Friday evening at Shugrue’s Bridgeview Room in Lake Havasu City, Lake Havasu City’s K-12 Foundation honored students and teachers. Students noted the teachers who had inspired them during their years of education.

The dinner event signals the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

The following students and teachers were honored.

Gerrick Gansit
Favorite subjects are Math & Science (Anatomy)
National Honor Society, Day of Service, Public Relations, Parliamentarian, HOSA Vice President & Heart Screenings, Freshman Kick-off & Freshman Mentor Club Secretary.

Plans to attend San Diego State University to study Nursing. Hopes to become a Physician Assistant who specializes in emergency medicine.
Honoring his 11th grade Anatomy teacher, Mrs. Schweigert: “Mrs. Schweigert’s class had the most impact on me personally. The labs that we conducted in her class made me realize that human anatomy and medicine is what I want to pursue as a career.  I loved how her lessons were both interactive & engaging.  She was both a great teacher and an encouraging mentor.”

Nancy Schweigert
Received her degrees from Elizabethtown College, Lebanon Valley College, & St. Joseph’s University.
Currently teaches at LHHS and has been with the district for seven years.
The best part of interacting with the kids is every day we as teachers, have the opportunity to impact students’ lives and act as role models.  Nothing is more gratifying than when a student comes to you for help or advice.
I was inspired by my Molecular Bio Professor in college; Dr. Polanowski, who was enthusiastic in his teaching methods and inspired my love for Biology.
The advice I would give Gerrick is: “Never lose sight of your goals, no matter what barriers may appear.  You will realize your aspirations if you keep this in mind.  Good luck buddy.”
Honored by Gerrick as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Teachers honored at the K-12 Foundation dinner. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Brianna Stuart
Favorite subjects are English, Algebra, Science, & Early Childhood
Day of Service, Junior High Heels, Triathlon, Home and Garden Tour, S-Club President, National Honor Society Vice President, HOSA Secretary, Dance, & Freshmen Mentor. Plans to attend University of Arizona and then medical school in hopes of becoming a Dermatologist.
Honoring her high school Early Childhood teacher, Mrs. Hendry. “When I entered high school, Mrs. Hendry was my very first teacher for the Early Childhood Program.  I later became a teacher at the Little Knights Preschool which was my favorite part of the day.”

Marie Hendry
Received her degrees from California Polytechnic State University Pomona.
Currently teaches at LHHS and has been in the district for 15 years.
Attended LHUSD and was Class of 1980.
The greatest rewards of teaching are having students as Little Knights, and then coming back as high school students to teach in the program.  When high school students discover their passion for their career and work it brings me great joy and happiness.
My favorite inspiration quote is: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Theresa.
Honored by Brianna as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Teacher Greg Brueckner talks about his student Tatum Liska at the K-12 Foundation Dinner. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Tatum Liska
Favorite subjects are Math & Science.
National Honor Society, Freshman Mentor Club, Renaissance Member, Dual Enrollment, Day of Service, Havasu Chili Cook Off, Mesquite Street Cleanup, Jamaica Elementary NEHS Mentor, Volleyball Captain, & Tennis Captain.
Plans on attending the University of Arizona to pursue a degree in Biology.
Honoring her 10th grade History teacher, Mr. Brueckner: “Mr. Brueckner was not only my teacher but also my tennis coach.  He always pushed me out of my comfort zone and to be the best version of myself.”

Greg Brueckner
Received his degree from Wichita State University.
Currently teaches for LHHS and has been with the district for 16 years.
The best part of interacting with the kids on a daily basis is having the hopes that I will in some way inspire or guide them to progress in their journey to adulthood.
I was inspired by my high school math teacher, Mr. Payne.  He was a teacher, a coach, a mentor and finally a friend. The advice I would give Tatum is; “You are great. Stop comparing yourself to others. You have all the tools to be amazing in whatever endeavors you choose to embark on in your life.”
Honored by Tatum as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Nicholas Rizzo
Favorite subjects are Algebra, Calculus, World History  & U.S. History, Day of Service, National Honor Society, Swim Team Captain, Teacher’s Assistant, Havasu Crossfit, & Hockey.
Plans to attend the University of Arizona to study Business.
Honoring his 10th grade Math teacher, Mrs. Locatis: “Mrs. Locatis has made me love math and learning in general.  She convinced me to take calculus and it was the best decision I have made.  She constantly supports me and I often visit her classroom for advice.  She has become a great friend as well as my favorite teacher.”

