2017 Celebration of Excellence Essays Friday, May 05, 2017 Wednesday, May 05, 2027

Distinguished Scholar:  Samuel Schonsberg                                                            Honored Educator:  Mr. Brian Tobin
Parents:  Pete & Lisa Schonsberg                                                                             Butte High School
Mr. Brian Tobin is much more to me than an educator. In a district that often turns a blind eye to its arts programs, Mr. Tobin continues to persevere. He teaches band and orchestra at both high school and elementary levels. Concert Band is the only class at Butte High that I can say I've taken for all four years, and I have loved every minute of it. As I near the end of high school, Mr. Tobin becomes more of a mentor and role model than a teacher. From all my extracurricular activity in band, I have learned many life lessons and discovered my passion, all thanks to Mr. Tobin. I will always remember his advice: "You can be happy with
your work, but never satisfied."

Distinguished Achiever:  Evan Anderson                                                                 Honored Educator:  Ms. Kathleen Sweeney
Parents:  Steve & Susie Anderson                                                                             Retired, Whittier Elementary
Ms. Sweeney was my 6th grade teacher at Whittier.  I chose her as my Distinguished Educator because she made school enjoyable.  By the time I reached 6th grade, I was ready to be finished with grade school, but having Ms. Sweeney as a teacher made all the difference in how I approached my final year at Whittier.  Although her class was laid back, she still stuck to the schedule and made us do our work.  Because of the atmosphere in her class, the school work never seemed like too much of a burden.  Since she was also my track coach for 5th and 6th grade, we built a more personal relationship than I’d had with teachers in the past.  She always sticks out in my mind as one of the best teachers I have had.

Distinguished Achiever:  Mackenzie Rosenleaf                                                       Honored Educator:  Ms. Diana Kujawa
Parents:  Heidi & Mark Rosenleaf                                                                             Butte High School
Ms. Kujawa has been an imperative instrument in my preparation for college and the future. Because I didn't know her, but she seemed scary, I was so afraid of her as an underclass student that I would get anxiety attacks from passing her classroom. Ironically, last semester she was also the most helpful person in helping me combat those same attacks. Not only is she unwaveringly kind and helpful, but her intelligence and insight consistently inspired me to be a better student, which my parents will vouch is a rare thing. Without her guidance and compassion, this school year would have been significantly more
difficult to push through.

Distinguished Scholar:  McKenna Savage                                                                Honored Educator:  Ms. Julie Johns
Parents:  Randall & Shauna Savage                                                                          Butte High School
Finding out my first period in my Senior year was going to be Calculus with Mrs. Johns was exciting because I knew I would understand math and be taught by one of the best.  Mrs. Johns has an optimistic attitude, compassionate soul, and inspires me every day. She is always enthusiastic when teaching and goes the extra mile to help us understand a concept. Something that stands out above all is her constant drive to push her students towards success. There is never a moment when she wouldn’t
help us and made sure we fully understood the concept.  I am grateful for having the opportunity to learn from her and there aren’t enough words to describe how wonderful Mrs. Johns has been to me.
 
Distinguished Achiever:  Genevieve Gardner                                                          Honored Educator:  Ms. Heather Yeo
Parents:  Greg & Lisa Gardner                                                                                 Hillcrest Elementary School
Heather Yeo was an exceptional 6th grade teacher. She was caring and kind to all her students. After I left Hillcrest, Ms. Yeo's
personality made a lasting impact on my life. She has become a large part of my life and a very close friend to my family. She has helped me through many hard life events, and I am forever grateful for her help and love. Her bubbly personality made learning fun and exciting. I still remember the songs she taught us to remember math. I just want to say thank you for becoming such a
large part of my life and impacting the person I am today.

