Students of the Week – 11/19/2018

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.
Mount Abraham Union High school proudly introduces Kai Dobek of Lincoln as its Student of the Week. Kai is the son of Stacey and Jack Dobek. He has two older sisters, both of whom have finished college.
Kai earned highest honors for his first three years of high school and strives to do the same in his final year. He completed AP United States History and AP Calculus in his junior year. His senior year classes include AP European History and AP Biology, along with Advanced Computer Technologies.
Kai has been very active at Mt. Abe outside of class, playing soccer all four years. He joined the varsity team his sophomore year and served as captain his senior year. He has also participated in Brain Club and Scholars Bowl.
In the summer of his sophomore year he had a paid internship at local architecture studio VIA, P.C., where he worked on physical models of ongoing company projects. This past summer he drafted floor plans and CAD details, learning the ins and outs of using technology to supplement real world creations.
Outside of school Kai likes to play around with music creation through both instruments (guitar) and computer software. He also likes to ski, finding himself at Sugarbush most of the time. In general he likes to spend time outside hiking and finding cool natural spots solo and with friends.
“High school has helped me improve my confidence and personal identity,” says Kai. “My biggest personal development was that of learning how to deal with stress effectively. I fully left my pessimistic attitude behind by learning how to step back and evaluate stressful situations competently. My greatest piece of advice … take a step back. Worrying about social status, grades or any other personal issues is detrimental to one’s ability to evolve in the mind, and at least trying to gain a true perspective on life can help open doors and opportunities that are closed when faced with internal struggle.”
Kai’s post-high school plans include some sort of architectural pursuit, but he is open to changes in majors, as his interests are not confined to the creation of buildings.
“Kai Dobek is sincere, empathetic, insightful, creative, hardworking and able to see the forest and the trees — the whole and the parts. He listens to others’ ideas yet makes decisions with his own moral compass. Psychologically insightful and civic minded in all interactions, he enhance everyone’s learning at Mt. Abraham.” says Psychology teacher Anne Friedrichs. AP European History Teacher Tom Learmonth says, “Kai has curiosity, care and craft. [He is] Upbeat, both a leader and willing to play a supporting role, a pleasure to have in class!” Advanced CAD Technologies Teacher Matt Brown adds, “Kai is an absolute pleasure to have in class. He goes above and beyond each day to do the best work he can, all while having an amazing attitude.” 
Otter Valley Union High School is happy to introduce Isaiah Nelson as its latest Student of the Week. Isaiah is the son of Emily Nelson and Ron Bragg of Brandon.
Isaiah has earned a number of diverse achievements during his time at Otter Valley, with excellence in Global Studies and Literature. His proudest moment was his induction into the National Honor Society during his junior year. Isaiah has also had a number of lead roles in the school plays, ranging all the way back to 8th grade and leading up to this year’s musical. He currently challenges himself with AP Literature at Otter Valley and Intro to Political Sciences through Community College of Vermont.
Isaiah has a passion for theater and music. He has been a member of Walking Stick Theater since 7th grade and has played drums for Otter Valley’s jazz band since his freshman year.
Isaiah also manages to hold down a job working as a line cook at Café Provence. He remarks that he has learned a lot about cooking in his near year and a half working there. He has volunteered for the Leicester-Whiting summer camp, and performed at a number of local events, playing drums, piano, and singing.
Most of Isaiah’s time is spent at work, or doing theater, but when he does have time off, it’s normally spent playing music or spending time with friends.
“Throughout high school I’ve learned that the most important thing someone can do is learn how to prioritize,” he says. “School will always be an important step to most people’s futures, but if you aren’t prioritizing your personal health, then you aren’t helping anyone. Life is all about balance, and it’s extremely important that people are able to balance everything that’s going on in their life, whether that be work, friends or school.”
After high school Isaiah intends to go to college for broadcast journalism.
Barbara Sicot, Isaiah’s French teacher, says, “He is a very thorough student, who has a passion for writing and journalism.  He is one of these students who think outside of the box, and who will ask the questions that have not occurred to any other students. He is very creative, and will always work the extra mile when passionate about the topic. I remember assigning them a paper about Mai 1968, and he wrote a paper as if he had been a journalist at the time. When we were in Europe, he also wanted to know more about all the history of France, and was asking questions that no other student thought about. … Isaiah has a very cheerful and outgoing personality. He is also one of the most polite, respectful students I have ever met.”
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 Route 7 South Sandwiches. 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
Countryside Carpet & Paint
Jackman Fuels, Inc.
J.W. & D.E. Ryan
Jackman Fuels Inc.
NFP Insurance Benefits & Wealth Management
Peak View Eye Care
Route 7 South Sandwich Company
United Way of Addison County
Vermont Book Shop

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