GHS celebrates achievements of Class of 2020 during virtual honors night
In lieu of its usual live ceremony, school releases video on YouTube that announces scholastic awards, scholarships for this year’s senior class
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
With a Safer At Home executive order still in effect in Michigan due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grayling High School opted to put together a virtual Senior Honors Night instead of the usual live ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2020.
Grayling High School released the Senior Honors Night Class of 2020 video on YouTube on Wednesday, May 20.
“Our Grayling High School seniors have worked very hard over the last 13 years and tonight we celebrate their accomplishments,” said Sarah Allen, Grayling High School Principal, during the first part of the video.
Grayling High School teachers, through separate pieces of video, announced the individual department awards.
Loren Cobb presented the Math Department award to Madison Hehir. Cobb said the award goes to a math student with a GPA above 3.0 who “has excelled in their mathematics classes.” Cobb said Hehir was a leader, took several AP courses, and was a “pleasure to have in class.”
Jerremey Carr announced the recipient of the Science Department award.
“In selecting the winner of this award the Science Department looks for one student who has demonstrated her or his dedication to the sciences by participating in the most difficult of science courses, including AP and honors level course work,” Carr said.
Georgia Barber won the award.
“Her work as a science student has stood out among her peers, particularly her work in both AP Chemistry and AP Biology,” Carr said.
Matt Book said the Social Studies Department award goes to a student who had “a challenging course load, excelled academically, and positively contributed to the classroom environment.”
“This year’s winner was the top student in my AP U.S. History class both in terms of her grades but also in regard to productive classroom conversation and consistently excellent written work,” Book said.
Katherine Snider was the winner of the Social Studies Department award. Book said Snider was “a joy to have in class” and “her work is consistently, reliably excellent.”
“While I know there’s disappointment in these unusual circumstances surrounding this graduation season I want to encourage you to stay positive and to be grateful for what you’ve been given and proud of what you’ve accomplished rather than being discouraged by the circumstances,” Book said.
Chris Lackenbucher announced the Language Arts Department award.
“The recipient is a scholar who can appreciate the nuanced artistry of literature, demonstrate the ability to write analytically while recognizing the subtle and rich subtext that distinguish great poetry and prose as well as the capacity to engage profound and probing discourse on literary matters reflective of issues of philosophy, social context, and humanity,” Lackenbucher said.
Lackenbucher called the winner of the award, Madison Hehir, “a perceptive reader of literature and a skillful and intuitive writer.”
The World Language Department award, announced by Dan Latusek of the Spanish Department, went to Alainna Moffit.
“This award recognizes students who have demonstrated a high level of competency in the target language,” Latusek said.
Latusek said Moffit “succeeded in all levels of Spanish studies here at GHS” and showed “an understanding of hispanic culture and customs and an enthusiasm for practicing her skill.”
Ron Rakoczy announced two winners for the CAD (Drafting) Department award.
“The CAD award typically goes to a four-year drafting student who has had at least three years of CAD and is pursuing a career that is related to the field of computers, graphic arts, engineering, architecture, or drafting design,” Rakoczy said.
Rakoczy said both award winners – Madison Hehir and Desmond O’Reilly – are planning to attend Michigan Tech to study engineering.
Jason Schwartz said the award from the Construction Trades Department goes to a student who “demonstrated excellent character, maintained a 3.0 or better GPA, and meets some other benchmarks.”
“It has been a pleasure to have you in my class,” Schwartz said regarding Justin Jamison, winner of the Construction Trades Department award.
Next, Meredith Anderson announced that the Class of 2020 Student Senate award recipients were Alainna Moffit and Olivia Van De Ven.
Anderson said a “true leader” is “one who takes action and leads by example,” and that the “important tasks” for members of Student Senate are “encouraging student involvement, promoting a positive school environment, and helping the local community. Olivia and Allie have excelled at all of these.”
Anderson also recognized Jocelyn Brown, Lauren Helsel, and Olivia Van De Ven for their Student Senate service.
“These students have served on Student Senate all four years,” Anderson said.
Lynn Thompson, Grayling High School Guidance Counselor, said Nathan Rochette earned the Wexford Missaukee Career Technical Center award. Rochette is a student in metal fabrication, Thompson said.
Mark Binert-Armstrong announced three honorees for the Viking Arts Award: Alexandria Alma, Delaney Linderer, and Erik Rohde.
“The Viking Arts Award is given to the student or students who have proven to be dedicated and high achieving in the arts. They are role models and are representative of the arts programs, which includes visual arts, instrumental music, vocal music, and dramatic arts,” Binert-Armstrong said. “These incredible individuals have been involved in band, theatre productions, choir, and art. They have been a major part of GHS Players theatre programs as student directors, actors, and working back stage. They have been leaders in our instrumental music program, they have been members of the GHS choir, and taken courses in art.”
Grayling High School Athletic Director Nate Maury announced the two winners of the Scholar Athlete award (one male, one female): Eli Jackson and Isabel Duba.
