Sturgis Awards 2013 (Summer 2013)

Photographs of Awards Night are presented in a slideshow at the end of this article. In addition to the academic awards presented during Awards Night, there are several Sturgis awards that merit special recognition. At Sturgis West, two awards are presented: the Navigator Award and School Spirit Awards.  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. A description of the 2013 awards and recipients follows.

Sturgis West

Presented by Peter Steedman, Principal
Sturgis West School Spirit and Navigator Awards (l-r) Connor Mahoney , Beth Wahle, Ali Waithe and Charley Grossman

Sturgis West School Spirit and Navigator Awards
(l-r) Connor Mahoney , Beth Wahle, Ali Waithe and Charley Grossman

Navigator Award

2013 Navigator Award Recipients Beth Wahle and Charlie Grossman

2013 Navigator Award Recipients
Beth Wahle and Charlie Grossman

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 2013 Navigator Award winners are Charley Grossman and Cristina Wahle.

Charley Grossman, Class of 2014

Charlie Grossman embodies many aspects of the IB learner profile, but he has struck me as being an exceptionally “principled” person.  In the course of our experiences at the Human Rights Academy, Charlie showed a rare kind of leadership.  It is Charlie’s view that the mutual respect and empathy that are necessary for human rights activism must begin within the community of the activists themselves.  He reminded us that we must embody the changes we wish to inspire in others.  His powers of empathy speak to his sensitivity and imagination; these qualities are indispensable in the area of community development.  Charlie knows that changing people’s lives is more about relationships than about action plans. – Kristen Anthony, French

In Sicily, I saw Charley really embrace the idea of being an international learner. The way he interacted with Italian students and teachers was extremely poised and thoughtful. He asked countless questions about everything we were learning on the trip and made observations in the museums that far surpassed his peers. Charley was one of the few students who asked to address the entire group of Italian and American students to say how the experience really changed his life; his honesty was mature and mindful, something not a lot of peers his age wouldn’t be able to express. He is patient when working with others and does not ostracize or criticize people for being an individual; he has a way of making those around him feel more comfortable to be who they are. – Liz Moore, Music

Charley is the current President of Key Club, the student led service group. He is passionate about serving the local community, and he has been working on inspiring students to become engaged in issues of local and global concern. He leads student meetings with enthusiasm. After attending the annual district conference for Key Club, Charley and his club members came back with wonderful ideas. They have already started to follow through with their ideas as they coordinate a week of awareness surrounding the global issue of maternal/ neonatal tetanus. Charley understands the importance of awareness and education. He is also mature; Charley is able to grasp how service learning is a valuable asset to an educational community. – Jenn Walts, English

Charley Grossman is a leader in the classroom. He is always ready to participate and brings forth good energy in the classroom environment. He makes sure to take full responsibility for his work and complete quality work. – Erika Scott, Spanish

Cristina Wahle, Class of 2014

Christina is a quiet leader in the classroom.  Other students turn to her for help.  When we do group work I’ll match her with weaker students because I know she will do a great job of explaining things to them.  Christina is always cheerful. Rich Weida, Mathematics

Politeness, warmth, alacrity, a cheerful willingness to try new ideas.  A critical thinker who relishes the opportunity to learn. Pete Richenburg, Art

Christina is the epitome of positivity in everything she’s involved in and in her grace among her peers. She has a vibrancy and a joy about her that is just infectious and she makes everyone around her smile. Aside from her general demeanor, she inspires students around her to succeed beyond their own expectations. She is absolutely a bar-setter and the kind of person this world needs to keep others striving to be their best. – Liz Moore, Music

Christina is a team player who always will find the silver lining in a situation and share that with others. She has an inclusive spirit and will make sure that those she is working with understand the material that we are covering. Whenever I see Christina in the hallway, she is always extremely polite and will greet you with a smile on her face. Her positive attitude and strong work ethic are exemplary and she is a great person to be around.  – Lindsay Scott, Environmental Systems

Christina has been an integral part of the girls’ lacrosse team at Sturgis West for the last two years. Having never played lacrosse before, Christina determination to learn the skills necessary along with her natural athletic ability has made her one of the top players on the team and in the league.  In addition, Christina is a strong leader and sets a good example for her peers by leading by example. Every time Christina picks up her stick and steps on the field for either practice or game, she is giving 120%.  Her teammates and coaches can always count on her when the team needs someone to step up to alter the momentum of play.  The best part about Christina is that no matter what she is always dressed with a smile cultivating a positive environment for her team and anyone else around her.   – Coaches Edmonson & Weimer

Spirit Award

2013 Spirit Award Recipients

2013 Spirit Award Recipients
Connor Mahoney and Ali Waithe

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 2013 School Spirit Award winners are Connor Mahoney and Ali Waithe.

