Sturgis Awards (Summer 2012)

In addition to the academic awards presented during Awards Night, there are several Sturgis awards that merit special recognition. At Sturgis East, four awards are presented each year to graduating seniors: the William Sturgis Award, School Spirit Award, Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Scholarship Award and Ryan King Award. Sturgis West created two awards this year: the Navigator Award and School Spirit Awards.  A description of the 2012 awards and recipients follows. 

Sturgis East

William Sturgis Award

The William Sturgis Award is given to one boy and one girl who, in the opinion of classmates and faculty, embody the positive attitude and exemplary conduct represented by the Sturgis Code of Conduct and Rules to Live By.  The 2012 William Sturgis Award winners are Zach Fayne and Anna Lieberman.

Zach Fayne

Zach Fayne

Zach has a passion for academics and a gift for leadership.  He has been described as one of the most caring, thoughtful, and open-minded students in our school. He exemplifies the work habits and personal characteristics Sturgis seeks to develop.  Not only is he respected and admired by students and faculty, he is immensely well liked for his authenticity, easy going nature and engaging sense of humor.   Zach has a talent for putting people at ease and bringing out the best in those around him.  He uses his gifts to serve the greater good at Sturgis, in the Cape Cod community and in the world.

Zach’s experience in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program has been transformative from both an academic and personal perspective.  He’s a consistent achiever and actively engaged learner who positively influences his classmates.

Zach also demonstrates leadership on a regular basis as a contributing member of Sturgis athletic teams.  During his four years, Zach played golf and basketball at the varsity level.  He was instrumental in leading the golf team to the state tournament as a player and second year captain of the team.

Zach’s achievements, awards, and committee appointments illustrate the respect accorded to him within the Sturgis community. Last year, he was chosen as the Sturgis student representative for the Boys State conference in June. This year, Zach was selected as the sole nominee for the Comcast Leaders & Achievers Award based upon grades, leadership and service to the school and community, ultimately winning the scholarship award. In November of 2010, Zach was one of five students invited to serve on a task force to comply with new Massachusetts anti-bullying legislation. He quickly emerged as a student leader on the task force, working hard on research and offering kind and sympathetic perspectives. He jumped at the opportunity to serve on this committee and his contributions were central to the development of the Sturgis anti-bullying plan. Zach was a member of the Sturgis World Challenge Expedition Group that travelled to Costa Rica in June and voted by his peers as one of the group leaders. In typical Zach fashion he rose to the challenge.  The trip leaders were immensely impressed by his willingness to step up and carry extra gear while offering words of encouragement to his peers. Last summer, Zach accompanied his uncle on a trip to Haiti.  Despite the disease and poverty he witnessed, he saw the hope of the Haitian people; this experience opened his eyes to his responsibilities as a global citizen. Zach wants to give back and we can easily see him working for a humanitarian organization one day.

Anna Lieberman Addresses Class of 2012

Anna Lieberman

Anna is a dynamic, gifted student who is recognized for her depth of  thought as well as her altruistic actions.  She is regarded by several teachers as one of the most intellectually gifted students they have taught.  She sets a high level of discourse, fueled by her curiosity, determination, voracious reading and commitment to social justice. The rigor of the full IB Diploma route is a hefty undertaking.  Anna excels in all areas of study and structures her time in ways that enable her to extend herself into our co-curricular activities and make a significant commitment to the greater community on Cape Cod.

As a sophomore, Anna took the lead in promoting humanism and understanding by initiating the visit of a Holocaust survivor to Sturgis and creating forums for dialogue based on their presentation.  On many occasions over the years,  she has spoken for the minority viewpoint, educating others in a compassionate and never egotistical way.

Within the Model United Nations Club, Anna collects and distributes relevant articles and source materials to groups in preparation for practices and debates.  Anna is a leader of the Sturgis Gay Straight Alliance. Beyond Sturgis, Anna is the Director of Public Relations and Cape-wide Coordinator of the Cape and Islands Gay Straight Youth Alliance (CIGSYA).  She has led the teen board to focus deeply on their work and has created a serious, professional atmosphere to accomplish the goals set. Anna has been a volunteer at CIGSYA for years. She was inspired by her family’s commitment to advancing social justice, growing up listening to her father talk about his work (as a rabbi) with the Gay and Lesbian Equity Fund and CIGSYA.  She has created an egalitarian environment and is teaching others the skills they will need to move forward in their future endeavors.  This year she gave her time to speak with ninth grade classes during the Signs of Suicide program, offering a fresh viewpoint from a peer perspective on keeping friends safe.

