By John Warren
Mr. Warren is a frequent writer for The Journal, a longtime member of the board of trustees and current president of the board of Big Sandy Independent School District and a member of the board of trustees of the Church of God Big Sandy.
BIG SANDY, Texas--At the annual Big Sandy High School Academic Banquet May 13, 10 Church of God youths received awards and scholarships.
For the fifth year the banquet took place at the building owned by the Church of God Big Sandy.
The meal had been prepared by COG Big Sandy member Melodee Overton of Hawkins (a teacher at Big Sandy High), assisted by her sister and brother-in-law, Michele and Don Mischnick, also of Hawkins.
Church youths and adult volunteers helped serve the meal and wait on tables as the student scholars, parents, teachers and administrators enjoyed the end-of-school banquet.
"There were approximately 200 people in attendance," said Mrs. Mischnick, "and they were served by 40 volunteers."
The banquet is limited to Big Sandy High School students who excel academically, their parents, teachers and guests. The guests included local college officials who presented scholarships to some of the graduating students.
The younger Church of God members who received awards included freshmen Jessica Killingley and Michael Case and sophomores April West and Jerry Simcik.
Miss Killingley, 13-year-old daughter of Reg and Carol Killingley of Big Sandy, received awards for Pre-AP English I (pre-AP means pre-advanced placement) and Algebra II.
Miss Killingley, who served as freshman-class president this school year, was also recognized for being on the A honor roll for the year.
Michael Case of Pritchett earned the Algebra I award. Mr. Case, an A-B honor student, is the son of Eric and Nancy Case.
Jerry Simcik, also of Pritchett and a sophomore, was recognized for his first place in "impromptu resolution writing" and for making the A-B honor roll. He is the son of Larry Simcik of Pritchett and Jennifer McClain of Big Sandy.
April West, a sophomore from Big Sandy, received two awards: for world history and biology. Miss West, an A honor student, is the daughter of Stanley and Roxanne West.
Two award winners were juniors. Amanda and Candice Pendley of Big Sandy earned Spanish-award plaques.
Wanda Munoz, their Spanish teacher, told the audience: "I could not choose between these two girls [who are identical twins]. Their grades were identical, even though they were in different classes."
The Pendley twins also had some of their paintings from art class on display during the banquet.
Amanda, an A-B honor student, and Candice, an A honor student, are daughters of Wes and Carol Pendley.
Jake Weese, also a Big Sandy resident and a senior, won the Theater I plaque. His other accomplishments include membership in the National Honor Society and on the student council. He also served as senior-class secretary.
Mr. Weese, an A honor student, is the youngest offspring of Wayne and Karen Weese, who are both school employees. Mrs. Weese serves as the secretary to the high-school principal. Mr. Weese is the school's maintenance and transportation director.
Another member of the senior class from Big Sandy, Reaghan Francis, a cousin of Jake Weese, reaped an academic award and multiple scholarships. The academic award was for Business Computer Information Systems II.
Miss Francis, who was local National Honor Society president and student-council vice president and was listed on the A honor roll, also received four scholarships.
Miss Francis, who served as Miss Big Sandy (a Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce award) for the past year, is daughter of Danny Francis of Pritchett and Nancy Francis of Big Sandy.
Ellisa Boettcher, a senior from Pritchett, received the yearbook award and a plaque for Interior Design class.
Miss Boettcher, who was on the A honor roll and and a member of the National Honor Society, is the daughter of Toby and Jean Shipman.
Along with the award for calculus, Donald McKee of Big Sandy garnered the biggest honor of the evening when he was named Big Sandy High School's 2003 valedictorian. The son of David and Janice McKee, he achieved the ranking by accumulating a 4.22 grade-point average over his four-year high-school career.
The award winners attend services of the Church of God Big Sandy, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship (a congregation of the Worldwide Church of God) or United Church of God.