HONESDALE—Students and directors were honored in droves at Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne Highlands School District Board of Directors.
Members of the Board honored a brace of seniors for their outstanding academic achievements.
First honored was Destiny Schemitz, daughter of Rudy and Francine Schemitz of Beach Lake.
A diligent student, Schemitz ranks among the top ten percent of her class, is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS), and has been recognized on the Honor Roll.
A student leader, Schemitz has been a Member-at-large of Student Council for two years and is this year's Interact Club President.
Schemitz is a two-year member of the Interact Club and Honesdale FFA.
An ardent hippophile, Schemitz has competed in equestrian events for nine years, earning the title of Reserve Champion in the suitable hunter division of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Horsemen's Association.
Following graduation, Schemitz plans to attend Delaware Valley University to earn a degree in Equine Business Management and continue her equestrian career.
Thanking all in attendance for the recognition, Schemitz noted, “I am truly honored and blessed to be here.”
Schemitz thanked her freshman and sophomore math teacher, Ryan Dressler, and her equine coach, Kim Gumble.
“[Dressler] really helped me throughout my first few years whenever I'd get anxious or upset or anything he would really help walk me through it,” said Schemitz.
She added that Gumble “...has taught me to never give up on my goals no matter how many unexpected things come up.”
Thanking her parents for their support throughout the years, Schemitz stated, “Everything I have learned about hard work, they have taught me through their examples and their determination.”
Second recognized, Kayla Taninies is the daughter of William and Dawn Taninies of Berlin Center.
A similarly superlative scholar, Taninies also ranks among the top ten percent of her class.
She is a member of NHS and has likewise been recognized on the Honor Roll.
Her academic achievement extends to participation in the Marywood Math Conference and as a regional and state medal winner at the Science Olympiad in 2015-2016.
Musically minded, Taninies is a member of the Honesdale High School (HHS) chorus and the wind ensemble section leader in the marching band.
Taninies has also played in the Marywood Senior Wind Band Celebration and the Wayne/Pike County Band.
She has also expressed her musicality on stage as a participant in the HHS musicals The Little Mermaid, The Addams Family and this year's Beauty and the Beast.
Athletically, Taninies played on both the HHS field hockey and golf teams, and has danced at Honesdale Dance Studio for 15 years.
As a golfer, she was a Jackman tournament participant, competed at pre-districts, earned a letter and played on the 2018 Girls All-Region golf team.
Extra-curricularly, Taninies is member of 4-H and attended the 4-H Student Leadership Conference at Penn State.
She is also a member of St. John's Youth Group, through which she has been the President, participated in Habitat for Humanity, mission trips and various community service projects.
After high school, Taninies plans to attend Washington and Jefferson College for a pre-health program, all the while continuing her links career.
“I would like to thank my parents for always pushing me to be the best that I can be, and for never letting me quit halfway through things,” said Taninies.
She also extended thanks to all of her teachers “...because I asked a lot of questions and they always give me an answer, so I'm very appreciative of them.”
Additionally, she thanked the School Board “...for keeping us students in your mind while you make your decisions, and for always trying to do the best for the community.”
On behalf of the Board, Director Brian Weist congratulated the seniors stating, “You two will do great!”
Weist explained family and community backgrounds play a large part in helping students succeed, noting Schemitz and Taninies both have quality support behind them.
“From the Board, congratulations,” he said. “It's always an honor to have people like yourselves here to honor.”
Wayne Highlands School District Superintendent Gregory Frigoletto echoed Weist's sentiment, adding, “Through all these wonderful things that they've been involved with, they kept their eye on the ball with what is one of the most important things, and that's their studies.
“They're in the National Honor Society. They're in the top ten percent of their class. It's amazing what they've accomplished. And what Mr. Weist said and I think is so true, it's just the beginning of what you're going to accomplish.”