Meeker High School awards students at 2018 assembly

Sierra Williams Cleans Up at MHS Awards Assembly; Sets New School Mark

Sierra Williams

Trapper Merrifield

By reed kelley
reed@theheraldtimes.com

MEEKER I Attending last week’s Meeker High School awards assembly was most rewarding, and even entertaining at times. For example, at the point where Principal Amy Chinn was describing the criteria for the faculty-selected dependability award, she explained that it goes to a senior based on good attendance, punctuality, honesty, dependability, cooperation and sincerity, responsibility, willingness and initiative. Chinn announced the winner this year was Lauren Urista, but guess what? Lauren was absent, reportedly off helping her dad drive the Sombrero horses in preparation for making it through Maybell on the weekend. Certainly her father would attest to her dependability.
Senior Sierra Williams certainly seemed like the most awarded senior ever. First off, she was awarded the Steve Westhoff $1,000 scholarship from Schmueser Gordon Meyer engineers. She is one of five among 19 applicants across Western Colorado to win the Westhoff award.
Westhoff was a beloved and inspirational SGM employee who demonstrated a passion and enthusiasm for engineering, creativity and a commitment to service, characteristics SGM found in Williams and her four fellow winners. SGM particularly noted her strong leadership abilities and demonstrated maturity and genuine desire to give back to her community. She plans to study mechanical and electrical engineering at Brigham Young University next fall.
Williams also received recognition as a student of National Merit. The National Merit commendation goes to approximately 34,000 students nationwide who are among the top scorers of more than 1.6 million students taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test in 2016.
In addition, Williams received an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar with Distinction award from the College Board for scoring a 3.5 or better on all AP exams, and 3 or higher on at least five exams. According to MHS principal Amy Chinn, “Williams will have taken more than 11 AP exams, far more than any other MHS student has ever taken and passed.”
Williams and fellow senior Tannen Kennedy were also recognized as U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished Athletes, selected by faculty and staff. These awards go to a boy and girl in any class  who display courage, poise, self-confidence, and leadership as high school athletes.  
Trapper Merrifield and Sierra Williams won the prestigious Quigg Newton Awards. These awards have been given to one senior boy and one senior girl since 1960. The awardees are selected by the high school staff based on honesty, respect for others, cooperation with fellow students and adults, good attitude toward work and activity assignments, willingness to accept and carry out responsibilities, and efforts to improve themselves and their school.
Newton was a graduate of the Yale Law School. In 1947, Newton became the first native of Denver to become its mayor. He retired as the president of the University of Colorado system in 1962. Previous winners still providing support and leadership in the community include Meeker Board of Education members Laurie Whiteman (Simonsen) and Davey Smith, Principal Amy Joy (Chinn), language arts teacher Kathleen Sullivan (Kelley),district wildlife manager Bailey Franklin, concrete supplier owner/operator and fresh flowers entrepreneur Katie Conrado, CNCC administrator Kelly Moyer (Scott), next week’s Honor Society Induction speaker and former elementary school librarian Kay Barney (Bivens), retired lawyer and past president of the RBC historical society Jim Brown, BLM realty specialist Stacey Whitaker (Burke), and those first recipients in 1960, Diane Franklin (Dunham) and Forrest Nelson.”
Briana Williams, music instructor, presented Macy Collins with the Meeker Cowboy Musician of the Year award which goes to an upper-class student who is a leader in music and participates in both band and choir. She awarded Shelby Steele the band parents’ scholarship for $500, raised by the parents, which goes to a senior who has been in the band for four years, has a minimum grade point average of 3.0, and is in the top 25 percent of their class.
For the 11th year, Margie Joy, Pioneers Medical Center (PMC) and the Pioneers Healthcare Foundation (PHF), thanked the assembly for including PMC stating that this was absolutely the best part of her job. She announced Natalie Simonsen and Sember Leatham were the winners of $500 each, for nursing at the University of Wyoming and pursuit of an MD via Brigham Young University, respectively. Trapper Merrifield received the $1,500 scholarship for athletic training and physical therapy—having participated in a PT internship at PMC.
White River Rural Electric Association board president Bill Jordan and public affairs coordinator Trina Zagar-Brown presented the rural electric awards. Winners of WREA $500 one-time awards went to Cooper Meszaros, Elissa Quinteros, Madison Kummer, Jacob Pelloni, Christopher Strate, Taylor Dodds, and Abbey Morgan. Dayton Wiley won the one-time $1,000 WREA scholarship.
