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Many Recognized at March BOE Meeting

Photo of standing room only crowd at March 26, 2018, school board meeting The March meeting of the Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education was filled to capacity March 26 as the school board recognized the outstanding accomplishments of FSPS students and staff.

To kick off the recognition segment of the meeting, March’s Superintendent’s Star Award winners were announced.

Superintendent’s Star Award Winners

Superintendent’s Star Award Winners are selected by their principals as students who are exceptional citizens and who consistently make good choices. Each Star winner receives a medal, a yard sign and a certificate. Star students’ parents receive a letter and a copy of the nomination narrative.

The following students were named Superintendent’s Stars for March:

  • Emily Earls is a third-grader at Morrison Elementary.  She is the daughter of Shawna Parker and George Earls. Emily was nominated by Principal Britney Ballin because of the progress she has made as a student during this year. Emily is working hard towards her goals in reading and writing. Emily is also becoming a positive role model.  She helps students without being asked.  She has been spotted helping a classmate tie their shoelaces, returning papers to those who drop them and holding doors for teachers, parents and students alike.  
  • Raven Gaines is the daughter of Tiffany and Juan Gaines. She is a fifth-grader at Sutton Elementary. Principal Jennie Mathews says that Raven shines in everything she does. She is hardworking, helpful, talented and friendly. Raven shows her leadership in many ways. She is a shining example of what it's like to be a leader, to be positive and to be respectful and compassionate.  
  • Jeremiah Guardado is the son of Rene and Rosa Guardado. He is a fifth-grader at Carnall Elementary. Jeremiah was nominated by Principal Taneka Tate because he is ready to shine as soon as he gets to school every morning. He greets staff and students. He is always positive and smiling. In the classroom, he works hard and sets a great example for his peers. Dr. Tate says, “We can count on ‘J’ to do things the Carnall way!”
  • Solomon Henry is the son of Brett and Angela Henry. He is a kindergartner at Cook Elementary. Principal Courtney Morawski says Solomon truly places others’ feelings ahead of his own. He always acts with others’ feelings in mind and helps when someone is hurt or loses something or when they do not understand certain things. Solomon does not retaliate when others say hurtful words; he is loving and patient. He gently reminds us to treat each other with kindness and respect.
  • Winson Huang is the son of Qi Huang and Chao Yang. He is in the second grade at Woods Elementary. Principal Andrea Schwartz nominated Winson because he takes pride in doing his best work. He works diligently and persistently, and his positive attitude is very helpful in assisting students with any given task when requested. His classmates look up to him and respect him. We can always count on Winson to respond to questions and participate in class/group discussions. Because he is dependable, responsible and dedicated, he has also been a teacher assistant for the third quarter.
  • Ruby Perez is the daughter of Jose Perez and Mirna Gonzalez and a sixth-grader at Spradling Elementary.  According to Principal Robyn Dawson, Ruby is an excellent student. She strives to do her best work, asks questions when she doesn’t know the answer and enjoys sharing information about topics she understands. She is also a member of several clubs.  Ruby helps anyone who needs assistance and always has a smile in her face.
  • James Riché is the son of Andrew and Mary Riché and is a fifth-grader at Euper Lane Elementary. Principal Gina Mann says that James is a quiet and humble leader. He is the first to encourage students when they are doing the right thing, and he is the first one to stand up and gently correct his peers or encourage them to choose the correct path. James always takes time to listen to others.
  • Cordell Whitfield is the son of Carolyn Tucker. He is a fifth-grader at Trusty Elementary. Principal Dr. Shantelle Edwards says that Cordell is an impressive student. He is always respectful of students, staff and intentionally seeks out opportunities to be helpful and kind. Cordell is attentive in class and gives his best effort with all of his teachers. Cordell has been a true Trusty Tiger since kindergarten. Dr. Edwards says he is one of the top role models at Trusty.

Mastering the Arts

Recognitions continued with announcing the accomplishments of several students. Each month, we recognize and celebrate what students accomplish in academic, athletic and activity competitions. Practice and the competitions are often completed outside of school hours, and these students deserve special accolades for their hard work, dedication and success.

