By Crystal Hayduk
The Chelsea School District Board of Education recognized March’s Students of the Month at its meeting on March 13, held at South Meadows Elementary School (SME).
Students of the Month are nominated by their teachers for exhibiting qualities of the Portrait of a Graduate (POG), well-rounded students for the 21st century.
Beach Middle School (BMS) Assistant Principal, Andrea Franco, introduced Aaron Jahr, son of Ryan and Lauren Jahr. Aaron is in seventh grade, but his teachers from North Creek and SME also showed up at the meeting to support him in receiving this honor.
Franco said Aaron was nominated by many BMS staff members at Beach. She shared highlights of ways Aaron demonstrates POG qualities every day.
Mara Kelly, the school’s social worker, said Aaron is “overflowing with empathy,” making others feel valued and respected. Kelsey Miller, seventh grade global studies teacher, agrees that Aaron’s empathy shows in his genuine care for other students, which makes people enjoy being around him.
Tiffany Manning, a teacher consultant at BMS, said Aaron’s “charisma and smile brighten the halls.” His current teacher consultant, Alex Soule, considers herself lucky to have Aaron in her class. He is “confident, passionate, and empathetic.”
Cathy Kotlarek, literacy specialist at SME, said she has “always admired Aaron’s confidence and his natural ability to own any room he walks into,” which has been true since he was a student at North Creek Elementary.
Tara Thorburn, teacher consultant at SME, said Aaron showed empathy when he was a younger student through the way he built relationships with all types of children.
“Mr. (Matt) Ceo and I echo everything already said by staff who have had the true joy of working with Aaron,” said Franco, including the principal of BMS in her remarks. “We are proud of you and so happy you are a Bulldog who exhibits the [qualities] of the Portrait of a Graduate every day.”
As Aaron and his family walked to the front of the room to receive his certificate from the school board, Ceo said, “If you ever need a pick-me-up, this is the guy I go to. He’s like a shot of espresso.”
In a follow-up statement, Ceo said Aaron brings joy to the BMS community with his “sunny disposition and genuine love for fellow students and staff. We joke that Aaron is the ‘Mayor of Beach’ because he greets everyone he comes close to, asks them how they are doing, and wants to know what they’re up to after school. Aaron lights up our world, and we couldn’t be prouder to have him as our POG Student of the Month.”
Chelsea High School (CHS) Principal, Dr. Nick Angel, along with Dr. Luman Strong, assistant principal, introduced junior Tabitha Alery, daughter of Jason and Melodie Alery. She was nominated by the high school art department teachers for her academic, social, and emotional excellence during the past month.
Erin Dillon, social studies teacher, said Tabitha goes above and beyond when answering questions, promotes collaboration with her peers by encouraging discussions, and offers insightful knowledge. She leads by example and displays grit and determination.
Science teacher Melissa Taylor said Tabitha shows kindness to others, and models integrity and respect.
Art teachers Claire Popovich and Carrie Hillis said Tabitha exhibits innovative and creative thinking as well as empathy and thoughtful contributions in art class. She goes above and beyond in the classroom. Both teachers agree that Tabitha pushes herself to “think outside the box” and doesn’t give up when she encounters a creative problem on an art or design project.
“Her integrity is unmatched as she navigates her classes to align with her passions, doing what is right to be true to herself and her path,” they said.
Tabitha is kind to others. Popovich and Hillis said, “Whether it’s checking in with us to see how we’re doing, by quietly supporting a classmate, or helping us tidy up at the end of class. We are grateful for Tabitha’s kindness and the joy she brings into the classroom every day.”
In closing, Strong said, “Tabitha exemplifies the attributes of the Portrait of a Graduate as seen through collaboration, cultural consciousness, integrity, and empathy.”
The board presented Jahr and Alery with certificates recognizing them for “consistent excellence portraying key competencies of the district’s Portrait of a Graduate.”
Student of the Month presentations were the first item of business on the regular agenda. A videorecording of the meeting will be available to view for one month here; however, it was not available at press time.