Source: Sherman Publications

Student scholars honored by Optimists

May 29, 2013

Clarkston students Jillian Pinner, Cole Smaka and Nate VanHeulen were honored with Optimist Student Scholar Awards for their leadership in the classroom.

Pinner, fifth grader at North Sashabaw Elementary, is always challenging herself, said her teacher Caitlin Duncanson.

"She's always first to step up and take initiative to help staff and her peers," Duncanson said. "She always gives over 100 percent. She's a great role model – there's a lot we can all learn from her."

Smaka, Bailey Lake Elementary fifth grader, sets a good example with his polite, compassionate, thoughtful, and creative leadership, including vice president on student council, said his teacher Heidi Patterson-Brown.

"He's a natural leader and a creative thinker. We going to be sad to lose you," Patterson-Brown said.

"We're so proud of him," said his mother Lynn McIntosh. "All the things they said are so true. He always tries his hardest."

VanHeulen helps make Clarkston a better place, said Clarkston Elementary Principal Brian Adams.

"At Clarkston Elementary, one of the things we’re about is filling each other’s buckets (with positive feedback)," Adams said. "When it comes to filling buckets, he’s a human bulldozer."

"He’s a pleasure to have in class, since day one," said his teacher Sandy Gallivan. "He's on top of every situation he finds himself in."

"It's really cool to get a plaque," said VanHeulen, who learned to be helpful from his parents, Paul and Sandy VanHeulen.

"Part of it is, mom stays at home – it carries over, sets the table for everything that follows," Paul said. "Family is very important, showing respect for others."