Students of the Week – 2/11/19

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 introduces Grace Widelitz as its Student of the Week. Grace resides in Middlebury with her parents, Sarah Bourne and Howard Widelitz, and has an older brother, Jason. An academically talented student, Grace’s name has consistently appeared on the school’s High Honor Roll throughout her four years at MUHS. By the time she graduates in June, Grace will have completed eight Advanced Placement classes and pursued studies in both Latin and Spanish. She is currently taking advantage of her Dual Enrollment voucher and is studying Women in U.S. History at the Community College of Vermont.
Grace has contributed to the MUHS community in myriad ways and she has won the respect of the faculty, administration, and her peers. She captained the varsity field hockey team and will represent the Tigers on the Twin State team in June, when Vermont takes on New Hampshire. She has served as a peer leader coordinator in her senior year, mentoring ninth-graders as they transition to high school. Grace has been actively involved in the MUHS Neuroscience Club for four years and serves as a Nordic ski coach with the Special Olympics. She looks forward each year to the winter games assisting the Special Olympians at Killington.
She has been playing the piano since the age of five and she is a member of the Middlebury College community choir. Grace has been practicing the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do for the last six years, culminating in a second-degree belt.
Grace has enjoyed her involvement in the Hugh O’Brian Leadership program in Chicago, first as a participant and then as an ambassador representing Vermont. She served as a staff member for the three-day program on the campus of St. Michael’s College in Colchester prior to her junior year.
Grace secured an internship last summer in Germany, further promoting her interest in neuroscience, a field she hopes to study in college. She worked at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, focusing on memory and spatial navigation circuits. She worked on data analysis, built a Microdrive for monitoring neurons and helped with experiments.
The teachers at MUHS value Grace’s keen intellect and her willingness to dive into academics with a natural curiosity. Grace, in turn, has appreciated the faculty and states that Mr. Krahn and Mr. Harrington have made a positive and lasting impression on her high school experience. She feels that their courses, along with her other classes, have prepared her well for college. She was admitted early decision to the University of Pennsylvania and is looking forward to her enrollment in the fall. Everyone at MUHS wishes Grace well on her academic journey.
Vergennes Union High School has recognized Hannah Philbrook as its Student of the Week. Hannah lives in Vergennes with her parents David and Kim Philbrook.
Hannah was accepted into The Walden Project the beginning of her junior year and has been enrolled in it ever since. She has consistently been on high honors, and this past year was inducted into the National Honor Society. Hannah received two underclassmen awards, one sophomore year for exceeding the five guidelines in U.S. History and American Literature, along with the Sage College Award, which granted her $5,000 a year in merit based scholarships. Hannah recently finished her CCV Introduction to Psychology class with an A average, and thoroughly enjoyed the fast-paced work style of the class. Hannah also participated in The New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf.
Hannah was on the varsity softball team in 9th and 10 grade. She participated in chorus those years as well, and was in the school musical in grade 10. Through The Walden Project Hannah has participated in many volunteer and community service events, such as being on the board of a non-profit organization, Willowell. Hannah has also been to many conferences, such as the Power Squared Conference, Personalized Learning Summit, Youth Rally for the Planet, and UVM Rally for Climate Action.
“Where some may thrive in the mainstream school system, I found my voice through Walden,” she says of high school. “I discovered depths of myself through the vastness of the woods, the heat of a fire, and the separation of myself from the confines of a school building. I realized it’s important to question those in power, to question everything, because in that curiosity you will find what you are truly passionate about. Live and learn deliberately. Go outside more, stop being so sheltered, so scared. This life is now, live it.”
Emily Rossier and Matt Schlein, teachers at The Walden Project say, “Hannah is an incredibly bright, creative, and caring young woman who cares deeply about her community. In her time out at Walden, we have enjoyed watching her cultivate her voice as a writer and speaker and then share this voice in a variety of contexts, including conferences, board meetings, and various public events. She has left an indelibly positive imprint on both the Walden community, as well as the community-at-large.”
Following graduation Hannah plans to attend UVM as either a Psychology or Secondary English Education major. The faculty, staff and students of VUHS wish Hannah 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 gift card from Route 7 South Sandwich Company. 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
Countryside Carpet & Paint
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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