Shining the way:

Hill surprised with Wylie Way Award; first time ever won by student

More stories from Casi Thedford, adviser

photo credit: Casi Thedford
First star \\ Surprised by his family and trustees, senior Jaxson Hill is the first-ever student to receive the Wylie Way award. Hill was nominated by Eric Easter because of the free tutoring program he started. “I was extremely shocked and confused as they all started approaching me, especially since there were cameras and photographers,” Hill said.

Hugs, smiles and even a few tears surfaced as teachers spoke about special students in their lives in the media center Jan. 23.

Kicking off the second nine weeks Shining the Way awards was a flood of admins following Superintendent Dr. David Vinson carrying a bouquet of colorful balloons anchored with candy bars. In a moment of grandeur, they surrounded senior Jaxson Hill. His family accompanied the entourage as they announced Hill as the first-ever student recipient of the WISD’s Board of Trustee’s Wylie Way Award.

I am very honored to have received this award, but this program truly would not be what it is today without all of our tutors who volunteer their time each week to help serve their community.”

— Jaxson Hill, senior

“I initially just saw the school board, so I didn’t think that was too terribly strange,” Hill said. “Then I saw my dad, and thought it was a little stranger, then I saw my mom, [sister] and grandparents and knew something was happening.” 

Typically given to a local business person or volunteer, this special recognition was presented to Hill because of the free tutoring program he started three years ago at Smith Public Library.

“I am very honored to have received this award, but this program truly would not be what it is today without all of our tutors who volunteer their time each week to help serve their community,” Hill said

He will also be recognized at the school board meeting Jan. 28 for winning this coveted award.

“Wylie Math Tutoring is going strong,” Hill said. “We are consistently serving 30-40 kids each week, and always have new parents and students stop by to ask about it. Our most common question is ‘And it’s all free?’”

Hill wasn’t the only star shining bright in the media center. Twenty-three other students were also recognized at the luncheon. At the end of each grading period, teachers are asked to nominate a student displaying core values. The second nine weeks’ character traits focused on caring and giving.

The teachers and their nominees enjoyed a casual celebration over a free meal as students were recognized for their positive impact.

Coach Lisa Curry nominated senior Morgan Whitesell because she always puts others first.

“If you don’t know Morgan Whitesell, you’re missing out,” Curry said.

She went on to explain how Morgan took it upon herself to take notes for a fellow student with an arm injury.

Each teacher stood and told a personal story about the student he or she nominated. Ms, Katharine Isbell nominated a student that is not even in her class, but a freshman that she simply observed carrying out acts of kindness at the end of the lunch hour.

“When the bell rings, and all the other students hurry off to their classes, leaving a mess, Alexis [Landaverde] stays behind to clean up,” Ms. Isbell said.

Science Teacher Mr. David Shipp nominated Hill as his Wylie Way recipient also because of his free tutoring services.

“A couple of students were challenged in my course. I sent them to Jaxson for some homework help.”

Mr. Shipp went on to explain how much those students benefitted from Hill and his tutoring program.

Social Studies Teacher Ms. Megan Dalton spoke highly of junior Kaeden Hendry.

“We had a special connection since day one; we love to be goofballs,” Ms. Dalton said. “I am grateful he is in my class. He is just a wonderful person.”

Following are all of the teachers and their student nominees for the second nine-weeks Shining the Way character award.

Coach Jason Olford–David Garcia

Ms. Maria Jackson—Faris Iqbal

Mrs. Casi Thedford—Lauren Vasquez

Mrs. Melissa Cox—Javier Sanchez

Mr. Nathan Dame—Angela Lamarche

Mr. David Shipp—Jaxson Hill

Mrs. Ashley Dame—Sierra Gilbert

Ms. Katharine Isbell—Alexis Landaverde

Coach Hunter Henzler—Jordan Smith

Mrs. Samantha Smith—Eliesha Perez

Ms. Candice Lawrence—Collin Kaiser

Ms. Amie Torres—Haylee Elmore

Mrs. Meaghan Hodapp—Kade Frausto

Ms. Megan Dalton—Kaeden Hendry

Mrs. Amy May—Victor Mitroff

Ms. Lisa Curry—Morgan Whitesell

Ms. Gricelda Mathis—Kaitlyn Vickery

Coach Luke Abbett-Aleena Dawkins

Coach Luke Abbett-Brian Satterwhite

Mrs. Bekka Glaze—Cat Ramirez

Mrs. Jennifer Thompson—Arin Ahmad

Col. Brooks McFarland—Andra Butler

Mrs. Katie Fox—Olivia Epperson