MAHOMET — “Champions” aren’t only the best athletes, the top academic achievers or those who excel in the arts. Sometimes a “champion” is someone who does little things that help others in a big way.
The Mahomet-Seymour High School PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) team on April 11 recognized 10 students at its twice-a-year “Breakfast of Champions.” According to school leaders, the program aims to honor students “who exhibit positive qualities in extracurricular activities, classroom behavior or educational experiences.”
The students, nominated by a teacher or other educator, are considered “unsung heroes” of the school. Following are the honored students; the educators who nominated them; and some of the reasons they received PBIS kudos.
Student: Dalton DeMay
Teacher: Dean Ekberg
Dalton is a kid who has made huge strides throughout his high school career, especially his senior year. These strides were seen both in the classroom and in his swimming and diving. He improved by leaps and bounds throughout his four years on the swimming team. His classwork has greatly improved from earlier in his high school career; he is earning all A’s this semester. Dalton’s ability to improve and grow as he has matured in high school is why I nominated him for this award.
Student: Dana Schaumann
Teacher: Diane Guth
Dana Schaumann has handled adjusting to high school with more grace and skill than most students demonstrate. By starting the Writer’s Block club at the high school, she not only shares her great passion for writing with others, she has collected a group of friends who all gain a strong sense of belonging from their shared interest. It is rare to find a student who brings people together for such a noble and enriching purpose, and she does so through hard work and determination. Many have benefited so much from Dana’s instruction and company and are able to enjoy her enthusiasm and added sense of humor along the way.
Student: Yinaun Liang
Teacher: Diane Guth
Yinaun Liang is an exceptional worker and uses diverse talents with flawless skill. While adapting to a second language she is conscientious in her study and excels in difficult language concepts that can sometimes cause difficulties for native speakers. She assimilates artistic abilities in many areas to show understanding of the written word and the ability to express that thought in different mediums, using art in ways that speak and share the same idea in a new way. Her commitment to excellence is inspiring and admirable and will make her a champion wherever life takes her.
Student: Mimi Davis
Teacher: Scott Cebulski
Mimi Davis has the unique ability to instill joy and happiness to those around her as well as a sincere desire to do so. I have found that these qualities have improved the learning and lives of those in my classroom, and for that I am indebted to her. I nominated her for the Breakfast of Champions award for these skills, but I also did it because when a very close family member of hers was hospitalized because of life-threatening injuries, she managed to continue to show the same amount of care and empathy toward others that she had done throughout the year. I was simply awed by her inner strength and perseverance in the face of great personal tragedy.
Student: Riley Watson
Teacher: Dan Ryan
I nominated Riley for this honor because of her behind-the-scenes investment in two students new to MSHS this year. Both have endured hardships this year, and Riley entered their story, supported them through these adversities in difference-making ways and brightened their school year in the process. She didn’t do this because it was easy — it certainly wasn’t — she did it because she saw two people who were simply worth it. She has this rare capacity to invest in other people. She understands that being a mentor is not so much a title as a way of life.
Student: Madeleine Claire McNulty
Teacher: Rhonda Ehrecke
The late Madeleine Claire McNulty brought much joy, happiness, energy, fun, love, and life to all who knew her. She taught us to seize the moment, do the things we want to do, say the things we want to say, live right here, right now, and have no regrets. Her spirit of joy, happiness, and positivity lives on through all who met her. Her sense of humor was epic.
Student: Adam Von Holten
Teacher: Justine Hellmer
I nominated Adam because he is an extra special Bulldog Buddy. He volunteers in our room during his advisory, study hall, assists me in taking Young Adult Program students to football/basketball games, and even mentors one of my students at their youth group in Grace Church of Mahomet. Adam is a phenomenal Bulldog Buddy and my students adore him because Adam does NOT see them at face value or let their disabilities define them. Adam sees my students for who they are, which are hard workers, athletes and regular high school students that just want to be included and have fun.
Student: Lydia Schable
Teacher Shauna Gough
I nominated Lydia Schable for this award because she is the type of powerful leader our young people need to have in their midst. She took some real risks in our speech communications class to speak from the heart and open a door for safe discussion of sensitive topics, and I admire her for that. I have so much respect and admiration for her. She continues to amaze me with her positive attitude.
Student: Samantha Hamilton
Teacher: Kim Lavin
“Sam I Am!” This Dr. Seuss quote may be small in words, but powerful and fitting for Samantha Hamilton. Sam never fails to give a warm greeting to me and her classmates each day. She is also very observant and empathetic to those in need. Sam is very involved with extracurricular activities in and outside of school including her lead role in the musical “Mulan” and her role as Sharpay in “High School Musical” (both musicals sponsored by the Penguin Project). She also had a role in “Les Miserables” this spring.
Student: JD Zindars
Teacher: Nic DiFilippo
JD goes out of his way to help the other people around him. He has a true love for his classmates. He cheers others on and always has a positive attitude.