The Hays USD 489 honored Olivia Goetz, fifth-grader at Roosevelt Elementary School, with the Best of the Best Award Monday night.
She was nominated by her teacher Michaela Gower.
“Olivia is a student who pushes herself to be the best version of herself each and every day. Olivia comes to class prepared and has a willingness and hunger to learn,” Gower said in her nomination.
“Olivia exemplifies a growth mindset, which is something we have focused on throughout the beginning of the school year. This is exhibited specifically in her writing, where she has been working on a personal narrative piece describing her time at the Kansas State Fair. Olivia knows the importance of pushing herself each day to take the story to new heights.
“As Olivia progresses into middle school, I have no doubt she will continue to experience academic success with the work ethic and growth mindset that she brings to school with her each day,” Gower said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a part of Olivia’s journey as a student at Roosevelt.”
Abby Gillan, HHS teacher, nominated Matt Brooks, social science teacher at Hays High School, as the staff Best of the Best.
Brooks and Gillan were unable to be at the school board meeting Monday night.
Gillan wrote the following in her nomination letter:
“In a district and school our size, it gets difficult to notice the acts of people around us that are subtle and consistent. Matt Brooks, besides his BOOMING voice that penetrates walls, can be characterized as both subtle and consistent.
“Matt is consistently doing the little/subtle things for his students to give them an extraordinary learning experience. As our district focuses on ‘relationships’ I think there is no better example of how to build positive and meaningful relationships than Matt and his students.
“He consistently greets his kids at the doorway, asks them about their activities, hobbies and families. He takes the time to see kids. To see through a kid sleeping during his lecture to find that kid works late to help support his family, sees through the seemingly unprepared kid who doesn’t ever bring his computer to class to find out that kid cannot pay his fees, and the withdrawn girl who is battling depression.
“He does it every single day, and he does it consistently. So much so, that if you don’t look for it, you may miss it. It challenges all of us to be consistent not only in our instructional efforts, but in building meaningful rapport with all students every single day.”