Christie Locatis
Received her degree from Northern Arizona University.  Currently teaches at LHHS and has been with the district for 29 years.
The best part of interacting with kids on a daily basis is that they keep you young! They also are at a point where they have so much to look forward to. It keeps me looking forward as well.
I was inspired by my 8th grade teacher, Mia Green.  At the time, I didn’t know it, but she was leading me to NAU.  I really enjoyed learning with her.  She helped me look beyond my little town where I grew up.
My favorite inspiration quote is: “You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose to overcome them.” – Author Unknown
Honored by Nicholas as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

William Prater
Favorite subjects are Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, & Psychology.
Keryan Mission Trip, Math Club, Varsity Basketball, Varsity Baseball, & Varsity Football.
Plans to attend school at a later time. Still undecided of what to study for a lifelong career.
Honoring his 11th grade Psychology teacher, Mr. Anderson: “Mr. Anderson not only taught well; as with any teacher I have had, but he expanded my boundaries in all directions. Throughout my junior year, he allowed me to borrow medical journals, books on religion, politics, & European history.”

Ray Anderson
Received his degree from Minnesota State University.
Currently teaching for LHHS and has been in the district for two years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is every day is different, every student is different, & every class is different. Makes for interesting days!
I was inspired by my U.S History teacher, Ron Domschot, who told me to always ask questions.
My advice to William is: “Always push the boundaries and always be the one to ask the tough questions.”
Honored by William as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Elizabeth Heideman
Favorite subjects are Math & History.
Key Club, National Honors Society, Lieutenant Governor, Club President, Brown PreScholars, & Softball.
Plans to attend a four year University to major in Global & Political Studies.
Honoring her 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Johnson:  “Mrs. Johnson was my junior year English teacher.  She helped me to understand grammar and the appropriate uses.  My essays cleaned up and hopefully her lessons will help with my reports later on.  She got me to enjoy English class and always made it a fun learning experience.”

Jennifer Johnson
Received her degrees from University of Minnesota and Northern Arizona University.
Recently retired in May 2018 and was with the district for 27 years.
This graduation class made my last year of teaching one of the best ever.  They rewarded me with daily doses of laughter and intellectual debate. What a wonderful bunch.
I was inspired by my 8th grade English teacher; Mrs. Koch.  She taught me all of the grammar ever needed for English instruction and for that I am grateful.
The advice I would give Elizabeth is: “Always let conscience and common sense be your guides.  If you act with pure intent and apply logic to all situations, you’ll have little need to regret.”
Honored by Elizabeth as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Tally Burgener
Favorite subjects are Math & Science.
Day of Service, National Honor Society, Freshman Kick-Off, Freshman Mentor Club, Junior High Heels, HOSA President & Secretary, S-Club Treasurer, & Grace Arts Dance.
Plans to attend Brigham Young University to study Dietetics in hopes of becoming a Registered Dietician.
Honoring her high school teacher, Mrs. Esmay: “Mrs. Esmay was my HOSA Advisor for three years. Under her direction, I learned so much about being a good leader.  She always inspired and pushed me to be better.  Some of my favorite memories from high school are from HOSA, and she is such a big part of that.”