Anna is an artist with a variety of talents. She is a songwriter, plays acoustic guitar and is devoted to the Sturgis theatre program. She works behind the scenes even when she is cast in a role (which is often!).  She works exceptionally well with others and demonstrates great maturity and a professional attitude. Anna will be remembered at Sturgis for her many talents, including her skills as a great listener, creative thinker and most of all, her drive to affect positive social change.

Sturgis Spirit Award

The Sturgis Spirit Award is given to one boy and one girl who, in the opinion of classmates and faculty, contribute to fostering school spirit through their enthusiasm, positive attitude and concern for others both within and beyond the classroom. The 2012 School Spirit Award winners are Fallin Dennen and Connor Read.

Fallin Dennen

Fallin Dennen  

From the first day Fallin walked through the doors at Sturgis, she was every teacher’s dream student – interested and engaged in learning, positively influencing other students, remarkably mature with an exceptional work ethic and a genuine intellectual curiosity. She instantly earned the respect of her teachers and peers. She listens carefully to others during class discussion and is always respectful and tolerant of different viewpoints.  She displays a wisdom and maturity well beyond her years.

Beyond academics, Fallin enjoys a rich co-curricular life encompassing school and community.  She has been dancing for thirteen years, competes with her dance company and has won numerous awards including the Ovations 2010 award.  Active in school and community theatre, she won the 2011 Massachusetts high school drama guild acting award. In addition to dance and theatre, Fallin played four years of soccer and two years of lacrosse at Sturgis, winning multiple awards in the categories of most improved player and two sportsmanship awards. She is affectionately known as “mom” by her soccer teammates for the warmth and nurturing extended to her fellow players and was selected to represent Sturgis at the 2011 Massachusetts Sportsmanship Conference.

Fallin manages the competing demands of her busy schedule with apparent ease.  She is confident yet demonstrates a spirit of humility in all she undertakes.  What especially endears Fallin to peers and teachers is her integrity and kindness toward everyone. Fallin is an outstanding student, leader, athlete, and school citizen.  She leaves Sturgis a better place because of her many contributions.

Connor Read

Connor Read

Connor Read is a young man with incredible presence.  Even as a freshman he exuded the empathy, poise and reliability that one would expect in an individual many years his senior.  He is an enthusiastic member of the Sturgis community, and a student who can be counted on to implement community service projects to which he feels a strong allegiance.  Connor fully commits to anything he signs up for, and was quickly identified by faculty and peers as an effective leader.  Whether it is serving as Co-Director for STAGE or President of Student Council, Connor serves as a positive role model for others.  He has a natural ability to communicate a vision and the enthusiasm necessary to see a project through.

Academically, Connor has worked hard to develop the critical thinking and analytical skills necessary to successfully pursue an IB Diploma.  A positive influence in the classroom, Connor has learned to take academic risks and willingly sharing ideas even in the face of uncertainty.  He is an insightful, able communicator who brings energy to class discussions.

Connor displays a genuine interest in and truly cares for all students at Sturgis.  He listens to the concerns and opinions of everyone and, in true team-player fashion, strives to arrive at a decision that will best serve all involved.  In Student Council he quietly works to promote understanding among the many different perspectives that come to the table, and he brings this same commitment to all his endeavors.   His willingness to hear the perspectives of everyone involved resulted in one of our smoothest theater productions:  where cast and crew of different ages and perspectives congealed into a very cohesive unit.  While he gravitates toward understanding and harmony, Connor will also shoulder the responsibility for less popular decisions that require the strength of someone with solid moral fiber. He has developed the habits of mind and person that will make him a successful member of communities and society at large.

Aaron Meister

Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Award (Presented at Graduation by Eric Hieser)

Gretchen Buntschuh (1938 – 2010) was a poet and educator who retired from Sturgis but returned to work because she missed the energy of the school. She excelled not only in the teaching of creative writing and thinking, but also served as an excellent administrator and exceptional leader, and played a pivotal role in establishing the school’s charter certification and International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

The Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Scholarship is inspired by Ms. Buntschuh’s own words – “I love beautiful words.  I love to dance through the language.” This $500 scholarship is awarded each year to a graduating senior who has demonstrated a genuine interest in literature and love of language. Following thoughtful deliberation, the scholarship committee and English Department faculty feel the senior who best embodies the spirit of Ms. Buntschuh’s gift and passion for language is Aaron Meister. In addition to awarding the scholarship to Aaron, Mr. Hieser also presented him with a beautifully hand-bound collection of essays and poetry he had written during his 4 years at Sturgis.

