WAUSEON - Several award-winning students from Fulton County smartly say that excellent teachers make a difference.
Teachers influence career choices; provide challenges in the classroom; encourage academic success; create bonds with their students, and help instill values, according to high school seniors who have been selected as winners in the annual Franklin B. Walter scholarship program.
One outstanding student from each public school district in Fulton, Defiance, Henry, and Williams counties was honored during a recent presentation program at Northwest State Community College near Archbold.
Each year district students pay tribute to teachers who influenced their successes in school. As part of the program, the teachers are recognized and honored for their contributions.
In Fulton County, Katrina Lehman, a senior at Archbold High School, won the top award of $500. She honored her teacher Deborah Roach.
Katrina plans to major in Spanish education with a minor in youth ministry at Eastern Mennonite University. "As an educator, I hope to pass on a passion for learning. Perhaps I can even spend some extended time overseas serving others," she said.
Winners of $150 awards and the teachers they selected to be honored were:
●Mark Rupp, Evergreen High School, teacher Chris Lyons;
●Samantha Schaffner, Gorham Fayette, teacher Kenneth Cronin;
●Laura Bruner, Pettisville, teacher John Poulson;
●Lauren Ruple, Pike-Delta-York, teacher Eileen Hoffman;
●Alison Herrick, Swanton, teacher Pam Kazmierczak;
●Anthony Gase, Wauseon, teacher Rick Weirich.
Young Gase plans to pursue a master's degree in architecture, thanks in large part to his teacher Mr. Weirich who encouraged him when he was struggling in the industrial technology drafting and design class.
"He told me to hang in, and sure enough, I began to really enjoy the class. Now I know I want to be an architect due to Mr. Weirich's influence." He is involved in a drafting competition now, designing a model of a bus station for downtown Toledo.
Miss Schaffner, from Gorham Fayette, said that Mr. Cronin expects nothing but the best from his students. "He expects our best in our work, our behavior, our manners, and our morals," she said.
Eligible senior students had to demonstrate outstanding achievement in five areas: involvement in school activities, awards received, personal goal statement, grade point average, and ACT/SAT scores.
The Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center annually coordinates this event.
Dolores Spieles, who has been in education for 37 years, is special projects director for the center.
"It gives us a chance to acknowledge those who work so hard to be the best they can in all things," she said.
The scholarship is named in honor Franklin B. Walter who served as state superintendent of education for Ohio from March, 1977, to August, 1991.