“No matter what level of athletic achievement our athletes earn throughout their high school careers it is how they did academically that will best serve them,” Maury said.
Both students took multiple AP courses and earned academic all-state honors, Maury said.
Nicole Persing-Wethington, on behalf of the Crawford AuSable School District Board of Education, announced Community Service awards for 17 members of the Class of 2020.
“These students have gone above and beyond the 40 required hours to receive 100 or more community service hours,” Persing-Wethington said.
Those with more than 100 community service hours, according to the Senior Honors Night video, were: Alexandria Alma (263.5), Georgia Barber (100.5), Jocelyn Brown (259), Isabel Duba (148), Nick Green (107), Max Halstead (170), Haley Hayes (350), Madison Hehir (117), Lauren Helsel (159), Eli Jackson (145), Sarah Jones (139), Delaney Linderer (165.5), Emma Mertes (119), Alainna Moffit (100), Zack Osga (136), Sarah Rakoczy (162.5), and Katherine Snider (201).
Thompson announced Grayling High School’s 2020 valedictorian and salutatorian, Madison Hehir and Georgia Barber, respectively, and the rest of the school’s Lake Michigan Conference All Academic selections: Alexandria Alma, Kyah Birdsall, Isabel Duba, Christina Gilkerson, Eli Jackson, Alainna Moffit, Desmond O’Reilly, Sarah Rakoczy, Katherine Snyder, and Olivia Van De Ven.
Thompson also announced the various honor graduates for the Class of 2020.
There were 13 summa cum laude students (GPA of 3.9 or higher): Alexandria Alma, Georgia Barber, Kyah Birdsall, Jocelyn Brown, Isabel Duba, Christina Gilkerson, Madison Hehir, Eli Jackson, Alainna Moffit, Desmond O’Reilly, Sarah Rakoczy, Katherine Snyder, and Olivia Van De Ven.
Thompson said the class had five magna cum laude graduates (GPA of 3.7 to 3.899) – CeCe Cvitkovich, Connor Eames, Lauren Helsel, Delaney Linderer, and Emma Mertes – and five cum laude students (GPA of 3.5 to 3.699): Haley Hayes, Misty Hinds, Justin Jamison, Liberty Jones, and Garrett Reilly.
According to the video, the Class of 2020 also had 20 honor roll graduates (GPA of 3.0 to 3.499): Natalie Anderson, Nick Bluemlein, Samantha Bolick, Gage Davis, Parker Dole, Pali Feri, Troy Fyan, Nick Green, Lillian Hibbard, Colton Laskowski, Vanessa Nielson, Zack Osga, Stormy Rathbun, Erik Rohde, Jenna Schwartz, Jordyn Schwartz, Sterling Shazri, Ben Snyder, Brandy Tackett, and Logan Trumble.
Grayling High School Assistant Principal Levi Burkett announced 16 students who earned the President’s Award for Educational Excellence (GPA of 3.5 or higher and 85th percentile or above score on the ACT or SAT): Alexandria Alma, Georgia Barber, Kyah Birdsall, Jocelyn Brown, CeCe Cvitkovich, Isabel Duba, Madison Hehir, Eli Jackson, Liberty Jones, Delaney Linderer, Emma Mertes, Alainna Moffit, Desmond O’Reilly, Sarah Rakoczy, Katherine Snider, and Olivia Van De Ven.
Thompson said 36 members of the Class of 2020 completed at least one AP (Advanced Placement) course at Grayling High School: Alexandria Alma, Natalie Anderson, Caden Arredondo, Georgia Barber, Kyah Birdsall, Samantha Bolick, Jocelyn Brown, CeCe Cvitkovich, Gage Davis, Parker Dole, Isabel Duba, Connor Eames, Pali Feri, Christina Gilkerson, Nick Green, Haley Hayes, Madison Hehir, Lauren Helsel, Lillian Hibbard, Eli Jackson, Liberty Jones, Delaney Linderer, Emma Mertes, Alainna Moffit, Alaina Neal, Vanessa Nielson, Desmond O’Reilly, Sarah Rakoczy, Stormy Rathbun, Katherine Snider, Ben Snyder, Breanda Sproule, Brandy Tackett, Alyssa Thornton, Logan Trumble, and Olivia Van De Ven.
“These courses offer students the opportunity to do challenging college level work while still in high school and to receive college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the end-of-course AP exams,” Thompson said.
According to Thompson, Grayling High School currently offers AP courses for English, Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Science, European History, U.S. History, Spanish, Psychology, and Statistics.
Eleven students earned “virtuoso” status by completing five or more AP classes, Thompson said: Georgia Barber, Kyah Birdsall, CeCe Cvitkovich, Isabel Duba, Christina Gilkerson, Madison Hehir, Lauren Helsel, Eli Jackson, Liberty Jones, Sarah Rakoczy, and Katherine Snider.
Thompson said the Class of 2020 earned more than $583,000 in scholarships from colleges and more than $47,000 more in local scholarships, finishing their high school years with more than 6,000 community service hours.
