Annual EHS academic banquet recognizes dozens

EVANSTON — Evanston High School celebrated its annual Academic Awards banquet (formerly the All A’s Banquet) on Monday, May 22. Students of all grade levels were recognized for having a 4.0 GPA and also for taking challenging courses, such as AP classes. 

Principal Merle Lester also said that the valedictorian policy has changed this year; it used to use only the ACT score and GPA as factors, but the current policy includes rigorous coursework (a list of those courses is available on in that equation. In order to attend the banquet, students had to have a 4.0 GPA or be in the top 10 percent of their class. 

“One of the things that I heard from many members of the community is there’s a lot more than just a 4.0,” Lester said, “and so as we listened to some of those [people], that is why we transitioned to that.”

Superintendent Ryan Thomas also commended Merle for reinvigorating the school and reemphasizing the “Toward the Highest” motto. He then commended the staff, students and parents for their work. 

He said he believes parent and community involvement and partnerships with the schools are stronger and more active than ever, including through the website, social media and other ways of communicating. 

Lester also announced that Eric Stemle, who named the awards, is retiring this year. 

“He is probably one of the best educators I’ve ever seen in my life,” Lester said. “... He is so fantastic with the kids, and I’m a little angry that he’s not going to be here next year for my son Seth ...”

The banquet moved on shortly to recognize the students who had been named for academic achievement.

The freshmen, who had not yet had a chance to take many AP classes, were recognized if they had a 4.0 GPA. Those students were Alexis Andrews, Maya Angwin, Bailey Barker, David Baxter, Brylin Blood, Sadie Brown, Savana Budd, Beckham Carver, Citlali Cerda, Dawson Crofts, Jose Echavarria, Lauren Ellingford, Alexa Foulk, Haily Hayes, Kaylynn Hoglin, Logan Hunt, Mason Jacketta, Britney Li, Alyssa Liechty, Hannah Linford, Makenna Link, Amber Lowe, Ashlyn Lundholm, Clay Martin, Kaitlyn Mathson, Maggie Moore, Tyler Murphy, Trinidy Nelson, Zocia Nowakowki, Devin O’Harra, Jake Paucarpura, Jessie Piiparinen, Jessica Rees, Abagail Rusch, Samuel Russell, Heinrich Schoedel, Garet Sharp, Taryn Wagstaff, Charles Winfield and Tiffany Yapias. 

The sophomores were Brittany Barton, Sydney Bown, Sierra Burleigh, Kylee Cox, Kori Deru, Lance Evans, Emma Feuz, Breila Fuller, Carson Gebs, Reid Gross, Bradshaw Haack, Alexandra Hansen, Rachael Hansen, Laura Hernandez, Kaelyn Hiatt, Mekenzie Hutchinson, Kennedy Johnston, Morgan Johnston, Megan Piper, Alia Provstgaard, Kayli Sharp, Kyra Sponenburgh, Jenna Tethal, Harrison Tooley and Weston Wiley. 

The juniors were Nicole Bott, Hannah Ellingford, Haley Gebs, Jakoby Goble, Hunter Groll, Tayler Groll, Colton Hatch, Kathryn Hatch, Megan Hutchinson, Ethan Johnson, Gracee Kennedy, Kendra Muller, Bronwyn Payne, Jess Richins, Brock Rigby, Makayla Robinson, Margaret Russell, Colter Thomas, Brady Wagstaff, Emmery Wagstaff and Shaylyn Welling. 

Before the seniors were announced, Lester said the senior class was one of the best groups he has ever worked with.

The seniors were Chandler Barker, Rylee Berger, Lauren Broadhead, Hayden Crofts, Taylor Crofts, Seth Davis, Aaron Fansher, Benjamin Fuller, Tiana Griffith, Allison Haack, Elijah Kimmel, Austin Mathson, Makayla Nelson, Rachel Peterson, Laural Schmidt, Savannah (Hannah) Sharp, Nathan (Brock) Sponenburgh and Braden Tethal.

EHS also had a drawing for five iPod touches for grades nine-11, and a drawing for a laptop for the seniors. The ninth grade winners were Bailey Barker, Hannah Linford, Kaitlyn Mathson, Heinrich Schoedel and Garet Sharp. The 10th grade winners were Sierra Burleigh, Kylee Cox, Kori Deru, Breila Fuller and Bradshaw Haack.The 11th grade winners were Nicole Bott, Hannah Ellingford, Kathryn Hatch, Megan Hutchinson and Colter Thomas. The 12th grade winners were Lauren Broadhead, Hayden Crofts, Tiana Griffith, Rachel Peterson and Savannah (Hannah) Sharp.