrs. Johns pushed me to work
hard, only because she wanted the best for all her students. Through a very difficult time, Mrs. Johns was one of the most understanding teachers, always checking on me and helping me catch up on missing work. I am so grateful to be able to learn from and know such a great person. Mrs. Johns I must express my utmost gratitude towards you, I cannot thank you enough for aiding my love for math to
grow even further and for being one of the best role models.

Distinguished Student:  Bailey Luoma                             Honored Educator:  Ms. Linda McManamon

I can still remember how mortified I was the first day of third grade. I had just switched elementary schools, and for the shy, introverted, third grade version of me, it was one of the scariest days of my life. However, that all changed when I walked in, Mrs. Mac’s classroom. Mrs. Mac made me feel very welcome, and it was a feeling that was not lost throughout the year.  Mrs. Mac instilled in me an appreciation for learning and school that I still retain today. She showed me how it felt to succeed even in uncomfortable situations and helped me gain confidence for not just school, but for many parts of my life. I can still attribute my drive and love for school to this wonderful lady. I am so thankful that I was able to have Mrs. Mac as a teacher. Though she probably did not realize it, my life has been forever changed by her presence.

Distinguished Student: Hannah Tubbs                                         Honored Educator:  Ms. Judy Bryant

When I first went into Mrs. Bryant’s class, I was nervous.  She was not at all a new teacher, for she taught for many years.  Going into her
class, I had to learn quite fast that things can and will always change.  In the first year in her cooking class, I didn’t do very well.  I decided to go into her culinary class my junior year, since I felt that Mrs. Bryant would help me find a good path to follow.  Throughout junior year, I focused on the cooking part, wondering what path I should take.  This is when I began focusing on the teaching aspect.  Mrs. Bryant has a unique way of teaching, mostly due to many of her students being in her other classes.  One of her classes she teaches is about how to take care of children.  I would have picked all the teachers at Butte High, yet Mrs. Bryant is the best.

Distinguished Student:  Tucker Thatcher                               Honored Educator:  Mr. Dale Burgman

While reflecting upon my education over the past years, many great mentors and influencers have come to mind. One that stands out is Mr. Dale Burgman. Mr. Burgman's ability to teach and connect with students of all types is part of what makes him so special. His quietness
and easy going demeanor cannot be taken lightly. Mr. Burgman possesses a unique sense of humor and continually uses it at the best times. He is a very intelligent teacher who cares about his students and what is best for them. Mr. Burgman has not only prepared me for college lecture courses with his long lectures, but has also inspired me to continue to do what I love even when adversity hits.

Distinguished Student:  Cheyanne Magoon                           Honored Educator:  Ms. Tammie Joseph

I am proud to honor one of my counselors, Tammie Joseph. She has taught me so much over the last three years. I first met Tammie my sophomore year of high school when I lost my father and grandmother in an accident. It was hard for me and still is. I ended up in a dark place for a while and didn’t have much interest in anything for a long time. Tammie helped me out of that place. She taught me that, though I can never forget or change what happened, it is a big part of who I am. She showed me that I can use what happened as a reason to
move on and make them proud of me. That reason is part of why I work so hard in school. Without her, I wouldn’t have realized that and definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. Tammie taught me so many techniques to deal with my grief so that I could continue to move forward. So, for everything she has done for me, I thank her and proudly honor her.

Distinguished Student:  Keaton Ball                                           Honored Educator:  Ms. Lana Whelan

Until Eighth grade I absolutely hated science more than anything and I could not tell the difference between one rock and another.
However, my introduction to high school science changed everything. Instead of learning pointless facts only to use them for a single test, I was learning new concepts that would slowly build up and have uses in learning the next concept. The learning wasn’t enough though. I needed Lana Whelan to help me learn difficult new concepts. She used simple terminology for comp lex concepts and still made the class fun in the process. After my freshman year I loved science. My love for science brought me back to Mrs. Whelan’s class twice more
for physics and every year she made it possible to conquer the perplexing ideas in physics. She has one of the best teaching styles and deserves more than what I have written. Thanks Mrs. Whelan.

Distinguished Student:  Maggie Gammons                    Honored Educator:  Mr. Mike Kujawa

Even though I’ve never been in a class taught by Mr. Kujawa, he has been an important teacher to me in the past four years. As an art club member & his teacher’s aide, I’ve been so lucky as to receive his experienced instruction almost continuously throughout high school. Not only have I learned much about art and pottery from Mr. Kujawa, but I have gained an influential role model. With charity endeavors
like Empty Bowls and the Original Haunted House, his efforts help Butte through the fine arts. This is what I admire most about Mr. Kujawa-- not only is he a great teacher, but he is a good person with the larger community in mind with all he does. So I would like to thank Mr. Kujawa for his unceasing dedication to his students and the town of Butte, and for showing me the impact one kind-hearted person can make on their community.

Distinguished Student:  Braxton Henningsen                           Honored Educator:  Mr. Cory Johnston

In the short amount of time that I have known Cory he has made a huge impact on my life. I had somewhat of a plan lined out for after high school and wrestling was not a part of it. As the year began I started spending a lot of time with Cory in the classroom and wrestling room. I have always admired the passion Cory has for helping kids, he has taught me a lot about myself and my abilities both personal
and athletic. He has helped me increase my self-confidence, drive for perfection and dedication in the wrestling room. He was also a huge part of my decision to go to Dickinson state. Needless to say he has gone above and beyond for me this year.

Distinguished Student:  Abigail Burke                                         Honored Educator:  Ms. Molly Keeley

I've chosen Mollie Keeley, who was my 3rd grade teacher at Emerson Elementary. For me though she was not just a teacher that helped me reach the next grade level. Mollie became a family friend that was always present in valuable situations. The reason why I picked Mollie Keeley was because she reached out to me than more then just a teacher she taught me valuable memories to carry through life that I will always remember and I would not be where I am today without her presence in my life. There has been countless laughs throughout the years and it would have never happened if Mollie was not the charismatic person she always is. She has inspired me in all directions of my life and I am so very thankful for all you have done for me and I cannot wait for the many more memories to come. Thank you for teaching me and teaching beyond the average requirements. 

Distinguished Student:  Maddy St. Aubin                                  Honored Educator:  Mr. Jeff Artnson

Mr. Arnston has been a tremendous support to me during high school.   His guidance has helped through some challenges I am experiencing as a result of a medical issue.  His understanding and care for me is appreciated.   He is concerned on how I am doing and always asks if there is anything else he can do for me.   He has taught me to advocate for myself, stay positive and to keep working hard.  I don’t think Mr. Arnston receives all the credit that he should.  I hope that I can one day make a difference in someone’s life like Mr. Arnston has made in mine.  Mr. Arnston, thank you for investing time in me and my future. 

Distinguished Student:  Kyle Komm                                          Honored Educator:  Ms. Lynn Shrader

I first had Lynn Shrader as a teacher my sophomore year.  I was in her First Period Health/PE class, so I’m pretty sure I was asleep most of the time.  As a sophomore, she tried to convince me to join the swim team, but for whatever reason, I decided it wasn’t for me.  I was dead wrong.  I ended up joining the swim team my junior year, and the whole time, I wished I had joined earlier.  Lynn was an awesome coach, and she always believed in me and helped me to be better.  However, I am a bit surprised that she managed to put up with
the shenanigans of Jake and I without strangling us.  But thank you Lynn for being such a great teacher and a great coach.