Students of the Month
For many years, Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School has celebrated the hard work and achievements of students by selecting an elite few monthly to be honored as "Students of the Month." From October through May, at least three students (one each from the 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12 grade clusters) are selected as determined by the following criteria:
- Citizenship: A student who exhibited or continues to exhibit dedication, unselfishness, and commitment to a class, the institution itself, and/or the people within our school.
- Community Service: A student who unselfishly accomplished or performed an act or series of acts which, as a result, greatly benefited another person or Ottawa Hills Local Schools as a whole.
- Extracurricular: A student who through a superior effort or outstanding ability, has performed or continues to perform in an extracurricular activity in such a way as to bring positive attention to themselves and the Junior/Senior High School.
- Leadership: A student who exhibited or continues to display the ability to motivate others towards the betterment of themselves and of the Junior/Senior High School.
- Scholarship: A student who has performed consistently at a level of academic achievement that is exemplary either in an individual class or at the Junior/Senior High School as a whole.
The nominations are made by faculty and staff at the building. The "Students of the Month" are selected by a committee of faculty and administration. The honorees are recognized by the Board of Education at one of its meetings and receive a special certificate from the Board president. Additionally, students are featured on the Junior/Senior High School's digital sign; in a special showcase in the building's main hallway; in the district's weekly e-newsletter; and in the Village Life & Home monthly publication.
2022 - 2023
Cooper’s activities at Ottawa Hills include basketball, baseball and golf. In his free time, he loves to hang out with his friends and play sports. Cooper’s favorite class in 7th grade is math with Mr. Feuerstein, because he likes how Mr. Feuerstein creates an educational atmosphere of fun. Cooper credits his parents as having the largest influence on him, always being supportive. The best experience so far has been the Agora week in November 2023. In the future, Cooper dreams of becoming a professional golfer.
“Cooper is an exceptional student! He is also a leader in the classroom. He works well with others and is always inclusive of his peers. Cooper is a joy to have in class.” -Mrs. Silvers
Madrin (10th grade) is an impressive reader and learner at Ottawa Hills High School. She has valued Madame Hanlon as a teacher and mentor, both in French club and in their mutual love of Lin Manual Miranda’s Broadway musicals. In Madrin’s free time, she enjoys reading about early American history and diving deep into biographies about the Founding Fathers. People would be surprised to know that Madrin has read all the Federalist papers. In the future, she hopes to travel to all thirteen colonies, while studying to be a historian.
“Madrin is an excellent student who is consistently conscientious, dependable, and kind. In the classroom, Madrin is enthusiastic, engaged, and always willing to help other students. Madrin has also been tremendously helpful in French Club. Finally, Madrin's passion for learning is a joy to behold. She possesses a genuine curiosity and recently shared how excited she is to take two challenging courses next year to further her understanding of American History. I think Lin Manuel's words about Hamilton apply to Mardin as well: She is not throwing away her shot!” -Madame Hanlon
Miles (12th grade) is very passionate about creating music and playing instruments. In his free time, he enjoys skate boarding, reading, painting, and hanging out with friends. Miles’ best experience at Ottawa Hills was his time on the Arrowhead staff building relationships, as well as practicing his creative non-fiction writing skills. Next year Miles plans to attend Ohio University and major in psychology.
“Miles is incredibly creative and pushes himself and his ideas do not stick within the given boundaries. His enthusiasm for literature and how it applies to the world is inspiring. He brings a new perspective to many of our class discussions, and I appreciate his willingness to share and also listen and provide necessary feedback.” -Ms. Eisenbaum
Charlie’s activities at Ottawa Hills include soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. In his free time, he enjoys golfing and spending time with friends. Charlie’s favorite class this year is PE with Mr. Neuendorf because he has the chance to play sports every day. His best memory at Ottawa Hills so far was the junior high Agora experience in November 2022. In the future, Charlie dreams of becoming a professional golfer.
"Charlie is a student that exemplifies the Bear Path by consistently respecting his teachers and peers, always demonstrating responsibility by being ready for class, and he empowers others and himself to be their best. In junior high art, he will ignore disruptive behavior and model positive and productive behavior instead. He gets along with everyone around him and brings out the best in people.” -Ms. Shawaker
Mia’s activities at Ottawa Hills include volleyball, cheer, softball, theater, Choraliers, and the OHbreathe team. In her free time, she enjoys running and hanging out with friends. Mia credits her volleyball coach, Jennifer Hessling, has having a large impact on her life. Jennifer has taught Mia not only about the sport of volleyball, but also many life lessons along the way, including respect, kindness, gratitude. Mia’s best experience at Ottawa Hills so far has been her involvement in the theater. From the friendships she has made, to the unique experiences photographing the headshots for each production, helping with make-up, she has greatly valued her time there. In the future, Mia plans to attend college and study biology or politics, while also becoming fluent in French.
"Mia is a valued and respected student in and out of the classroom. Each and every day Mia brings a positive attitude, a delightful curiosity, warm smile, solid work ethic, and a willingness to help. We appreciate Mia's contributions to our theater program, school spirit, clubs and organizations, and overall school climate." -Mr. McMurray
Ava’s activities at Ottawa Hills include volleyball, lacrosse, student council, OHbreathe, Home to Home, Spanish Club, OH Stand, and Environmental Club. In her free time, she enjoys hanging with friends and reading. Ava’s favorite class is AP Government with Mr. McCarthy because she finds it very interesting. In the future, Ava plans to attend college and study business. People might be surprised to know that Ava lived in Japan for two years before moving to OH. Ava’s best experience at Ottawa Hills was the Agora trip to Spain.
"I nominate Ava for Student of the Month for Scholarship. She has done excellent work in AP US Government and Politics so far this school year. She shows a real interest in the course materials. In particular, Ava has done a great job in analyzing primary source materials, an element of the class that many students struggle with.” -Mr. McCarthy
In his free time, Carson enjoys playing chess, mini basketball, listening to music, and going for runs. Carson has very much enjoyed working with Mr. Davis on the OH News for the past three years, it has provided a lifetime of memories. Carson has not yet decided where he is going to college, but he does plan to study electrical engineering. The best memory of high school for Carson was the Agora trip to France.
