POTTSBORO — For their hard work, the Denison Education Foundation honored 54 Denison High School seniors and the people, who — perhaps more than any others — contributed to their success, their teachers.
“You have touched lives that will forever remember your special characteristics that make you the best of the best,” Foundation President Rita Cole, said speaking to those teachers at the annual Scholars Among Us Banquet.
“To each of you students you have tried and excelled under the guidance of these educators.”
To be a honored at the banquet students must either be in the top 10 percent of their class or have completed eight pre-advanced placement or AP courses and maintained a grade point average of 3.5.
Thursday’s event was a chance for students to say thank you to these educators for their instruction, guidance and support.
“Thank you all for unselfishly investing your time and resources into our lives so that we may excel in the future,” Class of 2012 Valedictorian Mary Claire Carlson said.
In the program, as well as a video, each student said their thank you to an individual educator and were recognized for their activities and service outside the classroom.
Shelby Aragon selected John Terry as her most influential educator: “He has always had a steady faith in my classes for him. No matter how difficult the material was, Mr. Terry was always right there pushing me to succeed.” Shelby participated in track and football and plans to join the Marines a reservist to be an aircraft-airframe mechanic while attending Grayson College.
Stacey Bangerter selected Staci Schneider: “Ms. Schneider has taught me to love history and appreciate all cultures throughout the world. She has motivated me to work hard, and has given me great advice countless times.” Stacey has participated in a variety of service activities, tennis, National Honor Society and Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, club. She plans to attend Brigham Young University and major in industrial design.
Brooke Barron selected Christi Mitchell: “Mrs. Mitchell is always pushing me and encouraging me to be better than I am in every aspect of my life, not just dance. She believes in me when no one else does and she has taught me to believe in myself.” Brooke has participated in fundraising to benefit diabetes and cancer, drill team, theater and a number of other activities. She plans to attend Grayson College and then transfer to law school.
Taylor Bland selected Jennifer Dennard: “She has always been there for me with an open heart, a positive attitude and a willingness to help. Taylor has volunteered with Meals on Wheels and participated in student council, NHS and cheerleading. She plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in petroleum engineering.
Jessica Bolen selected Dena Massey: “Her inspiration of dance and spinning flags has been passed down to me and many others. I hope one day I can change lives just as she has changed mine.” Jessica has volunteered at Vacation Bible School at Parkside Baptist Church and participated in the church’s band, DHS color guard, and band. She plans to attend Southeastern Oklahoma State University and major in accounting.
Jamie Branscum selected Marijane Wilburn: “It’s been five years since I’ve been your student, but I’ll never forget your compassion and winks. Because of your faith and love, I recognize you as my most influential educator, an important person in my life.” Jamie volunteered in activities through NHS and Unity Missionary Baptist Church and participated in NHS, the school newspaper and Friends of Rachel. She plans to attend Dallas Baptist University and major in mathematics.
Victoria Brown selected Brian Eaves: “Mr. Eaves has not only been there as a teacher, but as a friend. Through any difficult time, he has been here to make it better. What he has taught me in my high school years will be a big part of how I live the rest of my life.” Victoria volunteered as a softball coach and for VBS and participated in softball, band, journalism and NHS.
Carson Bryan selected Janet Mobley: “Mrs. Mobley was the first teacher to make me think outside of the curriculum. She challenged me to extend my potential and she gave me the tools to achieve that potential.” Carson volunteered with Parkside Baptist Church and participated in football, Spanish Club and Student Council. He plans to attend Texas Tech University and major in accounting.
Luke Bucher selected Paul Onspaugh: “Mr. O has been a huge inspiration to me and has been very beneficial to my education. Not only is he a great band director, he’s also a friend that I can go to and get his honest opinion.” Luke has volunteered giving saxophone lessons at the middle school and participated in band and NHS. He plans to attend Grayson College then transfer to the University of North Texas to pursue a career in computer programming.
Mary Claire Carlson selected Jodi Lynch: “Mrs. Lynch immediately connects with her students and inspires them with high expectations. As my chemistry teacher and UIL coach, she always has confidence in my abilities even when I do not. She was, and will always be, someone willing to lend an ear and wipe away any stress with her encouraging words and wonderful assortment of candy.” Mary volunteered in a number of NHS activities and participated in NHS, tennis and Rachel’s Challenge.