Distinguished Achiever:  Ethan McCaughey                                                           Honored Educator:  Ms. Colleene Fogarty
Parents:  Andie & Paul  McCaughey                                                                       Butte High School
Out of all the many great teachers I have had throughout my educational experience, Ms. Fogarty is the teacher that stands out the
most.  My sophomore year, I had four surgeries that required me to be on Homebound for most of the 1st semester.  Ms. Fogarty was awesome, she spent countless hours working with me to make sure I was able to keep up in my classes.  She not only helped me with my studies, she was my biggest advocator and remains to be. My junior year, I was lucky enough to have Ms. Fogarty as my Chemistry teacher.  Ms. Fogarty teaches with a contagious energy that makes learning fun.  Ms. Fogarty’s lessons have impacted me both in the classroom and in life. I’m thankful to have had a teacher as dedicated as Ms. Fogarty.

Distinguished Scholar:  Camille McEwen                                                               Honored Educator: Ms. Jennifer Reilly
Parents:  Emelia & David McEwen                                                                         Kennedy Elementary School
Mrs. Reilly was my fourth grade teacher, and her dedication to her students has continued to inspire me throughout my schooling. I have had many amazing teachers, but Mrs. Reilly always believed that I had the ability to achieve whatever I wanted. She not only encouraged me to continue to work hard in school, but also in all aspects of my life. She always spent extra time helping every student in order to ensure they benefited in some way. Because Mrs. Reilly truly worked hard to understand all her students and appreciated the uniqueness of everyone, she gave my peers and I the confidence in our own abilities and gave us hope for our future goals. If every teacher had this kind of care and dedication to their students, almost every child would be successful.

Distinguished Achiever:  Sydney Pendergast                                                         Honored Educator:  Mr. Tom Quinn
Parents:  TJ Perdergast & Mary Ann Perdergast & Dave Susanj                           Butte High School
I have had lots of great math teachers over the years, but Mr. Quinn is easily one of the best. Everyday Mr. Quinn brings an infectious positive attitude to the classroom. He works hard to ensure that all of his students have the teaching that they need to be successful. Although I have struggled in Algebra, his thorough teaching has helped me to improve upon what I have learned throughout high school, finally boosting my confidence in math. Mr. Quinn constantly encourages his classes to work hard and be disciplined. It is obvious that he cares about the happiness and well-being of his students. I am thankful to have ended up in his College Algebra class this year. 

Distinguished Scholar:  Sean Staples                                                                     Honored Educator:  Ms. Brenda Floreen
Parents:  Tom & Laurel Staples                                                                              Butte High School
While going into Algebra 2 my sophomore year I was scared that I was going to struggle because I never had a solid math background. I felt like I could never really go anywhere in life that involves math. Ms Floreen put me back on track with her structured class and logical teaching fashion. Looking back on her class, I was certainly lucky to be taught by her during her last year of teaching. Ms. Floreen really opened up opportunities for me to take a career path that is centered around mathematics. She even helped my find some of my best interests. Currently, I see Ms. Floreen almost every day in the hallway and she never fails to put a smile on my face. Truthfully, I think Ms. Floreen has a unique ability to brighten up just about anyone's life she touches.

Distinguished Achiever:  Mr. William Haxby                                                      Honored Educator:  Mr. Dale Burgman
Parents: Jerry & Katie Haxby                                                                                Butte High School
I took Mr. Dale Burgman’s history and government class. I had never really enjoyed learning about government or most parts of history, but his class changed that. For American History instead of starting at the beginning we went backwards from where the book ended.  This meant that we got to learn about subjects our family members might have been alive for such as Vietnam or even World War II.  These have always been areas in most history classes that we are unable to get to in the short school
year, so starting with them was amazing.  Government has always been a subject I would have had a hard time learning but Mr. Burgman made the class enjoyable with humor and movies. His class is on my top list of enjoyable high school moments due to the enjoyment I had learning the subject. 

