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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”