Local academic excellence honored

Scholars, teachers recognized at dinner

By Sam Wildow - swildow@aimmediamidwest.com

PIQUA —The Miami County Educational Service Center held its annual Excellence in Education awards dinner on Monday evening, honoring a number of the county’s highest academic achievers and their favorite teachers who helped them along the way.

Bethel High School honored valedictorians Benjamin Lawson, Tyler Brueckman, Alexander van Haaren, and Korry Hamlin with their teachers, Danny Elam, Robert Hamlin, Traci Brewer, and Mark Clute, respectively. Salutatorian Jacob Evans also honored his teacher Lauren Siebnaller. Each of the students was an athlete in addition to earning academic achievements, including being members of the National Honors Society (NHS).

Bradford High School honored valedictorians Irina Dingman, Hunter Penkal, and Maia Stump with their teachers, Dr. Angie Wendel, Kyle Ratcliff, and Jacci Spencer, respectively. Salutatorian Christina Crosby also honored her teacher, Ralph Ash.

Dingman was awarded the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and plans to attend Berea College in Kentucky.

“Mr. Ratcliff always believed in my in sports and school,” said Penkal, an athlete and academic achiever who received Franklin B. Walter All-Scholastic Award in addition to other achievements.

Stump — an athlete at Bradford High School while maintaining a 3.96 GPA and being named on the honor roll and in the top 10 percent for four years — said Wendel was a “memorable teacher.”

Covington High School honored valedictorians Sarabeth Anderson, Mason Dilley, and Spencer Hogue along with their teachers, Bridgit Kerber, Chuck Cantrell, and Steve Dunn, respectively. Also athletes, each of the students participated in numerous clubs and volunteered in the community.

Miami East High School honored valedictorians Emily Rowley and Kaitlyn Mack along with their teachers, Meghan Arnold and Kris Brush. Salutatorian Christine Marlow also honored her teacher, David Scott.

Rowley said that she was inspired by Arnold’s tenacity, seeing Arnold’s responsibilities and duties and asking, “Why would anyone put that much weight on their shoulders? … She thought that we were worth it.”

Mack said that Brush inspired her and helped her love of learning to grow.

Milton Union High School valedictorian Matthew Brown honored his teacher, Deborah Kurtz. Salutatorians Samuel Motz and Chris Trimbach both honored teacher and band director Zachary Roberts.

Matthew Brown, who volunteered for a U.S. senatorial race and was selected to be a Teen Ambassador for Mike DeWine, said that Kurtz pushed him to be his best.

Motz, who has participated in a number of school sports and musical activities and plans to attend the University of Dayton, said that Roberts was a “great role model in and out of school.”

Trimbach has been involved in band, the Science Fair, and other school and musicial activities.

Newton High School honored valedictorians Macy Flanary, Rachel Kirk, Tatum McBride, and Paiton Miller and their teachers and administrators, Missy Meyer, Jeff Armentrout, Pat McBride, and Neal Hans, respectively.

“She always pushed me to do my best,” said Flanary said about Meyer. Flanary, who plans to attend Cedarville University, also remarked how Meyer accompanied her on a college visit.

Tatum McBride honored her father, Pat McBride, who is also the superintendent of Newton schools, saying that she was grateful for being able to visit her father’s office whenever she needed guidance.

“I can’t imagine a better place to have spent my last 12 years,” she said.

Piqua High School honored valedictorians Cameron Brown and Darby Bubp and their teachers, Courtney Downs and Troy Ouhl. Salutatorian Leanne Price honored her teacher, Elly Snapp.

Brown, who was his class president and plans on attending Harvard University, said that Downs is “the very definition of a role model.”

Bubp, who has participated in Key Club, volunteers annually at Ohio’s Special Olympics, and plans on attending Georgetown University, said that Ouhl was “kind, caring, genuine, and brave” and that no one was “more deserving of recognition.”

Price , who has participated in leadership groups and volunteered at Greene Street United Methodist Church, said that she cherished time in Snapp’s class.

Tippecanoe High School honored valedictorians Tasha Bruner, Laura Fink, Lauren Lester, Alissa Buynak, and Claire Hinkle and their teachers, Tim Tipton, Aimee Noel, Alex Lampert, Len Kenyon, and Brenda Mahaney. Salutatorians Zachary Carner, Payton Bonifas, and Taylor Hudson honored their teachers, Annette Malott, Ian Porto, and Mahaney.

Fink, a cross-country athlete who plans to attend Ohio State University, commended Noel for being a “passionate and knowledgeable” teacher.

Buynak, who plans to attend the United State Air Force Academy with dreams of becoming an astronaut, said, “Mr. Kenyon was always very encouraging.”

Troy Christian High School honored valedictorian Rachel Winters and salutatorian Kayla Ritter along with their teachers, Paul Ruland and Stacey Ort.

“Mr. Ruland encouraged and challenged me to reach my potential,” said Winters, who earned her place as valedictorian with a GPA of 4.475 and participated on a number of mission trips.

Ritter, a member of of the varsity soccer team who earned her place as salutatorian with a GPA of 4.4681, called Ort an “amazing teacher” and a “great role model.”

Troy High School honored valedictorian Madison Rougier and salutatorian Lauren Zaylskie along with their teachers, Jacqui Lehmkuhl and Brian Woerner.

Rougier, who was vice president of the Math Club, a cross-country and track athlete, and a member of the academic quiz team with plans to attend Miami University, said, “Mrs. Lehmkuhl has an unparalleled desire to see her students succeed.”

Zaylskie, who participated in athletics like soccer and swim team and in school activities like the Science and Math clubs, said Woerner “greatly impacted” her academic career and also “inspired” her as a person. Zaylskie also plans on attending Vanderbilt University.

The Upper Valley Career Center honored top scholars — seniors with the highest four-year grade point average — Haley Stine, Olivia Quinter, and Holden Garber along with their teachers Shellie Gyetuai, Aaron Johnson, and Ned Courtright.

Scholars, teachers recognized at dinner

By Sam Wildow


Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com