Students of the Week -4/30/2018

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 Olivia Gaissert as its Student of the Week. Olivia lives in Brandon with her mother Suzanne Bennett and in Proctor with her father Stephen Gaissert. Her brother Nate is a sixth grader at Neshobe Elementary School.
Since her freshman year Olivia has maintained an A average in all of her classes. She is currently enrolled in AP Literature, AP European History, AP Chemistry, and Calculus, among other required classes. Olivia is also a member of the National Honor Society. She has been involved in the Walking Stick Theater since seventh grade, and has been on the rock climbing team her junior and senior years.
Outside of school Olivia devotes an additional 30 hours working and volunteering in her community. A volunteer position during her sophomore year at a local farm eventually became a paying job. There she and several other high schoolers took leadership roles and organized activities for local elementary school kids, in addition to tending to their own responsibilities like cleaning pens or tending to the garden. Olivia has also participated in many fundraisers for school trips and for her senior class, including spaghetti dinners for the theater department, as well as a Luau dinner and raffle ticket sales at sporting events. During her junior year she began working her current job at a local Subway.
Olivia also enjoys reading a wide variety of books, going outdoors with her friends, and expanding her musical library.
“I have learned a variety of lessons from my high school experience, the most important one being to focus on actual learning over your grades. It is very beneficial to know how to absorb information and retain it,” Olivia says of her high school experience.
Once she graduates from Otter Valley, she plans to go to a four year college to pursue a degree in Environmental Sciences or Zoology.
“Olivia is a student characterized by her candid class participation, insightful reading, and strong voice,” says her teacher Mr. Dwyer. “She especially enjoys making connections among various fields of knowledge.” Teacher Mr. Marzec-Gerrior adds, “Olivia has substantial reasoning skills. Her superior competency and strong desire to succeed in academia is reflected by her resourcefulness and sense of initiative. She is an active participant in class discussions, and is persistent in achieving her goals. She has superb written and verbal skills that are a pleasure for any teacher to encounter. Olivia’s personality reflects hard work and dedication seen through her work and involvement in Otter Valley.”
The students, faculty and staff at OVUHS all wish Olivia the best in her future endeavors.
Mount Abraham Union High School is pleased to recognize Lydia Pitts as its Student of the Week. Lydia lives with her parents, Kirsten and Robert Pitts, in New Haven. Her older sister, Amy, is a sophomore at Marist College.
Lydia has achieved Highest Honors since 9th grade, and a plethora of awards, including the Vermont State Athletic Director Association Scholar-Athlete, and the Clarkson University High School Achievement, and Mt. Abe’s All Year Academic All Star, Academic Excellence, Exemplary Scientific Mind, and its Outstanding Mathematician. This year she was named the National Honor Society president. Over the 2017 summer she attended a month-long UVM summer class for Health and Medicine. At Mt. Abe she has taken AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP U.S. History and AP Art. She does her best work in math and sciences.
Lydia’s list of school activities includes Jazz band, Math League, the Athletic Leadership Council (which she founded), Girls State, and class president. She was captain of both soccer and indoor track and field teams and currently of outdoor track and field. Among many other achievements in track and field, Lydia has been the Division II state champion nine times as well as a Division II indoor state record holder. The Vermont Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named her Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2016, and also named her to the first Team All-Vermont Indoor Track. She has also excelled on the soccer field with first team all-league and first team all-state nods.
Lydia has taken several service trips with her family, including building a school in the Galapagos Islands, and homes in Nicaragua. She also served as a soccer referee her freshman year.
In her free time Lydia loves to create art and play music and does her best to make time for friends and family.
Lydia says, “High school politics are difficult to navigate, but I’ve learned that interacting with a wide variety of people makes the experience fun … It’s cheesy, but I think kindness is the best philosophy … People don’t necessarily remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel.”
Lydia plans to attend Bowdoin College this fall, where she will participate in track and field. She hopes to become a dentist, but she is leaving the option open to change her mind.
“Lydia wows me with her writing. Insightful, original and engaging, her work prompts me to think about ideas and topics in new ways. Her articulate creativity is beautifully written, and she is a delight in class,” her English teacher Mary McGuire says. History Teacher Al Zaccor adds, “Lydia is kind, serious, thoughtful and very talented. She exhibits the best kind of citizenship, demanding a lot from herself, and encouraging her fellow students to do the same.”
Everyone at Mt. Abe wishes Lydia all the best in the coming years.
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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