"Carson is an engaged, enthusiastic, and hardworking student! He is an excellent role model for others and has a kind and optimistic spirit. He has immersed himself in the opportunities Ottawa Hills offers both inside and outside of the classroom. I am excited about his future and know that he will excel in college and beyond.” -Mrs. Nagy
Audrey’s activities at Ottawa Hills include field hockey, theater, art club, and GSA. In her free time, she enjoys singing, playing the drums, crafting, and reading. Audrey’s favorite class is junior high art because she gets to destress and enjoy herself. Her best experience at Ottawa Hills so far was Agora where she was able to relax and focus on art for a week. People would be surprised to know that Audrey has a business where she sells her watercolor portraits.
"Audrey Kelm is a gentle leader in the classroom. She is always on task. She goes above and beyond on every project and always asks what ‘more she can do.’ If I need help with something, like passing out papers, she is one of the first students to volunteer. I have never heard her complain. She takes on challenges with poise, determination, and a positive attitude.” -Ms. Shawaker
Maren’s activities at Ottawa Hills include soccer, cheer, and lacrosse. People would be surprised to know that Maren was a level ten gymnast. Maren credits her family as having greatest impact on her throughout high school. In the future, she hopes to go to college and travel. The best high school experience so far for Maren was Agora 2022.
"Maren is a model student. She is respectful to her peers and to her teachers. She always comes to class prepared and ready to work and participate. Maren has great input in class and is always willing to do what is asked of her. She always has a positive attitude, and she puts her full effort in all of her assignments. I appreciate the quiet leader that Maren is to all around her.” -Mrs. Richards
Michael’s activities at Ottawa Hills include cross country, swim, and track. In his free time, he enjoys hanging with friends and playing video games. Michael credits Coach Tyler as having the biggest influence on him through high school, teaching him how to work hard and have fun at the same time. Michael’s current favorite class is AP chemistry because it is fun to learn about the world on a small scale. His best memory of school so far was acting out moments in history in Mr. Bobak’s class.
"Michael has one of the most challenging schedules as a junior and has continued stellar performance throughout the year. He is dependable and always prepared for class. His positive attitude and work ethic is inspiring to his peers.” -Dr. KG
Miles’ activities at Ottawa Hills include lacrosse, robotics, and the environmental club. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, working out, and driving his car. Miles has appreciated teachers and coaches in our school, specifically Mrs. Keckler, Mrs. Dowd, Mr. Genzman, and Coach Tim Best. His favorite class is Stem Design Lab because it is very open ended, and he can design a project based on his own interests. In the future, he hopes to pursue a degree in software engineering and CAD. Miles’ best experience at Ottawa Hills was the environmental science trip to the Stone Lab.
"Miles has been a dedicated member of Robotics Club since 7th grade. I'm always impressed by the innovative designs he comes up. He has big ideas and is willing to put a lot of time in to see them come to life. In class and in our club, he is often willing to help his peers who are struggling what we learn in class. I am impressed with his maturity and how seeks out STEM opportunities on his own. I have no doubt that he will be successful in whatever STEM field he chooses to pursue.” -Mrs. Dowd
Mary's activities at Ottawa Hills include soccer, basketball, track, and swim. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, playing the piano, and hanging out with family and friends. Mary credits her parents as having the largest impact on her life, pushing her to be her best self both in and out of school. Her favorite class is art with Ms. Shawaker. Mary's best experience so far in junior high was the trip with her classmates to Washington, D.C.
"I asked Mary to be a peer tutor for another 8th grade student who was new to Ottawa Hills at the beginning of the school year. She has gone above and beyond to help this student and is always eager to help. Mary is patient, consistent and reliable. She has given up multiple lunch periods to help this student study for tests and has also helped her complete assignments when she did not understand. Although Mary is a quiet student in the classroom, her teachers appreciate her positive attitude and consideration for others. Mary recently approached me (unprompted) and asked if she could help other students study for exams. Mary's passion and concern for other students is unique for an 8th grader." - Mrs.Benecke
Cole's activities at Ottawa Hills include baseball, OH Stand, band, student council, and Spanish Club. In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights and scootering. Cole's favorite class this year is Honors Algebra lI because he enjoys the content and appreciates Ms. Fowlers teaching style. In the future, he plans to go to college for business/economics. Cole's favorite experience at Ottawa Hills so far was Agora 2022.
"Cole always brings a positive attitude with him to class. He works hard and has lots of grit. I can always count on Cole to help those students around him without prejudice. He is a pleasure to have in class as he is an excellent role model to his fellow classmates." - Dr. KG
Elizabeth's activities at Ottawa Hills include tennis, Science Olympiad, Model UN, Challenge Crew, OHbreathe, Spanish Club, and Diversity Club. In her free time, she enjoys reading the bible, studying theology, and watching historical documentaries. Elizabeth's favorite class this year is AP Chemistry with Dr. KG. Although it is a difficult class, it challenges her and forces her to apply different concepts to find solutions. Her best experience so far was being a part of the tennis team. In the future, she plans to attend medical school and become a doctor.
"Elizabeth is a positive contributor to our classroom. She always has a positive attitude and is willing to work hard. She has positively impacted those around her, and she helps to make the classroom environment enjoyable." - Dr. KG
Sydney is currently a senior leader on the dance team at Ottawa Hills High School. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, yoga and hanging with friends. Sydney's favorite class this year is Environmental Science with Mr. Genzman because she is really enjoying the content. The best experience for Sydney so far was the Agora trip to Costa Rica. In the future, she plans to go to college and study chemical engineering.
