By Lorae Vardas, Correspondent
Two graduating seniors have been named April Students of the Month at Pierz Healy High School. Brittany Smieja, daughter of Mark and Annette, and Beth Stuckmayer, daughter of Natalie and Kevin, are known for their exemplary work ethic, high academic standards, leadership potential and participation in numerous extracurricular activities.
Ruth Stuckmayer, business teacher, said it has been a pleasure having Stuckmayer in class over the years. “She is very determined and willing to work hard. She sets high expectations for herself and those around her. I can trust her with any task and know that she will follow through to completion with little or no instruction. She has a quiet demeanor, yet is respected by her peers,” the teacher said.
Besides being on the honor roll every quarter, Stuckmayer has been active in Peer Helping, band and choir. Her favorite is serving as a peer helper to younger students because she gets to build a bond with them and positively influence their decisions.
In addition, she holds down multiple jobs, one at Holy Trinity Kid’s Place and the other at United Friends adult foster care home. “I love working at both,” she said.
Stuckmayer models herself after her mother. “She has all the qualities I hope to one day have,” she said. “She has always been there for me and supports me in everything I do. I admire her strong faith and how she’s always helping others.”
Among Stuckmayer’s most cherished memories is the senior class trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City she took last month with classmates.
“There were so many things we got to see and do that most people don’t get an opportunity for,” said Stuckmayer.
“Beth’s hard work and attitude will lead her to success in her future plans,” said Ruth Stuckmayer. “I am thankful I was able to be a part of her high school career here in Pierz.”
Stuckmayer is headed to St. Cloud State University next fall leaning toward something in business or finance. She also wants to get into the music program since she loves playing the piano
Billie Kimman, assistant volleyball coach, has gotten to know Smieja well over the past five years.
“I have enjoyed watching her grow into a beautiful and talented young woman,” she said. “Brittany’s involvement in her school and community have taught her about respect, accountability and responsibility. She has excelled both in and out of the classroom.”
Her list of school activities includes band, volleyball, basketball statistician and WEB (Where Everyone Belongs). Volleyball is a favorite sport because this season she got to play with her younger sister.
“She and I are super close and play volleyball at home together all the time, so playing on the court with her my senior year was special. I love volleyball and will miss playing it,” said Smieja.
“Keeping my grades up and making the honor roll each quarter was one of my greatest accomplishments. I take my classes seriously and worked hard for my grades. Hard work does pay off,” she said.
Smieja may have learned that lesson from her parents whom she chose as her role models. “They have been there for me no matter what. They taught me life isn’t always fair and I need to take what I have and cherish it,” she said. They left her with several other pieces of advice: “Always do your best and be proud of it; and most importantly, never give up.”
Kimman characterized Smieja as someone who has high expectations for herself and works hard to achieve her goals.
“She volunteers her time to assist other students through her position as a WEB leader in her school. Brittany has an enthusiasm and work ethic that will only help her continue to grow and be successful as she transitions into the future,” said Kimman.
Those plans are centered on attending college in St. Cloud for a degree in nursing. Eventually she wants to become a diagnostic medical sonographer.
Topping the list of Smieja’s high school memories was being named 2013 homecoming runner-up royalty. She felt it was such an honor being part of the royal entourage and representing her school.
As Students of the Month, Stuckmayer and Smieja become eligible for $1,500 scholarships from Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Pierz, program sponsors, to be awarded May 7.