Zach Dinwiddie, Natalie Simonsen, Logan Hughes and Trapper Merrifield were winners of the $500 renewable WREA awards. Sierra Williams, Elijah Newman, and Mariela Rosas were winners of the $1,000 renewable WREA awards.
Alicia Mobley and Macy Collins won $500 one-time WREA and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association awards. Sember Leatham won the $1,000 one-time WREA and Basin Electric Power Cooperative award.
John Scott spoke for the Rio Blanco Masonic Lodge No. 80, identifying Gracie Bradfield for the Masonic arts and sciences “outstanding junior” award. The winner is selected by the high school faculty based on service, citizenship, and leadership in school and community, good scholastic standing, and active participation in school and community extracurricular activities.
Cassie McGuire presented the Meeker Sportsmen’s Club scholarship award of $800 to Trapper Merrifield. McGuire explained that applicants are asked to write an essay on the importance of the Second Amendment which takes some courage in the current political environment.
Art instructor Ben Quinn announced the Scholastic Art Awards. Those who were chosen to make the very restricted submissions to the Denver Show were Kiyoko Thelen, Mikayla Cardile, and Krissie Luce. Recipient of the fourth Gold Key Award to Meeker was Jeniffer Backes-Kincher and her work went on to New York City to be juried. There were over 7000 submissions to the state Scholastic Art show, only about 500 pieces get in and only 120 get Gold Key recognition. Corey Rowles was selected by Adams State University in Alamosa for a Scholastic Art Scholarship. Valentin Rosas was recognized and Riley Pertile noted for her scholarship award by Adams State.
Also receiving special art recognition for the MHS Spring Art Show were freshman Cori Mohr for her block print, sophomore Laura Gomez for her ceramics, Krissie Luce as the junior class standout and Kiyoko Thelen as the senior standout. Overall Grand Champion named was Christopher Strate.Also receiving special art recognition were Cori Mohr for her block print, Laura Gomez for her ceramics, Krissie Luce as the junior class standout and Kiyoko Thelen as the senior standout. Overall Grand Champion named was Christopher Strate.
Principal Chinn spoke for language arts instructor Cheri Robinson in announcing the creative writing awards. Robinson waxes eloquently that, “words can paint joy and passion on paper.” Winners of her superior skill in complicated storylines were Lorena Martinez; story images, Kirsten Brown; novel writing, Charles Curry; outdoor life stories, Codee Woodward; story illustrations, Laura Lema Gomez, science fiction stories, Macy Collins; and verbal stories, Reese Harvey.
MHS vocational agriculture instructor Denee Chintala presented the FFA awards. She described FFA as a co-curricular activity in partnership with a national organization that promotes premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. Not only does it focus on the future farmers and ranchers of America, but it promotes the modern agriculturalists who work with beakers, are speakers, and are future job seekers. Strong traditions held for nearly 90 years, all the way from the well-known corduroy blue jackets to the infamous FFA Creed written by E.M. Tiffany, hold sway over many competitive events that provide FFA members with opportunities to expand their knowledge and skill for agriculture and other future careers. The following students, with their awards and specific event, put forth the time and effort to go for gold at State Career Development Events, held April 29-May 1 at the Fort Collins CSU Campus: the Bronze Team in Farm Business Management —Kiersten Dent, Brandon Lozano, Dayton Willey and Codee Woodward; Mary Baylie-Silver-Floriculture; the Silver Team in Milk Spitting—Kenzie Turner-Silver, Kale Burke —Silver, Pake Burke-Bronze; Silver Team in Vet Science—Jeni Kincher-Gold, Emily Beene-Silver, Madison Kindler-Bronze, and Kylee Bradford; Madelyn Medlin-Bronze-Horse Judging; Silver Team in Ag Mechanics—Tevin Pelloni-Gold, Charlie Day-Silver, Jake Shelton, and Colby Shelton; and the Silver Team in Livestock Evaluation—Macy Collins, who will be receiving a scholarship from the Animal Science Department at CSU and was second highest overall in livestock evaluation out of 179 competitors, and Jilly Bumguardner-Silver.