Jan Esmay
Received her degrees from Arizona State University and Norther Arizona University.
Currently teaching at LHHS and has been in the district for 29 years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is seeing young adults achieve their goals. I love seeing them face their challenges, problem solve & achieve what they set out to do.
I was inspired by my high school Biology teacher Mr. Schlect:  He made life and studying living things amazing and relevant.
The advice I would give Tally is: “Always have a goal and a dream.  Do what it takes to achieve both. Then set a new goal and follow another dream. Never stop.”
Honored by Tally as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Ciara Bobee honors her teacher Stephanie McCorkle Friday evening. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Ciara Bobee
Favorite subjects are Psychology, English, Art, & Anatomy.
Plans to attend Northern Arizona University to study Psychology or English/Writing.
Honoring her 3rd & 6th grade elementary teacher, Mrs. McCorkle. “You always encouraged me and made sure I was comfortable and also confident.  I was lucky to have you for two years.”

Stephanie McCorkle
Received her degrees from California State University, Long Beach and Northern Arizona University.
Currently teaches at Dysart Unified.  Taught for the LHUSD for 22 years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is watching my students grow and love learning. Also getting to know their likes and dislikes.
I was inspired by my 4th grade teacher who was caring and made sure every day was bright.
The advice I would give Ciara is: “Keep reaching for your dreams!”
Honored by Ciara as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Faith Cleveland
Favorite subjects are Math, Early Childhood & Anatomy.
Heart Screening, Serve Our Schools, Interact Street Cleanups, National Honor Society, Day of Service, HOSA Public Relations Officer, All-Star Cheer (Sonics), Renaissance, Freshman Mentor Club, Girls Basketball Manager & Dance.
Plans to attend the RN Program at Mohave Community College. Will then further her education in hopes of becoming a Nurse Anesthetist.
Honoring her high school teacher; Mrs. Bagby: “Mrs. Bagby has not only impacted my life as a student, but also as a person in general.  She has helped expand my love for children and has helped me develop a better relationship with children and their families.  She has also helped me with HOSA events and other personal issues in my life.  Mrs. Bagby is the one adult at school that I trust and know that I can talk to about anything.”

Cathy Bagby
Received her degrees from University of Nebraska at Kearney and Northern Arizona University.
Currently teaches at Lake Havasu High School and has been with the district for 15 years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is interacting with the kids on a daily basis. Every high school student in our program receives a shirt that states “Changing the World one Little Knight at a time.”  This is also true for the high school students.  I am lucky enough to be working with our next doctors, pediatricians, scientist, air conditioning technicians, teachers, etc…
I was inspired by Mrs. Laurie Bauer. She taught high school Home Economics in Chadron, Nebraska. One memory that stands out more than others is when the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded; Astronaut Christa McAuliffe died. Mrs. Bauer was devastated and was not afraid to share her emotions to her students.  This taught me how to deal with a tragedy in front of students.
My favorite inspiration quote is: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch  Honored by Faith as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Trevor Bartel
Favorite subjects are Algebra, Calculus, Civics, & Business.
Career and Technical Education Day, Freshman Kickoff, FBLA Knowledge Bowl, National Honor Society, Balloon Festival and Fair, Future Business Leaders of America Treasurer, Film Appreciation Club Treasurer, Freshman Mentor Club and We the People.
Plans on attending Arizona State University to major in Business Administration. For Graduate Business School, plans on attending Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.
Honoring his 12th grade We the People/Civics teacher, Mr. Barney: “Mr. Barney’s short, semester-long class is one that I won’t forget. I love it. It allowed me to think and reason in a unique way.  I always felt Mr. Barney and I had a great mutual respect; something you don’t find often.  He even once came up to my father and me to express his thoughts about my work.  Mr. Barney is a great teacher, but an even better man.”

