Editor’s note: A listing of the students and the teachers they awarded at The Greene County Educational Services Center hosted the Howard L. Post Excellence in Education Awards is inside this edition.
YELLOW SPRINGS — A friend, a mentor, someone who opened them up to a new perspective and who believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves — these were some of the attributes the area’s top students credited when honoring the teachers who impacted them the most May 15 during the Howard L. Post Excellence in Education Awards.
The event, hosted by the Greene County Education Services Center, invited valedictorians, salutatorians, distinguished scholars and graduates of distinction from each school district within Greene County to honor teachers who made a difference in their life as the students prepare to make that walk at their high school graduation.
For Greeneview Co-Salutatorian Hannah Wilburn, it was her Greeneview Middle School teacher Janet Newhart-Ary.
“She just has this way of making all of her students feel like one big family,” Wilburn said. “Whenever I was having problems with friends, she was the first one I felt I could turn to. Mrs. Ary’s class was what made me love logic puzzles from fun story problems to difficult puzzles, this type of thinking was introduced as something enjoyable and that came to be a large part of my interests and shaped the way I view learning in general … If it weren’t for Mrs. Ary, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I can’t possibly thank her enough for everything she has done.”
Meanwhile, Yellow Springs’s Distinguished Scholar Peter Day honored his teacher John Day —who is also his father.
“I’m here today not to honor his ‘dadding’ but to honor his teaching,” Peter Day said, pointing out that he took two classes in his high school career taught by his father. “ … Even when it didn’t benefit me directly, I always appreciate my dad’s fairness. More than once, I asked him to edit a paper for his class at home. He refused because he said other students didn’t have the opportunity to have their papers edited by the teacher the night before they were due — fair enough. Even though I probably didn’t do so well on those papers, I respect my dad for those principles. In the end, his fairness benefits all his students.”
“Perhaps I’m biased, but I always thought if I were to become a teacher, I would want to be like my father,” Peter Day added.
Greene County Educational Service Center Superintendent Terry Graves-Strieter pointed out that students typically honor those from middle or high school. However, elementary school teachers from Xenia Community Schools as well as the Beavercreek City School District were included in the ceremony.
“Teaching young minds is a great responsibility,” Beavercreek Co-Salutatorian David Cohen said as he honored Shaw Elementary School Teacher Bill Sorensen. “I mean, I assume at least. I’ve never really done it personally but it seems like it. You get to help these kids discover ideas that will stick with them for the rest of their lives … When I was a younger mind, I had the privilege of being taught by Mr. Sorensen … He excelled in being both supportive and exceptionally challenging at the same time.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.