Farmington HillsMay 29, 2012
Awards honor students and favorite teachers
By David Wallace
C & G Staff Writer
FARMINGTON HILLS — Farmington Public Schools shone a light on 21 young people in grades eight-12 who have long lists of impressive academics, activities and volunteerism, earning a place at the Superintendent’s Awards of Excellence breakfast May 22 at the Glen Oaks Golf Course.
The Superintendent’s Awards of Excellence began about 20 years ago under former Superintendent Mike Flanagan.
“And it’s continued all these years and has become, I think, without a doubt, one of the most special recognition programs that take place annually in our district,” Superintendent Sue Zurvalec said.
Perhaps what makes the awards so special is that they honor the whole student-parent-teacher continuum that leads to success.
“The students we recognize were selected by building committees of staff members for their accomplishments in academics, citizenship, community service and a wide range of school activities. The students in turn were asked to identify a teacher who has made an important difference in their lives,” Zurvalec said.
At the breakfast, those students sat with their teachers and parents as Zurvalec listed their accomplishments and presented them with their awards. The students were active in band, National Honor Society, DECA, places of worship, camp counseling, tutoring, sports, student council and much more. Those who mentioned their grades often had an A average or close to it.
“These are students who realize that giving back is integral to a successful and meaningful life,” Zurvalec said.
The students did not necessarily choose their current teachers. Madeline Trevisan, an eighth-grader at East Middle School, chose her fourth-grade teacher, Christine Wilson.
“She is someone who really inspired me at an early age, and she made coming to school really fun, and I really think that her making school exciting and bringing learning to life … it helped me to be able to really enjoy learning and kind of put me on a path to go to success,” said Trevisan.
“I really liked her teaching English and writing. She even helped me to do this writing project — I had a vacation journal that I wrote in, and she helped me to make a video diary about that using this (computer) program,” said Trevisan.
She said that special attention mattered.
“I think it laid the foundation for her really loving school, having a great teacher at a young age,” dad Roger Trevisan said.
Some of Madeline Trevisan’s accomplishments include running track and cross country, and membership in National Junior Honor Society and student council.
“She’s a really hard worker, and she’s really made it easy on her mom and I with her dedication and focus on all of her activities and her schoolwork, so we’re really proud,” said Roger Trevisan.
Wilson taught Trevisan at Longacre Elementary School.
“Well, I know the teachers that have been her teachers, so when she honored me, I was amazed and impressed and touched. She’s an amazing person. She’s a true leader, always has been, and will continue to be. We will see her again, her name again, I know,” said Wilson.
Being chosen as an influential teacher meant a lot to Wilson.
“You just don’t know what the children leave with. You hope they leave with everything you tried to give them, but you don’t know, really, until they come back and honor you,” she said.
Peter Romero, a junior at Harrison High School, will be field commander of the marching band next year in addition to captaining next year’s swim team. He also tutors, has a straight-A average and is an Eagle Scout. He doesn’t know where he gets the time to accomplish everything.
“Honestly, I don’t know. During the winter, it gets really hard. I have swimming, which takes up a lot of time — swim in the morning, swim in the afternoon, go home and eat for a while,” he said, laughing.
“He just seems to thrive when he’s busy and has a lot to do,” said mom Suzanne Romero.
Peter Romero chose to honor music teacher Tom Schroeder.
“He’s just really excited all the time. He inspires you to keep working hard and keeps you interested and reaching for new heights,” said Romero.
“It’s a moving experience, because we see the kids — we see them day-to-day — and we see their accomplishments and we’re happy for them, and as teachers, we’re inspired to keep going, but when it comes to a special event like this, and when we truly see what these kids are all about and what they share with us, it’s quite a moving thing,” said Schroeder.
“It’s above and beyond what we normally experience each day in the classroom,” said Schroeder.
The other students honored were Charlotte Bednarski, Jacob Bur, Alyssa Dsouza, Rashmika Goswami, Benjamin Jozwiak, Yeabsera Kebede, Noah Krasman, Taylor Lombard, Mollie McCarthy, Camelia Metwally, Chelsey Schade, Madison Selinsky, Elizabeth Shrosbree, Evan Smith, Amber Stephens, Eloise Taha, Robert VanAartsen, Ashirvad Varma and Jane Xiao.
The other honored teachers were Mark Azeez, Kelly Boyd, Julie Burton, James Common, Steve Dail, Mike Ehinger, Terri Haas, Vadia Hermiz, Mike Lantzy, Ryan Potter, Allyson Robinson, Erika Rust, Carol Sethi, Mary Sheltrown, Jeff Simpson, Theresa Walsh, Ninoska Wiltse and Michael Yoskovich.
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