Patrick Barney
Received his degrees from SUNY Brockport and Niagara University.
Currently teaches at LHHS and has been with the district for 12 years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is getting to interact with students and watching them learn.
The advice I would give Trevor is: “Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony
Honored by Trevor as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Jason Casado honors his teacher, Larry Olsen at the K-12 Foundation dinner. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jason Casado
Favorite subjects are World History, Early Childhood, Algebra 3-4, & DE Algebra.
Youth Court, National Honor Society, Freshman Mentor Club, & Tennis & Golf Captain.
Plans to attend Northern Arizona University to study Exercise Science in hopes of becoming a Physical Therapist.
Honoring his high school teacher, Mr. Olsen. “Going into high school I was terrified of math and I was not confident in my abilities. Because of this I took regular courses instead of challenging myself with honors. After one year in Mr. Olsen’s Algebra 3-4 class, I found a new love for math and believed that I could succeed in mathematics.  He inspired me to push myself to take DE Math which allowed me to spend another year with my favorite high school teacher.”

Larry Olsen
Received his degrees from the University of Wyoming & Grand Canyon University.
Currently teaching at LHHS and has been in the district for 29 years.
The best part of interacting with the students on a daily basis is it keeps me feeling young. It keeps me excited knowing all these wonderful students are ready to take on the world.
I was inspired by Ms. Harper Lee in 6th grade.  She made learning fun and made me confident in my abilities.
My advice to Jason is: “Enjoy your life. This is the time to be serious, but there is also a time to have fun.” Honored by Jason as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Juliane Quang
Favorite subjects are Math & Science.
Days of Service, Toys for Tots, National Honor Society, Key Club, & Math Club
Plans on attending Northern Arizona University with a major of Biology.
Honoring her high school teacher, Mrs. Gray: “Mrs. Gray is an awesome teacher that is so chill and fun to be with.  She interacts with us and makes English fun to learn.  She is easy going and understanding which makes it easier to communicate with her.”

Tania Gray
Earned her degree from Western Oregon University.  Currently teaching at LHHS and has been with the district for 21 years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is the relationships. Getting to connect with nearly 100 new students each year.
I had several teachers who inspired me; one that stands out was my 6th grade teacher Mrs. Morgan. She had passion and read out loud whole novels to our class just for fun.
My advice to Juliane is: “Live authentically! Follow your heart while being open and transparent.”
Honored by Juliane as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Naomi Ginn
Favorite subjects are English, World History, & Psychology.
National Honor Society, Day of Service, Interact Club (Vice President), Freshman Kickoff, Close Up (President) and Freshman Mentor (Vice President).
Plans on attending University of Alabama with a major in Construction Management.
Honoring her 7th grade Principal, Mrs. Viramontes. “I first met Mrs. Viramontes when I was in 6th grade at HPA.  She was then my Principal in 7th grade at HPA North.  She is very outgoing and speaks her mind freely.  She helped me come out of my shell and be the confident woman I am today.  She is so strong and has amazing perseverance.  There was a lot of uncertainty and stress around the creation of the new campus. She had a lot on her plate, but she made sure to stay positive for the students. She was the glue that held everyone together.  We bonded further when my brother was deployed.  Her son was also in the Army.  She became close to my mom, which meant that there was no messing around from me at school.  Thank you for being there for me and my mom.  You were there to help me with the transition into the high school.  You showed me what I was truly capable of doing.  You are a strong confident woman; a perfect role model.  Thank you for everything. I love you.”

Aimee Viramontes
Received her degrees at Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon University, and Western Governors University.
Currently teaching at Wilson Elementary in Corvallis, Oregon. Was previously with the LHUSD from 2003-2007 and then 2011-2012.  The most rewarding thing about teaching is seeing the amazing futures your former kids build for themselves and knowing you played a small part in that.
I was inspired by my 6th grade teacher Diane Goldsmith. She provided an unwavering dedication to me as an individual, not just a student. She inspired me to become a teacher and be there for kids who may not have any other adult on their side.
The advice I would give Naomi is: “Follow your passions and remember to call you mama! She was your first teacher after all.”  Honored by Naomi as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Gabriel Balderrama
Favorite subjects are Psychology, History, Math, & Physics.
Balloon Show, Day of Service, Air Show, Science Olympiad, Soccer Team Captain, Math Tutor, STEM Club (Vice President), Soccer Assistant Coach, F.C. Lions Soccer, Barrett Summer Scholars, Soccer Referee, Honorable Mention in National Math Competition.
Plans to major in Math with a focus in Engineering.  Honoring his 11th grade teacher, Mr. Keeney: “Mr. Keeney introduced me to a whole new level of math.”

