Students of the Week – January 23, 2017

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.
Otter Valley Union High School is pleased to announce Colby McKay as its Student of the Week. Colby lives in Chittenden with his parents, Dawn and Nate McKay. His sister, Mackenzie, is a sixth-grader at Lothrop Elementary School.
At Otter Valley, Colby has had many great opportunities to succeed and become a better student. He has made the honor roll each marking period for four years. During junior year he received awards for excellence in sports medicine, “You and the Law” and Advanced American Studies; as well as the George Washington Book Award. Colby is currently enrolled in AP Literature, AP European History, AP Biology and Pre-Calculus; after Pre-Calculus ends he will enroll in Advanced Anatomy. Beyond academics, Colby has been involved varsity football, grades 9-12; varsity baseball, 9-12; Walking Stick Theatre, 12; and Student Council, 12.
Colby works at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort as a busser — one or two days on the weekends during the school year and five or six days a week during breaks and summer. During two years on the jo he has increased his ability to talk to people and solve problems, and become more of an independent leader who can help others.
Outside school Colby enjoys playing football and baseball, hiking, swimming and relaxing with family and friends.
Colby says that high school can be a stressful, crazy and very busy time. However, he has learned how to manage his time and workload, and also enjoy the company of friends and the social life of being in high school. His advice to other students would be to work hard and always try your best at everything you do; never give up on something just because you have told yourself that you can’t do it. Determination and perseverance are two major characteristics that will always be there to help you pull through.
After graduating, Colby plans to attend Ithaca College, University of Vermont or Quinnipiac University, and get a doctorate in physical therapy, which he hopes to use to help athletes or veterans recover from injuries.
Colby has impressed his teachers.
“He is one of the most exceptional students I have encountered in my over 30 years of teaching,” Mrs. Cioffredi says. “I taught Colby in my sports medicine class. He has a combination of a positive attitude and the belief that he can always improve, which is rare in a high school student, but so essential to the learning process.”
Mrs. Willard says, “He is a quiet leader who does not need the limelight and is quick to share accolades with his group members. He is the type of driven, engaging and curious student that helped make our classroom a lively environment and a safe place to take intellectual risks.”
Mount Abraham Union High School is pleased to announce Madison “Madi” Gilley as its Student of the Week. Madison lives in Bristol with her parents, Kim Pandiani and Mike Gilley. Her younger sister, Isabelle Gilley, is a seventh-grader at Mount Abraham.
Throughout high school Madison has received a few academic achievements. In ninth grade she entered the Bernie Sanders State of the Union Essay contest, and her essay was one of the top 20 essays from students all around the state. Because of this honor, Madison went to a roundtable discussion with Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as the other students, and her essay was entered into the Congressional Record. In ninth and tenth grade, Madison received Academic Excellence Awards at MAUHS.
During the summer, Madison babysits and occasionally works at the local Pony Rides run by Harvest Moon Valley Ranch in Starksboro. She is also involved with the local Young Life organization and has been in the New Haven Dairy 4-H club throughout high school. Both of these programs regularly engage in community service, as well as community-oriented activities such as volunteering at the Bristol Food Shelf.
Outside of school, Madison enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Madison’s advice to other students would be that Mount Abraham is a very accepting school. She says that school is stressful and can be very difficult, but it’s important to remember that there is always someone around to help; ask a friend, one of your peers or any of your teachers. It may seem scary to approach your teachers to ask for help or an extension, but if you explain your situation to them, they are very understanding and want to help you in any way that they can.
After graduation, Madison plans to attend college in the fall.
Yearbook Teacher Colleen Kiley said, “Madison is a thoughtful and dedicated yearbook student. Whether volunteering to take photographs or teaching a younger student how to complete a task, she always acts as a positive role model and member of our learning community.”
Assistant Principal Justin Bouvier states, “Madison is a kind and thoughtful young woman. She considers the needs of others before herself. She is one of the most empathic members of the Mt. Abraham UM/HS community.”
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.
Addison County Economic Development Corporation
Barash Mediation
Business Telephone Systems
Champlain Valley Plumbing and Heating
Jackman Fuels Inc.
JW DE Ryan
Martin’s Hardware
Paige and Campbell Insurance
Peak View Eye Care
Strategies for College, Inc.
United Way of Addison County
Vermont Book Shop  

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