CFHS students, staff honored for local work

Sara Gabriele/Staff Writer

Four CFHS individuals have recently been selected to receive the Endeavor award, a locally based honor that seeks to recognize people who are important contributors to the community but that don’t always receive much attention for their work. Two staff members and two students are chosen each year, and this year the recipients are Ebony Kunkle, Nick Miller, Michelle Rathe and Jackie Underwood.

Students and staff are nominated by others and then are selected by a committee consisting of student sen ate officers and guidance counselors.

“It’s nice for the Endeavor award to recognize people that are behind the scenes people — people that do a great job but maybe don’t shine in the spotlight,” guidance counselor Ryan Flaherty said.

Student recipient junior Nick Miller was nominated literally for his “behind the scenes” work. Miller does the lighting and sound not only for all the school plays but also reaches throughout the district by doing tech work for many other events such as elementary music concerts.

“Nick is always very thorough in helping in any situation — whether it be in lighting or for counselor advisory committee or just in his school work,” guidance counselor Susan Langan said. “He doesn’t advertise how hard he works, so it’s nice to be able to recognize him.”

Staff recipient Michelle Rathe also plays a very important role behind the scenes of school productions. Rathe has directed the CFHS spring and fall plays in addition to her English and speech teaching roles ever since she started teaching at the high school 12 years ago.

“She just does so much selfless giving,” English teacher Diane Flaherty said. “Her job is to direct, but she goes way over and above — and not just for drama, but for her students and for the department.”

Rathe said receiving the award was an emotional moment for her.

“So many people, even though you know they appreciate what you do, don’t always take the time to say thank you,” Rathe said. “Hearing that is very powerful because you know your efforts are paying off.”

The other staff recipient, Jackie Underwood, is also someone whose work may not always receive thank you’s but is very important to the high school. As the only school secretary in the district that works all year round, Underwood’s various responsibilities abound; from helping with registration, to budgeting, to helping train staff with new software, to organizing graduation.

“She is the one who keeps the school running so smoothly and efficiently,” secretary Jane Carter said. “Things would take 50 times longer if she wasn’t here,” added fellow secretary Mary Ann Lee.

Underwood said she was surprised and honored to receive the award.

“I was very honored. I didn’t expect it at all. I do my job, and it’s nice to be recognized for it,” Underwood said.

Student recipient Ebony Kunkle was also very surprised to receive the Endeavor Award.

“I didn’t expect it at all. I was so surprised when I found out I had received it,” Kunkle said.

Kunkle was nominated for her various contributions to the school community, most notably for her singing of the national anthem.

“You name it, she sang the national anthem (at it),” athletic direction (Gary) Koenen said. “She is always very willing help out, and she’s very gifted singer. She uses those talents for the betterment of the school.”

All the recipients of the Endeavor award will be honored at a banquet on Wednesday, April 21 at Allen College. Various other schools around the Cedar Valley will also honor recipients, and the program will run from 5:30- 6:30.

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