Dowagiac schools celebrate April Students of the Month

Published 1:27 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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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.

Nominated by teachers and faculty from their respective schools in the Dowagiac Union Schools district, Olivia Stockwell, Gabriella Graham, Emery Justice, Brooklyn Payne, Jade Schultz and Dax Bonczynski received plaques and T-shirts with their names on them for their accomplishments and attitudes in the classroom.

Stockwell is a 10th grader at Dowagiac Union High School and was nominated by the district’s media specialist, Claudia Zebell.

“She’s a self-starter and she’s disciplined. If I could clone her, we would have great success in all of our classes,” Zebell said.

In school, Stockwell excels in the classroom and is involved in both Rotary Interact and Chieftain Heart. Outside of school, Stockwell is involved in 4-H and has practiced dancing for 13 years. In addition, she also volunteers at the Dowagiac Conservation Club and can also be seen working at Caruso’s downtown.

“In the end, it’s not because of what she does but because of her kindness and character that we are happy to award Olivia as our student of the month for April,” Zebell said.

Gabriella Graham is an eighth grader at Dowagiac Middle School and was nominated by her choir director, Hunter Schuur.

She was the runner-up in the Cass County Spelling Bee and placed in the America and Me essay contest and has earned High Honors on all of her DMS honor rolls for three consecutive car marking periods and is expected to accomplish the same for the fourth marking period.

“Gabby was nominated by me because of her dedication to doing the right thing even when others may not be all the time” Schuur stated. “She was also nominated because of her bravery to join choir this year. I’m very proud of her because she dove right into singing, always participates in the evenings and everything that she does in our programs. She also never complains and she also has no fear. 

“Not only is Gabby a great choir student but she does well in her other classes too, earning high grades in each of her subject areas. She also is extremely kind to everyone in class and she does not treat any one student better than others and is always polite and respectful to her teachers.”

According to Schuur, there was only one exception, which was related to the trash talking that happened after her Pittsburgh Steelers beat Schuur’s Green Bay Packers last season.

Emery Justice is a fifth grader at Justice Gage Elementary and was nominated by music teacher Karen Eckman, physical education teacher Eric Shibley and art teacher Tina Tavolacci. In school, his favorite subject is reading and he enjoys reading Greek mythology and historical stories about ancient battles in war. 

When he’s not at school, everybody likes playing outside, playing with his friends and playing video games. He loves cooking and his main dish is his white chicken chili. He wants to be a chef and own his own restaurant when he grows up.

“Emery was chosen by his specialist teachers because of his positive attitude, cooperation, good sense of humor and eyes and is always giving his best effort,” said Principal Brian Henry. “He gets along great with his classmates and is polite and respectful.”

Brooklyn Payne is a second grader at Patrick Hamilton Elementary and was nominated by music teacher Elizabeth Barraclough, physical education teacher Lisa Gibson and art teacher Gloria White.

Brooklyn enjoys swimming and collecting stickers and animal figures. Her favorite sport is soccer and her favorite subjects in school are grammar and math.

“Brooklyn is a quiet and cheerful girl who always participates,” Barraclough said. “She is sweet. Has a caring attitude towards everyone, especially her friends. Brooklyn is very smart and always comes to class with a smile on her face. She is always ready to learn something new. Brooklyn is a pleasure to have in any of our classrooms and we all wish to say congratulations.”

Jade Schultz is a fifth grade student at Sister Lakes Elementary and was nominated by music teacher Karen Eckman, physical education teacher Eric Shibley and art teacher Tina Tavolacci.

Her favorite subject in school is math and when she is not in school, she enjoys being outdoors, playing Dorothy Explorer. She has participated in volleyball, special chorus and student council this year.

Schultz would like to be a firefighter like her parents or work at an animal shelter when she grows up.

“Jade was chosen by her teachers because of her kindness towards everyone,” “She is always willing to help, respectful to others, cooperative and puts forth her best effort in all areas. She is a model citizen in every class and is a very good artist. We are very lucky to have Jade as a student and a role model at Sister Lakes.”