DUS honors April students of the month

DOWAGIAC —The Dowagiac Union Schools Board of Education honored the district’s April Students of the Month during its meeting Monday night at Dowagiac Middle School.

Students were chosen from each school after a nomination from a staff member. Each student of the month received a framed certificate and a T-shirt with their name printed on it.

Fifth graders Khalif Reyna and Nadia Poorman were chosen as students of the month for Patrick Hamilton Elementary School.

Reyna was nominated by his teacher, Crystal Henninger.

“He shows up and is a hero every day,” Henninger said. “He is responsible, kind and respectful. He goes out of his way every day to help his classmates and his teachers. He is my tech support; If there’s anything wrong with my computer I can count on Khalif to help me right away and ask for help right away. … Khalif has been a pleasure to have as a student. We will miss him as he goes to middle school, but I know that he’s going to do great things.”

Poorman was nominated by art teacher Patricia McCall and gym teacher Erica Schibley.

“Her favorite part of school is math, because she loves geometry,” McCall said. “When not in school, Nadia enjoys playing basketball, going skating and riding her skateboard. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Nadia was chosen by her teachers because of her kindness towards everyone. She’s very creative, and she’s a model citizen. We’re grateful to have her as a student and role model at Patrick Hamilton.”

Fifth graders Jace Gant and Kai Kruger earned Student of The Month honors for Kincheloe Elementary School. Kruger was nominated by music teacher Hannah Kadrich.

“Kai has consistently been a good citizen to everyone at Kincheloe,” Kadrich said. “She’s always courteous to those around her and is a solid example of leadership and good behavior. Her favorite subject in school is English language, and in her spare time, she loves to read her favorite books, the ‘Harry Potter’ series. As a staff, we’re so proud of Kai and are excited to see the kind of person she grows up to be.

Gant was nominated by teacher Sarah Posey for the honor.

“When I was asked to choose a Student of The Month, Jace’s face was the first that popped up in my head,” Posey said. “In his spare time, Jace enjoys jumping on his trampoline, playing in his yard with his two dogs. At school, his favorite classes are science and gym class. He is hardworking, responsible and very polite. He can be counted on to be prepared and ready to learn as soon as class begins. When asked to give younger students advice, Jace said ‘try your best.’”

Melissa Vandenburg and Mason Garcia were named Sister Lakes’ Students of The Month for the month of April.

“At all times, Melissa is respectful and calm for everyone, including adults as well as her peers,” a statement presented at Monday’s meeting read. “She is an example of excellence in behavior and cooperation. Her favorite subject is social studies because she enjoys learning about history. In her spare time, she enjoys performing competitive cheer and hanging out with her cousin. We are very proud of Melissa and know she will be an excellent role model throughout her school years and in society.”

Garcia was nominated for the honor by his teacher, Ashley Chynoweth. Chynoweth was not on hand for the ceremony, but wrote a statement celebrating Garcia.

“Mason has made so many games this past year,” she wrote. “I’m very proud of him. He went up five reading levels this year. On top of staying focused and participating in class, Mason has been staying after at least once a week to continue working on his academics. Mason is an excellent choice for Student of The Month and I am so proud of him.”

For Justus Gage Elementary, Kelcie Tobin and Abigail Ventura-Morales were selected as April Students of The Month.

A fourth-grade student, Tobin was nominated by her teacher, Kristy Payne.
“She was chosen because she’s respectful and hardworking and continues to make tremendous improvements in her skills the past two years. She has been a role model for the other students and sets high expectations for herself. When she grows up, she would like to work with animals in the forestry industry or be a veterinarian. We are very happy that Kelcie has this achievement.”

Ventura-Morales, a fifth-grade student, was nominated by her teachers, Erica Shibley and Patricia McCall.

“She was chosen not only because of her success in each special class, but because of her attitude,” Shibley said. “She’s always helpful and courteous to others and enters the room with determination and the willingness to do her best. We are very proud to have Abigail as a student and a member of our Justus Gage family.”

Seventh-grader Cephus Carr was chosen as Student of The Month for Dowagiac Middle School and was nominated by English language learner teacher Mark Dzakowic.

“He’s a student that every teacher wants in their class,” Dzakowic said. “He follows expectations. He does assignments, and he participates, but he’s more than that. Cephus is music-loving, lighthearted, and he’s everything that a social studies teacher wants. … There may be a rumor that I nominated you only because I was jealous of your hair. But that’s not true. All jokes aside, Cephus really is a great student, and I’m pleased that the faculty and staff voted for him.”

Lastly, Union High School’s Madisyn Nielson was named Student of The Month and was nominated by Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates teacher Jeffrey Olson. Principal Kelly Millin filled in for Olson, who was not able to attend.

“Madisyn demonstrates skills that make her successful,” Millin said. “She engages in class discussion and is proactive in getting things done. She is always willing to help those around her better understand the material. Despite adversity and balancing difficulties, Madisyn is a leader in her classes and makes her classrooms more welcome. … Madisyn leads by example in class by working hard and participating to the best of her ability each day. The choir program is lucky to have students like Madisyn.”


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