Students of the Week 1/8/2018

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 proud to present Payson Williams as its Student of the Week. Payson lives in Brandon with his mom and step dad, Melanie and Lance Laraway. He has five younger siblings. His stepsister Jordan, 17, is a junior attending Stafford in Rutland; brother Parker, 15, is a freshman at Otter Valley; sister Apple, 8, is in second grade at Neshobe School; sister Paisley, 6, is in kindergarten at Neshobe School and brother Woodrow, 3, stays home with his mom.
A straight-A student throughout high school, Payson was inducted into the National Honor Society his junior year and received awards for excellence in FST (Functions Statistics Trigonometry), Foods Lab and Physical Education. Payson also received the Computing Medal Award, which came with a scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology. During his senior year he received the Scholar Athlete Award.
Payson has played football and basketball all four years. His favorite sport has been baseball, playing Varsity all four years. Payson is a member of Otter Valley’s jazz band and was in the concert band in grades nine, 10 and 12. Also involved in student government, Payson served as class treasurer in grades 9 and 10, and class secretary in grades 11 and 12. He serves on the student council this year and was part of OVUHS’s athletic leadership council.
Payson has worked at McDonald’s and the subsequently Subway at the same location, at Auto Essentials in Leicester, and at Neshobe Golf Club. He is very busy as a volunteer, as well, dressing up as Smokey the Bear in Brandon’s Fire Safety Event, selling concessions at Neshobe School basketball games, and helping with Otter Valley Music spaghetti dinners. He also helps coach at youth basketball and baseball clinics, is an active member of his church’s outreach programs, and tutors math at Otter Valley.
When he’s not caught up with work or school, or anything else, he’s playing sports, both in school and over the summer, when he plays summer league basketball, Legion baseball and golf. He also loves to travel, especially to Boston and Cape Cod.
Payson advises his fellow students, “Whether it is sports, acting, participating in school clubs, or student council, make yourself useful, and enjoy your high school years while they last. Because regret is one of the worst feelings and you certainly don’t want to look back at what high school could’ve been.”
After high school, Payson plans to go to college and study mathematics and statistics, and/or secondary math education.
“Payson is the real deal,” teacher Lisa King says. “He is a genuine student-athlete and truly a young man of superior character. He is a quiet and unassuming leader who brings out the best in his classmates and teammates.”
Everyone at OVUHS wishes Payson all the best in his future plans.
Mount Abraham Union High School presents Toby Bunch as its Student of the Week. Toby divides his time between Starksboro and Middlebury with either his father, Jim Bunch, or his mother, Karen Schaefer. Toby has two older siblings, sister Zoe Bunch, in her third year at Hampshire College, and brother Jude Bunch, a freshman at Pacific University.
Toby has been a strong academic student in high school, making the honor roll “at least twice,” and taking challenging courses such as AP Calculus AB, and AP European History. He has played soccer and lacrosse since his freshman year and has been a member of the Office Club in grades 11 and 12.
Toby also works at Bristol Bakery making cookies. His interests outside of school include playing guitar, hiking, skiing, and playing chess.
When asked about what he has learned from high school, Toby says, “Grades should never be your priority. Every adult I know looks back on high school and remembers the people they met and the experiences they had, and have almost completely forgotten their grades. Prepare for the future, but don’t stress over it. Gotta live in the present.”
Toby plans on attending college after he graduates, and is currently interested in Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.
“Toby Bunch is a person who is constantly thinking of others and putting their needs first,” Advisor Bob Maurer says. “We recently had a birthday in our advisory the first day back from the holiday break and Toby brought in cookies he baked at home to celebrate his peer’s birthday. He did this completely on his own. Toby is always upbeat and positive. He says good morning to everyone every morning, and always asks how people are doing, how their weekend was, etc. When we have circle on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Toby is the person who has a question to add for the group. As a member of the Math League team, Toby is hard working, upbeat and supportive of his peers. He makes friends easily, as evidenced by all the friends he made from other schools at the meet. Toby is a true credit to Mount Abe and he will be greatly missed next year.”
His French teacher, Jori Jacobeit adds, “Toby infuses our French class with insightful questions, a quirky sense of humor, and a willingness to deeply engage in his learning. Toby shows a consistent commitment to speak the language with his peers. He has become a skilled speaker of French throughout his five years as a language student.”
The students, staff and faculty of Mount Abraham Union High School wish Toby the best in all his future plans.
 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:
Barash Mediation Services
Bourdon Insurance Agency
Business Telephone Systems
Champlain Valley Plumbing & Heating
Green Earth Energy
J.W. & D.E. Ryan
Jackman Fuels Inc.
Middlebury Antique Center
Peak View Eye Care
Tinker and Smithy Game Store
United Way of Addison County
Vermont Book Shop

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