HHS English Department Awards 2019-2020

Click here to listen to English teachers celebrate these outstanding awardees.

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing." -Pele

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Outstanding 9th Grade Students:

Evalynn Bogusz

Outstanding 9th Grade Students: Jaismeen Kaur

Outstanding 10th Grade Student:

Dorsa Teymouri

Outstanding 11th Grade Student:

Cindy Lara Lemus

Outstanding 12th Grade Student:

Connor Leslie

Outstanding Dual Enrollment Student:

Isabela Bittenbender

Outstanding AP Student:

Adeline King

Outstanding English Elective Student:

Mei Arrowsmith

Outstanding Senior Student:

Madison West

Reading Writing Center (RWC) Awards

Outstanding RWC Student:

Lydia Bowen

Outstanding RWC Tutor:

Hailey Crandall

Outstanding RWC Tutor:

Ke’asia Nichols

Along with the exceptional students honored for English awards during 2019-2020, we would like to cheer these extraordinary finalists.


English 9 Finalists

Barzin Badiee: Barzin is a strong English student and a consistent high performer in class.

Sarah Chang: Sarah is a diligent student, and she shines in the English classroom.

Gwen Chase: Gwen worked hard on the most difficult assignment of the year, our research project. She asked questions and implemented feedback to make sure each part of the paper met the writing's requirements. As as result, her skills increased. Gwen also read a great deal of the Narnia series during silent reading. She loves to read, and I like to think that I share her taste for great books. Gwen will do well in her sophomoe year.

Nick Freire: Nick's consistency and intelligence is a welcome addition to our English classroom.

Jaden Frimpong: Jaden is a particularly strong English student. His English knowledge and insight is impressive.

Robert (Bobby) Hoey: Bobby is a strong English student who is a role model for his peers.

Nolan Lovejoy: Nolan is very invested in doing well in English. He asks follow-up questions and gets all the resources he needs to to a top-notch job. He has a gift for fiction writing, and any assignment that involved a narrative, whether fiction or nonfiction, elicited from Nolan an effort and a paper way beyond what Mrs. Vallor and I expected from the class. He worked hard at our third-quarter makeup opportunities, raising his grade a great deal in the process. Thank you for all of the hard work, Nolan.

Evelyn Mejia: Evelyn reads, writes, studies for quizzes -- all the things she needs to do to be successful in Engllish 9. But she does it for herself, too. She's very much her own person, and she makes her education her own. Evelyn has been a hardworking and valued member of our reading and writing community all year. I'm grateful to have taught her.

Brendan Sargent: Brendan brought fair weather into class every day. He arrived early almost every morning, and his sunny disposition made me drop any troubles that were trying to weigh me down. I could always get a sense of the room from Brendan: if he voiced questions, many of the other students had unspoken questions. If he was enthusiastic about a lesson, I knew the class couldn't be far behind. Besides his leadership skills, his writing skills also improved a good deal over the course of the year thanks to his hard work.

Kelsey Smith: Kelsey is a hard-working student whose work is always completed to a high standard.

Ryan Smith: Ryan goes after his education like a dog for a precious, buried bone. He works hard, asks questions, and makes sure he understands everything about what is taught before he moves on. His growth this year in reading and writing has been strong thanks to his dedication.

English 10 Finalists

Jasmine Bobbitt: Jasmine has demonstrated strong literacy skills in English 10 this year. She is a voracious reader, savvy wordsmith, and talented writer. She made positive contributions to our class through her participation, focus, and curiosity.

Elizabeth Lees: Elizabeth is one of the most hardworking students; she shows a genuine care and drive on her English assignments - from beautifully written essays to in-depth analysis. She is truly brave in all she does because even when striving for perfection, she was never afraid to ask for help when needed. She goes above and beyond what her teacher would ask of her, which makes her a truly outstanding English 10 student.

Jason Little: Jason is a focused student who manages to stay on-task even amidst a loud environment. Always ahead in class, Jason consistently works and even in his free moments when he has finished something early, he will read a book. Jason read a variety of books this year. His consistent success has led him to be recommended to move up a level in English next year.

Lucian Tash: Humble. Composed. Reflective. Introspective. These are all adjectives I would use to describe Lucian Tash as a student in my English 10 Honors class. Lucian consistently demonstrates wisdom and maturity beyond his years as a part of our class. His writing reflects deep insights and original analysis, and he adeptly works at uncovering the deeper meaning behind what he reads. His one-on-one conversations with classmates demonstrate a keen understanding of the material and a compassionate, constructive way of supporting his peers. Lucian is a diligent, motivated student and a sincere, kind soul. His quiet determination makes him stand out amongst his peers.

English 11 Finalists

Nicholas Burlbaugh: Nick's motivation and intellect deserve praise. In the beginning of the year, he noted that his papers were going to exceed our expectations. Nick, you were absolutely right. You always crafted strong textual evidence and thoughtful commentary. Furthermore, you clarified information to cement your learning. (This often helped others, I am certain.) Nick, thank you for being so committed to building your writing toolbox and your reading bookshelf. Your efforts will prove valuable beyond HHS!