"Sydney has an intrinsic desire to learn that has been contagious in Environmental Science. She is consistently one of the first to engage in an activity or with a guest speaker. Sydney asks questions for extension and relevance that enrich discussions while highlighting how we can be more conscious of our actions." - Mr. Genzman
Kendells' activities at Ottawa Hills include basketball and soccer. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, hanging out with friends and playing video games. Kendell's favorite classes are PE with Mr. Neuendorf and math with Mr. Feuerstein, she has greatly enjoyed junior high and the freedom it offers. Kendell credit her family for having the largest impact on her so far, specifically for instilling an incredible work ethic and constantly supporting her. In the future, she would love to play basketball in college and later work as a sports journalist.
"Kendell is an extremely kind and dedicated young lady. She works diligently during class and always does her best! She is a great example for her peers as she always makes positive contribution within the classroom. Kendell is a positive and contentious leader. She is a joy to have in class!" -Mrs. Silvers
Bella’s activities at Ottawa Hills include volleyball and track. In her free time, she enjoys sketching, reading, and listening to music. Her favorite class this year is precalculus with Ms. Keckler. Bella credits her mother for having the largest influence on her life, encouraging her when she’s down and pushing her to be her best. People would be surprised to know that Bella has eight siblings. In the future, Bella plans to go to college and study engineering. Bella’s best experience at Ottawa Hills so far was the DC trip her freshman year.
"Isabella (Bella) has consistently performed at the top of her Chemistry class. Her work is thorough, and she pays close attention to detail. Bella has been very helpful to her lab partners when working through difficult material. She is very reliable and comes to class prepared without fail.” -Dr. KG
Abdou, our AFS exchange student, has come to us from Tunisia this year and he has been a wonderful addition to our school. Abdou is thankful to his host family, the Cheema family, who has been very supportive and to all of his friends that have welcomed him to OH. His activities at Ottawa Hills include Quiz Bowl, Model UN, and Speech & Debate. In his free time, he enjoys reading, cycling, coding, and spending time with friends and family. His most memorable experience so far was the AFS assembly where he had the chance to share about his country. In the future, Abdou hopes to attend college in the US and study computer science. People would be surprised to know that Abdou can speak three languages fluently.
"Abdou jumped into the school year with such positive energy and positivity! Even though he joined the classes after the school year started, he caught up quickly and mostly independently. I can tell he is ready to put 110% into this school year and his year abroad. He has already added so much to our community. He joined the AP Chemistry class without skipping a beat. He has been a positive contributor to the class and a joy to see each morning in early bird!” -Dr. KG
Anastasia’s activities at Ottawa Hills include AFS club, Model UN, and OHbreathe. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, learning Dutch, reading, and quilting. In the future, she plans to attend university and study international affairs. Her favorite class at Ottawa Hills is art history because she enjoys learning about the relationship between culture and art throughout history. The most memorable experience for Anastasia was the first day back at school for 12th grade after living abroad for a year.
"Anastasia has demonstrated such dedication and passion to AFS Club to get it up and running this year. Even before school started, she reached out, emailing me different ideas for AFS fundraisers. For every event we've had, she has stood up as a leader, doing a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently.” -Ms. Shawaker
"Anastasia showed great courage in spending a year abroad in the Netherlands. Upon her return, she has been paying it forward by volunteering her time to promote our international program. She devoted hours of time to our Rummage Sale, working hard in any capacity in which she was needed.” -Mrs. Sherry
Ella's activities at Ottawa Hills include art club, Junior Chorale, Makwa, and Youth 2 Youth. In her free time, she enjoys art, singing, playing the piano and ukulele, and hanging out with friends. Ella’s favorite class is junior high art with Ms. Shawaker because of the warm, welcoming environment that the teacher creates. Not only does her passion for art come out at school, but also at home where she loves redecorating her room. In the future, Ella would like to be an interior designer. Ella has greatly enjoyed junior high but she is most looking forward to the DC trip in November.
“Ella brings positive energy to every class. She is kind and courteous to her peers and her teachers, lending a helping hand each and every day. She is the first to raise her hand and is always engaged in discussion. Ella stayed three hours after school to help me move my supplies from the multipurpose room to my classroom and had fun doing it!” -Ms. Shawaker
Claire is on the softball team at Ottawa Hills and in her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends. Ceramics is her current favorite class because she enjoys art of all varieties. Claire’s best experience at Ottawa Hills so far was the Snowball dance last Spring.
"Claire has been a hard worker and has demonstrated a strong work ethic in class. She has been very confident in her approach to her coursework. Claire has been very helpful to those students around her and has helped them with conceptual understanding of the material. I enjoy her candor and mature attitude in class” -Dr. KG
Matthias’ activities at Ottawa Hills include cross country, track, jazz band and theater. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, bass, and hanging out with friends. The person who has most influenced Matthias was Mr. Kinkaid due to his unconventional teaching methods and environment in the classroom. Senior year English is his favorite class because it has challenged him to interpret different forms of literature, as well as encourage his own self-reflection. In the future, Matthias plans to study interior design and music composition. People would be surprised to know that he is teaching himself the mandolin, banjo, and drums. Matthias’ best memory at Ottawa Hills was sophomore year homecoming when Mr. Nixon played Rock Lobster by the B52s.
"Matthias is a leader in English. It's first period and his peers are often very quiet. He doesn't shy away from participating and offering his analysis of often complex texts. He is kind and encouraging when working in pairs or teams.” –Ms. Eisenbaum
Sara Hamilton is in eighth grade and is the daughter of Chris Hamilton and Maara Fink. Sara’s activities at Ottawa Hills include field hockey, basketball, Youth to Youth, French club, and Science Olympiad. In her free time, she enjoys baking and spending time with friends and family. Sara’s favorite class in junior high is science. In the future, she hopes to attend The Ohio State University and become a pediatric nurse. The best experience so far for Sara was the junior high field hockey tournament in Cleveland.
