By Lorae Vardas, Correspondent
Beth Saehr and Sarah Thommes were recently named Students of the Month for December at Pierz Healy High School. The selection committee distinguished them for their high scholastic standing, leadership potential and participation in extracurricular activities.
The senior classmates have much in common, including demeanor, which friends define as friendly, kind, trustworthy, responsible and helpful. The two also share a most memorable experience from last summer when they traveled to Costa Rica on a study tour of the Central American country with the Spanish class.
Both picked a grandparent when asked about the person they would most like to meet. “My Grandpa Freddy Block, because he died when I was a toddler and I have no memories of him,” Thommes said.
“My Grandma Delores, because I never got to experience how great she really was,” said Saehr. The daughter of Dale and Laurie Saehr shared that a favorite pastime is spending time with her grandfather and listening to his stories.
Kara Patrick, biology teacher and College in Schools (CIS) instructor, said Saehr is intelligent and detail oriented.
“She enjoys working with others and does a great job getting all members of a group to work together. She is committed to doing her best work and helping others to do the same,” she said, adding the adjectives “dedicated, capable and personable” to her list of observable character traits.
Involved in Peer Helping and Youth Group, Saehr singled out Patrick as one of the people she will miss most upon graduating from Healy High, because she was a driving force in challenging herself personally and believing in her ability. As a matter of fact, Saehr said she conquered her fear of heights by going zip-lining in Costa Rica at Patrick’s urging.
Another person Saehr greatly admires is her cousin Stacie Poepping.
“No matter what hardships life throws her way, she always keeps her faith. She is the strongest person I know,” Saehr said.
“Beth is always quick on her feet with sensible reactions in all the circumstances I have seen her in,” continued Patrick. “She is very energetic and passionate in her beliefs and what she wants to accomplish. She will be successful in anything she decides to pursue.”
Currently, that pursuit is focused on finishing her senior year at Healy and then entering the nursing program at Bemidji State University.
Randy Fischer, chemistry teacher, said Thommes is one of the most exceptional students he has had the opportunity to work with at the high school.
“In addition to being among the elite of her class individually, Sarah has few peers when it comes to maturity, independence and leadership as demonstrated by her participation in a wide variety of student positions and activities,” he said.
These include Minnesota Honors Society (treasurer), Business Professionals of America, Spanish Club, band (treasurer), jazz band, pit band, Knowledge Bowl, tennis and Peer Helping. Pit band is a favorite “because the music we play is challenging and it helped me grow as a player. It also enabled me to play styles of music that I wouldn’t have been able to play otherwise,” Thommes said.
Fischer vouched for a couple more interests.
“Sarah was an essential leader of the marketing and communication groups for the robotics team during the previous two years,” he said. “She has also worked as an academic tutor in college chemistry with me during this school year. Whether it involves answering student queries pertaining to subject matter or setting up laboratory experiments, Sarah is equally proficient.”
The daughter of Brian and Lois Thommes models herself after her mother, saying: “She is selfless, hardworking, strong, beautiful and full of wisdom. I strive to be as amazing of a woman as she is.” Future plans are to attend the College of St. Benedict for a career in financial accounting.
Meanwhile, as graduation looms, Thommes already anticipates missing her friends, playing in pit band for the musicals and the friendly conversations with teachers in the hallways.
Fischer may have characterized the December Students of the Month best in the words of Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Thommes and Saehr are now eligible for Student of the Year honors to be announced in May. The top two candidates will be awarded $1,500 scholarships from Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Pierz, program sponsors.