Distinguished Scholar:  Joby Rosenleaf                                                              Honored Educator:  Ms. Maureen Driscoll
Parents:  Sunvee & Ozzie Rosenleaf                                                                   Butte High School
For my junior and senior years, I have been lucky enough to have Mrs. Driscoll as my chemistry teacher. I've always loved and done pretty well in science classes, but her class especially sticks out to me because she is such a great teacher. Mrs. Driscoll has the ability to take complex concepts in chemistry and make them extremely easy to understand through her very own "Driscoll definitons" and comparing the ideas to things that we students relate to in everyday life. Not only is Mrs. Driscoll's teaching style
amazing and very effective, but she also cares about her students' success outside of the classroom, putting her time towards our school's chapter of Science National Honor Society. Mrs. Driscoll is by far one of the best teachers I have had, and I'm grateful to have had such an amazing teacher. 

Distinguished Achiever:  Colton Montoya                                                         Honored Educator:  Ms. Becky Fisk
Parents:  Buzz Brodie & Angela Montoya                                                         Butte High School
Mrs. Fisk has been someone that’s helped me since the 3rd grade. She was my favorite teacher in elementary school. And when I was going into my junior year I was so far behind I didn’t think it was worth my time to go to school but I was enrolled in Mrs. Fisk credit recovery class and she helped keep me motivated when I didn’t want to go to school or do my work. Mrs. Fisk would believe in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. Mrs. Fisk would always leave her room open for me if I was feeling sad or having anxiety, I always had a place to go where I would feel comfortable. So even though it’s been a long bumpy road, Mrs. Fisk would always do her best to keep me on the right path. So therefore, I thank you for not only being a great teacher but a great friend that I will always cherish.

Distinguished Achiever:  Anthony Nardiello                                                    Honored Educator:  Ms. Jean Perusich
Parents:  Jennifer & Michael Nardiello                                                             East Middle School
Music can serve as a guide, helping us determine who we are and who we want to be. But it’s the people behind the music that truly lends the sound its unique form. No person truly personifies this much more than Jean Perusich. During my all to brief time knowing Mrs. Perusich, she has been a mentor, a friend, a conductor, a band member, but most of all someone who is there to help. This help can extend anywhere from guiding a student through a particularly difficult music part, to listening about how someone’s day went and how they are doing. She understands that music must come from the heart, and if someone’s heart isn’t in it, then they can’t talk. Thank you Mrs. Perusich, for helping me find myself.

Distinguished Scholar:  Marcus Lynch                                                             Honored Educator:  Mr. Patrick Donahue
Parents:  Dan Lynch & Mary Palmer                                                                Butte High School
I first had Mr. Donahue junior year for pre-calculus and I was lucky enough to get him again for Calculus my senior year. Mr.
Donahue has always been so helpful when it comes to helping me with my math homework and he has made calculus a lot less scary. His class does not only make math more fun, but also easier to comprehend. His work with the National Honor Society has also influenced me to play a bigger part in my community. Mr. Donahue always has a smile on his face and is always willing to help. Mr. Donahue helped me enjoy math again like I once did in elementay school.  I am happy to honor Mr. Donahue and he will continue to do his part making Butte High a better place.

Distinguished Achiever:  Katelyn Alley                                                           Honored Educator:  Mr. Eric Mankins
Parents:  Karen & William Alley                                                                      Butte High School
The first time I met Mr. Mankins was my freshman year at softball. He has been my softball coach for four years and golf coach for two. My sophomore year he encourage me to play golf, even though we both laughed and joked about it, the next year I went out for golf. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my high school career. Coach Mankins has helped and supported me every step of the way, not only on the field but also at school. He has been someone I can depend on to advise me. He has always encouraged me to take honors classes and push myself. I am thankful for Mr. Mankins and the way he has impacted my high school career.

Distinguished Scholar:  Shane Cox                                                                  Honored Educator:  Mr. Lloyd Magnuson
Parents:  Samm and Tammy Cox                                                                     Retired, East Middle School
Walt Disney once said, “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” No one has done more to expand the minds of kids than Lloyd Magnuson. Mr. Magnuson is not only the best teacher I have ever had, he is also one of the best men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. During a time when I was still discovering who I was, Mr. Mag saw in me a potential I did not see in myself. I had the great fortune to travel with him on the Earth Shuttle adventure, where he showed me magic and wonder beyond my wildest dreams. He instilled in me the values of diligence, curiosity, and imagination.  I will always remember the
greatest piece of advice he ever gave me, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

