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Top scholars honored for hard work



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Fourth row from left, at top, are Clarkston scholars Trevor Neiderffer, Harrison Smith, Ben Helgeson, and Sean Johnson; third row, Talor Tekiele, Brooke Huisman, Kelsey Riemenschneider, Amanda Chamberlain, and Mitchell Johnson, second row, Samantha Gertz, Emily Popp, Lexi Wung, Adam Larkin, and Morgan Gibson; and front row, Kendra Mantz, Nicole Orminski, Eden Hartley, Lindsey Noble, and Estrellita Torres. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
May 22, 2013 - Clarkston Community Schools and Clarkston State Bank (CSB) recognize excellence.

A group of 30 top scholar students from Clarkston High School and Renaissance High School were honored at a Student Awards Breakfast at Deer Lake Athletic Club, May 7.

Students graduating from the 2013 class are chosen for the award based on school performance, extracurricular activity, integrity, leadership and good citizenship.

Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock, who served as featured speaker during event, commended students on all their hard work and the character it takes to be successful.

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"These students are engaged, they are hard workers and they are ethical people," said Rock. "They make choices to do the right thing."

The breakfast, sponsored by the bank, included a full buffet of goodies from sausage and eggs to Danish pastries. Rock thanked CSB for their many contributions to the community throughout the years, including sponsoring the Student Awards Breakfast.

J. Grant Smith, President and CEO of CSB, kicked off the festivities, and later told students to make sure to thank their parents and families.

"Tell them how much you love and appreciate them, thank them for helping you get where you are today," he said.

Sean Johnson said he appreciates his parents for keeping him on the ball over the years.

"My parents kept me motivated and kept pushing me," said Johnson, adding that he has worked hard to be a scholar and earn a spot at the awards breakfast. "I always did my homework and made sure to pay attention in class."

Johnson said he also hangs out with people, who like him, value education. Several of his friends were also named scholars this year.

"We push each other to do well," he said. "I wouldn't call it a competition, but it sort of is."

Several students related academic success to completing work on time and practicing good study habits.

Estrellita Torres said she struggled to get good grades last year, but this year she did better by learning how to study.

"This year I prioritized and always got my homework done," she said. "Learning good studying skills really helped me too."

Trevor Neideffer agreed with Torres, and said he is a scholar because he made sure to have good attendance, and worked hard to build good study habits. "I always moved at a consistent pace, and I built good study skills along the way," he said.

Students also introduced themselves and briefly commented on future education plans and career aspirations. A variety of careers were on their agenda from biomedical engineer to being a film major or a funeral director.

Harrison Smith he has a lot of friends going into engineering programs, but he has decided to go in a different direction and pursue a career in film because of his love for writing and arts.

Rock encouraged students to continue excelling in the academic world, to dream big, always seek out opportunities and challenges, to innovate and to make the world a better place.

"Even if you do well in school as you have, I hope you are always challenged," he said. "Make good decisions even though you may be around people making bad decisions."

Clarkston High School Principal Gary Kaul encouraged students to thank their parents for all the work they have contributed to get them to where they are today.

"Thank your parents," he said. "Your parents did whatever it took to get you through. Parents, your students are fantastic people."

Staff writer
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