“Sara has really stepped up as a leader in the junior high. Her kind nature is shown by her smiles, hellos and kind gestures to classmates and teachers in the hallway. She offered to come greet a student returning to Ottawa Hills on her first day of school, give her a tour and make sure she got to her first class. During our first Youth to Youth meeting, Sara offered up great ideas on the work we can do this year to help maintain a positive school climate in the JH. We are so thankful to have Sara at Ottawa Hills.” -Mrs. Tolliver
Hudson Franklin is in ninth grade and is the son of Matthew and Melissa Franklin. Hudson’s activities at Ottawa Hills include cross country, quiz bowl, and Young Life. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and playing music. He is currently learning to play the violin, ukulele, guitar, harmonica, piano, and mountain dulcimer. Hudson’s science fair research about the Ottawa River has been his best experience so far at Ottawa Hills. Hudson credits his parents for having the most influence on him through their support and encouragement.
“Hudson is hands down a great person and student. He was running into issues downloading software the first week, so he wasn't able to do all the step-by-step processes with the rest of the class. He stayed after school many times to catch up and also worked independently to learn the tools/techniques on Illustrator. His intrinsic drive is amazing! He is ready to learn every day.” -Ms. Shawaker
Max Chandar-Kouba is in twelfth grade and is the son of Rupali Chandar and David Kouba. Max’s activities at Ottawa Hills include cross country, track, OH Stand, and quiz bowl. In his free time, he enjoys running with friends, crafts, and racket sports. Max credits his parents as the most influential people in his life throughout high school, specifically for their unending support and encouragement. The best experience in the classroom for Max was scientific research and French V. His best experience out of the classroom was the cross country team’s run to states. In the future, Max plans to go to college and study physics.
“Since French 1, Max has consistently exhibited genuine curiosity and academic excellence. He writes and speaks beautifully and also has fun with the language. Max is always willing to help other students, both formally as a peer tutor and informally in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, Max has been a dependable and inspiring leader in OH Stand for the last two years.” -Madame Hanlon
Brandon Dolsey is in twelfth grade and is the son of Brian and Dee Dolsey. Brandon’s activities at Ottawa Hills include track, band, jazz band, Books 4 Buddies, and Jack and Jill. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, making music and playing the cornet. Brandon credits his brother, Jon, as having a huge influence on his life. Jon encourages Brandon to be a leader in and out of the classroom, and make the most of his time at Ottawa Hills. His best experience so far was the band trip to Toronto, while his favorite class is physics with Mr. Adkins. Brandon has a very bright future ahead of him.
“Brandon has been an anchor in our music program. Behind his trumpet, his sound CANNOT be hidden, filling the entire stadium with his musical leadership. In the classroom, Brandon goes above and beyond in working to understand music theory. I'm glad to have him in our music classes, and our music program is better off for having Brandon.” -Mr. Leeds
Mercy Alamina (Grade 7)
Parents: Abiye & Folu Alamina
Mercy’s activities include cross country and track. In her free time, she enjoys reading, helping others with homework, and getting involved at her church. Mercy’s favorite class is band because she loves playing the flute and she very much enjoys Michael Leeds.
In the future, Mercy hopes to attend MIT or Stanford to study engineering. Mercy has really appreciated the transition to Junior High and the independence it has offered.
“Mercy is a very hard-working and dedicated student. She works diligently in the classroom and works well with others. Mercy is very respectful and kind to both her peers and her teachers. Mercy is a leader in the 7th Grade.”
- Nicole Silvers, science teacher
Elise Denk (Grade 12)
Parents: Walter Denk & Stacie Roshong-Denk
Elise’s activities include Student Council, National Honor Society, Model UN and Sunrise. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and her sisters, listening to music, watching movies, and being outside.
Elise’s favorite classes are physics and computer programming because she says that the content she learns has an immediate, real-life application. Elise’s best experience at Ottawa Hills was climbing Ruth Mountain as an extension of Agora in 9th Grade. In the future, Elise plans to attend The Ohio State University and study electrical and computer engineering with a minor in economics.
“Elise has been a three-year participant in the Model UN Club. This includes her junior year when both conferences were online, a period in which a number of my Model UN students decreased their participation. She has exemplified a true interest in global affairs and events. Elise has been a positive influence both in my Model UN Club and my AP GOPO class. She deserves to be Student of the Month.”
-Tom McCarthy, social studies teacher
Alex McCaffery (Grade 9)
Parents: Lauren McCaffery & Matt McCaffery
Alex’s activities include basketball and football. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing basketball, and video games. Alex’s best experience at Ottawa Hills so far was the 8th Grade trip to Washington, D.C. He credits his friends and his coaches for having the largest impact on him and he is very grateful for their support and guidance.
Alex does not know exactly what he wants to do in the future, but he feels confident that with all of the support he has, he will be able to anything. People would be surprised to know that Alex is a huge sports fan and owns 19 jerseys.
"Alex is an amazing young man who regularly demonstrates good character and citizenship. He has excelled in and out of the classroom and has earned the respect of his teachers, coaches, and peers. We look forward to his continued growth and contributions to our school and community. He is an ideal recipient for both the Turnaround and Student of the Month awards."
- Ben McMurray, Principal
Zoe McCarthy (Grade 10)
Parents: Joe and Barb McCarthy
Zoe’s activities include swimming and GSA. Outside of school, Zoe is involved with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Conservation Teen Advisory Council. In her free time, she enjoys reading, crafting, making jewelry, cross-country skiing, backpacking, and camping.
Zoe’s favorite class is English where she is taught how to think, rather than what to think, allowing space for creativity. Zoe’s best experience at Ottawa Hills so far has been joining the swim team and taking part in “Romantic Idol.” In the future, Zoe plans to go to a university and study medicine with the hope of becoming a doctor.
“Zoe has been a positive role model to her peers in chemistry. She is always prepared for class and asks thoughtful questions. She has a positive attitude and continues to strive for her best performance each day. I appreciate her work ethic and grit during class.”