“I believe in the future of agriculture…” These are the words that begin the six sentence creed which every Introduction to Agriculture FFA student must memorize, recite, and fully understand. This daunting task is the first step in becoming a true FFA member. This year, the top 10 Meeker students advanced to the local Creed Contest. From there, the top two winners advanced to the district Creed Speaking event in DeBeque in November. Our winners did well: Kirsten Brown-Gold and Marryn Shults-Silver.
Chintala re-emphasized that FFA is not only about cows, plows, and sows, but also about future leaders and developing qualities of guidance. In March, the Meeker FFA Chapter hosted Leadership Development Events for our district and a few of our students competed in events to work on their skills as future networkers in the job field, most especially, Jazzmyn Wakefield-High Individual in Employment Skills and Nick Massey-High Individual in Extemporaneous Speaking.
Students who have gone above and beyond within their supervised agricultural experience (SAE)  programs also have the ability to apply for an award area called Proficiencies. Jazzy Wakefield competed against other top students in the field of Beef Production across the state. Out of the hundreds of Cattle SAEs, Jazzy was within the top 20 in the state and will receive a Bronze medal for her proficiency this June in Pueblo.
Announced by counselor Kennedy, Kenzie Turner was awarded a Medal of Outstanding Achievement in Math and Science by the Colorado School of Mines. The award goes to a member of the junior class with the highest overall achievement in the areas of math and science throughout their high school career.  The award includes a one-time $1000 scholarship to the Colorado Sch,ool of Mines should the recipient choose to attend Mines after graduation.
CNCC Meeker coordinator, Iris Franklin, was unable to be at this year’s assembly. Counselor Kennedy spoke for her, mentioning that MHS has enjoyed a successful partnership with CNCC for more than 25 years, allowing hundreds of Meeker students to earn college credits at no additional cost while attending high school. This arrangement has saved Meeker students many thousands of dollars in higher education costs. Kennedy presented the CNCC Concurrent Enrollment Award which goes to the graduating senior who has earned the most concurrent enrollment college credits. This year’s winner is Josephine Drussell who earned 60 concurrent enrollment credits, saving her approximately $10,000 in college tuition fees and related costs. She will graduate at the end of the month with credits equivalent to a college junior.
The one-time, $500 CNCC Concurrent Enrollment Scholarship, awarded to a graduating senior who best participated in MHS’s and CNCC’s concurrent enrollment program during their time at Meeker and who plans to attend CNCC in the fall, went to Jacob Pelloni, planning to study aviation. Pelloni earned his Associate of Arts Degree from CNCC this past weekend as a result of his  concurrent enrollment and online coursework, some of it during summer months.
Kennedy also presented, in Franklin’s place, the annual $500 PEO Chapter BA Vocational Scholarship to a graduating senior girl who is planning to attend an accredited two year college or vocational / technical school. Taylor Dodds, who plans to attend Dodge Community College in Dodge City, KS, studying elementary education and playing collegiate softball, is this year’s winner.
The annual Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar held in Denver is designed to help selected sophomores to recognize their leadership talents and apply them to become effective, ethical leaders in their home, school, workplace and community.  The MHS staff selects one sophomore boy and one sophomore girl to be awarded the HOBY opportunity. The 2018 HOBY awardees are Brandon Lozano and Julia Dinwiddie. Kolbi Franklin, Jenifer Kincher and Elijah Deming were also selected as alternates and plan to attend the HOBY seminar at their own expense.
This year’s Quigg Newton awardees, Sierra Williams and Trapper Merrifield, were the 2016 HOBY award winners.
The school district has put increased emphasis on better attendance the last couple years, so it was some enthusiasm that Principal Chinn shifted her attention to attendance. Indubitably, she was hoping, that at least some of her perfect attendance students had shown up on assembly day. She talks about the importance of attendance, both in school and life, and commended Meeker students overall this year for continuing to do excellent job being in school and learning.
Chinn recognized two students with perfect attendance for the past two years—sophomores Jose Garcia and Madison Kindler. Chinn noted that these two students had not missed any class periods for two years except for excused releases for school sponsored events. Six students have had perfect attendance this school year—Elijah Deming, Ethan Drake, Jose Garcia, Caleb Hall, Madison Kindler and Brandon Lozano. In addition, Shelbi Blazon Lagimoniere, Axel Lezema Rocha, Ryan Phelan and Victor Varela have had perfect attendance this second semester. Chinn believes good attendance is a sign of dedication that foretells success.
