TAWAS CITY – Tawas Area High School (TAHS) Principal John Klinger presented the top scholars of the Class of 2019 to the Tawas Area Schools Board of at its regular meeting on May 13. 

Klinger said that the top 10students all had Grade Point Averages (GPAs) of 3.8 or higher, and that the four valedictorians all had 4.0 GPAs. He added that these students all embodied “the three pillars that represent Tawas – academics, athletics and fine arts.”

Each student took the opportunity to share their favorite memories of their time at TAHS, as well as their favorite classes, and their plans for the future, including the next step in their academic pursuits. Parents and family members in attendance filled the meeting room to capacity, as the students took center stage in the positive highlights segment of the session.

Josh Maynard was first to address the board. He reflected on his athletic career at TAHS, as well as his experience in theater, which exposed him to a different group of people. He added that his favorite class, photography, led him to pursue a degree in photojournalism at Grand Valley State University.

Jade Richardson, who achieved a 3.88 GPA, said her favorite memory was more recent, as she ran in a track meet at Ogemaw Heights High School one week earlier. She ran a personal best in her event, the two-mile run. She plans to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and will participate in the Air Force ROTC program there.

Stuart Warner reflected on the school’s success at the State Band Festival. Warner, a 3.907 GPA student, said his favorite class was calculus, and plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech.

Sam Bacarella, who earned a 3.942 GPA, said the acceptance of his diverse background by his classmates was his favorite memory. Bacarella said that a biology class “really sparked my interest in what I want to do with my life,” and will attend Michigan State University to major in neuroscience.

Salutatorian Dillon Mochty (3.955 GPA) expects that “hugging my mom (TAHS Assistant Principal Stacey Mochty) after receiving my diploma, will be the best memory I have of Tawas.” Mochty said he will be attending the United States Air Force Academy Prep School in Colorado Springs starting July 17.

Co-Valedictorian Reeve Thayer cited his football experience as his favorite memory. Thayer said that drafting and ceramics were his two favorite classes, and added that he will major in aeronautical engineering at Michigan Technological University in the fall.

Co-Valedictorian Bryce Moon said his best memory was the Fine Arts trip to Washington, D.C. in 2018. “Calculus was cool,” he said, “but I think my favorite class was English. The books I read have really broadened my horizons.” Moon will attend the University of Michigan and major in engineering.

Another co-Valedictorian, Chelewynne Shuart, recalled her favorite memory as last year’s prom, and the fact that obstacles were overcome to have success in organizing the event. Her favorite class was music theory, which was relevant to her as she has been composing her own music. Northwestern University is in her future, where she will minor in commercial music and major in electrical engineering.

Lillian Bradley, the fourth co-Valedictorian at TAHS, said freshman volleyball was her favorite memory, as her participation allowed her to meet new people in her new environment, including some of her closest friends. Last year’s biology class, including labs and experiments, brought on an interest in science. Bradley said she will attend Michigan Tech and major in biomedical engineering.

Another top 10 student, Victoria McEwan, could not attend the meeting, as she was playing soccer for TAHS at the time.

Another positive highlight shared at this meeting touched on the grant that was earned to take 40 students to the Fisher Theater in Detroit to see the Broadway play “Hamilton” on April 18. 

A PowerPoint presentation which outlined the steps taken to earn the award, was given to the board. A three to five day curriculum was implemented focused on the Founding Era, which required each student to research historical background. As a reward for their hard work, TAHS students saw the play, and also experienced other schools participation in the program. TAHS students Rachel Webster and Chelewynne Shuart performed an original song live onstage at the Fisher Theater, which was recorded and played back for the board.

In other matters before the board:

• Five letters of resignation were received from school employees, including four from people indicating their retirement. Middle school educational assistant Ann Woelke is retiring after 21 years of service, Clara Bolen educational assistant Kimberly Meyer is resigning after her first school year with the district due to unforeseen family issues, TAHS special education teacher Katharine Hinman is retiring after 11 years, third grade teacher Julie Samuels announced her retirement after 24 years with the district and physical education teacher Drew Decker will retire after 34 years. All stated that they would stay on until the final day of the current school year.

• Uunanimously approved two resolutions opting into Section 105 Schools of Choice, one within ISD boundaries, and one across ISD boundaries.

• Three of the four vacant teaching positions in the district were filled, as the board approved without dissent the hiring of Brittney Davidson to teach first grade. Anneke Hoogenstryd and Shannon Livingston were each hired to teach third graders.

• A second reading of new/revised board policies presented by the policy committee was completed, and the changes were adopted by a unanimous vote.

• Superintendent Jeff Hutchison notified the board that the Michigan legislature passed a bill to offer more snow day forgiveness to schools. He said if they receive the waiver, the final day of school will be June 14.

• A vote of 6-0 approved a resolution in support of the Budget for IRESA.

• Selected the district’s election representative and alternate for IRESA’s biennial election.

• Listened to the first reading of the 2019-20 student handbooks, including the inclusion of the district mission statement into handbooks for the high school, middle school and Clara Bolen Elementary School.

• A total of 212 new Lenovo 100E Chromebooks were approved for purchase at a total cost of $55,168.