Students of the Week – 2/5/2018

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.
Emily Perry has been chosen as Otter Valley Union High School’s Student of the Week. Emily lives in Pittsford with her mother and stepfather, Laurie and Craig Pelkey. Her biological father, Michael Perry, lives in Rutland. Her oldest brother, Evan Perry, graduated from OVUHS and is working as a plumbing apprentice for Excel Plumbing. Her younger brother, Spencer Pelkey, is a sophomore at OVUHS, and her younger sister, Kaitlyn Pelkey, is in third grade at Lothrop Elementary School.
Emily joined the National Honor Society on April 25, 2017, a testament to her academic talents. So far she has been named to scholars list, an honor reserved for the top 15 percent of her class. Currently she is enrolled in Advanced Behavioral Science, AP Literature and an online Introduction to Psychology course through the Community College of Vermont. 
In her younger years she played basketball and soccer, but realized her true love — acting — in her sophomore year. She became a member of Otter Valley’s Walking Stick Theatre and has been in it ever since.
Emily holds a job at Subway in Brandon. For seven years she has volunteered for The Alzheimer’s Association annual “Walk To End Alzheimer’s” event that helps raise money for research into the disease. When not studying or acting she enjoys writing, reading and drawing. If she could spend hours in a bookstore just browsing, she would. She also likes to hike, swim, and kayak in the summer months.
“I have learned how important it is to be organized and honest,” she says. “Even if you’re not all put together you shouldn’t worry, because no one is … never compare yourself to anyone else … there’s always an opportunity to learn more than you know.” Her advice to other students is to “focus on yourself and what you need to thrive and be happy, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing: be the person that satisfies you, not anyone else.”
After she graduates, Emily plans to attend a four-year college and try to learn more about other cultures and the diverse world we live in. She hopes to travel to different countries. She is undecided on a career, but she is interested in business and psychology.
Her teacher Francis Willard says, “Emily has a creative spirit that touches everything she works on. In the art room, she is innovative and never backs away from a complex task.” Teacher Pat Roberts adds that Emily has been a valued member of both choral groups, and the cast of musical theater productions at Otter Valley.
The faculty, staff and students of OVUHS all wish Emily the best in her future plans.
Mount Abraham Union High School presents Jenna McArdle as its Student of the Week. Jenna is the daughter of Wendy McArdle of Bristol and Scott McArdle of Starksboro. Her sister Caroline attends Fordham University.
Jenna has received highest honors and academic excellence every year during high school. She was inducted into the National Honor Society her junior year and is now its Vice President. She has taken AP Calculus AB and BC, AP Biology, AP European History, and AP Language and Composition. She also received an award for Academic Achievement in Science her sophomore year and was given a “golden test tube” for Chemistry in her junior year.
Her non-academic school activities include soccer and softball in grades 9-12, makeup and stage crew for the fall and spring musicals in grades 11 and 12, and a cast member in the spring musical this year. She is also a member of the Environmental Action Group, the Scholars Bowl team, “The Office” Club, the Harry Potter Club and the Mount Abe Student Activism Group.
Jenna works at Lantman’s Market in Hinesburg and has worked at the Bristol Bakery. Her volunteer activities include serving at the American Legion dinners, packing meals to send to malnourished children for Feed My Starving Children, helping with the youth softball clinic run by her coach, and lending a hand at the Three Day Stampede.
“I’m not going to lie,” she says. “I watch a lot of TV.” Her favorite is “The Office” — she started a club dedicated to the show. Jenna loves playing and watching sports, attending most home games in full Eagle attire. She has won two awards for school spirit. In the summer she prefers to go to the river, hike with friends and hang out with her dog.
Jenna has learned not to care so much about what other people think of her. “I remember being so embarrassed multiple times in middle and elementary school over the silliest things, but I’ve realized that embarrassment is such a wasted emotion because the only one who really cares is yourself … don’t take yourself too seriously,” she adds, “because you’ll regret everything you didn’t do because you were too scared of what others would think.”
Jenna plans to go to college, and hopes to become a screenwriter for a comedy TV show.
“Jenna is dedicated to being the exception instead of the rule,” says her AP English teacher, Addie Thompson. “Whether in her academics, on the playing field or even in her chosen clubs, Jenna goes above and beyond. What makes her the exception is that she gives everything she has to everything she does because that is who she is.”
Assistant Principal Justin Bouvier adds, “Jenna is one of the brightest lights at Mt. Abraham UM/HS. She spreads joy wherever and with whomever she interacts with.”  
Everyone at Mt. Abe wishes Jenna every success as she moves on to life beyond high school.
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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