Academic Honors Banquet, May 4, 2017
GHS Athletic Director emceed the 31st annual event, as the GCS community acknowledged the efforts of students in the classroom. There were 208 sophomores, juniors, and seniors who were honored for achieving and maintaining a G.P.A. of 3.7 or higher. Additionally, 31 seniors were designated in the program as Summa cum Laude, as they have maintained a G.P.A. of 4.0 or higher.
The students were also welcomed by Jo-Ann Brandt Interim VP for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean at Goshen College, which was a major sponsor for the banquet. She asked the students to think about the awards they would earn that night, and consider how they marked their academic achievement. She added that the “accomplishments ahead of you will be too many to measure…Hopefully these awards give you confidence and courage to continue to reach for excellence.”
Following a dinner catered by the Das Dutchmen Essenhaus, the students took their class pictures, and the senior Summa cum Laude students also had their portraits taken for the “Wall of Fame” at GHS.
Because of a power outage on Sunday, April 30, the GHS National Honor Society Induction Ceremony was cancelled. Instead, they were acknowledged and inducted at the Honors Banquet by NHS sponsors Lindsey Kroening and Theresa Collins.
Following the induction, senior Alexandria Mast provided a musical number, accompanied by Deanna Board.
Senior Charlie Collins then introduced GHS principal, Dr. Barry Younghans, who thanked the many sponsors for helping to fund the banquet, and thanked the students for their hard work and dedication to learning. He said he loves his job, and is “so pleased to be a part of this learning institution”.
Following Dr. Younghans’ remarks, there was another musical number by seniors Paul Drescher, Hugh Birky, Nathan Berkey, and Elizabeth Rieth.
There were a number of senior student-athletes who were also recognized by the Northern Lakes Conference as Academic NLC recipients.
Seniors recognized by Social Studies department chair, JD Russell included Jacob Biller, Salvador Garcia, and Carly Gingerich.
GCS Superintendent Dr. Diane Woodworth addressed the gathering, and stated that she and the assistant superintendents are “so proud of these kids”. She also acknowledged that it “truly does take a village, so kudos to the parents who provide support and help their students to get here”. “Continue to as work hard as you have been, and don’t opt out of the hard stuff”. She encouraged the students to persevere, as that perseverance will serve them well into the future.
Several students spoke about the staff person they had invited to attend the banquet with them, and shared what made that teacher/staff person special to them:
Sadie Coley invited Scott Garvin and said that Mr. Garvin had challenged her.
Ashton Ellis invited former GHS assistant principal Kelly Whittaker (who flew in from Kansas for the event!), and stated how much she admires Mrs. Whittaker and how she has appreciated her mentorship over the years.
Salvador Garcia invited Social Studies teacher Dana Mehl. He said that he has had Mrs. Mehl for SRT and Economics, and that she truly cares about her students, and that “she even gives us snacks if we are running too late to grab breakfast”.
Evan Krabill invited English teacher Sue Neeb. He said many kind things about Ms. Neeb, and then added that he hopes he gets to retire at age 35 like Ms. Neeb. This drew laughter from the crowd and a hug from Ms. Neeb.
Elizabeth Rieth invited her band director, Tom Cox. She said that Mr. Cox motivated her to “play better and be better”. She said that Mr. Cox keeps “pushing us so that we can reach our potential”. She added that one time he told her “You can’t just be a nice girl with glasses” which drew laughter from the crowd as well.
Sara Taft invited Carl Weaver and shared that “he is inspiring even if you can’t stand a topic”. She added, “He wants us to be good students, but he wants us to be good people too. He will be a great loss to GHS” Mr. Weaver is retiring this year, and when Sara finished her remarks, those in attendance gave him a standing ovation to show their appreciation for him.
At the end of the evening, Dr. Younghans asked all of the GHS retirees to come forward, and told the crowd that they represented “258 years of educational experience. They have been wonderful examples for many students, and they leave big shoes to fill”. At that, the seven GHS retirees (Sue Neeb, Char Cook, Nancy Shipley, Carl Weaver, Barb Reihl, Marcia Yost, and JD Russell) received an extended standing ovation which brought tears to the eyes of many.
It was an amazing evening in which the efforts of GCS students, teachers, and staff were not only recognized, but celebrated as the achievements that they are. Well done, GHS!