Corey Dukes : Corey, your words are insightful and your intellect is sharp. Your quiet and positive attitude about learning did not go unnoticed. Ms. Woodson and I appreciated your attention to detail and your sound analysis. Thank you for your dedication and energy. Your spirit continued during Distance Learning, and we applaud all of your effort! Bravo!

Obinna Ezumah: Obi, you are a driven student! You are blessed with knowing many languages; you work diligently to understand the material as it is presented. When writing argumentative essays, you clarified information and visited the Reading Writing Center for more support. You valued feedback and applied the skills you learned. Your intelligent, positive and patient side reflect why you will be successful beyond Heritage. We thoroughly enjoyed watching you grow as a grammar giant and writing warrior!

Kathryn (Katy) Fanning: Katy is a motivated English student who always tries her best!

Matthew Kaupin: Matthew, you are the master of vocabulary! You are the first student in my 24 years of teaching that truly soaked in the power of words. When you asked how many minutes you needed to study vocabulary on Membean to reach the next level, you committed to that practice. (Most students move to the next level over the course of six months.) You accepted the challenge and worked arduously to achieve that goal. Your skill warranted my filming a video for future students to see. You shared how vocabulary brings comprehension, and it shows! All students in English 11 alway guffawed at your precision and Membean minutes. It is truly impressive! Furthermore, in class, when you asked follow-up quesitons, other students would tilt their ear. You clarified and answered their questions as well! Matthew, your focus, your honesty, your communication warrant why you will excel beyond Heritage. Bravo!

Zachary Maisus: Zachary has once again demonstrated his high standards for himself. Throughout the year, Zachary is thoughtful about his assignments and his reflection upon them. While he came to the class already writing and reading at a high level, Zachary commits to improve himself. Throughout this wretched distance learning, Zachary wrote an impressive reflective essay on this time, demonstrating his ability to be introspective and express clearly his thoughts to others. He is a humble and reflective student who will undoubtedly find success in whatever he puts his mind to.

Megan Munford: Megan has all of the attributes of an outstanding student: diligent worker, thoughtful writer, and insightful reader. Throughout the year, she has demonstrated consistent thought and dedication to all of the different assignments completed. Her improvement in her writing skill and reflections on her assignments prove why Megan is an outstanding English 11 Honors student.

Aspen Saplan: AJ, you exhibit a strong connection to your literacy. Your writing and reading presence deserve applaud. You show a quiet and humble persona; however, it covers a powerful writing voice and reflective learner. Thank you for sharing such worthy academic writing and clear literary analysis. Your focus and dedication signify why you will move mountains beyond Heritage.

Mackenzie Scannell: Mackenzie is a talented English student who scored a 600 on her Writing SOL. Bravo, Mackenzie!

Kimia Teymouri: Kimia is an incredibly hard worker – English is not her first language, and yet she always maintains a strong grade in English class. She’s an absolute model for her classmates.


English 12 Finalists

Alicia Bancroft: Ali is an honest pleasure to teach! She came to every class with a smile, a kind word, and a thirst for knowledge. Ali always made certain she planned ahead and completed work on time, even when absent. Whether she was researching a musician or creating a podcast about Covid 19, Ali always taught me something new.

Onicka Darham: Onicka's genuine love for reading and writing made teaching her a true pleasure! She consistently showed up to class willing and eager to learn. Onicka is also the kind of person who is willing to help those who need it. She was always taking the time to help her peers who may have been confused or needed help.

D/E English Finalists

Harley Austin: Harley is a mindblowing writer. Give him choice, then stand back and learn. He recently turned a formative assignment -- use classical arugment structure to make the case that something or someone is the Greatest of All Time -- into the shrewedest argument I've read about the Beatles' influence. ("Helter Skelter" is the greatest Beatles' song of all time.) Harley brings a sophisticated view of culture and a daring and sensitive writing style to any subject and genre that he chooses. When I get to Harley's work, I know I'm going to enjoy a deep and thoughtful read.

Spencer Brosnan: Spencer excels at argumentation, having written one of the finest refutations I've read in some time. His writing in college comp is always top notch. He didn't get his first choice on the pair of books he had to commit himself to for a quarter, as I recall, but it didn't matter: he brought his usual positive attitude to our project and wrote a great research paper on the subject anyway. I'll miss Spencer's easy manner and good cheer in our classroom next year.

Shayan Eghtessad: Shayan wants to get it right. He works hard to get the last nuance out of how a lesson applies to the writing at hand, and he throws himself at the task, often handing in a long, thought-out paper. When we did movie analysis, he co-created one of the most moving video shorts I've seen in some time. As a student, he knows only one gear: complete commitment to the task and the lessons to be learned from it.

Ainsley Forest: Ainsley writes with a lot of rich self-reflection, as she did on her blog this year, and she writes with a lot of detailed insight, as she did about the medical profession this past fall and as she is doing about the business community presently. She is conscientious, and she puts forth great effort on all of her reading and writing assignments. She was also a great teammate during our class breakout sessions.

