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Chelsea School District November Secondary Students of the Month

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. (Left to right) Sonja Schemahorn, a junior at Chelsea High School and Monroe Roath, an eighth grader at Beach Middle School, are November’s Secondary Students of the Month.

By Crystal Hayduk

Chelsea School District (CSD) administrators introduced the November Secondary Students of the Month to the CSD Board of Education at its meeting on Nov. 27, held at Beach Middle School (BMS).

Monroe Roath, an eighth grader at BMS, and Sonja Schemahorn, a junior at Chelsea High School (CHS), were named in addition to two elementary students who were recognized earlier in Nov. (Related story here.)  

Students who consistently exhibit qualities of the Portrait of a Graduate (POG), well-rounded students for the 21st century, can earn Student of the Month nomination by their teachers.

Matt Ceo, BMS principal, and Adam Schilt, assistant principal, introduced Monroe, whose parents are Alissa and Evan Roath.  

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Monroe Roath (center) and their family with CSD Board of Education and middle school administrators. Monroe was named a November Student of the Month for Beach Middle School.

Technology teacher Brian Boos described Monroe as “creative, curious, and driven” as a designer, with an extraordinary ability to learn software and apply the knowledge to creating a project. Boos said in less than two weeks of class, Monroe had designed multiple projects and completed them with precision. The completed projects included acrylic medallions etched with symbols, a wooden box with custom text, and a vinyl sticker for use on an instrument case. They completed the projects by learning two new cloud-based design platforms and using two different machines.

“Monroe is the kind of person who listens, learns from their failures, asks questions, and perseveres through a design challenge until their level of accuracy is met. They are destined to be a designer, and BMS technology class is a stop on that path to help them attain more skills and create cool things,” said Boos.

Kathryn McCalla said Monroe’s hero essay placed in the top 10 in the school and was entered in the Hero Essay contest. She said Monroe is not only a creative and brave writer, but they are curious, positive, engaged, and work well with other students.

Ceo said all of Monroe’s teachers consider them to be “… one of the most creative, innovative, and all around most impressive students that BMS has to offer.”

CHS Principal Dr. Nick Angel and his assistant principal, Andrea Franco, introduced Sonja, daughter of Angela and Kevin Schemahorn.

Angel said Sonja uses her voice as an advocate for other students through her positions as a Link Crew leader and as the first student facilitator on the high school’s principal-student advisory committee, which meets monthly.

Emma Yee, English teacher, praised Sonja for her vital leadership of The Bleu Print, the student newspaper. She said Sonja facilitated the smooth transition from Adam Schilt, previous advisor, to Yee, following his transfer to BMS to become assistant principal.

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Sonja Schemahorn (center) and her family with CSD Board of Education and high school administrators. Sonja was named a November Student of the Month for Chelsea High School.

From the first week of school, Sonja organized meetings, recruited new staff, and began publishing stories—all to keep the school’s journalism program operating as usual. “She is patient and kind with new staffers, anticipating what is necessary for the team and putting the needs of the group above all,” said Yee. “Sonja goes above and beyond to identify new and innovative ways to expand the program and empower more student voices. We would simply not be the same without her.”

Even though he is now at BMS, Schilt added his comments. He said Sonja is reliable, kind, and hardworking. As an outstanding editor for the school newspaper, he knew she would make a major contribution to its continued success after his departure from CHS. “She is as caring as she is bright, and that’s a high bar to reach,” he said.

Molly Mattias, science teacher, said Sonja maintains a positive state of mind and seeks new learning opportunities. Mattias expects great things from Sonja—now and in the future. “Her smile and love of learning was infectious in my classroom,” she said. 

Orchestra director Phillip Sylvester said Sonja, a violinist in the symphony orchestra who serves as concertmaster, consistently assumes her leadership role and its challenges with enthusiasm and determination. A role model to others, she is “…  an amazing musician, focused student, and a thoughtful friend,” he said.

John Zainea, another English teacher, said Sonja meets nearly every POG competency, especially her passion, self-direction, and integrity. Regardless of the topic in class, she gives it her full effort and attention. She performs well whether she is at the center of a class discussion or far from the spotlight. Sonja “… imbues even ordinary or behind-the-scenes work and interactions with her whole self and best effort,” he said. “Sonja is a warm, positive, genuine, kind-hearted individual. They say ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ At CHS, Sonja is that tide.”

“On behalf of the entire CHS administration, we are so proud of Sonja and the way she exhibits the Portrait of a Graduate every day,” said Angel. 

The board presented Monroe and Sonja with certificates recognizing them for “consistent excellence portraying key competencies of the district’s Portrait of a Graduate.”

A videorecording of the meeting will be available to view for one month here. Students of the Month presentations run from 1:57 to 10:20.


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