Selected Writings of Aaron Meister
Donated by Talin Bookbindery of Yarmouthport

Talin Bookbindery in Yarmouthport has generously donated a hand-bound book of selected writings to each winner of the literary scholarship. Jim Talin and Pamela Talin-Bryant hope to inspire fine young writers to continue writing and to develop an appreciation for the ancient craft of bookbinding.

For more information about Talin Bookbindery, see:  Nicole Muller’s article – “Old-time Art Practiced at Yarmouth Port Bindery:”

Please consider supporting the Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Scholarship. Donations can be made by check payable to Sturgis Charter Public School with Buntschuh Scholarship on memo line.

Ryan King Award (Presented at Graduation by Daniel McKay)

Alexander Dufault and Daniel McKay
Photo by Vincent DeWitt for the Barnstable Patriot

The Ryan King Award is given to the graduating senior who exhibits perseverance, determination, resolve, and a positive attitude in their academic pursuits at Sturgis.  Ryan miraculously recovered completely from a horrendous auto accident while at Sturgis — helped by the support and prayers of the Sturgis community especially its students and teachers.  This year’s recipient of the award embodies this spirit as the following little allegory will enlighten.   Not at first glance, the face of a warrior,   on many occasions this young has had to put on his suit of armor and go out to battle.  Once out the front door, the sometimes overwhelming “slough of despond” stood in his way.  He vaulted over it—-in cross country runner fashion.  Then he met his share of Giants along the way.  He had to look “Fear and Doubt “in the eye many times.  Though they seemed larger than life this young man did not back down, but stood his ground.  When he fell down and things were not going his way, the giant “Deceiver” said stay down because it is an easier less painful way.  Of course his companion “Procrastinator” wasn’t exactly a big help with his “you can do it later” (repeat) mantra. It seemed the only fellow left to help him out was “Obstinate”  who maintained  that by doing things  the same old way  (even if it does not work) would someday produce a different result —we know how that was going to turn out.  These three friends, I mean fiends, did not deter our young combatant.  Because of not being able to run, he became an assistant coach.   Lacking instant academic success, he found another way to succeed, the “Touche Turtle” approach to life.  This famous little shelled creature (who knew?) with sword in hand, he switched from slice to dice and kept the giants “Feeble Mind” and “Ready to Halt” at bay.  He reached into his pocket to find “confidence” and noticed a hole instead— much to his chagrin.  This  slowed him down for a period of time—  so How did our protagonist fair in this battle of the mind – get to the finish line?—–He  learned no one wins a war by himself.  He became a good friend to those around him—someone you could count on daily to show up and a source of encouragement.  His field generals, a support team of teachers, coaches, tutors, advisors,  and of course gas station attendants tried to keep his tank full—you can’t run on little or no fuel.  Even Thomas the Tank Engine needs a coal tender.  He actually listened to the adults around him who” he” thought had his best interests at heart—a gift many his age do not always possess.  He has a supportive mom which did not “hurt” a bit.  He showed up, he trusted, and held on to his dream with both hands and feet—-when at the end of his rope ,he tied a knot and hung on. And something else we all may learn from this award winner—you humble yourself.  You ask for help!  You “purpose in your heart”, show up, and then see what happens. The winner of the Ryan King Award 2012, Alex DuFault, whose motto is “I can because I must.”

Sturgis West

Navigator Award

The Navigator Award is given to one boy and one girl who, in the opinion of classmates and faculty, embody leadership, a positive attitude and exemplary conduct.  By their actions and influence, they have made a significant impact on Sturgis West. The 2012 Navigator Award winners are Finn Swenson and Gabrielle Healy.

Finn Swenson

Finn Swenson

Finn chose to re-do his sophomore year, even though he had the opportunity to be the starting catcher for Harwich Varsity baseball this year. He has excelled academically in our highest math class, Algebra II/Trig, History and English. His teachers express how this young man lights up a classroom. His confidence, compassion and humor are so evident that he relaxes all around him. He easily floats between freshmen and sophomores. Being the first class in a new school back in September left many students feeling new and strange.  Within weeks classes started to gel and thought of themselves as a unit – in no small part to this boy finding smiles and connections between them. He played soccer, baseball and was an active member of the Surf Club. He was an outstanding leader on the baseball field, dedicated to improving himself and his teammates in a kind way.  Finn is the first one to practice and the last one to leave.  He leads by example through his hard work and devotion to the game.  He goes about his business the right way and is the first to volunteer to teach a new skill to his teammates.  He was an excellent assistant coach.