Distinguished Scholar:  Paige Manson                                                           Honored Educator:  Ms. Karla Perala
Parents:  Dan & Kristen Manson                                                                    East Middle School
Mrs. Perala is both a wonderful teacher and a genuinely kind and caring person. She went out of her way to know her students personally and treat them as individuals. I always knew that if I was having any sort of problem, school related or otherwise, I could turn to Mrs. Perala and she would go out of her way to help me. Mrs. Perala always treated us as equals. This was so important, especially in the 8th grade when we thought we knew everything about everything. Mrs. Perala had a very open and honest classroom. I knew that no matter what we were discussing, I could share my opinion without being judged or shut down. This made a huge impact on me because it taught me that it's good to be both expressive and open to other people's opinions.

Distinguished Achiever:  Tuesday McKee                                                     Honored Educator:  Mr. Mike Kujawa
Parents:  Courtney & John McKee                                                                 Butte High School
When I walked through the doors of Butte High on my first day of ninth grade, I was nervous and I didn't think I had any
friends. Changing schools is hard, but changing schools without anyone to talk to is terrifying. I would walk into each new class and find a seat alone and speak softly because I was worried that other students might think I was weird. Each instance where we had to say our name and something about ourselves was another thing I dreaded. Attending art class was a wonderful change
from the stress of my other classes. Mr. Kujawa joked around and helped me stop being so timid. He told me about Art Club and after I attended the meetings I didn't have to worry about being nervous because I finally had friends to talk to and help me start my freshman year. He was a huge help to me my freshman year and remains a kind friend.

Distinguished Scholar:  Caitlin Carmody                                                       Honored Educator:  Mr. Jim O’Neill
Parents:  John and Amy Carmody                                                                  Margaret Leary Elementary
There are some people who make you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to, and Mr. O’Neill is one of those people. Since the day I met him in sixth grade, he has never let me settle for anything less than my best, and it is because he took the time to run with me that I love running to this day. Most importantly, he has shown me the importance of encouraging the people around me.  Mr. O’Neill has inspired me not only to achieve my dreams, but to be the person that pushes other people to achieve theirs, and it is a privilege to honor him tonight.

Distinguished Scholar:  Amber Freebourn                                                     Honored Educator:  Ms. Marian Paull
Parents:  Jim & Stacie Freebourn                                                                   Butte High School
Dear Ms. Paull, not only are you an outstanding and motivating educator, but you’re an amazing role model to students of all ages. You make every single person feel welcome the second they take a step into your classroom. Even though I only had your class for one semester, the way you taught and the documentaries we watched sparked a huge interest in me. It made
your class the best part about my day. Your generosity, comical sense of humor, and positivity would light up a room and make students enjoy coming to your class. You were even able to put up with my own sarcastic sassiness and I applaud you for that because any other teacher wouldn’t be able to. I also know that I could go to you for anything and that means so much to me. You possess qualities that stand out to everyone. I am beyond grateful that I had such a compassionate, compelling, patient, knowledgeable, and unique teacher like you. Thank you for all you have done for me.

Distinguished Achiever:  Oscar Kronenberger                                             Honored Educator:  Mr. Eric Zahler
Parents:  Don & Brett Kronenberger                                                             Butte High School
Mr. Zahler was my freshman Montana history teacher. He stood out to me because he was genuinely engaged in the course. Additionally, his style of teaching made learning effortless and fun. No matter what he’s doing, you can count on him to be give one hundred present of his effort. Furthermore, he possesses an infectious ambition that he radiates wherever he goes. Outside
of the class room, Mr. Zahler was my soccer coach. He pushed me to improve both on and off the soccer field. He helped build my confidence because he had belief in my abilities.  Mr. Zahler is an extraordinary teacher, coach, and friend. 

