Highland honors December Leaders of the Pack

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 12/26/23

Principal Ian M. MacCormack named Fanny Perez Cortez the Highland Elementary School Leader of the Pack for December. He recognized Fanny, “as an exceptional student who truly embodies the spirit of leadership and excellence at our school.”

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Highland honors December Leaders of the Pack

Elementary School
Principal Ian M. MacCormack named Fanny Perez Cortez the Highland Elementary School Leader of the Pack for December. He recognized Fanny, “as an exceptional student who truly embodies the spirit of leadership and excellence at our school.”
MacCormack read comments from several teachers: Jody McCaffrey said, “Fanny is such a wonderful student in music and is always prepared in chorus and select chorus...She is a huge asset in not only our music department but to the Highland District.”
Coach Zach Helmer said, “Fanny is a respectful and responsible student in PE and is always prepared for class and is very attentive to instruction. Fanny is also willing to help her classmates during group games and activities on a daily basis.”
Teacher Kara Henry described Fanny, “as a hard-working student throughout the school day and is polite to both peers and adults. During group work Fanny can work with any student.”
Principal MacCormack concluded by saying, “when speaking to her past teachers, they quickly smile and have a shared comment of how it was a pleasure to have Fanny in their classrooms. Fanny also excels in the arts and is participating in both band and chorus and she also has been accepted into both select band and chorus.” 
Middle School
Interim Assistant Principal Sarah Hathaway named Liam Holton as the December Middle School Leader of the Pack. She noted that teacher Matthew Hogan said, “Liam is a fantastic student with great enthusiasm for learning. He lifts the mood of the students around him with his positive energy and always does his best to make others feel included...As a member of the choir and the jazz band I also get to see his ability to create. He attended All County Chorus this year and represented our district with pride.”
Hogan praised Liam’s ability to improvise in the jazz band, stating that, “this skill is mirrored in his ability to communicate with those around him in the classroom. Liam is a fantastic student and I am proud to support him as the Leader of the Pack.” 
Teacher Evan Oustrich described Liam as a, “kind and caring kid. He is a thoughtful leader who looks to help out classmates throughout his day. He comes to class prepared and ready to learn and has a great sense of humor and is always smiling.”
Teacher Nicole Montaperto said, “Liam is responsible, respectful and a very hard-working student. He has incredible math skills and as a result is doing very well in advanced math this year. He participates during lessons, is willing to help others when necessary and is an absolute pleasure to have in class.”
High School
Assistant Principal Brandon Opitz welcomed Emily Martin as the High School’s Leader of the Pack for December.
“Emily is probably one of the more deserving of this honor that we will have presented since my time being here,” he said.  
Security Officer Wade Sargent said, “I’ve had the good fortune to watch Emily hit her stride. Over the past 11 school years I’ve watched hundreds of kids enter and graduate from Highland High School, and Emily will be one of those students that I remember. She has changed so much over the past three years, maturing and gaining so much focus.” 
Attendance Secretary Valerie Schmidt recalled first meeting Emily when she was a 9th grade student. 
“When I see her now, she always has a smile on her face. Emily is well deserving of this recognition; and I know whatever path she chooses to pursue, she will succeed,” Schmidt said. 
Physical Education Teacher Michael Geller said, “I loved getting to know Emily. She has really matured into a dependable, responsible and one of my favorite students. She is always encouraging to others and is someone determined to be successful in whatever she does. Congratulations.”
Math Teacher Stefanie Whiston said, “Emily is always smiling, willing to go further in any and every topic, always asking deeper questions and challenging herself to find solutions using different methods. It is thrilling to see Emily’s face light up when she can make a connection between the content and real life.”
Social Studies Teacher Josh Tatum noted that, “Emily’s maturation since her freshman year has been nothing short of incredible. She has persevered through some incredibly difficult circumstances in order to become the student and young woman that she wants to be. She has a genuine intellectual curiosity and brings so much enthusiasm to the classroom.”
Science Teacher Chris Cozzolino, who taught Emily last year,  wrote that, “I have had many Leaders of the Pack in my class and all were deserving, but Emily Martin is the first name I’ve seen that made me literally shout at my computer and say ‘yes.’ Any of us that had Emily in class last year witnessed her turn into a whole new student...By the end of the 2022-23 school year she was one of my most capable, dependable, hardworking students in college physics.  Emily deserves so much credit for what she has become and I am so glad that she is being recognized for Leader of the Pack this month.”
School Board President Alan Barone concluded by saying, “On behalf of the entire Board of Education we want to congratulate each and every one of our Leaders of the Pack Job well done. Thank you.”