Finn was instrumental in getting the Sturgis West Advisory Council off the ground. He helped with many school projects including a turkey drive during Thanksgiving, clothing for the homeless and school dances. It is very appropriate he receives this award because Finn was the one who suggested the Sturgis West mascot name “Navigators” that was selected and approved by the Sturgis Board of Directors.

Gabrielle Healy

Gabrielle Healy

Gabrielle excels in the classroom as a highly motivated and enthusiastic learner.  You can always count on her to ask the important “why” questions. She is currently doing college level analysis in US History as a sophomore in high school.  She takes it on initially as a challenge, but ends up pursuing it out of interest. Her English teachers describe her as a dynamo in the classroom.  She is always fully engaged with our texts and a leader in discussion. On stage, she recently gave an impassioned performance as Belva Summers in Lottery.

Not only is Gabrielle a great student, she is also actively involved in the school.  She takes on a lot of responsibilities and sincerely cares about seeing them through to completion. Gabrielle’s enthusiasm is contagious.  She served on the Sturgis West Advisory Council all year and was a huge reason why the council was a success.  She is a confident and insightful leader who encourages her peers to take action. She was a key player and leader in both soccer and lacrosse. She showed up everyday to practice and games ready to perform.  She always demonstrated support and encouragement for her teammates, especially during those tough conditioning practices.  She dedicated her time to improving her game during and outside of practices and making her teammates better.  She does all of this while sporting a smile.

Gabrielle displays critical thinking, empathy, well-reasoned risk-taking, and all of the ingredients for an exemplary student and citizen of the world.

Spirit Award

The School Spirit Award is given to one boy and one girl who, in the opinion of classmates and faculty, contribute to fostering school spirit through their enthusiasm, positive attitude and concern for others both within and beyond the classroom. The 2012 School Spirit Award winners are Julia Marquette and  Jesse Newcombe.

Julia Marquette

Julia Marquette

Julia’s positive energy is infectious. Her English teacher said: “She is deserving of all the metaphors of the solar system. In class and out, she is the sun, which shines on everything and encourages growth and joy in all its rays touch. She is an eager contributor to classroom discussions, not only expressing her own ideas eloquently but more importantly, managing the contributions of classmates to unify the group.”

Outside of class, she is equally stellar. She constantly uses her positive, outgoing manner for the betterment of all, organizing activities through SWAG and encouraging her friends, peers, and classmates to band together for both fun and good.  As a talented dancer and cheerleader, she stepped up as a leader on the cheerleading squad and helped the less experienced girls.  She has played an active role on the Advisory Council during second semester.  She is a natural leader, the kind whose effervescent personality and ideas are irresistible. She has made Sturgis West a better community and we are lucky to have her in our lives.

Jesse Newcombe

Jesse Newcombe

Jesse’s smile and positive energy has transformed Sturgis West this year. Early on, one of our key questions was: “Even though the Artifacts building was less than ideal – would we be able to get the culture right?” Jesse gets the culture right. He is the living embodiment of Eric Hieser’s phrase: “Buildings don’t make schools, people make schools.” This young man has helped to make our school. When he is not is class, students and teachers are aware of his absence. His soccer coach and history teacher said: “He is an incredibly welcoming and inclusive student. I have never seen or heard him say a cruel word to a peer. He is always friendly and upbeat.  In this way, he’s had a positive effect on the school all year long – both in and out of the classroom, as well as on the soccer field.” His Latin teacher describes him as a “spirited young man! He changes the nature of a room with his strong positive presence, sense of humor, and maturity. He is always respectful to his teachers and classmates, and he greets and thanks his teachers before and after every class.”

Jesse was instrumental in getting students involved in One Day/One Goal. He could be seen leading the charge in his Advisory during Spirit Week. His Advisor and Biology teacher said of him: “On more than one occasion, his smile has completely transformed my day – life’s little trials simply slide into insignificance as they are no match for his optimism and sincerity.  Whether it be in bio class or advisory, his absence is immediately not just noticed but felt- his jubilance has become like a contagious virus that we are all addicted to catching.”

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