Connor Mahoney, Class of 2014

Connor Mahoney is one of the kindest, most caring students I have known.  Everyone wants to be friends with this young man.  He makes each individual in class or STAGE feel welcomed and important with his feedback, encouragement and positive attitude. Connor lights up the room. His personality, positive attitude and openness contribute so greatly to the school environment. He is a hard worker, and he is thankful for the education he is receiving. Connor really excels in leading the quiet and the strong members of a class. He has a positive way of challenging others’ ideas.  He embodies the IB learner profile. Connor is extremely conscious of his own strengths and weaknesses, as a player and as a student.  He works hard to excel at his strengths, and also to improve in his weaknesses.

Connor demonstrated great leadership ability by working with the full spectrum of players on the basketball team–helping the inexperienced players with pointers, encouraging the quieter kids to be more confident and speak out, holding back others when they became too outspoken in their criticism of others. – Matt Lee, History

His performances have dazzled us, whether on the basketball court or on STAGE, either as a young adult searching for his place in the world or as an old man working out relationship issues with his wife of 50 years. He has an amazing interpersonal sensibility that he is able to apply not only in relationships with fellow students, friends, coaches, and teachers but to his academics.

He is able to understand character motivation in a novel and historical inter-relationships between countries and leaders at an extremely insightful level.

He applies this emotional insight to move throughout the school with ease, creating opportunities to include people, share his own joys and struggles, and is a major contributing factor to the overall sense of belonging that all students have at West.

Ali Waithe, Class of 2014

Ali Waithe is an extremely mature and caring individual who purely wants the best from herself as well as those around her.  She loves Sturgis West and pours her heart and soul into it every day she is here.  She is always positive and takes the time to say hello to students from every class. Ali is an incredible role model to others, both young and old.

Ali is an ambassador; she is the face of the school.  You can’t open the doors without feeling her presence.  She asked to be here to meet new 9th grade students and their parents. Whenever we have visitors from across the U.S. and around the world, Ali is there representing our school.

As our SWAG Rep, Ali’s dedication to building school community has inspired us all!  Ali takes her role as SWAG Rep very seriously. She gets to advisory before anyone else and always greets everyone with a smile and some kind of personal encouragement.  Her enthusiasm is so sincere, it’s infectious!  She’s organized and dedicated to her leadership role.  She helps us all to remember we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. – Kristen Anthony, French

She is a leader and body of positive energy in our school that will be sorely missed after next year. In class, she often publicly points out how she enjoys the Sturgis ‘way of learning.’

Ali jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at West Villages Elementary School as a CAS activity. She has been instrumental as a leader of the volleyball court and in bringing the first ever school store to the Sturgis campus.

As one teacher said, “Ali breathes excitement into her classes, often inspiring those around her to wonder more about the world outside these walls and our responsibility to make a difference.  Her vivacious presence permeates our hallways as her genuine compassion and open-mindedness make everyone around her feel more comfortable to be themselves and to try new things.”

Sturgis East

William Sturgis Award

Presented by Eric Hieser, Executive Director

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 2013 William Sturgis Award winners are Ben Duncan and Lauren Clingan.

Ben Duncan, Class of 2013

Ben Duncan and Eric Hieser

Ben Duncan and Eric Hieser

Ben Duncan is a very high achiever who has taken an academic overload in the IB Diploma Programme with four Higher Level courses.  He is a scholar athlete, a school leader, and a musician.  He exemplifies the IB Learner Profile trait of Balance as he is just so talented and accomplished at everything he touches.  Teachers are amazed at the quality and depth of his work.  He is a real leader in the school who will be heading for Worcester Polytechnic University. This is truly a great day for Ben because he just scored the winning hit in the baseball game between Sturgis East and West this afternoon.

Lauren Clingan

Lauren Clingan

Lauren Clingan, Class of 2013

Lauren Clingan’s academic record is stellar as she brings a joy to whatever she is learning.  She exudes a genuine generosity of spirit in the way she helps others.  Her Guidance Counselor says that “she embodies every one of the ten IB Learner Profile traits as she embraces every opportunity to learn and grow as a human being.”  She brings a special kindness, empathy, and compassion to her interactions with others.  An amazing role model for all, students and adults alike! Lauren will be the third Sturgis student to attend New York University—Abu Dhabi, one of the most highly selective universities (accepting only 1-2% of applicants) on a four-year, all expenses paid scholarship.