James Rian Conrad selected Scotty Voight: “Coach Voight has made a positive impact in my life because his goal throughout the four years has not only been to teach us the game of soccer and make us good soccer players, but he has also taught me the importance of making the right choices, being respectful and being a good person.” James has volunteered in a mission trip to Philadelphia and number of other activities and participated in football, soccer and NHS. He plans to attend Dallas Baptist University and pursue a degree in biology and a minor in criminal justice.
Connor Counce selected Jeff Wigington: “I’ve spent the majority of high school spending countless hours with Coach Wig daily, from 6 a.m. film sessions to powerlifting and even JV baseball my freshman year. We’ve been through both the good and the bad together, but he always looked toward the positive and led us in the right direction.” Connor has volunteered in the Helping Hands food drive and as a youth baseball camp instructor and participated in football, baseball and NHS. He plans to attend Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College.
Ashley Craig selected Sarah Ewton: “Sarah Ewton is the teacher that has influenced my life the most. Mrs. Ewton is the reason I want to become an elementary teacher. While interning in her class, she has taught me valuable skills that I will carry with me throughout my life.” Ashley has volunteered in painting the park and Meals on Wheels and participated in Rachel’s Challenge programs, softball and Spanish Club. She plans to attend Lubbock Christian University to earn a teaching.
Glenn Creswell selected Paul Onspaugh: “Even though Mr. Onspaugh is a great teacher and a phenomenal musician, he is much more than that. He is the only teacher that has helped me not only in an academic aspect but helped me with life.” Glenn has volunteered at Texas Health Presbyterian - WNJ and participated in band. He plans to attend Texas A&M University and then physical therapy school.
Justin Delmont selected Scotty Voight: “I have played sports my whole life and I have never had a coach as great as Coach Voight. He has taught me much more than just the game of soccer, he has given me life lessons. Having him as a coach for four years, he has taught me about having pride, character, leadership and respect.” Justin has volunteered with the Salvation Army and participated in soccer and cross-country. He plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington and major in architecture.
Kaitlyn Dowling selected Kenna Brandt: “Mrs. Brandt has given me self confidence that I can achieve all my goals. She was more than just a teacher to me, she has been here for me through all my hard times in life.” Kaitlyn volunteered at church camp and the Boys & Girls Club and participated in cheerleading, NHS and SADD Club. She plans to attend Grayson College’s nursing program.
Icis Finley selected Pat Patterson. “Ms. Patterson challenges her students to perform at the best of their ability regardless of their circumstances or personal situation,” she said. “She challenged me to think ‘outside of my box’ and be the best that I can be at all times.” Icis volunteered with the Junior Lady Jacket basketball program and participated in basketball, track and volleyball. She plans to attend the University of Texas at Tyler and major in kinesiology.
Kailee Gaddis selected Robin Petty: “She taught me to always do my best no matter how hard it seems. Her famous cartwheel after a test will never be forgotten.” Kailee volunteered for a food drive and homeless shelter and participated in NHS, softball and student council. She plans to attend Grayson College and major in nursing.
Irving Gonzalez selected Linda Beckelman: “Mrs. Beckelman was the teacher that began my educational journey throughout my life. She was the gentle hand that was constantly motivating me to achieve my best. She is the reason why I love to read, but most of all, she is the reason why I love to learn. … It is because of you that I am here today.” Irving participated in tennis, football, and French and Spanish clubs. He plans to attend Texas Tech University and major in biology to prepare for medical school.
Lexie Halk selected Jennifer Brown. “She not only teaches, she helps no matter what the cost. She is the most patient and organized person I’ve met; Mrs. Brown has become my in school mom.” Lexie volunteered at the Crisis Center and on mission trips and participated in soccer, NHS and church activities. She plans to attend Grayson College and pursue a nursing degree.
Fahad Hamid selected Staci Schneider: “Mrs. Schneider opened my eyes and made me think about the world. She answered my question of how civilization started and why. Then it all made sense.” He participate in UIL math and plans to attend the University of North Texas and major in pre-med.
Samantha Hander selected Wayne Blount: “Mr. Blount has taught me real life lessons that cannot be taught in a simple classroom. He has taught me responsibility, honesty, leadership, self-confidence and much, much more.” She has volunteered at Waples United Methodist Church and participated in FFA. Samantha plans to attend Oklahoma State University and major in veterinary medicine.