- Dr. Gloria Kreischer Gajewicz, chemistry teacher
Bre Rotterdam (Grade 11)
Parents: Christi Ansberg & Rob Rotterdam
Bre’s activities include tennis, cheer, and Challenge Crew. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, hanging out with friends, and babysitting. The person who has most influenced her life has been her mom who is constantly supporting her and encouraging her to do her best and put in the hard work.
People would be surprised to know that Bre has traveled to 10 countries. Bre’s best experience at Ottawa Hills so far was the 8th Grade trip to Washington, D.C.
“Bre is one of the most positive, upbeat students I have had in class. She is a leader in Anatomy and her peers look up to her. She comes to class prepared and inquisitive about the content. Bre works well with others and is polite, caring, and compassionate toward her peers.”
- Liz Puskala, anatomy teacher
Lowell Shreve (Grade 7)
Parents: Eric & Adrianne Shreve
Lowell is currently involved in track, specifically the pole vault. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games and practicing the tuba. Lowell’s favorite class is band with Michael Leeds.
In the future, he hopes to become a teacher and band director. Lowell has enjoyed the transition to Junior High and loves coming to school each day with his friends.
“Lowell is a polite and attentive student. He has a great attitude about school and gets along well with his peers.”
- Karen Fischer, English teacher
Samantha Bigioni (Grade 12)
Parents: Terry & Kim Bigioni
Samantha’s activities include GSA, French Club, Art Club, and track. In her free time, she enjoys participating in the ZOOTeens program, reading, writing, and art. Samantha’s favorite class is Honors Scientific Research with Jeremy Nixon where she has had many valuable experiences. Samantha’s best experience in high school was during Agora 2018 when they made cobbler over a campfire.
In the future, Samantha plans to attend college and study biology and anthropology. People might be surprised to know that Sam has a pet gecko.
“Samantha exhibits all the characteristics of a learner. She is curious about the world around her and seeks to find answers. She has a realistic lens on the expectations she puts on herself and others. She’s flexible and adaptable to the given situation. Her positive attitude provides those around her a calming atmosphere.”
- Sara Eisenbaum, English teacher
Zoe Cheema (Grade 10)
Parents: Javed Cheema & Rabia Akbar
Zoe’s activities include the Speech and Debate Team, track, field hockey, and OH Stand. In her free time, she enjoys running, being a part of Boy Scouts, listening to music, and spending time outside. Zoe credits her parents for having the largest impact on her life by encouraging her to reach her goals as well as setting an example of success that she aspires to achieve.
History is Zoe’s favorite class so far. She enjoys thinking critically about the past in order to better understand our world today. In the future, she plans to attend college and study law.
“Zoe is a wonderful presence in study hall. Over the last few weeks, Zoe has led chemistry practice for many of the sophomores in the room, placing practice problems on chalkboards around the room. She will model problems, help students solve them, and practice with her peers. She is knowledgeable, positive, and energetic during each practice session, and I have absolutely loved watching her lead and collaborate, creating a dynamic study hall of peer-to-peer studying.”
- Sam Abbott, English teacher
Sam Kapadia (Grade 7)
Parents: Jimmy & Jennifer Kapadia
Sam’s activities include robotics, theater, MathCounts, Student Council, Jazz Band, Junior Chorale, and track. In his free time, he enjoys studying, map drawing, singing, playing piano, listening to music, and going for rides in his grandfather’s Model T Ford.
Sam’s favorite class is band because he loves playing music with everyone, as well as Michael Leeds’ “useless surveys.” Nicole Silvers also has had a positive influence on Sam this year through her sense of humor and enjoyable environment in science class. Sam’s best experience in Junior High so far was winning the Spelling Bee. In the future, Sam hopes to go to college and study history or geomatics engineering.
“Sam is a very motivated student and a leader in the classroom. He exhibits an extremely strong commitment to and enthusiasm to his school. As a leader, he also exhibits empathy towards both his peers and teachers, has good communication skills, and is willing to take ideas/feedback from others. Sam is a joy to have in the classroom. His positivity is contagious, and it makes our classroom a better place.”
- Nicole Silvers, science teacher
Thomas McCarthy (Grade 12)
Parents: Tom & Stephanie McCarthy
Thomas’ activities include Model UN, theater, football, Choraliers, and ASL Club. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends and playing video games. Thomas’ best experience at Ottawa Hills High School was being a part of the “Guys and Dolls” production; he called it the best three months of his life.
In the future, Thomas plans to study political science in college and attend law school. He credits the history department as having the greatest impact on him throughout high school. Collectively, the history teachers helped him realize what career he would like to pursue.
“As I coached Thomas in ‘Guys and Dolls,’ I couldn’t help to reflect on his incredible educational journey. He has grown into a truthful performance artist, a thoughtful student, and a leader/coach who understands the importance of ‘leading from the head and the heart.’ He has developed a wonderful rapport with our Acting Out! students. His ability to connect with students and his talent to teach simple concepts as well as more sophisticated ones are excellent. Finally, the qualities I admire most in Thomas -- after his talent, sparkle, subtle wit, intellectual curiosity, and involvement -- are his determination to succeed and his personal integrity.”
- Darrin Broadway, dean of secondary teaching and learning
Cassie Davis (Grade 11)
Parents: Kirk & Stacy Davis
Cassie’s activities include OHbreathe, Volunteer Focus, Marching Band, and the theater. Outside of school, Cassie is very involved at Company C dance. Cassie credits James Kinkaid as having a significant impact on her in the classroom. While in his English class, Mr. Kinkaid pushed Cassie to think differently about herself and the world. In the future, Cassie plans to attend medical school with the hopes of specializing in plastic surgery.
“Cassie has performed consistently at a high level of academic achievement that is exemplary. She is helpful towards her peers and continues to display her dedication, unselfishness, and commitment to AP Chemistry on a daily basis.”
