4/16/14 The twenty-eighth Annual Academic Excellence Recognition dinner held on April 14, acknowledged the achievements of several of this year’s Plymouth High School graduates. The event, sponsored by Plymouth High School and US Granules, also gave those being honored an opportunity to thank their most influential teachers and/or school staff members.
Those students being honored rank in the top five percent of the class of 2014.
PHS Principal, Jim Condon, said, “It enlightens me when I see them. Many tell me that the first time they heard of the top five percent Academic Excellence recognition, they said it became on one of their goals to be here.”
He added, “This is one of the proudest activities of the year.” “They get to thank teachers for making a difference in their lives. “ He also shared his believe that parents play a major role in the success of students. He said, “We can say to the parents, well done.”
Condon and PHS Assistant Principal, Kyle Coffman, agreed that the class of 2014 is very supportive and bonded. Coffman said, “They have a genuine desire to serve.“ Condon indicated that many of those in the top five percent of this year’s class are involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) studies.
Serving as Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Plymouth Schools Superintendent Daniel Tyree. Sharing his appreciation for John Oliver, president of U S Granules, for sponsoring the event, Tyree said, “It is nice to have an individual and his corporation in the community that takes time to promote academics.”
Oliver and Nick Chaney, manager of manufacturing, engineering and facilities at U S Granules, presented awards to students and teachers.
After the meeting, Oliver said, “The opportunity and the need to honor high academic achievement are very compelling. US Granules recruits the best and brightest in their chosen field. It is especially important to have choices from the communities in which we operate. Plymouth High School has become a primary source for such recruitment at our corporate headquarters.”
Attending the event as a School Board member was Larry Pinkerton. Pinkerton initiated the Academic Excellence Recognition when he was the principal at PHS. Pinkerton said, “It is two-fold-honoring students and teachers.”
Kyle Barry chose Josh Martin, P HS, to honor. Barry, son of Steve Barry and Pam Barry, plans to attend Indiana Wesleyan University to study psychology and business. Barry spoke of Martin as the teacher of the most rigorous course he ever enrolled in as well his soccer coach. He said, “Mr. Martin taught us to always persevere and never give up.” “After four years of knowing him as my teacher and coach, I am honored to call him my friend.” Barry said,
Scott Carmichael, son of Rob Carmichael and Dee Carmichael, is planning to attend North Western University and pursue a degree in either physics or economics. He chose Bob Garrity, Lincoln Junior High, to honor.
“Mr. Garrity has the ability to maintain the classroom and also leave time for questions-and the occasional joke.” Carmichael said “He puts things in perspective.
Riley Cartwright is headed to Florida Southern College to study business management. He is the son of Rich Cartwright and Jona Cartwright. He chose to honor Ryan Rust, PHS. Cartwright said, “Mr. Rust lets students chose their own destiny.” He went on to explain that the teacher he chose as his most influential teacher is committed to every student.
Danielle Erickson named Jona Cartwright, PHS, as her most influential person. She plans to pursue her future education at Purdue University and concentrate on physical therapy. She is the daughter of Gregg Erickson and Kelly Erickson. Erickson said Mrs. Cartwright, who teachers Health Occupation classes, has had an immense impact on her life. Erickson said, “She (Cartwright) showed us the real side of medicine-good and bad. Her classes gave us incredible insight.”
Kristen Gergely plans to attend Villanova University College of Art and Science. She is the daughter of Michael Gergely and Kathryn Gergely.
She honored Dave Cox, PHS. Gergely said, “Mr. Cox has a passion for inspiring students. “In his class, I have a sense of confidence. I’m not afraid of failure.” Gergely said. She added, “He (Cox) told us to have passion, but don’t be afraid of failure.”
Rachel Hartman, daughter of David Hartman and Rebecca Hartman, plans to attend Indiana Wesleyan University and study medical technology.
Hartman chose her elementary teacher, Liz Miller, to honor. Hartman said, “Mrs. Miller was a student teacher when I was in third grade and then was my fourth grade teacher.” Hartman said, “Mrs. Miller encouraged me to work to the best of my ability.”
Nathan Mahan, son of Terry Mahan and Amy Mahan, will attend either Purdue University or DePauw University to study accounting. He chose to honor Amy Schmeltz, PHS. Schmeltz is the sponsor and coach of the PHS spell bowl team. Mahan recounted the encouragement that Schmeltz gave the team to qualify for state competition. Mahan said,
“We were inspired by our coach to do better.”
Tucker Pletcher plans to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and pursue a degree in chemical engineering. He is the son of Timothy Pletcher and Tisha Pletcher. He honored Michele Holloway, PHS. Referring to the time he spent in Holloway’s math class, Pletcher said, “I will always remember my Algebra II class and all that she has taught me.”
He added that Holloway taught him to live life in the moment.
Logan Richards, son of Tracy Paxton, will be attending either Purdue University or Butler University to study biochemistry. He chose Dave Hatcher, PHS, as his most influential person. Richards said, “Mr. Hatcher is more than just an instructor. He is a role model.” “He is almost the happiest person I know and he spreads that happiness.”
Ellen Smith, daughter of Dr. Timothy Smith and Sarah Smith, plans to study either biology or Spanish. She has not chosen where she will pursue her future education. She honored Delia Gadziola, PHS. Smith said Mrs. Gadziola has given her an appreciation of other cultures. She said, “Mrs. Gadziola pushes her students above and beyond.”
John Stillson, son of Dr. Tod Stillson and Ellen Stillson, will be pursuing a degree in chemistry at the University of Alabama. He honored Leland Zumbaugh, LJH. Sillson said he had a defining moment in Zumbaugh’s class. Referring to Zumbaugh’s challenge to a class assignment, Stillson said, “I decided I wanted to be better.”
Travis Tredway plans to attend the University of Notre Dame and pursue a degree in pre-med. He is the son of Neil Stinson, Deborah Stinson, Tracy Tredway, and Nikki Tredway. He chose Donna Chaney as his most influential person. Tredway presented Chaney with a tee-shirt signed by students in her class. Tredway said, “She genuinely cared about each student. She cared about academics and about us.”
Following the event, Oliver said, “I was particularly impressed with the students’ ability to articulate their reason for choosing their most influential teacher. It was equally clear that teachers cherished the validation of their teaching skills.” “We look forward to a long relationship with PHS as underwriter for the awards banquet.” Oliver said.
PHS Academic Excellence Recogniton Dinner:
Kyle Barry, Scott Carmichael, Riley Cartwright, Danielle Erickson, Kristen Geregely, Rachel Hartman
Josh Martin, Bob Garrity, Ryan Rust, Jona Cartwright, Dave Cox, Elizabeth Miller
Nathan Mahan, Rucker Pletcher, Logan Richards, Ellen Smith, John Stillson, Travis Tredway
Amy Schmeltz, Michele Holloway, Dave Hatcher, Delia Gadziola, Leland Zumbaugh, Donna chaney