Brieann Heaton selected Vicki Woody: “Vicki Woody has helped me grow as a person more than she probably knows. She was my next door neighbor as I was growing up, and has taught me many lessons in life that I will carry with me forever. She has always supported me with whatever I have wanted to do with my life, and has always been there to encourage me.” Brieann has volunteered at Parkside Baptist Church and Boys & Girls Club and participated in volleyball, journalism and SADD. She plans to attend Texas State University and major in communication design and minor in advertising.
Ethan Huff selected Susan Arthur: “Mrs. Arthur is a fine example of what educators should be. She gave me confidence to push my education further, towards a more challenging path. She makes sure that her students are prepared for years ahead and have the knowledge to succeed in more than just their next test.” Ethan volunteered at the Waterloo 5K run events and church activities and participated in tennis, choir and NHS. He plans to attend a community college for basics then transfer to pursue a degree in computer programming/graphic design.
J.Q. Ivers selected Christina Aleman: “She is always there to help us no matter what we need and lets us act stupid and crazy, making her AP English class one of my most treasured high school memories — constant laughter with my closest friends.” J.Q. volunteered on mission trips to Mexico and Louisiana and participated in theater, NHS and as a youth ambassador to Cognac, France, Denison’s sister city. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas and major in English, then attend law school.
Marissa Kerby selected David Bullard: “Moving to Denison my junior year was tough, trying to make new friends and getting to know new teachers. He has made me want to further my knowledge instead of just coasting along the last few months of my senior year. He makes class fun and I know I could go to him if I needed advice.” Marissa has volunteered at a daycare and participated in volleyball, student council and NHS. She plans to play volleyball in college.
Trace Langfels selected Laurie Alvarez: “Mrs. Alvarez always showed compassion and understanding for her students. It really impressed me because it was evident how much she truly cared about us. I don’t remember another teacher who consistently took the time to make each student feel special.” Trace volunteered at Houston Elementary and participated in band, debate and robotics club. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas and pursue a degree in architecture.
Payton Marshall selected Christi Mitchell: “She has taught me to always take risks and to do what I want to do. She has showed me that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you correct them. Most importantly, Mrs. Mitchell gave me the opportunity to be a leader among an amazing group of girls.” Payton volunteered at Grayson County Shelter and participated in drill team and FFA. She plans to attend McLennan Community College to become a veterinarian tech.
Jenna Martin selected Christi Mitchell: “She taught me that with enough effort you can accomplish anything. Her Christian beliefs and high morals are instilled in me.” Jenna volunteered with Helping Hand and Meals on Wheels and participated in drill team, track and student council. She plans to attend a community college then transfer to a university to pursue a pharmacy degree.
Christopher McClenny selected Lou Chandler: “Mr. Chandler broadened my knowledge of English and inspired me to pursue a career in English education.” Christopher volunteered as the Grayson County Shelter and participated in band, NHS and Science Club. He plans to attend the University of North Texas to pursue a major in secondary education.
Kristyne McKoy selected Carrie Boettger: “Mrs. Boettger has helped me through the hardest times throughout high school. She was able to put up with me when no one else would. Mrs. Boettger always knows what to say and she encourages me through every step of my life, and always makes time to offer comfort and a shoulder to lean on.” Kristyne volunteered on a church mission trip and at the Crisis Center. She participated in basketball, Rachel’s Challenge, NHS and journalism. She plans to attend Midwestern State University and study nutrition and wellness.
Garland Muller selected Derek Wheeler: “I chose Mr. Wheeler as my most influential teacher because of all that he has taught me about both band and life outside of school. The lessons that he has shared with me have helped me mature into both the horn player and person that I am today.” Garland volunteered through NHS and Boy Scouts programs and participated in band. He plans to attend Baylor University and major in music education.
Cheyenne Nichols selected Amy Jordan: “Ms. Jordan changed my life. There are skills and valuable life lessons I have learned from her that I never would have gotten anywhere else. She is my hero. I would not be the bright, problem solving, hard working young woman I am without her influence in my life.” Cheyenne volunteered at the Lakeway resale barn and NHS activities and participated in theater. She plans to become a neuropsychologist.
Heather O’Roark selected Amy Jordan: “Mrs. Jordan has been my role model for almost three years. She’s been my moral compass and my mentor and she has helped me become the strong, independent woman I am today.” Heather participated in theater, cheerleading and DenTeens. She plans to attend Baylor University and major government or pre-law.
