Students of the Week 5/7/2018

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.
Middlebury Union High School is pleased to recognize Oziah Wales, son of Scott and Deborah Wales of Weybridge, as our Student of the Week. Oziah is a senior who is highly regarded for his musical and academic talents. Oziah is extremely well-read and has a love of literature and history. He is looking forward to graduation in June but says he feels fortunate to have attended MUHS where he has been “blessed with great teachers and challenging and interesting courses.” An avid reader, Oziah enjoyed reading “The Brothers Karamazov” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” as part of his AP English class. He also likes reading philosophical texts and being in the woods during deer season. He reports he saw several deer but came up “empty handed” in November. Oziah participated in the New England Young Writers’ Conference and likes creative writing.
As a musician, Oziah has been recognized for his talents during each of his four years of high school. He has been accepted to District, State, New England, and Eastern Jazz Ensembles and Concert Bands. He plays the organ on weekends at his church and shares his talents with the MUHS theater program. He has played in the orchestra pit each year for the school’s drama productions. As a junior, Oziah and his fellow members of the MUHS Jazz Ensemble competed in the Berklee College of Music Jazz Festival in Boston, where they placed first in a national competition. Oziah has played lead alto sax for the last three years at the Vermont Association for Jazz Education Festival. He credits Band Director Anne Severy as being a mentor and inspiration to him during his high school years. 
Oziah recently participated in an important audition at the Vermont Music Educators Association. He recently learned that he was named a recipient of that organization’s prestigious scholarship that he can apply towards the cost of his higher education expenses. He’s looking forward to college and has applied to institutions across the country where he can pursue his interests in music and humanities. Oziah has a bright future ahead of him and everyone at MUHS wishes him well.
Vergennes Union High School is pleased to recognize Grace Smart as its Student of the Week.  Grace lives in Waltham with her mom, Gerianne.
Grace has been a part of the Walden project for three years now. Walden is an outdoor school based on the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau’s teaching about our connection with nature. Grace has been on the honor roll for almost two years now, after struggling her freshman and sophomore years. Grace thanks Walden for helping her excel in her educational life.
Through Walden Grace has been to dozens of conferences to speak about problems in our world today. These conferences include: UVM Dismantling Rape Culture Conference, VEEP Conference, Fixing our Education Conference, and many more.
Grace has volunteered at ECHO Lake Aquarium and the Vermont Folklife Center. At ECHO, she worked at the register and educated visitors about Lake Champlain, and also led some youth seminars. At the Vermont Folklife Center, Grace mainly helped with documentary footage, while making her own documentary about alternative education, which is still in the works.
Grace gives this advice about high school: “I have learned many things through my high school experience. The main thing I have learned is to be yourself, and understand that it is okay to not know what to do. It is fine to not have a plan after high school, because at least you’re trying, and at least you’re here. Success will come one day, and it’ll all be worth it.”
Emily Rossier, a teacher at Walden, says this about Grace: “Grace is a strong leader who cares deeply about people. One of the ways this gets expressed is as an effective and knowledgeable social justice advocate. In addition, Grace is a master makeup artist. She’s going to rock this world with color.”
Following graduation from VUHS, Grace plans to attend American University in the fall majoring in Political Science and Government in the Public Affairs School. The faculty, staff and students of VUHS wish Grace 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:
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

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