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Students’ hard work earns an award

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By Special to the Monitor

Sixteen students were awarded the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation scholarship. Each student selected demonstrated a balance of academic excellence, extracurricular participation and community service throughout their high school career.  

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The winners have chosen an Educator of Distinction; this is an education professional who had a positive impact on the student’s time in the Los Alamos Public Schools

The LAPS Foundation is a nonprofit organization that enriches the educational experience of students through community investment.

• Sara Tuzel chose Lynn Ovaska, her AP psychology teacher, as her educator or distinction. Tuzel said, “At first intimidated by her honesty in communicating the rigor or the course, I grew to appreciate her high standards and expectations for her students.” Tuzel said. “She possess an incredible dedication to the individuals she teaches.”  

At LAHS, Tuzel was in National Honor Society, participated in crosscountry and girls soccer and served on the Los Alamos Youth Advisory Board and the United Way Youth team.  Tuzel will attend the University of New Mexico; she will participate in the BA/MD program and plans to go on to become a doctor.  

• Emma Carroll chose Margo Batha, her AP literature teacher and assistant debate coach, as her educator of distinction. Carroll said, “She possesses a dynamic teaching style with varied activities and interesting projects.” She added, “She always goes the extra mile to help me and all of her students, providing teaching resources and opening her classroom after school to debate practice.”  

Carroll was in the National Honor Society, participated in crosscountry for five years, was active in LAHS Key Club for four years and served as the Lincoln Douglas Debate captain and secretary on the Speech and Debate Team. Carroll credits her time spent volunteering in Key Club for bolstering her career aspirations. Carroll will attend Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

• Kimberly Boerigter chose Ildiko Nadaskay Goeller, her 10th grade advanced literature teacher, as her educator of distinction.  Boerigter said, “She is personal and knows every student’s situation” and “she even allowed me to read a novel and write an essay for ‘incentive credit’ when I was struggling to achieve an A in her class.” Boerigter participated in cross-country for four years and was a member of the LAHS Choir and Key Club for the last two years. She will attend Hope College.  

• Katie Weinland chose Paul Anderson as her educator of distinction and said of Anderson, “I don’t think I could have passed the math portion of the New Mexico High School Competency Exam without his encouragement” and “in one semester with Mr. Anderson, I gained confidence and proficiency.”

Weinland participated in the LAHS Choir and achieved All-State Choir, was a girl scout in Troop 22 and won many silver and gold medals at the Special Olympics. Weinland will attend the University of New Mexico at Los Alamos.  

• Holly Walker chose Brian Easton as her educator of distinction and said of Easton, “He taught us how to attain social success through economics by using conversation starters such as, ‘the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility, and other fancy economic terms’.” She said that Easton also “helps his students understand their rights and has much to teach inside and outside of the classroom.”

Walker participated in crosscountry and track for the last five years, served on the Youth Advisory Board and Key Club and was a member of the National Honor Society.  

Walker will attend the Colorado School of Mines.  

• Kendra Smale chose Anita Boshier, her AP German 4 teacher, as her educator of distinction and said of Boshier, “She is passionate about her subject and I believe this is what makes her instruction so compelling.” She added, “She became a true friend and mentor and gifted me with a passion for language and a refined knowledge.”

For 13 years, Smale participated and trained as a dancer. She was a member of the National Honor Society, a leader in Café Scientifique and the United Way Youth Team. She helped design this year’s yearbook as a page designer.

She will attend Texas A&M University.  

• Bryn Smith chose Margo Batha, her 11th grade AP literature teacher, as her educator of distinction. She said, “I will never forget what I learned in her class, as it has made me a smarter and more aware citizen of the world.  Her class was captivating and kept my interest.”  

Smith participated in tennis and as the manager of the crosscountry team, has been actively involved in Young Life for four years, and served as a youth leader, mentoring and planning activities.  She is a Natural Helper, a distinction made by her peers, and has played the piano for 11 years.  Smith will attend the University of New Mexico and plans to major biochemistry and pursue a career in medicine or exercise science.

• Katherine Rooney chose her AP calculus teacher, Joy Handsberry, as her educator of distinction. Rooney said, “Her positive outgoing attitude enables her to create an environment in her classroom which makes learning fun.” She added, “She takes an interest in our lives and celebrates our personal success with enthusiasm.”

