It’s an evening about giving thanks. It’s an evening of celebration of scholars honoring educators.
“This is an evening of distinguished students recognizing they have been blessed,” said Green Assistant Principal Kevin Finefrock.
Green’s Top 25 scholars included Benjamin Pollock, Leslie Schmidt, Jared Oing, Gwendolen Eberts, Lia Westhafer, Bijan Aboutorabi, Sara Schnabel, Aaron Bunnell, Jennifer Bunnell, Jennifer Edwards, Ryan Pinheiro, Desiree Aber, Keith Edmunds, Sarah Hartong, Shawn Marks, Bridget Hoosic, Jeffrey (Todd) Starkey, Nanette Jones, Connor Krummel, Lauren Kent, Mitchell Plum, Breanna McCausland, David Susman, Caitlin McCombs and Thomas Davison.
Desiree Aber’s honored educator was Arietta Paulus, who helped this athlete get through what she called her “toughest year.” Desiree, a soccer player who cherishes beating state ranked Walsh Jesuit, said of Paulus, “She’s been there since the beginning when I tore my ACL and was on crutches, to today, one month away from being able to play soccer again. She was the one person that made me smile and made me believe in myself.”
Bijan Aboutorabi loves the written word. The Yale-bound senior selected Lois Raden, who was his very first high school teacher. “I honor this teacher not only for leading my exploration of the French language, but for her personal qualities: the joy she has always taken in her profession, and her boundless love for her students.”
Aaron Bunnell, who wants to pursue a career as a pastor or a counselor, selected Justin Thacker, an educator that Aaron never had as a teacher. “I have entered his classroom countless times although never as his student,” said Aaron. “But after every ironic story, girlfriend story, or both, he left me challenged and unsatisified trailing the same bidding, “have a good one.’”
Thomas Davison wants to run a Fortune 500 company someday, but it was Eric Allan that he said “stands out from the crowd.” Thomas said, “This perspicacious gentleman has taught me to always act with class no matter the circumstances, pointing out that others will think higher of you if you act in such a fashion.”
Gwen Eberts, the lead actress in Crazy For You, selected music director Dale Davidson as her honored educator. “I have known Mr. Davidson since the beginning of marching band in the ninth grade. It did not take long to see that he had a huge heart, and took a genuine interest in helping each student become not only the best musician they could be, but the most well-rounded people as well.”
Keith Edmunds, a lacrosse player, honored Stan Darrah, an educator that challenged him. “Calculus isn’t your typical math class,” Keith said, adding that Darrah “ makes the class fun and easy to understand. He respects his students and motivated them tot he point of enjoying the subject. Mr. Darrah has inspired my interest in engineering.”
Page 2 of 4 - Jennifer Edwards is a volunteer at Akron Children’s Hospital. She selected her selected her sixth grade science teacher, Pam Anderson, as her honored educator. “From making polymer sundeas to learning about gravity, she always knew how to keep my attention. The reason I picked Mrs. Anderson is because of her true love of science. This same love of science has influenced me to pursue a career in nursing.”
Sarah Hartong has enjoyed orchestra and marching band and she selected her music teacher, Jason Neel, who taught her there is no substitute for practice. “Jason Neel provided me with words of encouragement and also with many opportunities that helped me to become the person and musician that I am today. He is one of the most passionate people that I know and his passion is contagious. I admire him for his ability to lead as well as his power to stimulate and inspire.”
Bridget Hoosic likes writing short stories. She honored a creative teacher, Elaine Miller. “Although we all joke that she has killed a rainforest with the amount of assignments she has given us, I really appreciate that she tries to make our work fun and interesting,” said Bridget. “She helps us explore the deeper meaning and ask insightful questions about the book we read and encourage discussion and listens to opinions.”
Nan Jones belongs to numerous clubs and musical outlets in Green High School. She honored Kim Matisak, a Spanish teacher. “Mrs. Matisak is so passionate for Spanish and for teaching that it rubbed off on me as a student in class each day,” said Nan. “What I like about her is that she has accepted her imperfections and is proud of who she is, which has served as a model for me to do and to be the same.”
Lauren Kent said softball is her passion. She honored her first “coach,” her father, Raymond G. Kent III. She said, My father’s continued support and discipline has allowed me to realize my potential at a very early age and helped me to strive toward success in every aspect of my life. When I was younger, I used to cringe every time someone pointed out that I was ‘just like my dad.’ However, I now humbly accept the compliment because I realize that I can only hope to achieve what he has achieved in his lifetime.”