Jason Keeney
Received his degree from Eastern Michigan University.
Currently teaches at LHHS and has been with the district for seven years.
Sharing the understanding of math and science, and how it connects the world is the most rewarding thing about teaching.
I was inspired by Mr. Thumser for how he made math interesting and simultaneously entertaining.
The advice I would give Gabriel is: “Never forget Newton’s First Law!” Honored by Gabriel as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Paul Baca
Favorite subjects are Physics, Calculus, Anatomy, & Biology.
National Honor Society, Day of Service, Student Council Officer, Football, Tennis, Civil Air Patrol, Math Olympics and Science Olympiad.
Plans to attend a four year college to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree.
Honoring his 8th grade T/A teacher, Mrs. D’Anjou: “Mrs. D was always the nice lady you could go talk to when in the library.  She helped me get my interest in reading and always pushed me to do better.”

Lenda D’Anjou
Received her degree from Vanguard University.
Currently teaches at Thunderbolt Middle School and has been with the district for 17 years.  Seeing the excitement of life and building relationships with future adults is the best part of interacting with kids on a daily basis.
I was inspired by Mrs. Burkhardy/Chuckinski.
The advice I would give Paul is: “One – take a personal inventory regularly. Check yourself to see if you are the man that when you look back over your life you know you have been kind, considerate, caring to yourself, and others. Two – Do not be surprised if your life takes you in a direction you were not planning on.  Embrace, learn, and grow from that change, it might turn out to be the most fulfilling thing you’ve ever done.”
Honored by Paul as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Teacher Kristal Norman talks fondly about her student Trinity Vessells at the K-12 Foundation dinner Friday evening. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Trinity Vessells
Favorite subject is Journalism.
National Honor Society, S-Club, Copy Editor & Website Manager in Journalism, HOSA.
Plans on attending Grand Canyon University Honors College to obtain a Master’s in Psychology. Hopes to one day be a Psychiatrist.
Honoring her high school teacher, Mrs. Norman. “I have had Mrs. Norman as a teacher all four years of high school.  Throughout those four years, her classroom has become my second home and she has become; not only my teacher, but my friend. She is one of my biggest supporters and the person I go to when I need advice or just need to vent.  My high school experience would not have been the same without her.”

Kristal Norman
Received her degrees from University of La Verne and National University.
Currently teaches at LHHS and has been with the district for 11.5 years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is when kids stay in touch after graduation and continue to share their goals, dreams, & progress.
I was inspired by Mrs. Shadwick with English & Bible.  She always used real world experiences to relate to the lesson.
The advice I would give Trinity is: “It’s not about the money, fame or bragging rights. Do something you truly love and follow it’s plan.”
Honored by Trinity as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Sierra Bekkedahl
Favorite subjects are Chemistry, Early Childhood, Algebra, & Anatomy
Day of Service, Acoustic Knight Organizer, National Honor Society, HOSA, Anthony Bates Foundation, Heart Screenings Volunteer, Varsity Basketball Captain and Softball Captain.
Plans to attend Northern Arizona University with a major in Biology. Will further her education in medical school with hopes of becoming a Pediatric Surgeon.
Honoring her high school softball coach; Mr. White: “Mr. White has taught me so much about leadership and determination.  He might not have taught me in school, but I have learned some of the most important life lessons from Coach White on the softball field. He taught me to never give up and be persistent.  He also taught me how to properly lead and inspire others.”

