Dowagiac schools celebrate November Students of the Month

Published 1:42 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

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

Nominated by teachers and faculty from their respective schools in the Dowagiac Union Schools district, Miranda Balsbaugh, Romeo Olmedo, Jayden Guzman, Liam Rankin, Artie Ruiz and Jamel Vincent received plaques and T-shirts with their names on them for their accomplishments and attitudes in the classroom.

Ruiz is a sophomore at Union High who excels in the classroom and plays guard for the junior varsity basketball team. 

“Artie possesses a rare skill set that many of us don’t develop until later in life, the ability to make choices that differ from our peers when circumstances warrant it,” said UHS Assistant Principal Brian Sperling. “I’ve witnessed Artie in this quiet leadership on many occasions. Artie has a singular focus, a drive to represent himself and his family to the best of his ability. Artie often chooses to remove himself from situations, modeling to others the strength that requires to make the right choice when those around you choose not to.”

Vincent is a seventh grade student at DMS. He said what he likes most about Dowagiac Middle School is the teachers, saying they help him learn all the stuff he needs to know. His favorite class at DMS is healthy living with teacher Merideth Marrs because he likes to participate in the exercise portion of the class and take part in competitive games and skills that are being taught. Marrs, who teaches health and media literacy at DMS, nominated Vincent, saying he is an excellent example of what it means to be one of Dowagiac Middle School’s Chieftain heroes.

Rankin is a third grader at Justus Gage. He is described as being respectful to all teachers, staff and classmates. When given an assignment, he always gives his best and has the ability to know when to be funny and when it is time to get his work done. When Rankin grows up, he would like to be a nurse. He loves to draw, read and text his friends. Rankin believes that he was selected as a student of the month because he listens a lot.

Balsbaugh is a third grade student at Sister Lakes Elementary. She was nominated by her teacher, Lynne Seppala.

“Miranda is a driven student who sets high expectations for herself,” Seppala said. “She is involved in our lessons in third grade through asking inquiring questions as well as striving to do her personal best daily. Miranda loves cheering on the Dowagiac teams through participating in competitive cheer… Miranda is a kind friend, who cares deeply for her classmates. She is polite and always respectful. I have the privilege to be teaching Miranda in third grade. Miranda, continue to strive to be there very best you can and go after your dreams.”

Guzman is a third grade student at Patrick Hamilton. He was nominated by third grade teacher Stephanie Hill. She said Guzman is very much looking forward to Christmas because his family will all be together with him. His favorite color is orange, his favorite food is a banana and his favorite flavor of ice cream is strawberry. She said if he had one wish, it would be that no one would ever get hurt. 

“I chose Jayden as student of the month because I watched Jayden grow in learning and leadership in the classroom,” Hill said. “He demonstrates the Chieftain Hero expectations each and every day and holds his classmates to the same standard. He is one of the first to raise his hand in math – although he prefers gym more – and his answers are always correct. I know that I can rely on him to do the right thing each and every day.”

Olmedo is a third grader at Kincheloe. He was nominated by his third grade teacher Frances Green. At home, Olmedo enjoys playing his Roblox video game and playing soccer with his brothers. In school, he enjoys learning about science. Green said his favorite topic this year has been the investigations about magnetic and electrical forces.

After school Romeo and his family are very active in wrestling. He has been on the wrestling team for five years and he hopes to become an award-winning wrestler.

“Romeo is a shining example of what it means to be a Dowagiac Hero,” Green said. I have had the pleasure of getting to know him before becoming his teacher through wrestling and I taught his older brother Rudy. He comes to class daily prepared and ready to learn. I ask him to partner with someone, he doesn’t hesitate to help them. Our class motto is ‘we are a classroom family’ and he has taken that to heart and treats his classroom brothers and sisters with respect and he gives him encouragement whenever they need it. I enjoy having Romeo in class, I look forward to watching him grow to his full potential.”