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Linda Mah
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Excellence in Education 2020 Winners

12 Students, 2 Staff Members Honored

Excellence in Education recognizes the top-achieving high school seniors from Kalamazoo County’s public and nonpublic high schools. This year, 44 seniors — including 12 from Kalamazoo Public Schools — were selected for the honor, which comes with a $1,000 scholarship. Each student recognized an educator who significantly impacted their K-12 education.               

The Excellence in Education program has also awarded nine Educator Incentive Grants. The grants provide funding for teachers and administrators in Kalamazoo County schools to explore new ideas to enhance teaching styles, motivate and inspire their students. Carrie Cook, KPS lead music teacher, and Robin Greymountain, homeless liaison, received grants through the program.                 

“The Kalamazoo area has a long history of educational excellence and innovation, so it is fitting that we continue the tradition of honoring those practices through the Excellence in Education program,” said committee chair Keevin O’Neill, superintendent of Vicksburg Community Schools.                

A collaborative effort among all Kalamazoo County public and nonpublic schools, local foundations, educational groups and the business community, Excellence in Education was designed in 1986 to focus community attention on the academic and professional excellence of graduating high school seniors and educators within Kalamazoo area schools.            

The Excellence in Education program is supported by a permanent endowment established at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Funding for the endowment was raised through the leadership of the Monroe-Brown Foundation, with strong support from local foundations, businesses, organizations and individuals.                 

For more information, including access to the 2020 Student Presentation, please visit the Excellence in Education webpage at kresa.org/exined.

KPS Excellence in Education winners:                

Ethan Fonger

Kalamazoo Central High School

Parents: Melissa and Reid Fonger

College: University of Michigan

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Significant Educator: Michael Sinclair           

Isabelle Hawkes

Kalamazoo Central High School

Parents: Paula and Ernest Hawkes

College: Undecided

Major: Biochemistry

Significant Educator: Valerie Vande Guchte

Alyxandria Hough

Kalamazoo Central High School

Parents: Rebecca and Daniel Hough

College: University of Michigan

Major: Psychology

Significant Educator: Rex Hafer 

Daniel Nguyen

Kalamazoo Central High School

Parents: Phuong and Hiep Nguyen

College: University of Michigan

Major: Computer Science

Significant Educator: Modhi Alshehri

Cormac Roth

Kalamazoo Central High School

Parents: Megan and James Roth

College: University of Denver

Major: Game Design and Music

Significant Educator: Ken Briggs

Charity Sidwell

Kalamazoo Central High School

Parents: Christie and David Sidwell

College: Oakland University

Major: Physics

Significant Educator: Chartanay Bonner 

Adonia Alexopoulos

Loy Norrix High School

Parents: April and Christos Alexopoulos

College: Undecided

Major: Chemistry and Psychology

Significant Educator: Christina Holmes

Riley Dominianni

Loy Norrix High School

Parents: Erin and Andy Dominianni

College: Undecided

Major: History and Criminal Justice

Significant Educator: Niambi Pringle

 Lily Dorstewitz

Loy Norrix High School

Parents: Gail and Troy Dorstewitz

College: Yale University

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Significant Educator: Kristin Antoniotti

Nathan Goodwin-Kelly

Loy Norrix High School

Parents: Mary Kate Goodwin-Kelly and Chris Goodwin

College: University of Notre Dame

Major: Social Science, Life Science and Environmental Science

Significant Educator: Bill Brieger 

Carly Loken

Loy Norrix High School

Parents: Sandy Barry-Loken and Brian Loken

College: University of Michigan

Major: Psychology

Significant Educator: Paul Mahar

Antoinette Puca

Loy Norrix High School

Parents: Deanne and Michael Puca

College: University of Michigan

Major: Data Science

Significant Educator: Michael Sinclair                

Kalamazoo Public Schools Educator Incentive Grant winners: 

Robin C. Greymountain, Homeless Liaison & Title I Literacy Facilitator

Robin Greymountain plans to attend the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth conference in Dallas, Oct. 31 – Nov. 3. The association helps provide professional development for serving the needs of children who are suffering from homelessness. This conference will help Greymountain and Kalamazoo Public Schools ensure homeless youth have transportation to and from school and are able to fully participate in school activities by removing barriers to identification, enrollment, attendance, and success.     

Carrie Cook, Music Teacher and District Lead Music Teacher

Carrie Cook plans to attend the First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege training through Feierabend Association for Music Education. This training will provide Cook with the knowledge and skills to support students’ musical ability throughout the learning continuum. Cook will share her learning with fellow music teachers during professional development activities. The strategies used in the course will increase the ability of Kalamazoo Public Schools music teachers to create opportunities for students to engage with music. 

 

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