Columbian seniors honor mentors

Instead of meeting at the church during confirmation preparations, Emily Bishop and Pat Powers worked together in the hospital as Powers had been diagnosed with leukemia.

“Pat took her diagnosis of leukemia much better than most. She teaches me how to be strong,” Bishop said.

Bishop was one of Columbian High School’s top 10 seniors who honored those who had made significant contributions to their lives during the annual Excellence in Education program at Camden Falls Thursday evening.

Andrew Fuhrer honored Christopher Kanney, a band director, and said the mentors have some claim in the seniors’ accomplishments. Fuhrer said the teenagers are the soft clay, and the mentor is the potter who molds them.

Hunter Stark said he first had teacher Chris Monsour in class as a freshman taking advanced biology. He said Monsour pushed him to look into areas of biology in which he still has interest.

Stark said Monsour cares deeply for each of his students and showed him what it means to work hard.

“Mr. Monsour tries to hook his students. Nothing but my best effort was ever OK for (Mr.) Monsour,” he said.

Kaelyn Armstrong honored Chip Weingart, tennis coach and teacher. She said he not only is a wonderful teacher and amazing coach, but he is a respectful human being.

“He made me want to go to practice. He was willing to do whatever it took to help me improve,” she said.

Kaitlyn Boehler said her mentor, Angela Thomas, measures her life with passion and is the perfect role model. She said the Thomas family is the toughest family she knows.

“Dr. Thomas lives her life to the fullest,” she said.

Dylan Knaplund got to know his mentor, Paula Pauly, when he took her pre-calculus class as a sophomore. He said she helped bolster his love of math.

“Mrs. Pauly is more to me than just a great teacher. Mrs. Pauly is a very generous woman,” he said.

Kayla Magrum honored Darla Lee, who has helped her with showing horses. Magrum said she met Lee when she was about 7 years old, and she is one her best friends.

“I would not be who I am today without her,” she said.

Dendara Oakleaf and her mentor, Andrea Shaffer, also are connected due to horses. Oakleaf said her parents bought her first horse from Shaffer, and Shaffer gave her riding lessons.

“You can’t just show up and expect to win,” she said.

Ashley Niedermier met her mentor, Lindsey Crisp, when she decided to cut and donate her hair when she was in fifth grade. She said Crisp always meets her complaints with reassurance.

“We both talk, and we both listen,” she said.

Kendra Bosse said her mentor, Kathy Miller, was her teacher when she started dancing at 5 years old. She said she probably had too much confidence as a child, but the confidence declined over the years. Bosse took Miller’s technique class and was more excited to go to class than she had been in years.

“I just felt good about myself,” she said.