Jaycee Parker selected Charlie Means: “Coach Means has become the biggest male influence in my life in three short years. He has gone above and beyond my expectations of a coach. I couldn’t have asked for a more willing, involved and supportive person to guide me through this amazing journey.” Jaycee volunteered at an assisted living facility and as a youth leader at summer youth program and participated in NHS, Rachel’s Challenge, volleyball and track. She plans to attend Columbia University and study psychology then pursue a career with the FBI.
Mary Parker selected Rhonda Copley: “She took the time to understand the way I thought and she made a point to help me when every other teacher would have given up on understanding me. She pushed me to never settle for anything less than what she knew I could do.” Mary volunteered at Helping Hand and VBS and participated in student council, softball and SADD. She plans to attend Texas Tech University and pursue a degree in medicine.
Irving Portillo selected Debra Harrison: “Mrs. Harrison is the sweetest lady ever. Every time we did something bad, she would kindly tell us to please be quiet or whatever it was we were doing wrong. I will never forget how she always treated us with respect, even though we were annoying kindergartners.” Irving volunteered at church and participated in soccer and cross-country. He plans to attend Grayson College and pursue a nursing degree and later attend medical school.
Robert Reaves selected Lou Chandler: “I really enjoyed Mr. Chandler’s AP English class. English isn’t my favorite subject, but what I learned in Mr. Chandler’s class will help me in my college English classes. After having Mr. Chandler, ALL other English classes should be a breeze!” Robert participated in band. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas and major in electrical engineering.
Taylor Reedy selected David Bullard: “Through my hardships he has been there to make sure that I succeed through it. Now through my final year he has encouraged me to push through and go for my dreams. With all the wisdom he has given me, I have been able to go beyond my dreams and pursue more than I ever could imagine.” Taylor volunteered as a band summer workout instructor and at the Texoma Children’s Museum and participated in UIL math, band and French Club. She plans to attend the University of Texas at Tyler and major in mathematics.
Kaylem Renfro selected Barbara Anderson: “She is a woman who not only taught me about school, but she helped mold me into who I am today. Mrs. Anderson taught me to be something more than ordinary but extraordinary. She pushed me to be more than what I settled for, and that is a characteristic I still carry with me today. I can always depend on Mrs. Anderson, and in the end, I will always leave with a smile.” Kaylem volunteered at the homeless shelter and Helping Hands and participated in student council, yearbook staff and softball. She plans to attend Texas State University and major in psychology.
Josi Ridenour selected Wayne Blount: “He has taught me many things about the animals I have been showing and raising for the past 10 years. He has also helped me develop my livestock judging skills, especially before heading to the National Judging competition earlier this year. He has known and seen me grow up right before his eyes and he has helped me to become the great leader and livestock exhibitor I am today.” Josi volunteered through 4-H and NHS activities and participated in participated in basketball, track and theater. She plans to attend Austin College and major in mathematics and science.
Brad Roberts selected Staci Schneider: “Ms. Schneider showed me a broader, more abstract way of thinking and she opened my eyes to different viewpoints. She showed me that just because it’s my view doesn’t mean it’s right and that has allowed me to be more objective as well as more accepting and understanding of others.” Brad volunteered for the DenTeens Neewollah fundraiser and fundraising for the Salvation Army and participated in choir and football. He plans to attend Berklee College in Boston and pursue a music performance and business degree.
Kaitlyn Siems selected Lou Chandler: “Mr. Chandler has played an important role in my life by always being a great teacher and a wonderful man that understands an individual’s troubles. I never had one moment that I thought wouldn’t be able to finish something in his class because he had the perseverance to make me a better student.” Kaitlyn volunteered through NHS activities and at the homeless shelter and participated in soccer and track. She plans to attend Grayson College and major in biology then transfer to Texas A&M University and later attend medical school.
Samuel Simmons selected Gloria Davidson: “She genuinely cares about her students and knows how to make learning about history fun, which really helped since history is definitely not my best subject. Plus, she makes the world’s best peanut butter fudge.” Samuel volunteered at Trinity Lighthouse Church and Texoma Medical Center and participated in Art Club, Spanish Club and Rachel’s Challenge. He plans to attend Grayson College and major in either engineering or programming, then transfer to Texas A&M University.