- Dr. Gloria Kreischer Gajewicz, chemistry teacher
Ethan Green (Grade 10)
Parents: Laura Rothschild and Michael Green
Ethan’s activities include cross country, track, Esports, and Science Olympiad. In his free time, he enjoys Tae Kwon Do and being a part of the ZooTeen program. In the future, Ethan plans to go to college at the University of Toledo and then onto The Ohio State University for graduate school. Ethan’s best experience so far has been being a member of the Marching Band and performing on football Friday nights.
“Ethan has been dependable and kind to all. He works very hard in class and participates well with his peers during group work and presentations.”
- Dr. Gloria Kreischer Gajewicz, chemistry teacher
Brody Martinez (Grade 7)
Parents: Mike & Gina Martinez
Brody’s activities include football, basketball, and lacrosse. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, hanging out with friends, and walking his dog. In the future, Brody dreams of becoming a Division I athlete. People might be surprised to know that Brody loves to sing.
“Brody comes to school every day with a positive attitude that is contagious to those around him. He is a model student athlete, and a leader both in the classroom and on the field.” - Greg Neuendorf, physical education teacher
Alyssa Rosenberg (Grade 12)
Parents: Joe & Veronica Rosenberg
Alyssa’s activities include cross country, GSA, Mesasa, Science Olympiad, and softball. In her free time, she enjoys reading, horseback riding, sewing/embroidering, and volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Alyssa credits Liz Puskala and Dr. Lauren Hurst as having a significant impact on her throughout high school through their guidance, instruction, and direction in the classroom. Alyssa’s best experience at Ottawa Hills was her first day of senior year. In the future, she plans to go to college and study biology with the hopes of becoming a veterinarian.
“Alyssa is an advocate. She cares about the well-being of others and stands up for what she believes is right. She is steadfast and encourages others to recognize when what they are saying or doing disregards the needs of others. She is an impressive leader for justice.” - Sara Eisenbaum, English teacher
Roz Dougherty (Grade 7)
Parents: Patrick & Katie Dougherty
Roz’s activities include field hockey, basketball, and yearbook. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, hanging with friends, and fostering kittens. Roz’s favorite class this year is math with Dan Feuerstein. Her best experience so far in Junior High has been playing field hockey and basketball. She also has enjoyed the freedom that Junior High offers. People would be surprised to know that Roz likes to collect miniature fake food.
“I have been impressed by the way that Roz advocates for herself and others. Roz is a kind, young lady who always does what is in the best interest of all students and her teachers. Roz is an incredibly hard worker, and always puts forth her best effort. I appreciate having Roz in class. She makes teaching fun.” - Nicole Silvers, science teacher (faculty nominator)
Ava Morgan (Grade 12)
Parents: Eric & Holly Morgan
Ava’s activities include Choraliers and theater. She will be playing the role of Arvide in the upcoming production of Guys & Dolls. In her free time, she works at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and enjoys spending time with friends. Ava is in the process of choosing a college where she can pursue music education. She credits Johsua Dufford as having the biggest impact on her in high school by pushing and inspiring her in Choraliers and the theater.
“Ava is an outstanding member of both Honors Choir and Choraliers. She constantly is stretching herself to succeed outside of rehearsals by auditioning for honors choirs, theatre productions, and learning solos to stretch her abilities. Ava is a fine leader by example and well respected by her peers. Her kind demeanor makes her easy to talk to and her eagerness to succeed in choir encourages my own teaching as her director.” - Joshua Dufford, vocal music director (faculty nominator)
Collin Potts (Grade 9)
Parents: Matt & Brittany Potts
Collin’s activities include baseball, basketball, and Boy Scouts. In his free time, he enjoys wake surfing, slalom skiing, and wake boarding. Collin’s best experience so far at Ottawa Hills was the class trip to Washington, D.C., where he had the opportunity to lay the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. In the future, Collin hopes to go the The Ohio State University, following in the footsteps of his parents. Go Bucks!
“Collin is a model student who is always respectful and well behaved. He stands out with his consistent good behavior and shows true leadership. Collin is a model student.” -Tracy Richards, health education teacher (faculty nominator)
Warren Goik (Grade 12)
Parents: Pat Goik & Jennifer Barrett
Warren’s activities include baseball, Marching Band, Jazz Band, and National Honor Society. In his free time, he enjoys drumming, golfing, caddying, and tutoring. Warren credits his parents as having the biggest impact on his life for always encouraging him to pursue his goals academically, athletically, and musically.
Next year, Warren plans to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, Ind.) and study mechanical engineering while also playing baseball. Warren’s best experience at Ottawa Hills was beating Anthony Wayne his junior year, which was a huge win.
“Warren ranks as one of the best student musicians we've had at OH. His great performance ability is on display at every performance, including the Drum Line, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, and volunteering at choir concerts when extra percussion is needed. His talent on the drum set and mallets is also quite remarkable. In the classroom setting, Warren shows wonderful composition skills in Music Theory. I count us lucky he shares his gift of music with our school and community.” – Michael Leeds, instrumental music director (faculty nominator)
Thomas Lathrop (Grade 7)
Parents: George & Kathy Lathrop
Thomas’ activities include swim, cross country, track, robotics, and Power of the Pen. In his free time, he enjoys writing, reading, running, and hanging out with his family. His favorite class at Ottawa Hills right now is math with Dan Feuerstein because he enjoys problem solving. In the future, he dreams of being an author of fictional stories.
People would be surprised to know that he has already written several novels with the hopes of someday publishing. Thomas’ best experience so far has been Power of the Pen because it has pushed him to continue writing and has created an environment that encourages his creative process.
“Thomas is a great artist, but also a team player. He is kind to everyone and dedicated to his work. He is the first one to offer help to a classmate and is such a help to me this semester. He is one the kindest students I have ever taught.” - Hannah Lehmann, art teacher (faculty nominator)
Timothy Lim (Grade 9)
Parents: Hyonjoon & Youngsun Lim
Tim’s activities include swimming and tennis. In his free time, he enjoys playing games, studying, and biking. Tim credits English teacher Sara Eisenbaum for having the biggest impact on him throughout the year; he appreciates her teaching style and support in the classroom. Tim is new to Ottawa Hills and we are lucky to have him here.