Connor Krummel loves snowboarding, tennis and soccer. He selected John Andrew Fister, a German teacher, as his honored educator. “I chose Mr. Fister as my educator due to the positive impact that he has had during my four-year tenure here at GHS. I had him as a teacher throughout German 1-4. Not only has he given me a great understanding of the language, he has also supported me in my extra-curricular activities. Freshman through senior year he has been attending both my tennis and soccer matches and this shows me how he truly cares about his students both in and out of the classroom.”
Page 3 of 4 - Shawn Marks loved Spanish and he selected Angela Garritano, his Spanish teacher, to honor. “I realize I have truly been honored and privileged to have had such excellent teachers and for the past two years I have been fortunate enough to have had Senora Garritano as my Spanish teacher.” He said she opened his eyes to an entirely different culture. “She is a teacher that has a genuine interest in the well-being of her students and their personal successes in life.”
Breanna McCausland hopes to attend Ohio University and pursue a career in accounting or finance. She honored Valerie Kortze, a teacher who motivated Breanna. “During my last two years of grade school, I was blessed to have an educator who reached out to me in different ways,” she said. “In her class, I was challenged to be the best student that I could be, inspired to be successful, and motivated to set high goals for my future.”
Caitlin McCombs said a coach is someone who instructs players in the fundamentals of a competitive sport, but she said her soccer coach, Amanda Gamble, went above and beyond. “The compassion, dedication, and integrity that she exemplifies are inspiring, refreshing and have played a large role in helping me to become the person that I am today,” she said. “The advice she offers is not limited to the field but has extended into my everyday life.”
Nick Nussen honored his soccer coach, Frank DeVitis. Nick, who likes to write and serve as editor in chief of the newspaper, said DeVitis has been an inspiration, mentor, guide and preacher. “He has always strove to support me in every endeavor,” said Nick.
Jared Oing likes football and he likes hanging out with his dad, Randy. Jared selected an educator who is both coach and friend, Coach Elden McVicker. “You taught me more than any kid could learn in a classroom and what you have taught me I will carry with me the rest of my life,” said Jared.
Ryan Pinheiro was described as a hardworking student. But he recalled having an anxiety attack during a test given by Mike Owen. “He was always willing to help,” Ryan said. “When I was struggling in his class last year, he made time before and after school to work with me. He is, without a doubt, the definition of what an honored educator should be.”
Mitch Plum said Edward Bendekgey has had the greatest influence on him. “Throughout my years in high school, many teachers have taught me and prepared me for my life ahead, but none with such fiery passion and emotion as the man I honor tonight,” said Mitch, who hopes to become a sports writer. “He has started me on a path toward a fantastic future.”
Ben Pollock, an athlete who has given Green hoops memories, honored Eric Christopher, an educator who worked tirelessly to help him improve his computer program. As a coach, Christopher even loaned him a bike to train for cross country. “He has helped me to see that being a mature, responsible adult can be rewarding enough in itself,” he said. “If I can someday become even half as generous and kind as him, I will consider it a success.”
Page 4 of 4 - Leslie Schmidt said her honored educator, Mark Tomecko, is a die hard history fanatic. Leslie plans to attend OSU and would like to teach. Influenced by Tomecko, she said “It was this man who instilled my own passion for United States History and it is because of this man that I hope to display many of the same characteristics that he possess, in my own classroom one day.”
Sara Marie Schnabel will enter the Air Force Academy following graduation from Green High School. She honored a military man, CMSgt. William Karasko, who helped develop her leadership skills. She said, “As an educator, he strives to serve his students and takes each of their troubles to heart. Not one day goes by that he doesn’t go out of his way to lend a helping hand and better the chances of success of his students.”
Todd Starkey is a National Merit semifinalist. He selected Coach Shawn Thomas as his honored educator. “Coach Thomas told me, ‘Find your limits, then go beyond them,’” said Todd. “The self discipline and determination I learned from running and the great times I had with Coach and the team will never leave me. Coach led us from third in the league, to fourth in the state in my career here.”
David Susman is described as an ambitious young man who doesn’t settle for the ordinary. His honored educator is Vicky Dietrick whose enthusiasm makes her a great teacher. “All her funny expressions and jesters helped me understand problems and most importantly remember them. If I ever had a question, I could ask her before or after school and she would explain it to me till I understood.”
Lia Westhafer is an athlete who honored an educator who caused her delve into AP European history. Her educator is Erich Muzi who recognized her uncertainty and calmed her fears. “He taught me to have faith in my abilities and embrace the gifts that I have been given,” said Lia. “His understanding of my personality and interests inspired me to pursue a degree from a small, liberal arts college.”
The honors banquet was sponsored by Park Acura/Honda/Mazda.