School Board honors local students with ‘Celebrating Success’ awards


The Switzerland County School Board held its November meeting on Monday night, and again the school board honored students from each of the four buildings as the “Celebrating Success” winners for the month.

Students are nominated by a teacher in the building; and one winner is then selected from those nominations by the building principal. Students and parents are then invited to the school board meeting; where each student is recognized and receives a pin of appreciation from the school board.

This month’s winners include:

– Brooke Todd was honored from Jefferson-Craig Elementary School. She is a fifth grader, and was nominated by teachers Martha Blodgett and Konna Padgett.

In their letter of recommendation, the teachers wrote:

“We would like to recommend Brooke Todd for Celebrating Success. Brooke is a very conscientious student. She always tries to do her best academically. She has earned All A’s the first nine weeks and continues to excel in her studies.

“She received first place honors with her Veterans Day essay. She participates on the cross country team; YMCA basketball and football; volleyball; Markland softball; traveling team softball and basketball; Chinese; and 4-H.

“She’s highly thought of as being a good friend, a caring individual, and a supportive leader by her peers. Brooke is good to have in class, always attentive, happy, helpful, and eager to learn. Her sunny disposition and smiling face radiates in us, as teachers, the joy of teaching.”

– At Switzerland County High School, juniors Jamie Phipps and Carrie Truax. Both were nominated by agriculture teacher Greg Curlin.

In his letter of recommendation for Jamie Phipps, Greg Curlin wrote:

“Jamie Phipps is a young lady with many academic and leadership skills. With the package of both, Jamie has served in many leadership roles in our school while maintaining an excellent academic record. Not only does Jamie find time for academic excellence, she serves as the FFA chapter Student Chairman, State Ag Marketing team, State Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Agricultural Communication team, and District Agricultural Communication proficiency winner.

“She has a passion to assist with animal care. Her ambition has included coordinating hours of volunteerism to the Switzerland County Animal Shelter.

“Recently, Jamie was part of a dynamic duo that led the Switzerland County FFA, Switzerland County High School, as well as the community to be recognized ad become the National FFA winner in the Models of Innovation Chapter Development. It is a first in the history of the school to be recognized as the best program in the nation, with over 7,000 FFA programs strong, our chapter was narrowed from the top 600 programs to the top 10 in the nation.

“Jamie was instrumental in developing the power point and pictures for the 20 minute interview. She and her partner, Carrie Truax, explained our chapter’s success where the chapter competed against the other top 10 national finalists. As Jamie and her partner waited on stage to hear our school’s name as the number one program, the intensity built.

“Soon the recognition interviews began and haven’t stopped. Jamie has learned from the experience the meaning of sacrifice and decision-making in order to be a part of this rewarding experience.

“With her interest in animals and agriculture education, I feel Jamie will be very successful with her future ambition to consider veterinary medicine or agriculture education.”

In his letter of nomination for Carrie Truax, Greg Curlin wrote:

“Carrie Truax is no stranger when it comes to understanding the word perfection. Carrie has a drive to be successful in life and understands with her goals and dreams of becoming a news anchor some day; it will be a competitive field to pursue. With this understanding, Carrie has strived to hold a 4.0 GPA while being involved in many leadership roles in our school and community.

“She is highly motivated to volunteer service to assist with children projects. For example, as the FFA Queen of Hearts, which she was crowned as a freshman, she presented healthy lifestyle programs to youth at the YMCA as well as our Young Agriculturalist Days Project. She has served on the Swiss Wine Festival board after being crowned our Edelweiss Teen Princess. These accomplishments were obtained with the motivation and drive to succeed with a purpose to benefit others as well as her personal accomplishments.

“Carrie balances her time to playing basketball, assisting with the family lemonade business and working at Keli’s Critter Care. She serves on several student and community service project committees that benefit the youth to the elderly in the community. She has been recognized as a Star FFA Greenhand Degree Recipient, state Freshman Public Speaking and the chapter reporter.

“Recently, during the 2008 National FFA Convention, Carrie and Jamie Phipps put Switzerland County High School and FFA Chapter on the map as the two presented our FFA Chapter’s top chapter programs that tie to our agriculture education curriculum, FFA leadership, and supervised agricultural experience opportunities. Carrie was instrumental utilizing her public speaking skills as the two presented our FFA chapter’s top three activities to a panel of three judges as they competed against the nation’s Top Ten FFA Chapters in the Nation. With over 7,000 programs in the nation, Carrie and Jamie awaited the results on the stage to only hear the Switzerland County FFA Chapter the winner as the National FFA Model of Innovation Chapter Development Program in the Nation.

“As Carrie completes her junior year, she is considering several FFA Leadership contests in areas of Agricultural Issues and Agricultural Communications state competitions, in hopes of going to the national next year. With Carrie’s motivation and spirit to succeed, I truly feel she will land that news anchor position in the future.”


Switzerland County Elementary School student Kinsley Griffith and Switzerland County Middle School student Olivia Hewitt were both nominated for the “Celebrating Success” award, but were not able to attend Monday’s meeting. They will be honored at the December meeting of the Switzerland County School Board.