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by Dr. Abby Elliott,
The following students were inducted into the Parnassus Chapter of the National Honor Society at Mount Ayr Community High School on November 24:
Halsie Barnes, Linsie Barnes, Brady Bickel, Becca Dolecheck, Joie Gallo, Alexis Greenland, Jillian Kniep, Jaydon Knight, Zoey Larsen, Raines Sackett, Natalie Schaefer, Kaylie Shields, Madison Shields, Tegan Streit, Josie Vanderflught, Shelby Vandermark, Kaylun Victor, and Mallory Weehler.
In order for a student to be eligible for the National Honor Society they must have a four-semester grade point average of 3.6.
All students meeting this qualification are invited to apply for membership. A faculty committee considers student applications, focusing on the student’s service to the school and community, leadership skills, and character.
Students receiving favorable application reviews are recommended for induction. Current NHS members drafted the following introductions for the newly selected members, which were delivered during the ceremony.
Halsie Barnes (Introduction by Maddie Stewart)
Halsie Barnes is the 12th grade daughter of Shannon and Tracy Barnes. A quote from one of her teachers states: “Halsie has truly gone above and beyond. We all hear her voice, but what is more than her voice, is the passion and care that drive her words. She is a person who truly cares about those she works with.” Throughout high school, Halsie has been involved in numerous activities including softball, FCA, Raider Vision, SOS, and more. She has been recognized with multiple awards for Speech contest and as Academic all-conference multiple times, as well as being named to the A honor roll. We are happy to welcome our new NHS Chapter inductee, Halsie Barnes. Congratulations Halsie!
Linsie Barnes (Introduction by Chloe Saville)
Linsie Jo Barnes is the 11th grade daughter of Shannon & Tracy Barnes. According to one of Linsie’s teachers: “Linsie is an extremely hard worker in all that she does. She is one to brighten someone’s day with her positive humor. She can always put a smile on someone’s face.” Linsie is a four-sport athlete who is also involved in SOS, Student Council, FCA, Drama, and Speech. I have personally seen and been around Linsie and her humorous, outgoing self and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her! She will make a great addition to the Mount Ayr National Honor Society! Congratulations, Linsie Jo!
Brady Bickel (Introduction by Adler Shay)
Brady Bickel is the 12th grade son of Brian and Robyn Bickel. Brady is described by his teachers as a hard worker. Throughout high school Brady has been involved in FFA, Drama, 4-H, Golf and student council. One teacher stated, “Brady works hard in class and tries to always do his best. Brady is the president of the FFA chapter. He does a great job of getting everything set up for all activities.” Brady is a true example of a NHS member for his qualities of loyalty, kindness, and dedication to all he is involved in. Brady and I have been lifelong friends and there has never been a dull moment. Brady brightens your day even when you may not think it’s possible. I would now like to congratulate Brady being inducted into the National Honor Society. Congratulations, Brady!
Becca Dolecheck (Introduction by Will Newton)
Becca Dolecheck, daughter of Eric Dolecheck and Dawn McGrath, is a junior this year. Throughout high school, Becca has been involved in many extracurricular activities such as cross country manager, speech, drama, wrestling and football cheer, golf, FCA, and S.O.S., a school-sponsored organization aiming to erase the stigma surrounding mental health. One of her teachers has said that “Becca shows determination, work ethic, and a positive attitude on a daily basis. I can count on her to do what is right even when I am not watching over her.” Becca’s work ethic and positivity followed her all the way down to Louisiana, a place where she visited on a youth group trip. While down there, Becca made care packages for less fortunate school children. It is now my honor to welcome Becca into the National Honor Society!
Joie Anne Gallo (Introduction by Will Newton)
Joie Gallo is the daughter of Bercili and Jim Hyde. She is a senior this year. A teacher has noted that “Joie does a great job in PE class! She is always enthusiastic and does her best to get everyone involved in the activity. When a few students were less than thrilled about a new game, Joie convinced them not only to try it, but to give it their best effort. This type of classroom leadership is very helpful to a teacher.” Joie is not only a leader in the classroom but also in her extracurriculars and through her service hours. Most recently, Joie stepped up as stage manager in the play, working behind the scenes and making sure everything ran smoothly. Joie has also become a positive role model in our high school and middle school by helping fellow students complete their homework. I think Joie will be a great addition to this chapter of NHS, congratulations!