Tyler Stevens selected Sherry Rumsey: “Thank you Mrs. Rumsey for contributing so much to my school life and career. I feel like the experiences I had in your class help shape me into the student and young man I have come today.” Tyler volunteered at Mission Arlington and participated in church youth group activities and NHS. He plans to attend the Art Institute of Houston and major in game development and design.
Samantha Stubbs selected Janet Mobley: “Through all my education in Denison, I have had many teachers that have inspired me, challenged me, and motivated me, but none that stuck with me as much as Mrs. Mobley. In Aces, she not only taught us new and interesting subjects, but took a non-traditional approach in presenting the material.” Samantha volunteered at nursing homes, VBS and canned food drives and participated in student council, cheerleading and theater. She plans to attend the University of Arkansas and major in biomedical engineering, then later attend medical school and work for Doctors Without Borders.
Jayden Stumbaugh selected Jennifer Brown: “Mrs. Brown is the most intelligent person I feel that I have ever met. She is the most hopeful and influential teacher that I have ever had. She has taught me so much more than math and she is the best teacher that I have ever had.” Jayden volunteered at Mission Arlington and a Baptist Church in Canada and participated in football, powerlifting and theater. He plans to attend Austin College and pursue a master’s degree in education.
Melissa Talbott selected Carrie Boettger: “Mrs. Boettger has played an important role in my high school career. She has bent over backwards to help me with my challenges that, without her, I couldn’t face. Mrs. Boettger has been instrumental in my development of my character both as a student and a person.” Melissa volunteered at the Women’s Crisis Center and VBS and participated in theater and Spanish Club. She plans to attend Grayson College then transfer to a university to obtain a master’s in speech language pathology.
Dillan Todd selected John Terry: “Mr. Terry has always pushed me to do better in school. He always believed that I am such smarter than I show in class, and that I have the potential to do anything I set my mind to.” John volunteered at TMC and Kid’s Pantry and participated in football, NHS and student council. He plans to attend Texas Christian University, then apply to medical school to become an anesthesiologist.
Alex Tucker selected Paul Onspaugh: “Mr. O, you’ve been my head director for all of high school and each year you never ceased on challenging me to give even a little better than my best. You inspired me to believe in myself and I can achieve great things.” Alex volunteered as a trumpet teacher and Algebra tutor and participated in band and NHS. He plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington and major in mechanical engineering.
Paisley Watkins selected Glenda Watson: “She is the reason I am going to pursue a degree in elementary education. I hope to impact kids in the positive way she impacted my life with kindness and compassion.” Paisley volunteered on a number of mission trips and at the Crisis Center and participated in tennis, cheerleading, student council and NHS. She plans to attend a four-year university and major in elementary education with a minor in Spanish.
Tara Will selected Wayne Blount: “From the 6th grade Mr. Blount has been involved in my educational journey. He has not just been my Ag teacher, but a mentor as well. He has always been there for me in making sure that I get my act together and keep my grades up. … He has truly helped me learn life lessons and develop skills such as leadership and responsibility and I will always be grateful to him for that.” Tara volunteered for Relay For Life and Corpus Christi Days of Service and participated in FFA, volleyball and cheerleading. She plans to attend Collin County College then transfer to Texas A&M University pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.
Deanna Wood selected Beverly Hatfield: “I have been so blessed to have a woman of God, like Mrs. Hatfield, as my mentor. She has helped me develop leadership and communication skills that will go far beyond high school.” Deanna volunteered at VBS and Paint the Park and participated in cheerleading, tennis, student council and theater. She plans to attend Texas Christian University and major in psychology and minor in dance.
Jill Wylie selected Pat Patterson: Mrs. Patterson is and has been one of the best teachers I have ever been blessed to be a student of. I have had her for two years and she has always gone above and beyond to be there for me and help me in any way that she can.” Jill volunteered for a nativity and VBS and participated in FFA and NHS. She plans to attend Grayson College and pursue a nursing degree.
Corrected at 4:35 p.m. May 21, 2012: An earlier version of this article included information supplied to the Herald Democrat that was in error regarding Ashley Craig’s most influential educator. Ashley selected Sarah Ewton, saying, “Sarah Ewton is the teacher that has influenced my life the most. Mrs. Ewton is the reason I want to become an elementary teacher. While interning in her class, she has taught me valuable skills that I will carry with me throughout my life.”