KALAMAZOO COUNTY, MI — Nearly 50 Kalamazoo-area high school seniors were awarded college scholarships and honored for their educational excellence.
The Excellence in Education program awarded 44 Kalamazoo County high school seniors $1,000 scholarships, according to a news release from Kalamazoo County Regional Educational Service Agency.
“The Kalamazoo area has a long history of educational excellence and innovation, so it is fitting that we continue the tradition of honoring those practices through the Excellence in Education program,” said committee chairperson Keevin O’Neill, superintendent of Vicksburg Community Schools.
The program also awarded nine Educator Incentive Grants, which provide funding for teachers and administrators in Kalamazoo County schools to explore new ideas, enhance teaching styles and motivate their students, the release said.
Schools and businesses across the state are closed and events are being canceled to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Many high school seniors are grieving the loss of their final weeks of high school as districts moved to remote learning plans, and as residents across the country are following social distancing guidelines and avoiding contact with others, including friends and family.
The pandemic has also resulted in most all events being canceled or postponed, including KRESA’s annual awards banquet.
“As the result of the COVID-19, the annual Excellence in Education Banquet has been canceled, but it remains important to recognize these high achievers for their academic accomplishments,” KRESA spokesperson Carolann Hall said.
Related: Kalamazoo teachers adapt to new normal during coronavirus pandemic
The program was designed in 1986 to highlight academic and professional excellence in graduating high school seniors and educators within Kalamazoo-area schools.
The Excellence in Education program is supported by a permanent endowment established at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Funding for the endowment was raised through the Monroe-Brown Foundation, with support from other local foundations, businesses, organizations and individuals, the release said.
Among this year’s winners are a dozen Kalamazoo Public Schools students — six from Kalamazoo Central High School and six more from Loy Norrix High School. Seniors from Portage, Gull Lake, Comstock, Galesburg-Augusta, Parchment, Schoolcraft and Vicksburg high schools are also among those awarded scholarships. Seniors from Kalamazoo Christian High School, Hackett Catholic Prep and Heritage Christian Academy are also among the winners.
The 2020 student scholarship winners:
• Simon Swager, Climax-Scotts High School
• Jeme Richards, Comstock High School
• Zoe Vandrey, Comstock High School
• Daniel Chatman, Galesburg-Augusta High School
• Jayne Flynn, Gull Lake High School
• Sydney Free, Gull Lake High School
• Kendra Hagey, Gull Lake High School
• Alaina Hiemstra, Gull Lake High School
• Katherine Harpenau, Hackett Catholic Prep
• Olivia Calnin, Heritage Christian Academy
• Ethan Fonger, Kalamazoo Central High School
• Isabelle Hawkes, Kalamazoo Central High School
• Alyxandria Hough, Kalamazoo Central High School
• Daniel Nguyen, Kalamazoo Central High School
• Cormac Roth, Kalamazoo Central High School
• Charity Sidwell, Kalamazoo Central High School
• Garrett Mallak, Kalamazoo Christian High School
• Adonia Alexopoulos, Loy Norrix High School
• Riley Dominianni, Loy Norrix High School
• Lily Dorstewitz, Loy Norrix High School
• Nathan Goodwin-Kelly, Loy Norrix High School
• Carly Loken, Loy Norrix High School
• Antoinette Puca, Loy Norrix High School
• Celia Kuch, Parchment High School
• Syed Mustafa, Parchment High School
• Ethan Lee, Portage Central High School
• Ranya Liu, Portage Central High School
• Julia Strauss, Portage Central High School
• Chase Szafranski, Portage Central High School,
• Kevin Wang, Portage Central High School
• Jessica Zhang, Portage Central High School
• Zachary Zlomek, Portage Central High School
• Riley Carlson, Portage Northern High School
• Grace Fan, Portage Northern High School
• Malcolm Gaynor, Portage Northern High School
• Jack Langejans, Portage Northern High School
• Aayush Mohanty, Portage Northern High School
• Arjav Patel, Portage Northern High School
• Jonah Pilnick, Portage Northern High School
• Andrew Smedley, Schoolcraft High School
• Dani Warnaar, Schoolcraft High School
• Jenna Beach, Vicksburg High School
• Lindsay Fleck, Vicksburg High School
• Dawnara Rollins, Vicksburg High School
2020 Educator Incentive Grants:
• Christine Webb, teacher at Kalamazoo Christian Middle School
• Robin Greymountain, Homeless Liaison & Title I Literacy Facilitator at Kalamazoo Public Schools
• Carrie Cook, music teacher at Kalamazoo Public Schools
• Mikel Vallier, math consultant at KRESA
• Hillary Campbell, Cathy Stone, Marcy Patterson from Parchment Public Schools
• Amy Sue Manley, media specialist at Parchment Public Schools
• Kim Palms, teacher at Parchment Public Schools
• Jim Bartz, music teacher at Portage Northern High School
• Donya Dobbin, teacher at Schoolcraft High School
For more information on the program and the senior scholarship winners, visit kresa.org.
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