Dowagiac schools name September Students of the Month

Published 12:15 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2021

DOWAGIAC – Six local standout students have been selected for recognition by teachers and faculty for their outstanding performance in school this September.

Nominated by teachers and faculty from their respective schools in the Dowagiac Union School District, Mya Vazquez, Calley Ruff, Ella Richter, Tessa Miltroka, Dylan Thomas and Nayeli Perez received certificates and t-shirts with their names on them for their achievements and attitudes in the classroom.

Vazquez, an eighth-grader at Dowagiac Middle School, was nominated by health and physical education teacher Emily Frontczak.

“I have had the pleasure of having Mya in my class in sixth grade and again this year in eighth grade,” Frontczak said. “Mya is a kind and caring person. She always has a big smile and has a friendly greeting whenever she sees someone. Mya is also very helpful to her classmates during games and activities. She encourages them to participate and do their very best. Mya is a very competitive person, and she enjoys participating in class, no matter the activity. She truly is a leader by example.”

Vazquez, who keeps busy with homework and sports activities, also has a busy home life between helping with chores and being an aunt to her older siblings’ children.

“My advice would be to do your work and to make this school a great place for everyone to learn,” said Vazquez, on how her fellow students can become student of the month. “Be sure to always to do your best, even when things are hard for you. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions and for help when you need it. You can’t expect to know everything, and that’s what they are there for.”

Ruff, a senior at DUHS, was nominated by office and health aide Donna Bailey, as well as her teachers. Ruff is involved in Chieftain Heart, National Honor Society and Student Senate. She is also and is a three-sport athlete, playing golf, basketball and softball.

Her career goal is to be an elementary school teacher, and she is working with third-graders at Justus Gage Elementary School through the work-based learning program at the high school.

“Callie always has a smile on her face and is friendly to everyone around her,” DUHS principal Stephanie Mitchell said. “She is helpful, supportive of her classmates and teammates, and is certainly a very valuable member of the Class of 2022.”

Richter, a fifth-grader at Patrick Hamilton Elementary, was nominated by teacher Ashley Slusher.

“Following rules and common sense seem important to her, and it is not uncommon to see her standing up for what is right,” Slusher said. “She has such a big heart, she is a friend to all and offers a helping hand to any student or teacher in need.”

Miltroka, a fifth-grader at Kincheloe Elementary, and was nominated by teacher Chris Cox.

“Tessa always follows the rule, the class motto, ‘be nice,’” Cox said. “She has high expectations for herself, and smiles all day long.”

Thomas, a fifth-grader at Sister Lakes Elementary, was nominated by teacher Caelen Cox.

“Dylan has excelled academically and is a joy to have in class,” Cox said. “He goes above and beyond to be as best a friend as a classmate as he can be.”

Perez, a fifth-grader at Justus Gage Elementary, was nominated by teacher Jamie Hannapel.

“She is honest with her actions, whether right or wrong,” Hannapel said. “She gives respect to teachers, support staff, paraprofessionals and her peers by listening and communicating her needs and gratitude. … I can count on her to work hard and not give up, because we’ve talked about how our mistakes are opportunities to do a better job next time. She has already adopted this philosophy and it shows.”