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News Release: 3/13/2017

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March 13, 2017
Auburn Hills, Mich. ---March 13, 2017---- Designed to promote the link between business, education and the community, Excellence in Education captures the qualities of excellence in both students and their educators. Students are selected on the basis of community service, academics and involvement in extra-curricular activities. The selected students name a teacher, coach or advisor who has made a difference in their lives. The event honors students from the Avondale School District as well as the private schools in Auburn Hills: Oakland Christian and Auburn Hills Christian. The following students and educators were honored:
  • Abigail Masen, Avondale Middle School; honored teacher, Rachel Pedersen
  • Brooke Falconer, Auburn Hills Christian School; honored teacher, Sister Pat Jackson
  • Caitlyn Brown, Auburn Hills Christian School; honored teacher, Jamie Hall
  • Eden McClelland, R. Grant Graham Elementary; honored teacher, Molly Vesper
  • Emmalee Clow, Oakland Christian School; honored teacher, Alyssa Mowry
  • Hope Green, Avondale High School; honored teacher, Kevin Cornwell
  • Jarrett Ward, Avondale High School; honored teacher, Jennifer Cramer
  • Jocelyn Flores Lopez, Auburn Elementary; honored teacher, Lori Sakalian
  • Jordan Taylor, Avondale Academy; honored teacher, Susanne Sims
  • Katrina Hopkins, Oakland Christian School; honored teacher, Nancy Kwik
  • Kavaria Smith, Oakland Christian School; honored teacher, Ann Klein
  • Ryan Darovitz, Avondale Middle School; honored teacher, Mary Nofs
  • Ryan MacLeod, Auburn Hills Christian School; honored teacher, Lisa Naughton
  • Stephanie Morar, Deerfield Elementary; honored teacher, Colleen Cartier
  • Zisa Miller, Woodland Elementary; honored teacher, Cassandra Cardinal
Additionally, Gary Williams, a 2011 Avondale High School graduate and a 2005 Excellence in Education honoree, received the Special Alumni Student Success Award. Everything Gary does revolves around his purpose, which is to inspire others to stop and think; to imagine the world they want to live in, and get them to go build it. Gary has a passion for developing the leadership abilities of others. After graduating from Avondale, he completed his undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University. While at CMU, he was invited to participate in the Leadership Institute and was one of 40 students accepted into the Leadership Advancement Scholarship out of thousands of applicants. He was then accepted to teach in Detroit through the highly selective Teach For America program. During this time, he went back to complete his master’s degree through Oakland University. Gary made the choice to come back home to Avondale to serve as a math teacher at Avondale Middle School.
“Excellence in Education is a highly anticipated event each year for the Auburn Hills school communities. Excellence in Education not only honors students, teachers and alumni, but recognizes the encouragement our students receive from their parents, mentors and the broader community,” Dr. James Schwarz, Avondale Superintendent said. “We are very appreciative of the Auburn Hills Chamber and its member companies who support our collective efforts in developing students who will be lifelong learners and contributors to the workplace and society.”
Excellence in Education is made possible by banquet sponsor Palace Sports and Entertainment, program champion Faurecia, program partners DBusiness and Oakland University, event sponsors Baker College, Consumers Energy, Delphi Automotive, Oakland Community College, and Pixley Funeral Home; and business sponsors Avondale Education Foundation and Lake Trust Credit Union.
Jean Jernigan, Executive Director, 248-853-7862