Archived Story

January Students all girls

Published 12:31pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Six girls were honored as Students of the Month for January Monday night by the Dowagiac Board of Education in the middle school cafeteria.

They include Union High sophomore Shyasia Gordon, Kincheloe first-grader Alivia Ausra, DMS eighth-grader Abby Klann, Patrick Hamilton first-grader Jayla Weatherspoon, Justus Gage first-grader McKenna Danzy and Sister Lakes first- grader Taylor Tillman.

The audience sang Happy Birthday to Jayla, who turns 7 on Thursday.


Shyasia Gordon


Shyasia, daughter of Justin and Stephanie Hill, has two brothers, Shiquan and Jaquan. She was nominated by her Spanish teacher, Alicia Flores, and introduced by Principal Pieter Hoekstra.

Flores says Shyasia “is an intelligent and optimistic young woman who fearlessly participates in her own learning. She is selfless in her cooperative work in class — helping her classmates when they need assistance and sharing her understanding with others. Shyasia’s optimism is evident in her cheerful disposition. Her smile is endless and shared with everyone. While learning a foreign language can be intimidating for some students. Shyasia does not shy away from speaking Spanish in class. She knows that the only way to improve is to practice and she does so regardless of the errors she may make. Ultimately, she encourages her peers to challenge themselves to speak more often and push beyond their comfort zone.”

Shyasia belongs to Rotary Interact, Newspaper Club and is involved with the Network group. She volunteers at the YMCA.


Abby Klann


Abby, 13, is the daughter of Keith and Julia Klann. She has two brothers, Ben, who attends Patrick Hamilton, and Dean, who attends DUHS, and a sister, Courtney, a 2012 DUHS graduate attending Southwestern Michigan College.

Abby loves to read books, especially mysteries. Her favorite class is band, in which she plays flute.

After high school, Abby plans to study music or criminal investigation at SMC.

“I never do anything bad in class, and I help my teachers,” Abby said.

“Abby has always been a great student in our classroom,” said Band Director C.J. Brooks, who nominated her. “She has consistently sat first chair in the flute section, which is an honor in itself. She has attended the Michigan Band and Orchestra Association solo and ensemble two years in a row, both times receiving a I division rating, the highest a student can receive. She is also willing to help other flute students by giving lessons and helping out students who need assistance. Abby is also a leader when it comes to attitude and behavior. You never have to ask her to stop behaving poorly because it never happens. She has received A’s for every test, quiz and report card for band since she began.”

She was presented by Assistant Principal Nicky Hulett, who taught Abby as a science student.


Jayla Weatherspoon


Jayla, a student of Jon Leazenby, lives with her mother, Whitney, and two younger brothers, Isaiah and Jaymon. Principal Heather Nash introduced her.

An outstanding reader, Jayla’s favorite book is Junie B. Jones is a Party Animal. She also excels in math. Graphing is her favorite activity. Pink is her favorite singer.

“Her learning is genuine,” her teacher said. “I don’t have to be her taskmaster.”

Leazenby read from her journal about the night she read “a whole bunch of books” until 1 a.m. because she wants to be a scientist.


Alivia Ausra


Alivia, daughter of Doug and Andrea Ausra, has a sister, Madison, 9. She and her sister play school together. Principal Cathy Stone introduced Alivia.

Alivia is very enthusiastic to learn and help students at Kincheloe. Her favorite thing to do at school is read. She read the story Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket over and over. She wants other kids to be good learners, too.

“The more you read, the better you will get,” the future doctor says. She plans to attend SMC.

Teacher Tami Small appreciates Alicia’s enthusiasm for learning to read and write. She is a leader in the classroom who can always find time to help a classmate or the teacher, while completing her own tasks. Alivia’s classmates look up to her because she is a hard worker, a kind friend and driven to learn.


McKenna Danzy


McKenna, a student of Nancy Northrop presented by her and Principal Marcy Hendress, is the daughter of Joni Danzy and Justin Danzy. She lives with her grandparents, brother Drue, wearing an orange Chieftain Hero T-shirt from when he won, and dog Sadie.

McKenna is responsible in the classroom, on the playground and in the lunchroom. She is a kind and thoughtful young lady, always willing to help out her classmates. McKenna is eager to learn and soaks up new information like a sponge.

She loves school, especially science — “messy” experiments are her favorite.

On weekends, McKenna lies to visit her dad and play on the trampoline.

Her favorite book/movie is “Beauty and the Beast.”


Taylor Tillman


Taylor, accompanied by Principal Mike Campbell and her teacher, Kelli Sylvester, is the daughter of Randy and Amy Tillman. Taylor has one brother, Zachary, in kindergarten at Sister Lakes.

“A joy to have in class,” Taylor is known as a very hard worker who volunteers in class all the time. She likes to read and writes beautiful stories — especially about her family. She always listens and tries hard to follow directions. Math is her favorite subject.

Outside class, Taylor is always kind to others and tries to help them work out problems. She shares, takes turns and is the first to offer her help when it is time to clean up or do other jobs. She is a good friend to others and can be counted on to always tell the truth.






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