Greenleaf Wrightstown Optimist Club recognizes WHS students with youth appreciation awards

Brian Roebke photo
Senior students honored by the Greenleaf Wrightstown Optimist are Jack Van Zeeland, Briley Durocher, Alexa Leick, and Kyla Dewick, who received youth appreciation awards.

By Brian Roebke
Twelve Wrightstown High School students received youth appreciation awards from the Greenleaf Wrightstown Optimist Club last week. Students receive the awards for showing leadership in the school and community, being optimistic, and making the world a better place.
Senior students are Kyla Dewick, daughter of Daniel and Michelle Dewick; Briley Durocher, daughter of Eric and Lisa Durocher; Alexa Leick, daughter of Tyler and April Leick; and Jack Van Zeeland, son of Mark and Erin Van Zeeland.
Junior students are Dylan Christensen, daughter of John and Rebecca Christensen; Owen Garvey, son of Daniel Garvey and Nicole Garvey; Ella Romenesko, daughter of Chad and Delana Romenesko; and Abigail Van Zeeland, daughter of Jeff and Tracey Van Zeeland.
Sophomore students are Grace Hock, daughter of Jimmy and Sarah Hock; Esme Moses, daughter of Kelly Raleigh Moses; Tara Theunis, daughter of Scott and Cindy Theunis; and Leah Uitenbroek, daughter of Carl and Cheryl Uitenbroek.
The program is one that WHS counselor Mike Olson is passionate about.
“I always think this is one of the coolest awards you can earn,” he told the students.
The school selects students by asking teachers to nominate students who have the characteristics the Optimist Club is looking for. Academics is part of it but personal characteristics of being respectful of others and themselves, creating a positive school environment, being a positive influence and a leader are extremely important.
“If you guys look around from class to class in the hallways the last couple of years, some of the kids that may not enjoy coming to school, maybe find it more difficult to maybe fit in, maybe they have personal stuff, some of them are shy, we have kids in our building help to create that positive feeling here,” he said. “It makes it easier for everybody to be here, it makes it easier for everyone to be more successful in the classroom.”
Olson told the award winners that teachers take this very seriously. “They look for the kids that rise to the top,” he said.
Club President Jeff Van Rens told the students when it comes to employers, whatever job they may apply for, there’s always training that comes along with it. “But we can’t train a personality,” he said. “We can train you for a job.”
He thanked them for their good work and asked them to thank their parents.
The club usually holds a banquet with a dinner, but the pandemic forced club members to make the presentation to students at school.