HONESDALE—The Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD) Board of Directors recognized a trio of outstanding seniors at last Tuesday's monthly business meeting.
Margaret Fields, Nicole Longman and Alicia Utegg were all lauded for their scholastic successes, all ranking within the top 15 percent of their class and earning spots on the Honor Roll and National Honor Society (NHS).
First recognized alphabetically was Margaret Fields, daughter of Michael and Irene Fields of Damascus.
Sharing her academic achievements with her classmates, Fields is a tutor for both Algebra and French.
Fields also served as Chairperson of the NHS Blood Drive Committee and hosted a blood drive.
She is also a member of Mrs Paciotti's SAFE team record breaking committee. In such a capacity, she helped raise funds for the Honesdale High School (HHS) Student Assistance Program.
Post graduation, Fields plans to attend Marywood University for a five-year physician assistant program.
Addressing those assembled, Fields thanked the the board for the recognition and thanked her family and friends for their ongoing support.
“There were certainly times where I needed that extra motivation,” she said, “and of course you always count on your friends and family to be there for you.”
Fields extended her gratitude to class advisors Laura Lockwood, Kari Kromko and Michael Jurkowski.
“They've taken real good care of my class these past four years and I couldn't ask for better advisors,” said Fields.
Fields further thanked her French teachers, Collette Ballew and Kat Beaton, and science teachers, Rebecca Kretschmer, Michael Jurkowski, Michelle Tonkin and Kari Kromko, for their help in shaping her academic career.
Fields also thanked SAFE team advisor Debra Paciotti for the opportunity to serve on the record breaking committee.
“SAFE team is a really good program. I feel like it's one of those things that kinda goes under the radar, but it's definitely an important thing and we're very fortunate to have it,” said Fields.
Next honored, Nicole Longman is the daughter of Michael and Amy Longman of Cherry Ridge.
A youth leader, Longman has served as Chairperson of the NHS Blood Drive Committee, a homeroom representative of Student Council and as secretary of the Class of 2019 in both her junior and senior years.
Longman's leadership extends to her athletic pursuits as well, seeing her thrive as team captain of both the varsity basketball and varsity field hockey teams.
She lettered in both these sports as well, and was named the field hockey rookie of the year.
Longman has also been a member of the varsity track and field team and the freshman girls, and junior varsity basketball teams.
Extra-curricularly, Longman is also a member of the community-minded HHS Interact Club.
After graduation, Longman aims to attend Florida Gulf Coast University to major in nursing, specializing in pediatrics.
Longman likewise thanked the board, both for their recognition and for all the work they do to operate the school district.
Sharing Fields' appreciation for the 2019 class advisors, Longman stated, “They've done so much for our entire class, regardless of what you've been involved in. They always try to accommodate everybody...I respect that a lot.”
She also thanked teachers Marianne Daniels and Tonkin “for their great work ethic through the years and really just teaching everybody that, what you do, you have to love it to be successful.”
Longman reserved further appreciation for the sports programs she's been involved with throughout her time at HHS.
“Being part of those families have taught me not only athletic skills, but how to deal with people, how to enjoy yourself, how to just really enjoy your experience here.”
She especially thanked field hockey Coach Carly Propst, “for pushing me and everyone in every way possible and always teaching me to stand up for what you think is right.”
Noting the degree of assistance provided by her friends and family, Longman thanked them for all their love and support.
Last recognized before the board, Alicia Utegg is the daughter of Bryan and Amy Utegg of Honesdale.
Likewise a leader, Utegg has served as a Student Council member-at-large and is the captain of the varsity football cheerleading squad.
Utegg has also cheered on the junior varsity football squad in her time at HHS.
An avid wildlife enthusiast, Utegg is also a member of Honesdale FFA.
Looking to make her love of wildlife into a career, Utegg plans to attend Penn State University after graduation to major in wildlife and fisheries.
Her ultimate goal is to work in Australia as a wildlife conservationist.
“I want to thank my parents mostly,” said Utegg, “because they've always taught me to have a strong work ethic...They're also my strongest support group.”
Utegg thanked her cheerleading coach, Julie Becker, stating. “She taught me so much leadership.”
She noted that Becker's lessons included applying leadership learned as team captain to other areas of one's life.
Utegg also acknowledged the efforts of FFA advisor and ag science teacher Kayla Hack
“She came last year and she was such an inspiration...,” said Utegg. “She really allowed me to be a leader through FFA because even though I'm not...one of the officers, I can show my leadership...” through planning events and service both in and out of school.
“That pushed me out of my comfort zone which allows me to do so many other things,” said Utegg.
On behalf of the board, Director Kathleen Grandjean spoke to the students, “Twelve years of schooling and in a few short months you'll be walking across that stage to get your well-deserved diplomas. We're really proud of you. Congratulations for that!”
By means of a parable concerning seminarians cramming for their final exams before ordainment, Grandjean reminded the students as they prepare for the next phase in life to “...always remember, that all people are important.
Speaking for the administration, WHSD Superintendent Gregory Frigoletto stated, “It gives [the board] and me great pleasure and joy to hear the things that you've talked about tonight.”
Noting the students' achievement is as much about the help from their parents and community, Frigoletto added, “We're proud to be part of that foundation and we think, as you're launched from here to whatever's next for you, you'll have learned and taken with you good things from here...It is with great confidence that we know you'll be successful in whatever you do.”