LOGAN — Children, families, educators, agency representatives and others gathered for one of the biggest school board meetings the Logan-Hocking School District (LHSD) has held recently.

There were several groups of people at the May 20 school board meeting that Superintendent Monte Bainter wanted to recognize for their efforts academically and on community projects.

Bainter first recognized Paul Shaw, LHSD Treasurer, and his department for being awarded the Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction, for having a clean audit. The liaison for the auditor of the state awarded Shaw and his team the certificate of recognition for having clean bookkeeping and keeping track of every penny that runs through the district.

“It isn’t real common. I mean I think what they said is, there’s less than 10 percent of all public entities in the state that get it (this recognition) and schools are even less than that as a percentage,” explained Shaw.

“Just think of all the cash that flows through the district and the auditors look at every penny of that and you hear Paul say, he’s reconciled to the penny every month, that’s what the auditors look at. It’s the craziest thing, it really is their job and they do it very thoroughly and we have state auditors that come in — they move in for about five months,” expressed Bainter.

Second, the board recognized staff that announced their retirement at the end of the school year: Cheryl Gordon, LHS English teacher who has taught for 29 years for the LHSD; John Helber, coach for 30 years and an educational aid for 16 years; Audrey Price, LHMS Intervention Specialist who worked for LHSD for 28 years; Stephanie Williams, who served as an intervention specialist and science teacher for 15 years; Mary Jane Sherlock, who’s taught math for 32 years for the LHSD; Randy Hopstetter, who was a bus driver for 17 years; Cathy Kerns, who was the treasurer’s assistant for 17 years; Gene Smith, who was a bus driver and aide for 24 years; and Linda Willard who was a teacher for 24 years.

Bainter then recognized Rocky Brands and the Hocking Valley Community Hospital for the Ohio School Boards Association Business Honor Roll. Representatives were Stacey Gabriel and Julie Grow from HVCH and Jason Brooks for Rocky Brands.

The next group to be recognized was coordinated by Kelly Wolfe and Stacey Ballenger, both teachers at Logan-Hocking Middle School. Their team of students from Math Counts consists of grades six through eight with only 10 allowed on the team. This year they participated in a competition at Ohio University and placed well as a team.

“And yes, they stay after school and we do math! ...these are middle school kids that are doing high school algebra, high school geometry, probability, statistics. So it’s not just what they’re seeing in the classroom, they’re staying after to do stuff that nine times out of 10 they have not seen before,” stated Wolfe.

Wolfe and Ballenger acknowledged they get to work with some very talented students and sometimes are even outsmarted by them. Both educators noted that this is one of the best teams they’ve ever had because of the way they placed when they competed at Ohio University. The team had five of the top eight students who competed at the regional competition, which placed them in first overall.

The students recognized were Blayke Nutter (who placed first in the sprint round, second in the target round, first in the all-star countdown round, and first overall for the whole day); Isaiah Bookman (who finished fourth for the day); Logan Keck (earned fifth overall); Zach Aldridge (finished seventh for the day); Mira Burns, Brooklyn Bergstedt, Jonah McAfee, Raven Perkins, Campbell Swanson, and Zach Herring.

Logan High School Future Farmers of America was the next group recognized by advisor Andrew Delong, LHS agriculture education teacher. He mentioned the group had three state championship teams this year, one individual who was second in state for public speaking, and another individual who placed in state for oral reasons and equine.

The last group recognized has worked hard on designing sculptures for the round-a-bout at the U.S. 33 and state Route 328 exit. Students who participated include Isabella Collins, Mady Cook, Natalee Weed, Giada Riddlebarger, Leeland Adair, Marilyn Hardbarger, Adalyn Cole, Paytin Savely, Mia McAfee, Christopher Frost, Audrey Long, Camryn Torongeau, Kelli Mann, Clayton Menosky, Mallory Abram, Caitlin Hoellrich, Emilie Eggleston, Jessica Kearns, Carley Ring, Alyssa Johnson, Stacey Dudley, Kyleigh Williams, Elisha Sellards, Reegan Taylor, Victoria Sanders, Sami Mustard, Hannah Mustard, Austin Drennen, Cody Hamilton, Amber Hammer, Kyli Scaggs, Kaylin Parnell, Kaymbre Zimmerman, Bethany Starlin, Callie Nagy, Shay Lantz, Daniel Modzelewski, Amanda Williams, Emma Moll, Josie VanBibber, Ethan Long, Katelyn Dane, Aubrey Moore, Joe Robbins, Tori Colliton, Tessa Luicart, Tyler Turbin, Caitlin Hall, Zach Voigt, and advisors for the project were art instructors Jeremy McAfee and Megan Anzalone.

After all the groups had been recognized, Courtney Spatar discussed the results after polling the students and parents for their feelings on how graduation speakers should be decided. “I feel like our students are doing a nice job of speaking their voice and with thoughtfulness and care.

I’m afraid if we ask for student input and then we don’t listen to their input and value their input, they’re going to revolt on me and be asking, ‘Why are you asking me,’ in the future,” Spatar said with concern in her voice.

However, Spatar said she received a well-written email from a student on the matter and asked if she could share it at the school board meeting.

“Ms. Spatar, I’ve given my input on the graduation recognition survey and I also thought I should give you my personal input on the matter. As a cum laude student, I would very much like the honor of speaking at my 2021 graduation.

“I understand there’s a lot that goes into selecting students to give speeches at graduation, but I thought I’d propose a different method of selecting students to receive this honor. Rather than just having students with higher GPA’s give speeches at graduation, why not have one or two students involved in the specific subject deliver the speeches? Why not have a person or two represent the different career paths that our school offers, like people who are highly involved in our athletics program represent our schools athletes and the same thing can go for really any activity that our school has to offer. (Like, but not limited to choir, band, theatre, technology and of course academics.)

“I think that if were to have a highly regarded person from each of these groups come out and recognize them it would make the graduation ceremony more touching for everyone and not just the kids with the best grades,” the student wrote

Spatar added, the student’s email got her thinking about how else to incorporate other students who deserved to be recognized. For instance, some of those students could also lead the Pledge of Allegiance. She reiterated that she’s very proud of students learning to voice their opinion through this opportunity.

Bainter mentioned that these things are going to be considered by all the administration involved in making the final decision, but their goal is to start these new changes with the class of 2021.

In new business, the board approved the first year allocation of the School Quality Improvement Grant, the contract for the hiring of Ky Davis for professional development, the one-year contract for a district mental health counselor from Hopewell Health Centers, school district volunteers, the summer maintenance program, a trap shooting club, a girls gymnastics club to take place at the Lancaster YMCA, and the list of students who graduated this past weekend.

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