  • Advised by Amy Pumphrey, Southside Drama attended the 2018 Thespian Festival in Paragould, Arkansas in February. Several of these students earned accolades but four led the pack of competitors: Claire Birkhead earned “Best in Show” for Stage Management. Adelina Clamser received a superior ranking in Solo Musical. Florian Fleming earned first place in Props Shift. Mallory Koenigseder earned first place in the Props Shift Best and Best in Show in Lighting Design. She also was awarded the Educational Theater Association Theater College Scholarship.
  • Year after year, an incredible number of Northside and Southside student musicians who distinguish themselves in All State bands, choirs and orchestras. This year, as in years past, a few students performed at the top of the state qualifiers in their particular sections. Shianne Honeycutt earned First Chair in Soprano 1 in the All State Mixed Chorus.  Scott Nevenhoven earned First Chair Euphonium in the All State Wind Symphony, and Hunter Martin earned First Chair Jazz Trombone in the All State Jazz Band. These students are directed by Gordon Manley, Northside High School Band Director, Sean Carrier, Southside High School Band Director, Katy Featherston, Northside High School Choral Music Director, Gaye McClure, Southside High School Choral Music Director, Curtis Hansen, Northside High School Orchestra Director, and Steven Hughes, Southside High School Orchestra Director.
  • All State is not the only way that our musicians distinguish themselves. Southside Senior Andrew Swaim was one of the 100 nationally selected students to the John Philip Sousa National Honor Band. Andrew will meet the other students in Boston in June to participate in the program.
  • Tyler Sexton, Southside junior, was selected as a member of the Southwest ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) High School Honor Choir. He will rehearse and perform in the Honor Choir Concert during the Southwest Region of the American Choral Music Directors Association Conference in Oklahoma City.  Students are chosen for this choir through a recorded audition, which is then judged by a panel of choral directors.

More Outstanding Students

Fort Smith Public Schools will make its own unique contribution to the celebration of the Fort Smith Bicentennial with an Arts & Sounds of Fort Smith Public Schools performance at 7 p.m. May 10 at the ArcBest Performing Arts Center. Musical selections will feature some of these students as well as student dancers, student theatre and student artwork and photography. You will not want to miss this opportunity to see and hear students at their best.

In other recognitions:

  • The Chaffin Quiz Bowl Gold Team has done it again. This is the second consecutive year they won the Arkansas Quiz Bowl Championship trophy. This win, as with last year, qualifies the group to compete nationally. The team is sponsored by Amy Markham and volunteer Autumn Minnick. Logan Hoopes sponsors the eighth-grade team. Team members include: Leyton Elmore, Haris Rana, Jack Minnick, Anna Claire Tilley, Sam Hannson, Nabila Siddiqui, Alex Rahal, Tyler Lewis, Slate Stanton, Kenzie Crowson, and Jack Messenger. Eighth-grader Vivian Apple was named the MVP All Tournament and Jackson Wollscheid was the Top Scoring All Star in the Blue Division. Haris Rana won MVP All Tournament and Jack Minnick won Top Scoring All Star in the Red Division.
  • For the sixth consecutive year, Northside High School’s Grizzly Gear earned Gold Level Certification by DECA. Grizzly Gear is a school-based enterprise that is managed and operated by students. This year Emily Craig, Carissa Crawford and Sawyer Eddins distinguished themselves in a growing line of successful Grizzly Gear entrepreneurs. In order to apply for this certification, SBEs must submit extensive documentation that demonstrates their adherence to various marketing and retail standards. DECA is an international not-for-profit student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Their advisors are Melinda Briscoe, Jenny Craig and CeeCee Hollimon.
  • Thai Ta, a Southside Maverick senior, won the state high school wrestling tournament in the 106-pound weight. His coach is Shawn Hamilton.
  • The Southside High School Bowling team added another win for the Mavs with the 6A/7A state Bowling Championship. Team members are Hunter Humphries, Braeden Myers, Colby Harger, Hunter Salisbury, Nathan Barrie and Noah Taylor. Hunter Humphries was named as the Gold Medalist of the Tournament. Their coach is Tadd Stewart.
  • It was a big season for the Kimmons Junior High Boys Basketball team. The team won the 2018 7A West Regional Basketball Tournament. This is the highest honor a junior high sports team can win. Team members include: Derius Wise, Dreyden Norwood, Tyheen Prosise, Amare Harris, Tylek Jacobs, Keante Harris Rose, Denarion Whitmore, Jordan White, Va’Sean Bishop, Avonte Tucker, Jacob Joe, Zaqarre Releford and Sundquist Church. Managers are Jayden Dilworth, Mason Nichols, Davion Hinkle and Ryan Washburn. The team is coached by Matt Mondier and Donnie Eveld. Va’ Sean and Sundquist were named to the all-tournament team, and Avonte was named the MVP of the tournament.
  • Will Robinson and Wyatt Robinson won first place in the Statewide Public Service Announcement Video Contest sponsored by Arkansas Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Their video promoted career and technical education and the organization’s “Skills Matter” theme. ACTE will award Will and Wyatt with $500 for their first place entry. Additionally, Wyatt was selected as the 2018 ACTE Business Division scholarship winner and will receive a $500 scholarship. As their sponsor, Kelley Todd will receive a free teacher registration to the 2018 Arkansas ACTE Summer Conference.

Educators Setting the Bar

We also want to take a moment to recognize three school administrators who reached milestones in their respective educational careers. Courtney Morawski, Cook Elementary School principal, Taneka Tate, Carnall Elementary School principal, and Ed Hansen, assistant principal at Tilles Elementary School completed all necessary requirements toward their doctoral degrees in education.