Alexis Greenland (Introduction by Payten Lambert)
Alexis Greenland is the daughter of Gary Greenland and Brenda Bedier and the niece of Kim and Dara Greenland. Alexis is very active within the school community. She was named academic all-conference in Basketball and earned the Academic Excellence award both her freshman and sophomore years. Alexis was described by one of her teachers as a “quiet leader who always shows positive leadership by choosing what is right rather than going along with others.” They noted that she puts in 110% in all sports and that the type of leadership of oneself that Alexis shows is pretty rare.” I have witnessed Alexis’ outstanding character and believe she will be a great addition to the National Honor Society. Congratulations, Alexis.
Jillian Kniep (Introduction by Payten Lambert)
Jillian Kniep is the daughter of Shaun and Clint Kniep. Jillian has been involved in numerous activities while in high school; it seems as if she participates in each opportunity that arises. Jillian has been honored for several accomplishments including: Academic Excellence and numerous Respectful Raider awards. Jillian demonstrates strong leadership and is described by one of her teachers as a student who “always comes to school expecting to be challenged and is not pleased with anything less. Jillian has goals, understands the long game, and lives for what she believes in.” I have had the pleasure of being not only a teammate but a close friend to Jillian for many years and I am honored to be introducing her today. Congratulations Jillian.
Jaydon Knight (Introduction by Adler Shay)
Jaydon Knight is the 11th grade son of Jacobs and Ashley Knight and Earl and Megan Griffith. Throughout high school Jaydon has been involved in football, baseball, wrestling, track, FFA and Drama club. Jaydon was described by one teacher as being “always willing to attempt things even when they are out of his comfort zone, such as singing in the musical. He strives to do his best in the classroom, on the stage, and on the athletic fields.” Growing up with Jaydon has been quite a ride because we have played sports together since the beginning. Jaydon knows what it takes to be successful both as an athlete and as a student. Once Jaydon commits to doing something he goes after it, and works hard doing it. Jaydon is a true example of a NHS member for his qualities of commitment, dependability and open-mindedness. I would now like to congratulate Jaydon on being inducted into the National Honor Society. Congratulations, Jaydon!
Zoey Larsen (Introduction by Addy Reynolds)
Zoey Larsen is the 11th grade daughter of Jeremy and Tori Larsen. According to her teachers: “Zoey has proven to have outstanding character throughout her high school career. Not only does she show genuine respect for staff, but she also shows that same respect for her peers. She does not follow the crowd when things do not follow her own moral compass. The student she is at her desk is the same student you will see outside of school.” Zoey was been a member of the back-to-back State Softball teams as well as being elected part of Student Council and a Class Officer. She has also been recognized as a Respectful Raider and named to the A-Honor Roll all years of high school. I have personally seen Zoey’s dedication to her academics and sports, and know that she will be a great addition to the NHS Chapter! Congratulations, Zoey!
Raines Sackett (Introduction by Austin Cole)
Raines Sackett is the 12th grade son of Tom and Kristi Sackett. Raines has been involved in many activities throughout high school including basketball, baseball, FFA, and Drama for all four years. Raines has also been named to the A-honor roll every year of high school. According to one of his teachers: “Raines is active inside and outside of school, he knows the ins and outs of the light board and is counted on for drama productions to work hard. In class he works hard and can be counted on to always do the right thing.” PAUSE I myself have personally seen Raines be a great role model and excellent person not only in the classroom but outside of it as well. He is always willing to do the right thing because it is what he is supposed to do, not because he is forced. Raines shows in his actions that he meets the NHS criteria. Congratulations, Raines!
Natalie Schaefer (Introduction by Chloe Saville)
Natalie Kay Schaefer is the 11th grade daughter of Bill & Suzi Schaefer. According to one of Natalie’s teachers: “Natalie is a quiet leader. She maintains a positive attitude, is consistent, dependable, and reliable as a leader, student, and team member. She comes to class prepared, is extremely polite and involved in and out of school.” Natalie is extremely involved in and out of school. She participates in Cross Country, Wrestling, Track, FFA, 4H, and much more. I have personally seen and been around Natalie Kay her whole entire life and she is the quietest, but sweetest young woman I have been around. She is extremely reliable and consistent with her actions, and she will make a great addition to the National Honor Society. Congratulations, Natalie Kay!