Distinguished Achiever:  Amber Rundle                                                      Honored Educator:  Ms. Joana Benach-Salas
Parents:  Amy & Gary Rundle                                                                      Butte High School
The first time I met Ms. Benach was my sophomore year. I’ve been lucky enough to be taught by her for three years and be her
aide. As I ran through all my previous teachers and educators who have also helped me come this far, she was the only one who kept coming to mind as having the biggest impact on me. I am speechless writing this because words could not explain how much Ms. Benach has impacted my life and how much that means to me. She is one of the kindest hearted, charismatic, loyal people you will ever meet. She is always there to listen and tries to help out as much as she can. She has taught me that sometimes you will lose or fail and that’s okay. It’s just lessons learned and you have to keep working hard and move on from them. Thank you so much for being there for me and everything you have done. As I go off to school next year I will miss having you around immensely and will be excited to see all the other students life’s you will impact.

Distinguished Scholar:  Alyssa Cook                                                           Honored Educator:  Ms. Andrea Birk
Parents:  Arnie & Lauren Cook                                                                    Hillcrest Elementary School
I have never had as cool or fun an educator as Ms. Birk. As my elementary school counselor, she was always ready and willing to listen to what anyone had to say and could handle any problem with ease. Whenever Ms. Birk would come to visit my class, she would bring with her this comfortable atmosphere that made my school experience less stressful. With every conversation she had with my class, she could find a way to make everyone laugh. In the years since elementary school, she has continued to care about me openly. I am so thankful to Ms. Birk for all she did to make my education a wholesome, yet entertaining, experience.

Distinguished Achiever:  Rosafina Fisk                                                      Honored Educator:  Mr. Scott Cooney
Parents:  Chris & Becky Fisk                                                                      Butte High School
I grew up knowing Mr. Cooney since I was a young girl. My dad was great friends with him and his family and I remember all the fun adventures we would go on together. Everything from going over to his house for lunch and playdates to going hunting, fishing and camping. During my time at Butte High I was lucky enough to have him as a teacher my freshman and sophomore years. My favorite time of the day was when I got to go to his class, even though English wasn’t my strongest learning point. My entire life I’ve struggled with comprehension, memorization, reading, writing and spelling. At a very young age I was labeled as learning disabled and have continued to have an IEP though school. Mr. Cooney was the first teacher to show me that my
disability won’t bring me down or stop me. He also taught me to never use it as an excuse. He helped me by teaching me new ways to figure things out and learn things in a stronger way than before.  If I wasn’t understanding something he was teaching, he would find a way for it to become hands-on learning or come sit with me one on one, changing his entire lesson plan to better educate me. I have lots of memories of smiles and laughs from my time spent with him in his class. I still, to this day, find Mr. Cooney an amazing teacher, role model and person as I graduate and open this new chapter of my life. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.

Distinguished Achiever:  Danielle DeWolf                                               Honored Educator:  Frau Wendy Schoonen
Parents:  William DeWolf                                                                         Butte High School
Frau is the most kind-hearted and caring teacher I've ever had the pleasure of having. For two years of German I and II, she had the talent of making a foreign language fun and easy to learn, which not many teachers can do. Besides her outstanding teaching abilities, she's also made a huge difference in my life since my sophomore year. In class, she always took a special interest in me and was always sure that I was ready for college with early scholarships. My Junior year, I struggled with the death of my mother just days before the beginning of school, and Frau was there for me like nobody else. Even though I didn't take German III this year like I should have, I still come to see Frau on a regular basis to talk and have tea with her as we have become very good friends. And those weekly early morning visits with her are usually the highlight of my day! Thank you Frau for not only touching my life with your kindness and love, but to all of your students, past and present, as well! 

Distinguished Scholar:  Caitlyn Sheehan                                                 Honored Educator:  Ms. Amber Walter
Parents:  Rochelle & Bob Boon                                                               Butte High School
Ms. Walter is one of the best teachers I have had. Between anatomy and HOSA, she's had a major impact on my life. I went to Tennessee with her last year for HOSA nationals and I'm an aid for her class this year. She's helped me throughout my last two years at Butte High and I couldn't have asked for a better role model as I go off to college. Ms. Walter is one of my favorite people and I am ecstatic that I got to know her and got the privilege to have her as an educator.