Rooney participated in girls basketball and track, was the editor-in-chief of “Pegasus,” the high school literary magazine, and was a member of the Environmental Club.

Rooney will attend the Colorado School of Mines.

• Kyle Pittman chose his health teacher, crosscountry and track coach Robert Hipwood as his educator of distinction. Pittman said, “He is an amazing teacher, coach and person. He taught me that everything in life, both school and running, takes practice, dedication and perseverance.” Pittman has participated in crosscountry and track for five years, served on Student Council, JUNTOS and the Ski Club. Pittman was a member of the National Honor Society.

Pittman will attend the University of New Mexico.

• Kelsey Neal chose Pam Meyer, her pre-calculus teacher, as her Educator of Distinction. Neal said, “She helped me to truly understand math; she tutored me through the tough times and most of all showed me that it could be fun.”  She added, “She was the person that showed me the route to my destination.”

Neal participated in soccer, track and diving. She co-chaired the United Way Youth Team and coordinated their largest fundraising event. Neal will attend the Colorado School of Mines.

• Gina Stroud chose her fourth and fifth grade teacher, Lysa Intrator, as her Educator of Distinction. Stroud said, “She made learning come alive with interactive projects and taught me that my individual worth is not just based on my accomplishments, but more importantly, on the strength of my character.”

Stroud participated as a judge and lawyer for Teen Court, was captain of the Speech and Debate Team and served as a Natural Helper. She also participated in girls soccer and tennis and was a member of the National Honor Society.  Stroud will attend the University of Notre Dame.

• Jason Bossert chose Andrea Spence, his fifth grade GATE math teacher at Barranca Elementary School, as his Educator or Distinction. Bossert said, “She figured out the manner in which her students learned best and taught to their strengths.” He added, “Mrs. Spence imparted upon me a love for math that has carried me through my academic career thus far.”

Bossert has participated in soccer and crosscountry.  Bossert was a member of the Environmental Club, earned his Eagle Scout rank and currently serves as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. Bossert plans to study at University of California at Santa Barbara.  

• Bethany Letellier chose Colleen Goddard, her fifth and sixth grade teacher at Chamisa Elementary School, as her educator or distinction. Letellier said, “She is kind and caring, a passionate educator and an excellent listener.” She added, “She taught me proper etiquette, the importance of listening and most importantly respect for myself and others.”  

Letellier participated in the LAHS Choir, danced for 12 years with Dance Arts Los Alamos and was a member of the high school’s marching band. She has been serving to re-work and strengthen the LAPS policy on smoking and tobacco use under the Tobacco Task Force.  Letellier plans to attend Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan.

• Meghan Maes chose Diane Toups, her guidance counselor and Natural Helpers sponsor, as her educator or distinction. Maes said, “She is the most guiding, trustworthy and compassionate person I have met in LAPS.” She added, “I am so appreciative of her warm words and intelligent advice.”  

Maes has participated in tennis, was a Natural Helper and served as vice-president for the Haiti Rummage Sale. Maes plans to attend the University of New Mexico.   

• Alex Kirk chose Carol Busch, his third grade teacher at Piñon Elementary School, as his educator of distinction.

Kirk said, “She helped me understand – school first, then sports – she cared about me and prepared me for the future.” He added, “She really recognized all the different needs of her students, and I remember her baking with every one of her students during the summer.”  

Kirk has competed in basketball, baseball and soccer at LAHS.  He has participated in Los Alamos Youth Leadership for two years, helping with the overpass safety project and Wild Days. He was a member of the Key Club.  

Kirk plans to attend the University of New Mexico.

• Brooke Maxwell chose Paula Nichols, her choir director, as her educator of distinction. Maxwell said, “Since I stared choir in the eighth grade I have never heard her speak a harsh or unkind word.” Also, she said, “She strives to make her classes a positive and rewarding experience for everyone, and has taught me about music and shown me by example how a role model should act.”

Maxwell has participated in choir as well as in the Large Group Festival, Solo and Ensemble Festival. She was a member of National Honor Society and volunteered with the Empty Bowls project. Maxwell plans to attend Brigham Young University.