“Tim is a new student to OH this year. He has demonstrated grit and perseverance with every single assignment he has been given. He asks for feedback even after he revises because he genuinely wants to grow in his speaking, reading, writing, and researching skills. He is kind to his classmates, he is respectful to his teachers, and he maintains a positive attitude even when he struggles with a specific concept. He is the very definition of a leader.” - Sara Eisenbaum, English teacher (faculty nominator)
Keelie Wimmers (Grade 11)
Parents: Dan & Lora Wimmers
Keelie’s activities include volleyball, basketball, softball, Choraliers, Challenge Crew, and Mesasa. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, hanging out with friends and family, listening to music, andWar baking. Keelie is very grateful that Ottawa Hills now offers American Sign Language with Ashley Gorsuch, because she loves the language.
People would be surprised to know that due to the fact that Keelie has grown up with foster siblings, she is now an aunt to 34 nieces and nephews. The best memories for Keelie have been her athletic experiences and bonding with her teammates. The coaches and players have been Keelie’s support system through the ups and downs of high school.
“Keelie has always excelled in American Sign Language. She has been a leader from the start by her actions and words. Keelie does not let her age limit her abilities. Keelie helped establish the ASL Club this year and has played a vital role in the overall program, whether she receives recognition or not. Her attitude is one of inclusion and great care for others despite any differences. She strives to help others and spreads that attitude among her peers.” – Ashley Gorsuch, American Sign Language instructor (faculty nominator)
Graydon Begeman (Grade 10)
Parents: Garett & Johanna Begeman
Graydon’s activities include track, cross country, e-sports, and GSA. In his free time, he enjoys Dungeons and Dragons, writing, hanging out with friends, and biking. Gradyon credits his parents and friends as having the biggest positive influence on his life so far. While in school, Graydon enjoys his public speaking class with Ms. (Sara) Eisenbaum and band with Mr. (Michael) Leeds because they are both classes where he is actively engaged the whole time. This year’s Homecoming Dance was his best memory at Ottawa Hills so far, but he knows that there are so many great experiences yet to come.
“Graydon has a positive attitude with a capital P! His passion for music (and the other musicians in the band) is downright contagious. In our ensemble, I see daily his positive work ethic, grit, support of others, and humor come through in all of his interactions. He embodies the Green Bear Nation spirit and we're proud to have him in our band!” -- Michael Leeds, instrumental music director
Will Berschback (Grade 12)
Parents: Jay & Jenny Berschback
Will’s activities include soccer, basketball, baseball, Volunteer Focus, and Student Council President. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and playing more soccer. Will’s best memories from Ottawa Hills have been the soccer team’s state tournament runs. Coach Brian Hanudel has had the biggest impact on Will, teaching him character both on and off the field. He is very thankful for Coach Hanudel and knows that it will be a lifelong friendship. In the future, Will plans to go to college to study aerospace engineering with the hopes of working for NASA or SpaceX.
"Will is a class leader. He participates with ease and doesn't allow fear of an unknown or 'wrong' answer hold him back from taking risks. He solicits feedback throughout his process and integrates that into creating high quality work. When working with his peers, he is a model of how to use time productively to initiate and complete tasks." -- Sara Eisenbaum, English teacher
Avery Dale (Grade 12)
Parents: Andy & Bethany Dale
Avery’s activities include tennis, lacrosse, OHbreathe, Teen PEP, NHS, Volunteer Focus, and the Challenge Crew. In her free time, she enjoys fashion, trying new foods, and hanging out with family and friends. Avery’s best experience at OH has been being a part of the OHbreathe team, specifically creating the vision behind the program and watching the vision come to life during the OHbreathe days. In the future, Avery plans to study business and fashion with the hopes of moving to New York City.
"I cannot write enough positive words about Avery. She always shows tremendous compassion and empathy for others. As a leadership team member of the Ottawa Hills Teen PEP program, she is instrumental with helping the group develop compelling and engaging classroom presentations that help guide and mentor our younger students. She is a trustworthy student in our building and enriches our community through her contributions." -- Lisa Nagy, high school guidance counselor
Jasmine Hajjar (Grade 7)
Parents: Elias & Joy Hajjar
Jasmine’s activities include field hockey, theater, Power of the Pen, and robotics. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, singing, listening to music, and playing the piano. Jasmine credits the theater department, specifically Randall Johnson and Grace Wipfli, for having the greatest impact on her at Ottawa Hills.
Theater has been one of her favorite activities so far and those adults have elevated her experience. Field hockey has also been an incredible experience for Jasmine and she is very much looking forward to next season. People would be surprised to know that Jasmine is a huge hockey fan and never misses a Montreal Canadiens hockey game. GO, HABS, GO!
“Jasmine Hajjar is such a wonderful example of leadership for her 7th Grade peers. Jasmine smiles and speaks to classmates and adults as she passes them in the hall and is respectful at all times. Jasmine has made a smooth transition from elementary to Junior High and is involved in several extracurricular activities, Junior Chorale, and Youth 2 Youth to name a few. Jasmine is passionate about spreading the message of awareness and has been a wonderful attribute to Youth 2 Youth. Jasmine also has been able to stay on top of her school work and continue to get good grades this entire semester.” -- Nikki Tolliver, guidance counselor (grades 7-9)
Ren Berryman (Grade 10)
Parents: Andrea & Eric Berryman
Ren’s activities include theater productions and Avalon Foundations. Ren is also a math tutor and leader of the GSA. In his free time, Ren enjoys weightlifting, reading, and running his crochet business.
Ren’s best experience so far at Ottawa Hills High School was the first-ever National Coming Out Day in 2020 and he is very excited about the future of that event. He credits Madame (Noreen) Hanlon for having the most influence on his life throughout high school, supporting and guiding Ren since Junior High. In the future, Ren would like to practice law and work to defend LGBTQ rights.