Distinguished Scholar:  William Anderson                                             Honored Educator:  Mr. Chris Bugni
Parents:  Brian & Danielle Anderson                                                      Butte High School
The choice of Mr. Chris Bugni for The Celebration of Excellence Dinner was an easy choice for me because of how great he made my sixth grade year.  The memories from my sixth grade year will stay with me through my whole life. I found it easy to
excel in his class because it always felt like he was teaching just to me. Whether he was playing baseball with us outside or dissecting animals he had brought, Mr. Bugni always found a way to make school fun and educational. I could say so many great things about this teacher but the thing that makes him stand out the most for me is every time we meet he specifically asks me about my accomplishments. It is great to know he remembers me like I remember him. 

Distinguished Achiever:  Joriann Heikkinen                                          Honored Educator:  Ms. Kelly Hazelett Huerta
Parents:  Donna & Brain Heikkinen                                                       Butte High School
Mrs. Hazelett was my English/health/technology teacher from 6th grade till 8th grade at Ramsay Elementary school. She was such a wonderful teacher who had the ability to relate to us middle schoolers. One of the most important lessons I took away Mrs. Hazelett was to always work on bettering myself. She inspired me to pursue my dreams and to never let the bumps in the
road slow me down. I am thankful that she touched my life. 

Distinguished Achiever:  Connor Miller                                                Honored Educator:  Mr. Pat Kissell
Parents:  Jeffery & Michelle Miller                                                        Principal, West Elementary School
Mr. Kissell, my distinguished educator, was my principal at West Elementary. One of the most significant qualities that stood out about Mr. Kissell was the fact that he made it a point to not only get to know the names, but personally get to know each and every student in his school. Mr. Kissell has a very caring and helping demeanor, and you always knew that he was approachable for anything you needed. Furthermore Mr. Kissell continues to be a source of advice and mentoring to this day, and I
would like to thank him and will always admire him. I strongly consider Mr. Kissell as a friend and a great role model to me.

Distinguished Scholar:  Marietta Sorini                                                 Honored Educator:  Mr. Arie Grey
Parents:  Stephanie Sorini and the late Pete Sorini                                Butte High School
You never know when someone important will come into your life and change it. One person I look up to most came into my life at my 6th grade graduation. Although he may not realize it, I look up to him more than just a teacher and coach; I look up to him as a father figure. He reminds me of my dad more than anyone else, and it may be because the relationship I have with him is so close to my heart. He's the type of person to know his students and athletes on more of a personal level and care for us like we're his own children. Coach Grey has had such a positive impact on my life. He's taught me much more than sociology or running techniques. He has taught me valuable life lessons I will carry and cherish forever. His ability to share his intelligence
while being so down to earth is inspiring. The energy he brings is so contagious, it's hard not be in a good mood around him. Whether it be during hard times or not thinking I have the strength to finish a race, he is the one who has believed in me and taught me to never give up. My favorite lesson I've learned from Coach Grey is to, "enjoy the process" and ever since he
told me that I think of it in everything I do. Coach Grey is the type of person I strive to be when I am older, and I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done for me, and given me these past four years. I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to have grown so close with Coach Grey. Without him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Distinguished Achiever:  Kaden Schonsberg                                       Honored Educator:  Mr. Cory Johnston
Parents:  Ray & Kelly Schonsberg                                                       Butte High School
Mr. Johnston has a lot to offer to everyone. He has been there for me in many different ways. Multiple times with math, but
especially with wrestling. There is a lot of highs and lows in the sport and he helped with all of them.  In every way I
have ever needed something he has been there to help in some way. Last year I didn’t even place at the state tournament, this year I was a finalist, and I know I wouldn’t have been anywhere close to that if it wasn’t for him. He has given me every opportunity possible on and off the mat. He is a very outgoing and helpful guy, with every problem you may bring to him, at the end of the day you will have a logical answer.