Sahdia Khurshid: From a student standpoint, Sahdia continually impresses me with her abilities. She thoroughly researches and writes every assignment she submits, and her time and efforts are evident in all assignments. However, Sahdia is so much more than just a good student. Sahdia is the type of person who will email about the book she just finished. She is the student who will give you recommendations on what book to read next. She always came to class with a smile and was always willing to help her peers when they struggled on a difficult subject.

Alanna Krahulec: Sometimes I meet a student who challenges me, by his or her bearing and responses to situations, to be a better person. Alanna is such a student. She is unfailingly kind and positive, accepting of everyone and always deflecting the limelight. She puts everyone at ease with her positive and accepting temperament. For instance, she wrote me a kind and detailed note about my teaching on the occasion of the winter holidays, and I reflect on her words frequently to encourage myself. She is selfless in group settings, looking out for the success of the group and supportive of group members who struggle. Behind her kindness, though, is a quiet and strong desire to succeed. Alanna is one of the hardest working people I know, and she has done extremely well in our class as a team member and as a writer.

Samantha Le: Samantha is an interesting writer whose interests range from Stephen King (whom she was introduced to in AP Lang last year), Brandon Sanderson, Tae Kwon Do, psychology, and now, in the midst of our quarantine, online learning. The last two subjects merited research papers from her. Samantha is a joy to read no matter the subject matter; her eclectic voice surprises as her interests do.

Cassidy Neff: Cassidy has written extensively on nurses' compassion fatigue as well as on bias in the workplace. The first of these research papers should be published and disseminated to hospltals -- maybe to all Americans -- since stories of compassion fatigue are finally making their way to the general media as a result of the work nurses have done to treat those sickened by the coronavirus. Cassidy is a gracious and thorough writer. She seeks out feedback from her teachers as well as her writers' group members. I think she cares about her writing as much as she does about volleyball, which is a lot. Her writing has improved a lot this year thanks to her dedication to her craft.

Casey Newman: I'm not sure I would be pulling off this online teaching thing without Casey. He has been willing to look at the student end of many of my concoctions before I roll them out to the rest of the students, and his detailed troubleshooting and encouraging critiques have made my weekly assignments possible. I'm grateful. More to the point, Casey is a first-rate writer. He writes at length, not because he pads anything -- ever -- but because topics and genres and prompts generate so much thought in his reflective mind that he will go on to the benefit of his fortunate readers. I've had few students who write with both the erudition and good sense with which Casey writes. I hope for his world's sake that he never puts down his pen except long enough to take on challenges that will, in turn, challenge his writing even more.

Matthew Newcomer: Matthew is one of the most eloquent speakers I have ever taught. Whether he was talking about cryptography, education, or just his latest homework assignment, Matthew always impressed me with his passion and obvious love for learning. Matthew is also one of the only students I've ever had who facetimed in to a socratic seminar so that he could still take part despite being sick. Matthew was a great student and he will definitely be missed next year!

Farrah Raj: Farrah's written skills and vocabulary are incredibly impressive; her passion and thirst for knowledge is evident in all that she does. However, just as impressive is Farrah's kindness and maturity. She is always willing to help others and she genuinely cares for the world around her. I cannot wait to see all of the great and amazing things that Farrah will do in this world.

Emaan Qillawala: Emaan is a fine writer of sophistcated analysis, and she uses her always-meticulous research to great effect. She worked hard at whatever a given unit challeged her with, and she always grew as a writer. Emaan is also on our Its' Academic team and brings her love of knowledge, detail, and teamwork to that venue as well as she does in our college composition class. She has a wonderful, even-keeled, friendly disposition that made our class more special.

Lauren Phelps: Lauren has used her large research papers to explore first the relationship of medicine and personal therapy and now the relationship of personality theory and personal therapy. Her insights and expression are very rewarding, whether she's writing about a research topic, about a work of art, or about a movie. She has learned how to use her own voice to get across analysis and research -- the kind of writing less dedicated writers might sacrifice their voice to accomplish. Lauren is always a joy to read.

Joanna Plowman: Joanna wrote a research paper on how trainers should treat ankle injuries. When I asked the class to repurpose the research for a general audience that needed similar information in a less sophisticated format, Joanna went above and beyond the reqirements, changing the entire point of her research to better meet the needs of her new audience. Joanna is one of the best and most versatile writers I've ever had the pleasure of teaching. I'm always surprised by the stance she takes on her chosen subject and pleased with how well she backs it up. Joanna is a model student-athlete because she excels at being both.

Berk Tombuloglu: Berk works hard at every piece of writing, very often taking the time to meet with me to get things just right. His college essay was one of the best I've read, combining a deft tough with wonderful personal insight. His written expression has gained a great deal in sophistication this year as he has taken on more difficult assignments, such as his research paper on an esoteric subject (to me, anyway) -- dental school debt -- and his other research paper on biotechnology companies' hiring practices. I will miss all of the conversations Berk and I have had about his writing.

A special thanks to English teachers for sharing their positive words about these literary wonders!