“Ren is extremely involved in school and after-school programs. He is passionate about the things important to him and always willing to help and volunteer. He is very engaged in class and brings so much to the discussions we have in class. He is a true leader who leads by example, kindness, and passion.” -- Tracy Richards, health and physical education teacher (and faculty nominator)
Josef Duley (Grade 8)
Parent: Marie & Matthew Duley
Josef's activities include Bear Pause, Science Olympiad, Power of the Pen, and Youth 2 Youth. In his free time, he enjoys video games, basketball, watching The Office, reading, and playing music, including the alto sax and violin. His best experience so far at Ottawa Hills Junior High has been playing in the Fall Collage concert. Josef is new to OH this year and has adapted very well, enjoying all of his classes, particularly honors geometry with Mr. Feuerstein.
“Josef has done a wonderful job academically and making sure that he's apart of multiple extracurricular activities. Josef is part of our newly formed Youth 2 Youth group and on the school newspaper. Josef is respectful, always has a smile on his face and eager and willing to help when needed. He is a wonderful example of leadership.” -- Nikki Tolliver, guidance counselor (and faculty nominator)
Dylan Fall (Grade 12)
Parents: Tracy & Craig Fall
Dylan’s activities include band and Esports, where he is captain of the Super Smash Brothers Ultimate Team. Band has been Dylan’s favorite class; having started with very little music experience, he now is a leader in the percussion section and has found a community and teacher that he appreciates. Dylan’s best experience at Ottawa Hills High School was the band trip to Toronto. In the future, Dylan plans to attend college and major in business and graphic design.
“Dylan has been a pillar in our music program. His transformation from section player into leader has been nothing short of remarkable. His passion for making things the BEST they can be is infectious! In the classroom, Dylan goes above and beyond in working to understand music theory. I'm glad to have him in our music classes, and our music program is better off for having Dylan.” -- Michael Leeds, instrumental music director (and faculty nominator)
Faith Seo (Grade 12)
Parents: Yongwoo & Mary Seo
Faith's activities include volleyball, OHbreathe, Model UN, and Diversity Board. In her free time, Faith enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, drawing, and playing guitar. She credits her parents as having the biggest impact on her throughout high school. They have supported her passions and provided her with opportunities to grow. In the future, Faith plans to attend college and study computer science and design.
“As a newcomer to the Mesasa staff this year, Faith has stepped up to design the yearbook cover - never an easy task. Faith has taken on the challenge with grace and skill and has worked with senior staff members to help integrate an amazing color scheme for the Mesasa 2022!” -- Dr. Lauren Hurst, English teacher (and faculty nominator)
Leila Clausen (Grade 12)
Parent: Kori Clausen
Leila’s activities include tennis and track. In her free time, she enjoys walks, hanging out with friends, and working at Sip Coffee. The person who has most influenced her life is her mother who has always encouraged her to try new things outside of her comfort zone.
Leila’s favorite class is English because she enjoys writing. In the future, Leila plans to go to college and also backpack around Europe.
“Leila is a positive force in class and outside of it. She happily works with any of her peers and regularly makes people feel at ease. When others are absent she fills them in on what they missed, helps them to develop their writing through giving feedback, and takes feedback to strengthen her own narrative writing.” – Sara Eisenbaum, faculty nominator
Olga Isailović (Grade 10)
Parents: Dragan & Slavica Isailović
Olga’s activities include Quiz Bowl, Student Council, Volunteer Focus, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and French Club. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading, studying foreign languages, listening to music, fashion design, drawing, and watching old movies. Olga’s favorite classes are French and Spanish because she appreciates the language and communication skills she has adopted.
In the future, Olga would like to attend a small university where she can pursue her goals of learning six languages and preparing for a career as a writer. Olga’s best experience so far at Ottawa Hills High School was after a tough loss for the varsity volleyball team, the team came together and encouraged one another.
People would be surprised to know that Olga has a strong love for Pellegrino and white Tic Tacs.
“Olga is constantly engaged in class and actively participating. Public speaking can be daunting for many students, but if it is for her, she never shows that. Her confidence and enthusiasm are infectious and she continually goes above and beyond in the quality of her work.” – Sara Eisenbaum, faculty nominator
Blaise Malczewski (Grade 12)
Parents: Jason and Beth Malczewski
Blaise’s activities include Model UN and Mesasa. He also is on the OH News with his own segments, Bears in the Box Office and A Day in History. In his free time, he enjoys working at Blaze Pizza, researching historical events, biking, and skateboarding.
Blaise credits teachers Jessica Kozy and James Kinkaid as having the most impact on him. Ms. Kozy’s enthusiastic support has cultivated his love for history. Mr. Kinkaid has encouraged Blaise to reach his potential both in the classroom and in his own personal journey through high school.
Outside of the classroom, Blaise’s best experience so far at Ottawa Hills was the exciting first day of senior year. In the future, Blaise would like to go to college and study history and political science.
“Blaise has shown since day one an enthusiasm for reading and discussion that has been wonderful to see. He engages at a very deep level and what he shares is highly intellectual. He is a positive peer and is able to maintain focus on the task at hand. He leads by example!” – Sara Eisenbaum, faculty nominator
Caitlin McCarthy (Grade 8)
Parents: Joe & Barb McCarthy
Caitlin’s activities include cross country, track, swim, GSA, Science Olympiad, and Bear Pause. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing the piano, art, and downhill skiing. Caitlin has greatly enjoyed Ottawa Hills since moving here, including the teachers, the football games, and new friends.
Her favorite class in junior high is science. In the future, she plans to go to college and study medicine.
“In a year that has begun with so many distractions and challenges, Caitlin remains positive and focused. Regardless of what is going on around her, she takes advantage of what each day brings with enthusiasm, curiosity, and hard work.” –Paul Genzman, faculty nominator