“Senior Honors Night is one of our favorite events of the school year,” Thompson said. “It is our opportunity to honor the achievements of some truly wonderful young people. Even though we can not all be here together this year, we celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020.”
Eighteen Class of 2020 students, according to the video, were Michigan Competitive Scholarship qualifiers, scoring a 1200 or above on the SAT: Alexandria Alma, Georgia Barber, Kyah Birdsall, CeCe Cvitkovich, Isabel Duba, Christina Gilkerson, Nick Green, Madison Hehir, Lillian Hibbard, Eli Jackson, Liberty Jones, Delaney Linderer, Alainna Moffit, Desmond O’Reilly, Sarah Rakoczy, Katherine Snider, Ben Snyder, and Olivia Van De Ven.
Next on the video? Announcement of college scholarships.
Alma College – Eli Jackson; Central Michigan University – Jocelyn Brown, Nick Green, Alexandria Alma; Cornerstone University – Delaney Linderer; Ferris State University – Kyah Birdsall, Gage Davis; Grand Valley State University – Georgia Barber; Kirtland Community College – Garrett Reilly; Michigan Technological University – Madison Hehir, Alainna Moffit, Desmond O’Reilly; Northern Michigan University – Katherine Snider, Zack Osga; Oakland University – Sterling Shazri; Saginaw Valley State University – Sarah Rakoczy, Jordyn Schwartz, Natalie Anderson.
Roger Kesseler, a graduate of Grayling High School and Central Michigan University, announced Isabel Duba as the winner of the R.L. Kesseler Family Centralis Scholarship, a four-year “full ride” at CMU.
The video then featured announcements of a variety of local scholarships, some done by Thompson and some through video of representatives of the businesses or organizations providing them. Thompson said “most” of these scholarship recipients had not yet been notified of their awards.
Local scholarship winners included: Springs Window Fashion Scholarship – Alexandria Alma; Jason Potter Memorial Scholarship – Gage Davis; Myrtle Wright Miller Nursing Scholarship from the medical staff at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital – Emma Mertes; Irving McIsaac Grayling Country Club Scholarship – Gage Davis, Connor Eames; Local Chapter of the Wild Turkey Federation – Isabel Duba; Grayling Kiwanis Club General Fund Scholarship – Madison Hehir; Crawford County United Way Live United Community Service Award – Alexandria Alma; American Legion Post 106 – Gage Davis, Nick Frederick, Emma Mertes; The Order of the Eastern Star Scholarship – Natalie Anderson; Rotary Club – Alexandria Alma, Georgia Barber, Madison Hehir, Katherine Snider, Gage Davis, Erik Rohde; Crawford County Sheriff Deputy Association – Vanessa Nielson; Sheriff Kirk Alan Wakefield Memorial Scholarship – Vanessa Nielson; Grayling Hospital Medical Staff Healthcare Scholarship – Emma Mertes, Katherine Snider; AuSable River Canoe Marathon Committee Scholarship – Gage Davis; Lions Club of Grayling – Lauren Helsel, Nicholas Frederick, Gage Davis; Northland Area Federal Credit Union Jerry Erickson Memorial Scholarship – Sarah Rakoczy; Jane Osga Memorial Scholarship – Gage Davis; Hans E. and Dora J. Lantzch Scholarship – Madison Hehir; Cheney Family Scholarship – Gage Davis; Kodiak Group – Gage Davis; Grayling Generating Station – Sarah Rakoczy.
The Crawford AuSable Excellence in Education Foundation (CAEEF) awarded several scholarships. The CAEEF announced six scholarship winners – Katherine Snider, Lauren Helsel, Nick Green, Sterling Shazri, Erik Rohde, and Nick Bluemlein – in addition to scholarships for skilled trades/vocational study for Gage Davis, Nicholas Frederick, and Garrett Reilly. Roger Kesseler announced CAEEF endowed scholarships for Madison Hehir and Georgia Barber, and the CAEEF also announced several named scholarships: Art Clough Scholarship – Eli Jackson; Dr. Benjamin Henig Scholarship – Emma Mertes; Clara Sorenson Scholarship – Alexandria Alma; Joseph and Faith Stripe Scholarship – Sarah Rakoczy.
Principal Allen ended the Senior Honors Night presentation with the announcement of the Roy O. Milnes Award.
“The Roy O. Milnes Award is presented annually to the senior selected by the staff as being the best all around citizen of the class. This is the student who during his four years at Grayling High School has been kind, helpful, humorous, empathetic, caring, and just plain wonderful to be around,” Allen said. “I am very pleased to announce that this year’s Roy O. Milnes Award goes to Eli Jackson.”
The link to the Senior Honors Night Class of 2020 video is available on Grayling High School’s Facebook page.
“Congratulations Class of 2020 on your accomplishments. You have worked very hard and I am extremely proud of you,” Allen said.
The direct link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSDyfy42pNY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR...