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MEEKER I Logan Kinnamon received a standing ovation at the Meeker High School Awards Assembly on May 11 as he received a check for $61,812 from U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Mackay, The check represents the GI Bill funds that will be available to him for continuing education when he leaves the service.
Mackay, the MHS special U.S. Army recruiter, said Kinnamon is to report to the infantryman program at Fort Benning, Ga., in August.
MHS counselor Amy Chinn said Kinnamon is well-liked by his fellow students and according to high school counselor Amy Chinn, and that the standing ovation was given in honor of his military commitment.
Mackay also recognized Amber Holding, who was not present. She completed her graduation requirements early and is entering the U.S. Army veterinarian technician program at Fort Sill, Okla., in June.
Margie Joy, director of the Pioneers Health Care Foundation, led off the awards with a joint Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) recognition of Paige Dowker as the certified nursing assistant student of the year. Joy then presented the “hard-working, going above and beyond” $1,500 Health Care Foundation award to Tristin Pelloni, intended to encourage his hoped-for career as a physician.
Joy also commended a group of National Honor Society senior girls—Jenna Walsh, Reagan Pearce, Sydney Hughes, Dominique Devore, Linda Olivas and McKenna Kummer—who have been doing volunteer driving for meals-on-wheels. Hughes organized the drivers and was pegged for her work as an intern.
One of the most respected annual awards is the Quigg Newton Award, given to a senior boy and girl, chosen by MHS staff, for their display of 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 the school.
Newton was born in Denver, graduated from Yale Law School, became the first native mayor of Denver in 1947, and was president of the University of Colorado system in 1956. This year’s recipients were Brittany Smith and Joe Newman.
MHS began giving Quigg Newton awards in 1960. Previous winners still apparent in the community include Smith’s father, Davey Smith, counselor Chinn, language arts teacher Kathleen Kelley, Bailey Franklin, Katie Conrado, Kelly Moyer Scott and first-year recipients Diane Franklin (Dunham) and Forrest Nelson.
Trina Zagar-Brown of the White River Electric Association named Meghan Smith and Kenzie Burke as the Colorado Rural Electric Association Youth Leadership winners who will be going to their leadership camp near Steamboat Springs this summer. Jenna Walsh and Leah Pool were named the National Rural Electric Association winners who will go on a one week trip to the State Capitol and Washington, D.C., this summer.
Zagar-Brown went on to explain that the favorite job of the WREA board is picking scholarship awardees who this year include one-time $500 winners Tristin Pelloni, Paige Dowker and Hailey Simonsen; renewable $500 winners McKenna Kummer, Joe Newman, Reagan Pearce, Sydney Hughes and Jamie McLaughlin; $500 Tri-State Generation and Transmission/WREA winners Dominique Devore and Megan Parker; Basin Electric Power $1,000 winner Jake Phelan; and $200 WREA Cowboy Shoot-Out Scholar Award winners Sydney Hughes and Raul Lopez-Martinez.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Cmdr. David Cole, Rob Baughman for the American Legion and Vickie Crawford for the Ladies VFW Auxiliary presented the VFW citizenship awards to Brittany Smith and Joe Newman. The VFW Voice of Democracy awards, based on 10 entries in an audio-essay competition, went to Brittany Smith, first place; Jamie McLaughlin, second place; and Amanda Begaye, third place. The $1,000 VFW Patriotic Art Award was won by Reagan Pearce.
Music instructor Jeff Hemingson presented the U.S. Marine Corps Semper Fidelis Award to Michael Beck and he recognized Corey Hood and McKenna Kummer for their having been selected to sing with the Western Slope Honor Choir.
Kevin Amack, representing Rio Blanco Masonic Lodge No. 80, presented their Arts and Sciences Award for an MHS junior exhibiting service, leadership, academic success and extra-curricular participation, chosen by the faculty, to Madison Shults.
The International Thespian Society and Honor Thespian awards were given by Gary and Laurie Zellers and Bob Amick. The “behind the scenes, superlative service to the theater” prize went to Michael Beck. The winner of the Best Thespian and Honor award, including entry into the Thespian Society, went to Sam Baylie. The Honor Thespian award, for “high school and little kids plays,” went to McKenna Kummer. The underclassman Best Thespian award went to Sena Zellers, who was described by her dad as being a drama queen at home. Honor Thespian and Induction awards from the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council for support went to Jeff Hemingson, Ben Quinn and Kim Ibach, the latter for always saying “Yes, go! Yes, go!”
Trudi Burri, representing the Rio Blanco County Historical Society, spoke of the development of the memorial site at the Milk Creek (Thornburgh) Battleground. She awarded certificates of appreciation to industrial arts instructor Zach Clatterbaugh for his leadership and students Caleb Bradford, Ty Gibson, Dade Heck, Tyler Ilgen, Jake Nielsen, Cody Nielsen, Connor Pfister, Dillon Frantz, Jake Smith and Levi Dinwiddie for their work on the construction and installation of the decorative railings and filigree on the gazebo at the site.
The $800 Meeker Sportsman’s Club scholarship award, presented by Cassie Howe McGuire, who said the choice was very difficult, was won by Megan Parker, based on her essay supporting the Second Amendment.
The Scholastic Art awards—state championships for art—were presented by art instructor Ben Quinn, who commented that the MHS program is truly on the rise. Four MHS art students participated in the state contest—McKenna Kummer, Faith Patterson, Anna Walsh and Dom Cardile. Cardile became Meeker’s first state champion in art, in photography. Winners in the YAM Flag Designs were Nishiko Thelen, Jake Henderson and Amanda Begaye. Award winners for AP art participation were Sara Murray, Reagan Pearce, Paige Jones, Lily Munn, Hailey Simonsen, Linda Olivas and Hunter Sheehan.
Creative writing awards were presented by Chinn on behalf of language arts teacher Cheri Robinson. Short fiction winners were Angel Hall, Josh Cochran, Logan Kinnamon, Isaac Clark, and Uri Goedert. The advanced creative writing award winner was Nick Murray. The CNCC-MHS creative writing award winner was Joe Newman.
Chinn also presented the bio-scholar awards for significant contributions in conservation and ecology research for Dr. Bob Dorsett. Recognized for work on dolphins in the great reef system of Belize, rainforest ecology, Mayan ruins and measures benefitting endangered species and habitat, winners were Sydney Hughes, Brittany Smith, Reagan Pearce, McKenna Kummer and Noah Overton. Michael Beck received a bio-scholar award for behind the scenes work fund-raising and organizing. Pursuit of excellence awards went to Reagan Pearce for exceptional scholarship in completing two rigorous online courses in mathematical logic (provided by Stanford University) and genetics (provided by the University of North Carolina) and Joe Newman for individual study in relativity, cosmology and quantum mechanics. Anthony Watt received Dorsett’s experimental science award for exceptional creativity in experimental new science design.
Iris Franklin, CNCC’s Meeker Center coordinator, reminded students she was familiar with them through Accuplacer testing, screening for concurrent enrollment (CE) qualification. She recognized Matt Frantz for having completed 14 CE classes and 58 college credits, which will put him well ahead in his college career at Colorado Mesa University. Tristin Pelloni was commended for having already secured his associate of science degree at CNCC’s graduation ceremonies on May 9 by compiling 57 CE credits and completing some CNCC online courses. MHS offered 22 CE classes during this school year.
Chinn presented the University of Colorado—Boulder outstanding junior award to Faith Patterson. The award includes $4,000 if she chooses to attend CU-Boulder after graduation; the U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award to Joe Newman; and the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Awards (HOBYs) to two sophomores, Maggie Phelan and Sheridan Harvey. The HOBY Leadership Foundation was started in 1958 by actor O’Brian. He was inspired by Albert Schweitzer, who felt that kids needed to be taught “to think for themselves.” O’Brian believed it was important that students understand they had the “freedom to choose” their life pursuits. Ten thousand sophomores chosen nationally have the opportunity to become ambassadors of their high schools by attending state and regional seminars, and possibly becoming a delegate to the HOBY World Leadership Congress.
Dr. Ibach presented the U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Awards to Sydney Hughes and Jake Phelan; the Unsung Hero Award for being “incredibly helpful behind the scenes” to Hailey Simonsen; and the Faculty Dependability Award to Brittany Smith. She also presented the Quigg Newton awards.
Social studies and history teachers and coaches, Klark Kindler and John Strate, took the stage to recognize scholar-athletes. They named Sydney Hughes and Jake Phelan as the winners of the Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) Active Scholar Awards. The CHSAA Three-Sport Athletic Awards went to a large group of students, but the Three Sports for Four Years awards went to Sydney Hughes and Tony Collins. Another large group was recognized for being Academic Athletes, holding at least 3.5 grade point averages (GPAs). The MHS Highest Team GPA Award went to the Girls Basketball Team. Raul Lopez-Martinez was recognized for his committing to play college basketball for CNCC.
The Athletic Faculty Award went to Barone Middle School math teacher and high school girls’ basketball coach, Greg Chintala, for the success and scholarship of the team.
Academic Letters were awarded by Dr. Ibach to 33 Honors (3.0 to 3.49 GPA), 17 High Honors (3.5 to 3.79 GPA), and 52 Highest Honors (3.8+ GPA) students, out of a total MHS student body of 193.