Sara Sweeten

Sara Sweeten

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 2013 School Spirit Award winners are Sara Sweeten and Chris DeDecko.

Sara Sweeten, Class of 2013

The first things that come to one’s mind about Sara Sweeten are her amazing leadership and commitment to community service, and, according to her Guidance Counselor, Sara is the most exceptional student in these areas that she has worked with in her 24 years in education.  Confident, determined, mature, a great smile and an engaging personality, she hooks students into initiatives and entices them to give their best.  Many students and faculty have seen and benefitted from her leadership.  This year she had the honor of serving as Governor for the Key Clubs of New England and Bermuda District.  We are confidant Sara will continue to be a student leader at Dickinson College.

Chris DeDecko

Chris DeDecko

Chris DeDecko, Class of 2013

Chris DeDecko has been a dynamic leader in academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities.  He engages his peers in thoughtful and insightful discussions, and he was a real leader and driving force in athletics.  What a great fit he is for the IB–as he has embraced his cross cultural heritage.  Chris never knew a challenge or obstacle he did not want to take on.  He will be heading to a university in Canada or to Bentley University to study business.  We thank him for his leadership and commitment to the good of others.

Ryan King Award

Presented at Graduation by Carol Vari, Guidance Counselor

Mary Pawlusiak Receives the Ryan King Award

Mary Pawlusiak Receives the Ryan King Award

Ryan King is a Class of 2002 Sturgis alum who persevered through great adversity due to being hit by a car as she was crossing Main Street.  Her recovery was long and arduous, but her strength carried her through to graduation.  Ryan is now a high school teacher in southeastern Massachusetts.  The Ryan King Award winner is given a college scholarship by the Sturgis Parents Association.

The Ryan King Award is given to the graduating senior who most exhibits perseverance, determination, resolve and a positive attitude in their academic pursuits at Sturgis.

When you think about it, these qualities apply to all of the students graduating today:  they have all embraced the challenge of our IB curriculum, and despite occasional moments of doubt, have successfully completed their studies.

From the standpoint of our faculty, there is one student who most represents these qualities.  For this individual I would compare the journey through her high school years to a relay event, with a particularly rugged course.  Fortunately, this student has an uncanny ability to see and embrace opportunities and, at the most difficult junctures, has been open to the support that her teammates –teachers, guardians, co-workers and others – offered.  Her name is Mary Pawlusiak.

Through her own experience Mary came to see that “even small gestures can have a big impact.”  So rather than focus only on the rugged nature of her own relay course, Mary opened her heart and broadened her focus to include helping others.  Among her activities:  sending letters of support to active duty military personnel and coordinating the efforts of our Relay for Life team.

Mary, looking back I remember difficult times when you asked people to believe in you.  Those who know you believe in you.  More importantly, your journey has taught you to believe in yourself – your ability to persevere, to weather the demands of a particularly rugged course, and to change the world for the better, one step at a time.  Congratulations!

Gretchen Buntschuh Literary Scholarship Award

Presented at Graduation by Eric Hieser

Alicia Pollard

Alicia Pollard

Gretchen Buntschuh was a colleague of ours who taught English at Sturgis and influenced students and colleagues with her grace, insight and command of language.  Sadly, Gretchen died of pancreatic cancer in 2010.

The Gretchen Buntschuh Literary 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  Alicia Pollard.

Alicia’s Senior English teacher, Stephen McDowell, provided the following description of her writing: “Both precise and accurate, Alicia’s prose shows her sensitivity to language and to words themselves. She uses language with fluency and purpose.  Her talent was well-trained even before she entered Sturgis, but her concerted effort always to improve and express herself with art and clarity has made her a joy to teach.  Planning to major in English in college, Alicia will continue to succeed and grow as a gifted writer.  Her excellence as a writer is only surpassed, however, by her quality as a human being; it has been my honor to know her.”

Pollard BookIn addition to this $500 scholarship, Talin Bookbindery in Yarmouthport has donated a beautifully hand-bound collection of Alicia’s essays and articles written during her four years at Sturgis.  Talin hopes to inspire fine young writers to continue writing and to develop an appreciation for the ancient craft of bookbinding. Congratulations!

Each year since the Buntschuh scholarship began in 2010, Jim Talin and Pamela Talin-Bryant of Talin Bookbindery have generously donated a hand-bound book of selected writings to the winner. For more information about Talin Bookbindery, see:  Nicole Muller’s article – “Old-time Art Practiced at Yarmouth Port Bindery:”

To see how Talin Bookbindery makes marbled paper, check out their fascinating video, Turkish Marbling at Talin Bookbindery:

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