Hononegah seniors presented with scholarships
Photos of students through the years were shown on a screen before scholarships were awarded on Thursday, May 12 at Hononegah's Scholarship Night. Purple and gold balloons lined each side of the Performing Arts Center stage.
Hononegah High School principal Chad Dougherty gave a warm welcome to students and parents. "Scholarships from the overall community and a partnership with the Community Foundation brings the total of all scholarships to $66,500 from this community for these kids," Dougherty said.
Dougherty recognized students for their achievements with thanks to them and local businesses for being sterling examples. “You inspire me and you inspire us all. Thank you, students and parents. These children would not be here without the support you provided... We have 26 organizations giving out 36 awards; you put the community in Hononegah Community High School.”
Dougherty gave special recognition to scholarship coordinator Mrs. Stephanie Ballard and added, “Many communications were required to organize this night. We are extremely proud of these young men and women. Whatever you choose to pursue, I am sure you will excel,” Dougherty said.
HCHS School Board president Dave Kurlinkus said, “This is the beginning of the celebration for the senior class. On May 28 graduation is being held at the BMO Harris Bank Center... Thank you to the families and to the donors... It has been a time like no other; you not only survived, you excelled and tonight you are being awarded for excellence in academics and community action. You will use these scholarships after you leave Hononegah... To the donors, without your generosity to honor these students in a monetary award is absolutely phenomenal. Students, you are going to go a long way when you walk down these halls for the last time.”
Mrs. Ballard thanked parents, family and friends; “Tonight is a celebration where students will reap the rewards.”
The first award of the night was the American Legion Riders scholarship given by Willie Conklin. Recipients were Dale McKinney and Dylan Paccagnini.
Kevin Finnegan, principal of Prairie Hill Elementary School, awarded the Prairie Hill Staff Association Scholarship to Melinda Touvannas and Landon Wright. Both students previously attended Prairie Hill. Each was recognized for their hard work and were also chosen based on written essays.
The Prairie Hill Federation of Teachers # 133 scholarship was presented by Andrea Cox of Prairie Hill School District Teachers Union. Elsie Phommachanh was this year's recipient.
The recipient of this scholarship is determined by academic achievement, leadership skills, volunteer and community involvement.
Nicole Walker of the Roscoe Parent Teacher Organization presented the Roscoe PTO Service Award. This award was chosen through a personal essay, volunteer activities, a letter of recommendation, service, academics and creative writing skills. This year's recipient Brayden Smith has shown a passion for others by helping people live better lives. Smith is also an athlete, has led student organizations, and has engaged in civic action. He is also an Eagle Scout who plans to go into zoology.
Stephanie Ballard presented on behalf of the Rockton School District #140 the PTO Service Award to Tayden Bertrand and Payton Bird.
Vicki Burst of the Shirland PTO announced the Shirland School Graduating Scholar winners- Jessie Wieland and Dale McKinney.
Rotary President Mike Dugan shared the Rotary's background before presenting Delaney Harris with the Rockton-Roscoe Rotary Outstanding Youth award.
Tami Verstraete awarded Arun Kumar with the Dr. Loomis/ Rockton Lions Club Scholarship.
John Martin of Roscoe Lions Club presented Sydney Fago and Natalie Mar with scholarships.
Clark Schoonover presented the Rock Energy Cooperative Scholarship to Arun Kumar and Dylan Paccagnini.
Elijah Wartgow of Parker Hannifin Corporation Accumulator & Cooler Division presented the Parker Hannifin Engineering Scholarship to Ryanne Bronnimann.
In his brother's honor and memory, Brian Hansmeier awarded Sydney Fago and Jessie Wieland recipients of the Todd Hansmeier Memorial Scholarship. Todd Hansmeier was tragically taken from his family and friends in 2014. "Since then we have given out over $15,000 in scholarships," Brian said. Hansmeier gave special thanks to the Rockton Lions Club for their support through donations. “One of Todd's favorite expressions was 'Go Big or Go Home,' so we are handing out big checks,” Hansmeier said.
Marge Bauch of Roscoe Rock & Sand and Jim Blevins of State Farm Insurance represented elev815. The organization awarded 14 scholarships to Ryan Anderson, Madison Bunger, Gabriela Cotone, Madyson Dobnick, Ashley Edwards, Sydney Fago, Delaney Harris, Colton Heinrich, Brigham Molaner, Keira Shannon, Marina Way, Issac Whisenand, Jessie Wieland and Eliason Wilson. Several elev815 members delivered scholarships to each recipient's home in a six car parade.
Stephanie Ballard presented on behalf of the Hendricks Career Tek Scholarship to Maddisyn Hess-Schroder and Chloe Piper.
Officer Nicole Papworth, scholarship chair of the Rockton Police Association, and Adam Cox awarded Sofia Pina and Autumn Clark the Jaimie Cox Memorial Scholarship. Officer Cox was a graduate of Hononegah High School and a military veteran.
Kevin Selover presented the William R. Brasky Business Scholarship to Bailey Vincer.
Brian Zimmerman, representing Friends of Steve Stromquist announced the recipient of the Steve Stromquist Outstanding Science Student- Mary Miller. This year marked the ninth that this scholarship was given.
Board of Education President Kurlinkus was joined on stage by Gayle Haab to present the Hononegah Board of Education Scholarship. Bridget Schindler was awarded this scholarship. Haab explained a “challenge coin will be given along with the scholarship. The challenge coin began in the military,” Haab said. This scholarship originated under former Superintendent Lynn Gibson, former Assistant Superintendent Kim Suedbeck, and Haab who is a retired teacher in the Kinnikinnick School District. “Leadership is not a person, it is an action,” Haab added.
In memory of his father, a longtime teacher and coach at HCHS, Eric Weber awarded the Larry Weber Baseball Award- Larry Weber Memorial to Bryce Goodwine.
Stephanie Ballard awarded Bailey Vincer with the Alumnus of HCHS Award. This goes to a student who has displayed activism and advocacy.
Next Generation of Business Leaders- Alumnus of HCHS went to Sophia Neuenshwander, presented by principal Chad Dougherty.
Kary Krebs of the Walter Graham American Legion Post #332 presented Olivia Repka with a scholarship. Krebs shared, “Doc Loomis was my mentor and principal at the high school. The Loomis Library is named after him.”
The Zeta Chapter – Delta Kappa Gamma Memorial Award was given to Olivia Repka and presented by Stephanie Ballard. Repka also was honored with the Howard and Eithal Curry Elementary Education Recruitment Grant.
Hononegah Education Association President Chad Smith presented Delaney Harris, Olivia Repka and Bridget Schindler with scholarships. “This scholarship hopes to encourage recipients to go into teaching as a career,” Smith said.
English department chair and Golden Apple winning teacher Jean Chambers honored three students with the Fred Peterson Memorial Scholarship. Mr. Peterson taught at Hononegah for over 30 years before his retirement. Madison Bunger, Elizabeth Chambers and Addison Treadman were recipients of this scholarship.
Stephanie Ballard presented a scholarship on behalf of the Alpine Kiwanis to Dylan Paccagnini. Paccagnini was recognized for improving the quality of life through service, scholastic and extracurricular achievement.
At the conclusion of scholarship night, a nice reception was held in the PAC lobby.