Every year, the achievements of students who went above and beyond in the classroom deserve to be recognized and last Monday night in the Beth Keaton Gymnasium at Faith Academy did just that.
High school students and their families enjoyed a catered meal courtesy of Annie’s Catering before one of the top students of the year, sophomore Tanner David, took to the podium to welcome those in attendance.
“As we find our seats and prepare for this night’s festivities, let’s remember why we’re gathered here; to honor the academic and athletic accomplishments of our Faith Academy students, both on the field and in the classroom, and we also remember all of the hard work that went in to every single one of their achievements,” he said, leading the program into the first of the extracurricular commendations.
Out of the 194 pieces of art submitted to the Association of Christian Schools International’s (ACSI) Art Festival Faith Academy hosted, 39 of them came from the host school and those artists were honored with an ovation.
Students enrolled in creative writing were awarded excellent and superior ribbons for their efforts in competition as well, with Cameron Crawford, Lacy Phillips, Chrislyn Turner and Regan Woodley making up that group.
The Destination Imagination team was then in the spotlight for their work at every level of competition while saying farewell to a long-time Faith Academy representative in Jeff Perry who, in 10 years with the program, earned eight first-place medals at regional, four at state and two second-place, one third and two fifth-place medals at the global finals.
Representing the Knights along with him were Regan Woodley, Jolie Wass, Tanner David and Stacy Woodley.
David didn’t get too far away from the stage before returning to be honored for his participation in the Voice of Democracy competition put on by the Veterans of Foreign Wars annually. Out of 40,000 submissions for over $2 million in incentives, David grabbed first place at the local level and represented the state of Texas at the American Legion Constitutional Speech contest in Indianapolis in April.
There, he was one of 53 contestants who presented an 8-10 minute oration on an aspect of the constitution as well as a 3-5 minute speech on its articles and sections. When it was all said and done, David was awarded more than $6,000 in scholarships with still two more years of high school left.
The Distinguished Christian Award was then handed out to students with outstanding achievements in one or more categories of academics, athletics, Christian service, fine arts and leadership and were some of 7,000 worldwide recipients.
Landon Bright, Joshua Poorman, Eric Carlin, Tanner David, Jacob Henderson and Tyler Johnston represented the sophomore class, Pierce Newcomb, Nathan Taake, Regan Woodley and Gabriella Yates were the junior winners and Brianna Gallaher, Miguel Guerrero, Cameron Crawford and Lacy Phillips took the award as seniors.
Ethan Matuska, Trason Robards and Nathan Taake will represent Faith Academy at American Legion’s boys’ state conference in the summer.
Gabriella Yates was announced as the Lady Knight that will represent the school at girls’ state.
Those accepting inductions into the National Honor Society were Landon Bright, Tanner David, John Brennan, Taylor Hetzel and Tyler Johnston.
Those honored with the Presidential Academic Excellence award earned a spot on the All-A honor roll every grading period this year; Maury Cano, Nathan Figueroa, Addie Kuespert, Emily Maddox, Logan Matuska, Madeline Odom, Tanner David, Ethan Matuska, Julian McKinney, Pierce Newcomb, Nathan Taake, Chrislyn Tuner, Regan Woodley and Lacy Phillips.
David graced the stage once again to accept some recognition from San Bernard Electric Company and a couple scholarships they offer. John Spiess, Member Services Supervisor, noted that there were plenty of entrants from Faith Academy although only two can be chosen. Tanner David was one of the winners although he will also get an extra special privilege this summer.
SBEC sponsors a Youth Tour trip to Washington D.C. every year and out of all applicants, four earn the right to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and David was chosen as one of them.
Michael Weaver then took the mic to hand out a Faithful Fan Award to a “gentleman who is at all of our games, rain or shine,” he said. “He’s dedicated to Faith Academy athletes; John Bochmoel.”
The Blue and Gold Award was the next one he doled out and that goes to students who display outstanding Christian character.
“They are known by their teachers and peers as someone who shows love, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness and self-control,” said Weaver before announcing Maury Cano and Regan Woodley as this year’s winners.
The next award-winners “help with everything,” Weaver added. “I am honored to have students like this walking our campus,” he closed, bringing Tanner David and Tyler Johnston to the stage to accept their servant’s heart award.
From there, the program entered the grade-specific academic honors with teachers of each level taking over the mic to award the top students in each subject.
The top biology and English student from ninth grade was described as “a quiet force in the classroom, a strong leader of her friends, prepared academically and displays a great sense of organization,” according to teacher Pamella Schuknecht; Addie Kuespert.
Nathan Figueroa was named the top freshman in world geography, Spanish and tied for biology and Madeline Odom took home the same prize for her work in intro to agricultural science.
Jamie Odom then took the podium to present the award to the top freshman in algebra two and bible one for his efforts in exemplifying he was more than prepared in making the jump from being one of the big men on campus in junior high to the bottom of the totem pole in high school; Logan Matuska.
The final freshman student honored “worked diligently all year long and meets every challenge head on and never gets discouraged,” according to Lauri Matuska. “The top award for algebra one goes to Jayci Byler,” she closed.
Then it was a familiar face returning to the stage and Matuska added that with one student winning so many awards, others could easily be discouraged by not winning, until they meet this student. He was described as a friendly face and a hard-working student and was recognized for efforts in multiple classrooms.
Tanner David was the top sophomore student in chemistry, geometry, agricultural construction, world history, bible and English.
The subject you didn’t see on that list was Spanish, and the top sophomore Spanish student was named as Emily McKinney.
For 11th grade, Chrislyn Turner was announced the top bible three student before James Crawford took the stage to announce the U.S. History award. He added that without this person, class likely would not have gotten anywhere.
“When nobody else knew the answer, this person did,” said Crawford. “Top academic for U.S. History goes to Roy Shepherd.”
The award-winning junior for dual-credit U.S. History, advanced placement English, pre-calculus, Earth science and agricultural floral design was described by Brittney Guardia as a “faithful friend, always willing to help those in need but even more importantly she is always willing to help pray for others. Fact; the love of Jesus shines brightly through her life and in my book, she is a true superhero. Being your teacher brings me great joy and I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you,” she said before opening the envelope and announcing Regan Woodley’s name as the winner.
Gabriella Yates took home the final award recognizing a junior for the top spot for English three.
There was a similar scenario to the sophomore academic awards that happened with the seniors with one student winning a majority with another picking up the other couple.
Cameron Crawford took home the top senior award for English four while the other award winner “excelled in AP English, pre-calculus, government, economics and physics,” according to Keith Hite. “This student is known throughout the entire class to have slept the least … Most importantly this student excelled in bible and accumulated over 100,000 dollars and grants in scholarships.
“Even beyond academics, this student is an exceptional athlete, leader, encourager and a comforter, but most of all, this student is a true daughter and servant of Jesus Christ,” he finished, announcing Lacy Phillips the winner of those awards.
The awards then took a shift outside of the classroom and the next one honored seniors who made successful donations in at least two of the blood drives Faith Academy hosted this year and earned a red honor cord to wear at graduation; Miguel Guerrero and Jeff Perry.
Back in the classroom, and a college classroom as well, two seniors took at least one dual-credit class at Blinn College and wore a blue honor cord at graduation; Jeff Perry and Lacy Phillips.
Perry, who although was not present, was also announced as the honor graduate of this year.
The salutatorian was named as Cameron Crawford and the valedictorian was announced as Lacy Phillips and both donned two golden honor cords at graduation.
After that, the program moved into the athletic discipline where coaches of each team took the stage to further honor the students, which you can read more about in the sports pages of the A section.