City Schools honors Swan Award recipients

By Mandy Mahan

The members of the Wabash City Schools board met on Monday, March 15. During this meeting the board presented the winners of the 2020 and 2021 Kathy Swan awards.

“At the high school, what we do, is I send out an email to all of the employees at the high school to figure out who are good nominees for this award,” Wabash High School principal Kyle Weiland said. “We received a lot of different names from each grade level, and once those are all submitted, I send out a poll to all of the teachers and they get to select who they think is the most deserving recipient each year. We have so many, but each one of them that will be recognized tonight is very deserving for their contributions to Wabash High School. One of the things I really encourage my teachers to think about is, you know, which are those students that make you excited to come to school each day, which ones are doing the right thing each and every day, which ones are treating each other, their peers, their teachers with respectful ways, and truly making this a great place to learn and teach and I’ve had positive experiences with each and every one of these students so I’m excited to recognize them.”

The 2020 winners were: Jorri Booth, Hunter Jones, Jaqobie Griffith, Maddie Helsel and Cody Ballschmidt.

“Jorri is a hardworking, diligent student who takes pride in her work,” said Booth’s industrial technology teacher, Shaun Eiler.

“She takes the time to do things right the first time, and strives to turn in the best projects in every single class. And more importantly, she is also willing to help out students she sees struggling without any prodding from the teacher.”

Math teacher Niko Macaluso said of Jones, “I appreciate that Hunter actively participates in class discussions and always has a positive attitude when it comes to class. He has a tremendous work ethic when it comes to his academics and even when things get tough, he just doesn’t quit.”

Weiland spoke of Griffith’s fundraising efforts.

“He wasn’t just bringing items from home. He was making this a priority,” the principal said. “He knew there were people in this community that needed things, basic needs and food to survive, and that was part of his mission. He went to local businesses to try to solicit more support. And while it always was a competition, I know that his success came because he has an incredible heart, which I believe is something all adults and students should admire. You are truly an outstanding representative of Wabash City Schools.”

Weiland also spoke highly of Helsel.

“She had this very calm and peaceful way about her and also outstanding leadership skills,” said Weiland. “A few years ago, when we started the media arts program down at the Honeywell Center, they invited all of the area principals down there to see the new facility and hear students present. It was almost like she was the second teacher, in some cases the primary teacher in that classroom because she truly was the go-to person and I don’t know that that program would have survived or been as successful as it had been if we didn’t have such an outstanding leader like Maddie, who was a part of that program from the very beginning.

Teacher Amy Oswalt said of Ballschmidt, “When I first met Cody, he was super quiet. He is an excellent student and just the growth over the years is just amazing. I am so impressed with that growth over the years and that’s why I nominated Cody for this award.”

The 2021 winners were: Kylie Berryman, Morgan Butcher, Gavin Nique and Wes Derry

“Kylie is a joy to have in class. She is always smiling,” said math teacher Kaleb Kelsheimer. “She does her best on everything she does, is kind to all the other students and participates. Every class is made better when she is in it.”

Choir teacher Mark Nevil said of Butcher, “Morgan is a positive go-getter. When we needed choreography, she has stepped up and created it all and taught it to the ladies without even being asked. I really appreciate her willingness to try new things, such as taking a solo to contest or auditioning for the all-county honor choir. She has been a kind and thoughtful lady at all times in and out of my classes. I truly appreciate her for what she has done and who she is.”

Owalt also spoke about Nique

“Another growth,” she said. “He is now pretty much leading some of the times at Unified Track, he’s getting a job now, he’s kicking butt on his grades, and he is helping other kids. He has just come so far, and I always look for the growth because I think that’s pretty cool.”

Adam Handley has coached Derry for three years in football.

“One of the first players in my last three years here that’s the first on the practice field,” the coach said. “He’s always the last one off the field as well, helping clean up. He’s done a tremendous job preparing his body the last three years in the off-season. Never complained when we had to do extra conditioning or anything of that nature, never complained when he had to change positions or asked to do something different. He’s always willing to do what’s asked of him.”

Also, during Mondays meeting, the board:

Approved the following building reconfigurations beginning the 2021-22 school year: L.H. Carpenter will have preschool and kindergarten; O.J. Neighbours will have grades one through four.

Approved the following changes to the Support Personnel Handbook for Custodians effective
March 29, 2021: Establish one Head Custodian for WMS/WHS; remove shift bonus and make it part of permanent pay.

Accepted grant from Project Lead The Way in the amount of $2,400.

Accepted resignation of Shelley Hipskind as bookkeeper at O.J. Neighbours effective March 12,

Approved recommendation to create a position for Special Education teacher for grades one through six RISE classroom at O.J. Neighbours beginning the 2020-21 school year.
Accepted resignation of Sharon Morgan as paraprofessional at O.J. Neighbours effective March 2, 2021.

Approved recommendation to transfer Brittany Fager from O.J. Neighbours Library paraprofessional to O.J. Neighbours bookkeeper until the end of the 2020-21 school year at the same pay and hours.

Approved recommendation to offer Drivers Education for the summer of 2021 at a cost of $375 for the classroom and driving portions or $40 for just the classroom portion.

Accepted resignation of Macaluso as math teacher and Department Chair at WHS effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year and approve 10 additional days at his current daily rate to help with the transition to the next dual credit math teacher.

Accepted resignation of Diana Working as a paraprofessional in the RISE classroom at Wabash High School effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Approved the following athletic coaches for 2020-2021:

Lance Grubbs, Olivia (Winget) Ashley, Jim Ballee as softball volunteers, and Abby Stanley as WMS golf coach.

Posted on 2021 Mar 23