Outstanding SCSD9 students honored for December 2022

Robert Galbreath photo The SCSD9 Students of the Month for December include, from left, Dylan Foster, Big Piney Middle School, Heidi Bell, Big Piney Elementary and Leland Jones, LaBarge Elementary.

BIG PINEY – The Sublette County School District No. 9 Board of Trustees recognized three Students of the Month for exemplifying the district values at its Dec. 14 meeting. The Big Piney High School Student of the Month for December, Ayame Conway, will be honored in January.

LaBarge Elementary fourth-grade teacher Kassidy Wiginton presented Leland Jones as Student of the Month. Jones demonstrates “tremendous respect” for his classmates and teachers, Wiginton said.

“I can always count on Leland to use his manners and include everyone in a game or an activity that is going on,” Wiginton told the board.

Jones exhibits integrity each day and can be relied on to tell the truth, Wiginton added. The fourth-grader comes to school ready to learn and is willing to take on any challenge.

Wiginton highlighted Jones’ empathy.

“I can think of a few times at recess when Leland went out of his way to make sure a younger student had someone to play with when he was going through a tough time at home,” Wiginton said. “The kindergartener then asked Leland if he could hold his hand and walk back to class. Leland agreed without hesitation and held this little boy’s hand in front of the older kids.”

Jones possesses the courage to join a student sitting alone at lunch “to make them happy,” Wiginton added.

Jones excels in the classroom and displays responsibility by carrying out his tasks without the need for a reminder.

“Leland takes pride in every single piece of work that he completes,” Wiginton said. “He is always trying his hardest to have the right answers. He takes pride in how responsible he is. Leland is a joy to have in class and I’m very honored to get the opportunity to teach him in fourth grade.”

Christie Willford, a fourth-grade teacher at Big Piney Elementary, nominated Heidi Bell as Student of the Month for December.

Willford praised Bell’s “amazing” writing ability. Bell submits new written works to Willford via Google Docs on a regular basis, including “delightful poems” and a piece about American poet Emily Dickinson.

“Heidi just loves writing,” Willford said.

Bell is courteous to peers, faculty and staff and can be counted on to offer assistance to classmates, Willford noted.

“One afternoon, Heidi helped a student in her class understand a lesson that was being taught,” Willford said. “She was able to explain the lesson in a way that made sense, and this is so important.”

Willford described Bell as a caring and empathetic person. Bell puts herself in others’ shoes, whether they are characters in a book or friends at Big Piney Elementary.

“Heidi is a girl full of compassion,” Willford told the board.

Bell is responsible, shows dedication to her schoolwork, follows the rules and respects those around her, Willford added.

“Heidi is a problem solver and strives for excellence in everything that she does,” Wiginton said. “When Heidi came across a challenging math problem, she did not give up, even though it was difficult, because she knew she could solve it. And sure enough, she did. Perseverance is the name of the game.”

Bell possesses the integrity and courage to “be all that she can be,” Willford remarked.

“Even though life is full of challenges every day, Heidi knows that she has it what it takes to be the best that one can be,” Willford said. “Heidi is as amazing as ever and one of those students that makes life easier when you are around her.”

Big Piney Middle School (BMPS) Principal Tyler Walker recognized eighth-grader Dylan Foster. Staff at the school nominated Foster for “demonstrating excellence over the past month,” said Walker.

“There are not too many individuals who demonstrate this quality better than Dylan,” Walker added. “Each aspect of her – her hallway behavior, her eagerness to always perform to the best of her ability in class and to treat everyone with respect.”

BPMS science teacher Kristi Hibbert singled out Foster for her strong work ethic and desire to succeed. Foster developed an independent science project to study wolf-movement in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Hibbert said.

Foster reached out to collaborate with a wolf biologist for the State of Wyoming on the project, Hibbert remarked. The eighth-grader designed the study and collected data on the movement of several wolves and packs in the region, Hibbert added.

“Dylan has formed a hypothesis and is transforming the raw data into a unique study of wolf behavior,” Hibbert wrote to the board. “She is a very goal-oriented student and is driven to achieve the high goals she sets for herself. In class discussion, readings, labs and assessments, she sets the bar for excellence in class.”

Foster recently won the Lions Club Peace Poster Contest for Sublette County and advanced to the state level where she captured first place, said BPMS art teacher Matt Guenthner. Foster’s art will advance to the national and international competition, he added.

“Dylan’s dedication to this project and all the extra time she spend on details is one reason why she won and the award stands as an example to her dedication and work ethic,” Guenthner told trustees.

Foster is a “rare student” at the middle school who is already planning for the next step in education beyond high school, Guenthner said.

“Because of this, she knows what is required to get admitted (to college) and is making plans to meet those requirements.”

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