Kaylie Shields (Introduction by Maddie Stewart)
Kaylie Shields is the 11th grade daughter of Josh and Julie Shields and Christi Smith. In the words of one of her teachers: “Kaylie works very hard in all she does whether it is her classwork or her extracurriculars. She isn’t afraid to step out of her comfort zone or put in 110% effort, to make sure she does her best.” Throughout Kaylie’s three years of high school, she has been involved in an abundance of extracurricular activities including: volleyball, drill team, FCA, and more. She has earned many varsity letters, was named to the All Iowa Honor Dance Team for 3 years, and has been recognized as a Respectful Raider at our school. We are happy to welcome Kaylie Shields as a new member of our National Honor Society chapter. Congratulations, Kaylie!
Madison Shields (Introduction by Will Newton)
Madison Shields is the daughter of Andy and Tara Shields and an eleventh grader this year. One of Maddie’s teachers has said that “Ms. Shields is a young lady of high character and is mature beyond her years. I’m certain that she not only will continue to be successful at the high school level, but will be successful in her post-secondary endeavors. She is consistently working to be successful not only in class and with her grades, but more importantly outside of the classroom.” And this quote could not be more true. Madison does have an impressive list of extracurricular activities and honors—including her spot on the 4×200 relay that went to state track and an active involvement in her youth group—but she also has a totaled over 800 hours of service—spending a lot of her time on missions trips and with the local FFA chapter—and countless leadership roles as FFA officer, a Bible class teacher, and many more. Congratulations, Maddie, on this impressive achievement!
Tegan Streit (Introduction by Austin Cole)
Tegan Streit is the 11th grade daughter of Thad and Jamie Streit. Tegan is involved in many activities throughout the school and community including: volleyball, basketball, softball, track, drill team, youth group, FCA, drama, cheer, SOS and speech. Her hard work throughout high school has not gone unnoticed as she was recognized as part of the All Iowa Dance Team this Fall. According to one of her teachers: “Tegan has shown great leadership skills in SOS. She shows up on time, consistently volunteers to do things and gets them done without being reminded. She delegates and improves the group by sharing her ideas. She is always polite and has a positive attitude in and out of school.” I have seen Tegan’s leadership in athletics both while she is playing AND as she cheers on her teammates when she is not on the court. She is always positive and encouraging to those around her. Tegan’s leadership and positive attitude every day make her a great addition to National Honor Society. Congratulations Tegan!
Josie Vanderflught (Introduction by Payten Lambert)
Josie Vanderflught is the 11th grade daughter of Tina and Mike Vanderflught. Josie is recognized for her notable leadership skills and the effort she gives each task she’s assigned. One of Josie’s teachers said: “Ms. Vanderflught has exhibited leadership numerous times over the years that I have known her. She leads by example in the classroom and her activities. She is the definition of quiet leadership.” Josie maintains a very busy schedule and has earned many awards, including the All Iowa Honor Dance Team and multiple Respectful Raiders. I have had the fortunate opportunity to be great friends with Josie and I am beyond proud to have the privilege of introducing her today. Congratulations, Josie!
Shelby Vandermark (Introduction by Addy Reynolds)
Shelby Vandermark is the 12th grade daughter of the late William Vandermark and Brenda Vandermark and Kevin Killmer. Shelby has been recognized numerous times as a Respect Raider and Student of the Month. She has also volunteered over 175 hours doing projects across the community namely supporting the Neighborhood Center. According to her teachers: “Shelby works hard in all that she does. She is meticulous, asks a lot of questions to ensure she does her best and puts in a lot of effort.” I have been able to witness Shelby’s selflessness not only as her classmate but friend. She will be a great addition to the NHS Chapter! Congratulations, Shelby!
Kaylun Victor (Introduction by Chloe Saville)
Kaylun May Victor is the 11th grade daughter of Ryan & Victoria Victor. According to one of Kaylun’s teachers: “Kaylun has a positive attitude in class even when others do not. She encourages others to participate in Leader in Me and always does her best. Kaylun is concerned about the success of the group and not just herself.” Kaylun is involved in numerous activities both in and outside of school. She participates in Football and Wrestling Cheer, Sparks, SOS, Choir, Play and numerous Youth Groups. I have witnessed Kaylun’s positive and encouraging attitude and I can’t wait to see where life takes her. She will make a great addition to the Mount Ayr National Honor Society. Congratulations Kaylun May!
