Students of the Week – 1/7/2019

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.
Congratulations to Jalen Cook of Monkton, who has been selected as Mount Abraham Union High School’s latest Student of the Week. Jalen is the daughter of Sarah and Ed Cook. She has three younger siblings, Quincy, Carley and Cooper.
Jalen takes her studies very seriously, making highest honors every semester of high school except for her first semester junior year, where she received high honors. She is currently enrolled in AP Literature and AP Calculus, and will be taking a dual enrollment class at CCV throughout the second semester. There is no National Honor Society currently at Mt. Abraham, but she was selected to be on it before it was decided to take a year off to rebuild the NHS program.
Jalen is a three-sport athlete at Mt. Abe, playing field hockey, basketball and lacrosse all four years. She manages to also hold down a job at Bristol Cliffs Cafe in Bristol on the weekends and when she has a day off from other activities and also had jobs at Lantman’s in Hinesburg and the Monkton General Store. She is paid as a youth lacrosse referee and volunteers both as a youth basketball referee throughout the winter months and at Mary Stetson’s youth field hockey camp for a week during the summer.
Outside of school, Jalen enjoys playing sports and spending time with my family and friends.
High school has been filled with lots of learning experiences for Jalen. Since freshman year, she has been able to build relationships with people she otherwise wouldn’t have because of her participation in athletics. She says, “I have learned a lot from that, including that academics come first. My coaches have instilled that in me, and I know that this will help me in both my secondary education and beyond … you get out of high school what you put into it. Join or create a club, play sports, participate in theater, and do whatever you enjoy to get the most out of the next four years! It goes by quickly.”
When she leaves Mt. Abe, Jalen will join the class of 2023 at Plymouth State University, where she plans to join the women’s basketball team, major in Social Work and minor in Psychology.
Jalen’s AP Literacy and Composition Teacher Addie Thompson says, “Jalen Cook is a tremendous asset to her school community. Whether sinking threes on the court, or delivering a deeply thought-out analysis of classical world literature, she consistently blows us all away.” Physics Teacher Michael Ferland adds, “I would say that as good and conscientious a student as Jalen is, she is very modest about her abilities, this was particularly demonstrated after her key role in the state championship game. Had I not seen the game highlights I would never have known (at least not from her).”
The Mt. Abe community will miss Jalen, and wishes her all the best in the coming years.
For her efforts, Brenna McCullough of Pittsford has been selected as Otter Valley Union High School’s Student of the Week. Brenna, who some of her friends call Bren, is the daughter of Darcey Pape of Pittsford and Ken McCullough of Rutland Town. Her brother Austin McCullough is a junior at Siena College, and her little sister Kathleen Pape is in fifth grade at Lothrop Elementary School in Pittsford.
When Brenna was inducted into the National Honor Society her junior year she felt that all of the hard work and all of the stress had paid off, and that it was noticed by teachers and reflected in her grades. Her all-time favorite class was Advanced American Studies with Mrs. Kretzer and Mr. Hall. Brenna enjoyed going to that class, and learning, and doing group activities and individual activities. She thought that class was challenging, but the good kind of challenging. She liked not knowing every answer and wrestling with how everything connects in the end to create a bigger picture of the world and a bigger meaning than what the textbooks says.
Brenna has been a member of the OVUHS tennis team every year. She added rock climbing her junior year, where she earned a nod for most improved. She started the season never having rock climbing before and at the end of the season she had jumped five levels.
Brenna has worked at Mitchell Tee’s since her freshman year, working 40 hours in the summer and every day after school and some weekends. She is a part of Life Bridge Christian Church. On Sundays she works with the tech ministry doing music, the presentation, and lights.
In her spare time she enjoys going on hikes, doing crafts, writing, hunting, and fishing.
Brenna says, “From high school I learned to do my best, and to never give up. Some classes can be super challenging, but to try your best and to not give up the end result are rewarding.”
Brenna plans on taking a gap year and doing an internship in Washington State at a summer camp, and also doing missionary work throughout that year. Following that year, she will attend one of four schools that have accepted her —Houghton College, Gordon College, Carson-Newman University, or Toccoa Falls College — and after college she would love to end up in Australia.
Brenna’s English teacher Hollie Kretzer says, “For four years, I have watched Brenna work diligently for her successes and persevere through her challenges. Brenna’s quiet composure and graciousness exemplify the thoughtful nature she brings to every aspect of her life, and her open-minded kindness reflects a maturity and depth of character far beyond her years.”
Everyone at OVUHS wishes Brenna the best of luck, and looks forward to hearing about her accomplishments 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 $5 gift certificate to Route 7 Sandwich Co. 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
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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