Students of the Week – December 12, 2016
The Addison Independent is proud to publish the Students of the Week from area High Schools each week. The students are chosen by teachers and administration from each school who would like to recognize their exceptional engagement in the high schools they attend.
MUHS STUDENT OF THE WEEK
We are pleased to recognize Abigail (Abby) Benz as the Middlebury Union High School Student of the Week. Abigail lives in Middlebury with her parents, Hannah and Eric Benz. She is a talented musician who enjoys challenging herself academically. Abigail loves learning and especially enjoys class discussions with her peers and teachers. She is currently taking three Advanced Placement courses: English, Environmental Science and Government/Political Science. In addition, she opted to enroll in her first year of Latin after having studied Spanish extensively.
Abigail spent two summers studying Spanish with the Middlebury Monterey Language Academy. In the summer of 2014 she spent four weeks on the campus of Green Mountain College in Poultney where she was totally immersed in the language. The following summer she traveled to Spain and dove into the culture and heritage of Grenada. She describes the two summers as “life changing” and confirmed her love of Spanish.
Music is another one of Abigail’s passions, and she has played the clarinet for seven years, four of which have been in the MUHS school band and wind ensemble. She adds her talents as a clarinetist to the Bristol Community Band and the Green Mountain District Symphonic Band. Abigail has been named to the All State Music Festival where she plays the clarinet. She has been involved in each of the fall musicals in either the pit orchestra or technical crew during her high school years. Abby says she especially enjoyed working on this fall’s production of “A Little Mermaid.”
Abigail is focusing on evaluating small, four-year liberal arts colleges that she might attend after graduation. She hopes to major in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and may eventually work in international relations. Her interest in government stems from her involvement in the Green Mountain Girls State program, where she served as a senator.
Abigail enjoys writing, and at the end of her sophomore year, she participated in the Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf. She went on to study at the Governor’s Institute for a week-long focus on environmental science during her junior year. Abigail has rounded out her high school years by volunteering at the Open Door Clinic, where she served as a translator. She assists students in the school’s Learning Lab as a peer tutor in Spanish and received an award from the United Way for her commitment to community service. And finally, she loves spending time with the ninth-graders as a peer leader.
We are confident that Abigail has a bright future ahead of her and know that she will continue to do well as she heads off to college.
VUHS STUDENT OF THE WEEK
Vergennes Union High School is pleased to recognize Maxwell Ratti-Bicknell as its Student of the Week. Max lives in Ferrisburgh with his parents, Casey Ratti and Tim Bicknell. Max has a younger brother, Robbie, who is a 9th-grader at VUHS.
Max has been on honor roll throughout high school and was inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior. Last year he took both AP Calculus and AP English Literature and Composition. This year he continues to challenge himself by taking Chemistry, Physics and AP English Language and Composition.
Outside of the classroom Max excels on the varsity soccer team, having made Lake Division First Team, Division II First Team and the Addison Independent All Star Team. He is also captain of the VUHS team. He has played varsity lacrosse since his sophomore year. In the greater Vergennes community Max is part of the Vergennes and Middlebury swim teams.
Not only is he an athlete but he is a participant in the music program. He plays both the alto and tenor saxophone. He has had two major roles in two of the past musicals: Sebastian in “The Little Mermaid” and Danny Zuko in “Grease.” Max is also a member of the Student Council and the Math Team.
Max works as part of the recreational staff at the Basin Harbor Club during the summer season. Max has helped to raise awareness regarding homelessness by participating in the Sleep-Out to End Homelessness in Middlebury. He has helped organize the Peace One Day annual event at VUHS.
Max gives this advice to other high school students: “Join a team. Whether it be a sports team or an academic team, being on a team teaches you to put others before yourself and sportsmanship. I’ve learned more about life on a field than in a classroom.”
Chris Clark, a science teacher at VUHS says, “Max enters the class full of enthusiasm and energy and willingness to try whatever the day has in store for him. He is a role model for his peers in classroom engagement, effective team collaboration, and in his patient and empathetic tutoring of other students.”
Following graduation from VUHS, Max would like to attend a small, four-year college in New England.
The faculty, staff and students of VUHS wish Max the very best in the future.
Otter Valley Students of the week receive a gift certificate from the Book & Leaf Bookstore. Mt. Abe Students of the Week receive a free pizza from Cubbers. Vergennes Students of the Week receive a free sandwich and drink from 3 Squares Cafe. Middlebury Students of the Week receive a free pizza from Green Peppers. Students of the Week from all area high schools will receive a gift certificate from Vermont Book Shop.
With support from:
Addison Central Teens
Addison County Economic Development Corporation
Business Telephone Systems
Champlain Valley Plumbing and Heating
Jackman Fuels Inc.
JW DE Ryan
Strategies for College, Inc.
United Way of Addison County
Vermont Book Shop