Lee White
Received his degrees from Northern Arizona University and the University of Phoenix.
Currently teaches at Jamaica Elementary and has been in the district for 17 years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is having former students coming back and saying that I was one of the hardest teachers, but I taught them a lot about life.
I was inspired by my 10th grade Social Studies teacher. He was very unconventional in his teaching.
My favorite inspirational quote is: “To be what I term a ‘quality’ human being one has to be transparently real and have the courage to be what he or she is.” – Author unknown.  Honored by Sierra as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education.

Hannah Jackson
Favorite subjects are History & Math.  Highway Street Cleanups, National Honor Society, Student Government (Vice President), Youth Court (Vice President), PR Chair of Student Government, Varsity Tennis, Math Club and Yearbook.
Plans on attending W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University to obtain a degree in Supply Chain Management.  Hopes to end up in the field of medicine.
Honoring her 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Shetko. “She was the first teacher who saw something more in me.  She wasn’t just a “teacher,” she was also a friend.  She encouraged me do to what she knew I was capable of.  We had a lot of things in common such as the SF Giants, musicals/plays, & everything bay area.  I will forever remember and be grateful for her being a part of my educational career.”

Kerry Shetko
Received her degrees from California State University Sacramento and San Bernardino. Currently Retired. Taught for the LHUSD for 26 years.
The best part of interacting with kids on a daily basis is no day is ever the same.  Each day brought new rewards and challenges.  Seeing the world through the eyes of my students was inspiring. I loved how they each approached learning with their own flair.  No year or lesson was ever the same.  My students kept me on my toes and filled my heart with happiness.
The advice I would give Hannah is: “Stay true to yourself. Do not let the world or others change who you are on the inside.  You have such a loving, kind, and positive spirit that brightens up the people around you.  Never give up on your dreams, you can do anything you set your heart and mind to accomplish – just like the bear catching the fish on a string.  Remember, you have many people who believe in you, support you, and love you…especially Bobert!”
Honored by Hannah as the teacher who has made a significant difference in her life and education

Nicholas Cuda
Favorite subjects are Math & Science.
National Honor Society, Pride Alliance (President), Founding President of Film Appreciate Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Bighorn Decoders Computer Club, & MCC Student Activity Council.
Plans to attend Arizona State University to study Biomolecular Engineering.
Honoring his high school teacher, Mrs. Denny: “Mrs. Denny has always encouraged me to do my best throughout my years in her business program. She pushed me to do my best in FBLA and believed I could always achieve what I set out to do.”

Laura Denny
Received her degree from the University of Phoenix.
Currently teaches at LHHS and has been with the district for nine years.
The most rewarding thing about teaching is watching my students develop competent leadership skills and strengthen their confidence in themselves and their work.
I was inspired by Eugene (Paul) Frame. He enjoyed teaching and making a difference. It wasn’t a job for him, it was more like a hobby.  My favorite inspiration quote is, “Leaders don’t create followers.  They create more leaders.” – Tom Peters  Honored by Nicholas as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Bryce Pol honors his teacher Jennifer Black Friday evening at the K-12 Foundation Dinner. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Bryce Pol
Favorite subjects are Journalism & English.
Knight Life Editor-in-Chief
Plans to attend Northern Arizona University to study Visual Communications.
Honoring his 6th grade math teacher, Mrs. Black. “During the 6th grade, there was a time where I was struggling at home and in school.  Mrs. Black had a conversation with me and being able to talk to someone helped me find a better direction in my life and in school.”

Jennifer Black
Received her degree from Northern Arizona University.
Currently teaches at Thunderbolt Middle School and has been with the district for 15 years.
As cliché as it sounds, it’s the light bulb moments and hearing; “Oh my gosh, I’m actually good at math now!” – That is the most rewarding thing about teaching.
I was inspired by my 6th grade math teacher; Mrs. Stringfellow.  She showed us math wasn’t just for boys and led us to believe we could do anything and be anything. We just had to work for it and want it.
The advice I would give Bryce is; “Keep your heart and mind open, the world is yours for the taking.” Honored by Bryce as the teacher who has made a significant difference in his life and education.

Students honored at the K-12 Foundation dinner Friday evening. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene


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