VARDEN—Members of the Western Wayne School Board of Directors recognized the efforts of two outstanding seniors Monday night.

Honored for their achievements were RJ Clemens, son of Tori and Robert Clemens of Lake Ariel, and Evan Coons, son of Lisa and Tom Coons of Waymart.

First recognized, Clemens ranks ninth in his senior class of 165 students and has earned first honors every year.

Academically, he's challenged himself with three advanced placement (AP) courses, including Chemistry, Physics and Government, and five honors courses, consisting of Calculus, Pre-Calculus, Biology, Geometry and Algebra 2.

Clemens' academic rigor awarded him a place on the National Honor Society (NHS) for three years.

“Over the course of my high school career, I've taken a part in many extra curricular and school programs that have helped me represent Western Wayne with pride,” said Clemens.

These include participation in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) for one year, where he placed first at the regional and state competitions, the Science Olympiad for one year, and Envirothon for four years, where he was a team leader three years.

Clemens has also been a member of the Technology Students Association for two years, placing first in Photography and third for Music Production, both at the state level.

His musical talents extend to participation in District Choir for three years, where he placed in the top three each year, and his starring in the High School musical products for five years, four of which he was the lead and one of which he took a supporting role.

His love of the stage is yet further demonstrated in his two-year participation in Drama club, currently serving as the President, and earning lead roles at the Ritz Theatre in Hawley for two years.

An aspiring leader, Clemens has served on Student Council for three years and was President of his Freshman Class.

He's also participated in the Northern Poconos Junior Leadership Conference, Tomorrow's Leaders Today, is the Youth Representative at Hawley United Methodist Church, served as Team Captain of the Scholastic Team, and took place in the American Legion Boys State over the summer, serving as a City Councilman and News Reporter.

Clemens' other clubs include Political Science Club, where he served as President for one year, and Spanish Club where he served as Vice President for one year and President for one year.

He is also a four-year member of the Reading Team.

“All these accomplishments have taught me what it means to be a Wildcat,” said Clemens.

Looking ahead, Clemens noted, “My future plans are to attend Rutgers University to earn my Bachelor's in Chemistry with a minor in Theatre.

Clemens concluded, “I would not have been able to complete any of these amazing goals without the help of my parents who always supported me, teachers who push me to do my best, especially Ms. Masankay, my AP Chemistry teacher, all my friends in school who encouraged me to work harder and overall, the Board of Education's support of the arts, sciences, and especially Western Wayne pride.”

Second recognized, Evan Coons is similarly rigorous in his academic studies, completing ten AP courses U.S. History, World History, Government and Politics, Biology, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, and Calculus) and six honors courses (American Cultures I, Biology, English 9, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus).

He likewise earned a spot on the NHS and Honor Roll for his scholastic prowess.

Coons is also a three-year participant in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club, wherein he's lauded as a two-time regional qualifier, a three-time state qualifier and a one-time national qualifier. He placed third in Membership Madness statewide and is the chapter's Vice President.

He has also been a part of Planet Wildcat for one year and a member of the Youth Advisory Committee for four.

Athletically, Coons has crushed it on the gridiron for four years, earning a spot as a starter for three years, garnering an Eastern Conference Championship in 2016, being named Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and making both team captain and the NPF All-Star team in 2018.

Coons also ran indoor track for two years and outdoor track for three. For the latter, he was a three-year starter and had the fourth-best discus throw in school history.

His dominant discus throw also earned him third place in the 2018 League Championship and third place in the 2018 district championship.

A prominent community volunteer, Coons has volunteered for the Steamtown Marathon and the Waymart Area Parties in the Park.

He has also raised $710 through a fundraiser for the early intervention programs in the Western Wayne, Wayne Highlands and Wallenpaupack school districts.

Coons also volunteered his time as a teacher's assistant in Western Wayne's Early Intervention program, handed out soup to those in need in Waymart, and dressed as Santa Clause to deliver winter hats to students at Evergreen Elementary.

“For my future plans,” said Coons, “I am, as of this week, I just committed to the number one small college in the country, Bowdoin College, to play football and study economics.”

Looking back, he told the Board, “My time at Western Wayne has been amazing.”

“I would like to thank God first and foremost for letting us all be here and celebrate me and RJ's accomplishments ...”

Likewise thanking his parents, Coons said, “I fully appreciate the support that they give to me and I really wouldn't be doing anything here without them.

He also thanked his teachers, Ben Gill and Ms. Theresa Lubash, the Institute of Iron gym, and his coaches Randy Wolff and Dave Piwowarczyk.

Of Wolff, Coons said, “He's really shown me how to work and what it means to be a winner. I want to thank him for that because without that, I wouldn't have any drive or any push to be able to be here today.”

Coons said he wanted to thank Piwowarczyk “...for showing me about commitment and what it means to be a leader.”

Congratulating the pair, Board President Bernice Fiorella noted their accomplishments are “...truly impressive...to just see what you have listed down in the accomplishments and the character that you gentlemen have is truly impressive.”

Reminding the young men to take pride in their achievements, Fiorella said, “It's exciting to see what your future holds for you, because I can tell you, it's going to be great!”