Distinguished Scholar:  Jared Walsh                                                   Honored Educator:  Ms. Kathleen Foley
Parents:  Steve & Julie Walsh                                                              East Middle School
There is truly something special in being blessed with so many great teachers throughout my educational career, but I have also been lucky enough to have had one come into my life that has stood out to me above so many. Miss Foley has shown me
the tremendous importance in focusing on academics, effort, being goal-driven, but most significantly in just being a good person. I woke up being excited every day in seventh grade to go to her class because it was an environment I felt comfortable, and a place I felt respected and appreciated and I made sure to reciprocate that feeling to her. And I have missed her class every day
since. I have taken with me her value for caring and being there for others, and this has helped me beyond words to be a much better person. Miss Foley, I am so grateful for everything you have done for me, thank you for being such a wonderful and influential part of my life.

Distinguished Achiever:  Bailey McCarthy                                       Honored Educator:  Ms. Cindy Powers
Parents:  Paul & Becky McCarthy                                                     Hillcrest Elementary School
As far back as I can remember, I've been a nervous child.  As I continued to grow, my worrisome personality eventually evolved into a serious anxiety disorder that made going to school very difficult. Mrs. Powers took me as her teacher's aid, but it quickly became more meaningful than that. Her ability to make people feel safe and comfortable eased my aggressive nerves and eventually I learned how to cope with my anxiety. Had it not been for Mrs. Powers, I would probably still be a nervous wreck about absolutely everything, and I very well might have been stuck in 4th grade for the rest of my life. Thank you Mrs. Powers, you mean so very much to me. With love from your little Bay Bay

Distinguished Scholar:  Makayla Haynes                                          Honored Educator:  Ms. Janeen Walsh
Parents:  Chuck & Nicole Haynes                                                     Butte High School
Mrs.Walsh is a teacher that has the unique ability to make a learning environment comfortable both in and outside of the classroom. Whether we were diving into a new novel, or stepping outside to hone our sword fighting skills, she created a fun and encouraging learning space for everyone. Although, she was only my teacher for freshman year, she has continued to spread her positive attitude as I finish now as senior. I continue to use her valuable lessons, and now appreciate the fact that she made me work so hard on her time capsule project. In a few weeks, I’ll be able to open it, and for that and many other things, I thank Mrs.Walsh.
 
Distinguished Achiever:  Kaitlyn McGruder                                    Honored Educator:  Ms. Lana Whelan
Parents:  Casey & Paula McGruder                                                  Butte High School
Throughout grade school and middle school I did not enjoy science at all. When I had Mrs. Whelan my freshmen year, she helped me to actually enjoy and understand the subject better than anyone ever had. I decided one year of having her as a teacher wasn't enough and decided to come back for physics this last year. I was also her aid. Mrs. Whelan has always pushed my classmates and myself to do our very best. She has a good sense of humor and always makes class enjoyable and exciting. Not only was she an amazing teacher but also a friend. This is something I could not be more thankful for and I am sure I will continue to go to her for advice throughout the next chapter of my life. 

Distinguished Scholar:  Deryn Ferguson                                         Honored Educator:  Ms. Amanda Peterson
Parents:  Holly & Scott Ferguson                                                    Retired, East Middle School
Mrs. Peterson is the teacher who has stuck out most to me throughout all of my schooling. She was my eighth grade social studies teacher. The way she taught worked so well for me, and I can say with confidence that I learned more from her than from anyone else in a history class. I think what I liked most about her teaching was that she did not spend as much time on the boring parts of history, and rather spent more time on the parts of history that were most relevant to us as students.  She spent time teaching us about the United States government which was interesting and has helped me understand so much. It was obvious that she was a teacher who really wanted all of us to succeed. She never threw us a test that she had not completely prepared us for, and you could tell that she actually cared about what she was teaching and was passionate about it. My eighth grade year, I won an essay contest, and that summer Mrs. Peterson sent me a letter congratulating me that included the newspaper article I was mentioned in. To this day, I still have her letter hung up in my room, and her sending me that letter meant more to me than anyone could ever know. Thank you for everything Mrs. Peterson.