Distinguished Achiever: Kayla Ericson
Parents: Dean & Mary Kaye Ericson
Honored Educator: Ms. Andrea Birk, Hillcrest School Counselor
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 coulddo it and shw 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!