Marietta High School senior Hannah Lang will successfully graduate in a few weeks with a high GPA, but she will also finish school with a better sense of self-confidence, which she attributes to Marietta Boot Camp instructor Jennifer Deem.
A teacher outside of the classroom, Deem helped Lang conquer the uncertainty that can often set in throughout high school.
"I was 30 pounds heavier than I am today when I walked into her class for the first time," Lang wrote in a statement read by MHS guidance counselor Lisa Polk. "She taught me the importance of healthy eating, but she also pushed me and everyone else in the class. Without her, I never would have been able to run a 5K without stopping."
JACKIE RUNION The Marietta Times
Marietta High School senior Grace Haas gets a hug from MHS Volleyball Coach Ron Kidder at the 27th annual Academic Excellence Banquet. Each senior with a GPA of 3.5 or above got to choose one educator to honor for helping them achieve academic excellence.
Marietta High School senior Spencer Frum shares a moment with his mother, Rita Frum, who is also an MHS guidance counselor.
The Marietta Times
Lang and Deem were one of 35 pairs honored at the 27th Annual Academic Excellence Banquet at the Marietta Shrine Building on Thursday evening.
Along with 34 other seniors, Lang's 3.5 or higher GPA qualified her for the special recognition, where each student chose an honored educator to highlight his or her role in the student's success while in school.
Each student prepared a statement in advance that Polk read aloud, while educators and students exchanged hugs and handshakes.
Clayton Mason chose middle school math teacher Paige Fleming, a teacher that still stuck out in his mind even after he went on to high school.
"She taught me math in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, and I was honored to have the privilege to have her all those years," Mason said. "I was young enough that I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but I came to her class and she helped me."
Mason said Fleming influenced his decision to go to The Ohio State University to study computer science and engineering.
"I was so thrilled that he chose me, because he was so special to me as a student," Fleming said. "He took seventh grade math while he was in sixth grade, and even though that would be intimidating to most people, he always participated and excelled."
While her student, Mason personally crafted a wooden paddle with his name in it for Fleming's class, which always required the use of a hall pass.
"He comes to visit, and I tell my students 'That's Clay!'" Fleming said. "Even four years later, it still means so much."
Like many accomplished athletes, Hailey Carman said she did not have to think twice about choosing to honor crew coach Joe Tewkesbury.
"He's been my coach for four years, and has taught me everything I know," Carman said. "I'm going to row at the University of Charleston, and Joe used to coach there, so it was not a hard choice."
Tewkesbury said he remained humble about the honor.
"I've watched her grow from someone who had never really rowed before, and now she is rowing at a very high level," Tewkesbury. "In a way I have watched her grow up."
Sarah Rauch hopes to pursue a career in the music industry, a decision she said would probably not have happened had it not been for her music and band teacher at St. Mary School, John Ontko.
"He fostered my desire to pursue music, but he has also been an inspiration and a friend," Rauch wrote in her statement. "He makes me strive to be both a better musician and a better leader."