Mallory Weehler (Introduction by Addy Reynolds)
Mallory Weehler is the 11th grade daughter of Randy and Kim Weehler. Mallory has been a member of the back-to-back State qualifying Softball teams as well as a member of the Sparks team that placed 3rd and 4th at their State competition. Mallory has been elected as a Class Officer, is a member of Student Council and H.E.L.P. Pod, and has also been recognized multiple times as a Respectful Raider. Mallory is described by her teachers as, “someone who demonstrates leadership qualities during meetings and work sessions. She sets a good example by being positive, attentive, and on task. She is a good communicator with teachers, peers, and group leaders.” Throughout high school, I have had the pleasure to get to know Mallory and witness her kindness and positive attitude. She will be a great addition to the NHS Chapter! Congratulations, Mallory!
The guest speaker for the ceremony, selected by current NHS members, was Daniel Showalter. Showlater is the 2009 Graduate of Mount Ayr Community School where he was inducted into the National Honor Society in 2009. He earned his degree in Social Science Education from Northwest Missouri State University in 2013. Showalter joined the Mount Ayr faculty in 2015 and has taught the full range of middle and high school social studies courses, currently teaching 7th and 8th grade social studies and high school American history. He coaches high school football, middle school basketball, and high school track. He enjoys cheering for the Hawkeyes and outdoor activities, especially traveling and hiking and time spent with his lovely wife Jess and delightful sons, Gus and Abe.
The words Mr. Showalter shared with the audience of inductees, family and friends, and the entire 9-12 student body are as follows:
Before we get started this morning, I want to first say welcome to parents, grandparents, family, and friends of the National Honor Society Class of 2021. It is because of some major sacrifice from you all that this group of young people is seated on this stage today. Also, I wanted to thank Dr. Elliott and the NHS Class of 2020 for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.
As I began to chew on what I would speak about today, I thought about the 4 Pillars of National Honor Society: Character, Service, Scholarship, and Leadership. And while each of those attributes are important on their own, it is the combination (in varying degrees) of these 4 pillars that has helped these young people to be successful within their classroom, their communities, and their extracurricular endeavors.
The pillar that I would like to spend some time on this morning is Character. James Lane Allen, a late 19th century American novelist, once said “Adversity does not build character it reveals it.” While Mr. Allen may be credited with this quote, I can wager that he would never imagine how much that quote would be used by teachers, mentors, and coaches the world over. As some of you who have worked with me in the classroom and in athletics know, I am a firm believer in the power of adversity. In the idea that being uncomfortable and working through that, not only leads to professional and personal growth, but often-times “greases the skids” of success. And therein lies the rub.
We live in a culture, in a society today, that tells us we can avoid discomfort, we can avoid pain, we can avoid waiting for the things that we want, for the success that we are chasing. The problem is, it’s through that discomfort, through that pain, through having to dig-in and work and wait and struggle and fail that we can achieve those things in life that allow us to be truly successful. I feel like we focus not only in our society and the media, but also certainly in education on the grade. We chase the A, regardless of whether we retain that information. Or gain any new knowledge from that pursuit. We aren’t concerned with learning new things (just for sake of learning), with growing and maturing through struggle and strife, because our society tells us that we don’t need to do that. We have become so concerned, so obsessed, with achieving the metaphorical A, that we miss the forest for the trees.
Here is my challenge to this group on the stage this morning and to you all sitting in those seats. Let us not run from challenge and discomfort, but rather embrace it, and seek it out in all that we do. Listen to me so you don’t misunderstand this message, I am not saying that chasing the grade, the A, is wrong or inherently bad. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t chase the A merely for the A. It is in the struggle for success, in the grind of the day to day living that we learn, grow, and mature.
As many of my students can tell you, I like quotes. I would like to leave you with two of them today. The first is from Arthur Ashe, Ashe was the first African American male tennis player to win both the US Open and Wimbledon in 1968 and 1975 respectively. He said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome”. I could not agree more with Mr. Ashe. The final one is from Galatians Chapter 6 Verse 9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. So, for those of you on this stage today, and maybe more so for those of you that are not but are still striving for it. Know that “success” is not a destination, that being up here today is not the end of the journey, it’s merely a stop along the way. Understand that you have never arrived, and never grow weary in doing good.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to speak here today and congratulations to the NHS Class of 2021.