Traditionally, the MHS faculty also selects a person for the Unsung Hero Award—the unsung hero being a senior who is most helpful behind the scenes, not getting the recognition they deserve. This year’s behind the scenes power winner is Avery Watt.
In closing, for academic letters, Chinn also named all the honor roll students in three categories, 41 in the honors category (3.0 to 3.49 cumulative grade point average), 33 in high honors (3.5 to 3.79 GPA), and 48 highest honors (3.8 to 4.0 GPA). The Herald Times will post these names at www.theheraldtimes.com when the list is released.
Athletic Director Klark Kindler took to the dais to carry forth on all the athletic awards. As already mentioned, Tannen Kennedy and Sierra Williams were named the U.S. Marine Corps distinguished athletes. Logan Hughes was named the Army Reserve National Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Coach Kindler recognized two students who are going on to be collegiate athletes — Logan Hughes (football, Nebraska Wesleyan University) and Taylor Dodds (softball, Dodge Community College). Kindler stated that only about 1 percent of high school athletes earn a scholarship to play at the collegiate level. He honored Hughes and Dodds for their hard work and dedication.
Kindler also introduced the Academic all-state athletic award winners: Senior all-state winners (3.6 to 4.0 GPA) were Natalie Simonsen, Sierra Williams, Elijah Newman, Logan Hughes, Trapper Merrifield, Christopher Strate and Brittney Adams. Senior honorable mentions (3.2 to 3.59 GPA) were Shelby Steele, Jacob Pelloni, Zachary Dinwiddie, Cooper Meszaros, Eowyn Larson, Taylor Dodds and Avery Watt.
Junior all-state winners (3.6 to 4.0 GPA) were Gracie Bradfield, Kale Burke, Pake Burke, Kenzie Turner, Briar Meszaros, Lila Klinglesmith, Megan Shelton, Kasandra Luce, Allison Moon, Ellie Anderson, Kristin Luce, Tannen Kennedy, Michaela Jones, Sydnie Main, Luis Villalpando, Tristan Wille, and Victoria Lasker. Junior honorable mentions (3.2 to 3.59 GPA) were: CJ Wangnild. Kallie McCain, Andrew Kraft, Savana May, Sai Kallepelly. Jorgen Stagg, and Eli Hanks.
The Colorado High School Activities Association three sport athlete boys for 2017-2018 are Kale Burke, Colby Clatterbaugh, Elijah Deming, Garrett Frantz, Braydon Garcia, Kesston Hobbs, Logan Hughes, Tannen Kennedy, Andrew Kracht, Cooper Main, Doak Mantle, Trapper Merrifield, Ashiono Mohr, Jacob Pelloni, Ryan Phelan, Cole Rogers, Tevin Pelloni, Jake Shelton, Carter Strate, Luis Villalpando, Colton Wille, Ridge Williams, Brayden Woodward, Jeremy Woodward, Ashdon Seibert, Christopher Strate and Nick Massey.
Three sport athlete girls for 2017-2018 are Brittney Adams, Kirsten Brown, Julia Dinwiddie, Gracie Bradfield, Makenna Burke, Sarina Goedert, Sierra Gomez, Madison Kindler, Karlee Nielsen, Megan Shelton, Kenzie Turner, Sierra Williams, and Brynlee Williams.
Seniors Frantz, Hughes, Mantle, Merrifield, Strate and Sierra Williams were recognized as three sports for four years award winners.
Kindler announced that the highest team GPA award, like last year, is the girls basketball team with a 3.76 GPA. Kindler pointed out that the MHS all-sports GPA this year is 3.42 while the non-sports GPA is 2.79. Kindler stated that the school’s goal is to support academic success for all students and to provide opportunities for experiences outside the students’ comfort zones, taking healthy and appropriate risks in the classroom, fields, and stages while also taking full responsibility for their outcomes.
The girls on this winning GPA high school basketball team were: Brittney Adams, Ellie Anderson, Kelsay Atchley, Bentlee Barry, Aliya Bowdoin, Gracie Bradfield, Kirsten Brown, Matilda Brown, Makenna Burke, Julia Dinwiddie, Sarina Goedert. Sierra Gomez, Madison Kindler, Victoria Lasker, Karlee Nielsen, Riley Pertile, Hailey Scott, Megan Shelton, Marryn Shults, Kenzie Turner and Sierra Williams.