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Student leaders recognized with scholarships

Sara Tatreau is a senior at Kenowa Hills High School who studies at Kent Career Tech Center (courtesy photo)

The sky is the limit for Sara Tatreau, a senior at Kenowa Hills High School who plans to become part of the aviation industry and NASA.

Sara has been a leader in the classroom and during a STEM-themed summer camp, says Joseph Phillips, her instructor at Kent Career Tech Center. 

“My parents are always telling me ‘you can do what you want,’ ” says Sara, whose lofty ambitions were inspired by her grandfather’s experience in the Air Force. Using her design and 3D printing skills, she’s created tools for astronauts such as a hairbrush with a compartment to store jewelry.

Phillips, who nominated Sara, says she has been a great leader among students because she works to include everyone in class activities and at last summer’s STEM camp. At the Tech Center, Sara has become a classroom leader and fix-it person when high-tech equipment like the 3D printer goes haywire. 

Shari Vargas Ortiz is a senior at Grand Rapids Union High School (courtesy photo)

“Sara helped organize and plan lessons. She assisted students when they had questions,” says Phillips. “During summer camp, she made it a point to seek out students who were not being included. She’s the role model I wanted our students to look up to.”

Sara is one of three Kent County high school students to get the $500 Helen Claytor Achievement Scholarship last month at the YWCA’s 2019 Tribute Awards ceremony

Shari Vargas Ortiz, a senior at Grand Rapids Union High School, and Zoë Pack, a senior at Rockford High School, also were honored.

GVSU Upward Bound Instructor Margarita Chappell nominated Shari, saying she has become a student leader at Union High School. She was the student keynote speaker for the Challenge Scholars Induction Ceremony last spring. She also serves on the district’s Student Council and as a Board of Education student representative.

Zoe Pack is a senior at Rockford High School who studies at Kent Career Tech Center (courtesy photo)

“Shari will be the first one in her family to go to college,” Chappell said in her nomination letter. “Being the first one at things can be difficult, but she believes being the first is a way to influence her younger siblings and changes the trajectory of her family’s relationship with education.”

Zoë was nominated by Tech Center instructor Kurt Goodman, who cited her leadership in the male-dominated welding program. “She is evidence that non-traditional students can be successful and provide leadership for others,” Goodman said in his nominating letter. 

“She has played a huge role in establishing a culture within the class that focuses on work ethic and working together as a team to achieve a common goal.”

Recent winners of the Helen Claytor Achievement Scholarship include, from left, Sara Tatreau, Zoe Pack and Shari Vargas Ortiz (courtesy photo)
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James Harger
James Harger
James Harger left School News Network in January of 2020. James previously reported on West Michigan's economy, courts and politics for The Grand Rapids Press and Mlive.com for more than 37 years. He also is employed as Servanthood Leader at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Grand Rapids. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he also has worked for publications in Holland, Mount Pleasant and Lansing. He is married to Lisa and has one daughter, who lives in Ann Arbor.

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