On Wednesday, May 2, the Gillespie Middle School held its annual Honors Banquet for the eighth grade students. Students eligible for the banquet must have been on the honor roll for eleven consecutive quarters, sixth grade thru eighth grade.
Members were required to carry the 3.0 grade point average throughout their three years of middle school, excluding the final quarter of eighth grade year. Thirty-one intelligent students were honored on Wednesday evening’s dinner. Out of the thirty-one, twenty-six of them were high honor roll students.
To maintain such a title, the student was required to achieve eleven consecutive quarters with high honor roll. Essentially, completing their three years maintaining a ‘straight A’ record. On top of the thirty-one eighth graders recognized, forty-two seventh grades were asked to serve the dinner. Servers are required to be on honor roll as well.
Students honored at the honor banquet were: Paige Adkins, Madison Buckner, Regan Clark, Sam Clay, Andrew Cline, Stephen DeMartini, Taylor Dickinson, Abby Eccles, Rachel Emmenderfer, Elizabeth Fields, Olivia Friese, Regan Goldasich, Kaitlyn Hall, Emily Harszy, Marissa Hartke, Blake Hayes, Gage Hoke, Taylor Jacobs, Bailey Jarman, Eryka Mabus, Reese Marshall, Corey McCallister, Bryce McKinney, Abigail Munos, Nicholas Mushill, Ashley Pokorney, Logan Redmon, Michael Ross, Sara Ruyle, Colin Tieman, and Helen Vargo.
After the dinner, Principal Lori Emmons introduced the guest speaker for the evening: Mrs. Gloria Sidar. Mrs. Sidar, who has retired from CUSD #7, coached track, junior high volleyball, and cheerleading during her time in the district. “She has been included in the Who’s-Who Among American Teachers three times,” Emmons explained, “And received a teaching award from the Illinois Science and Math Academy.”
Sidar is a graduate of Saint Simon and Jude School of Gillespie and went on to study at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. Presently, Sidar resides in Benld, Illinois and is the grandmother of four boys and the mother of two daughters. “She is currently involved in the Build Benld committee,” Emmons noted.
“I really did not want to come,” Sidar started, “I hate public speaking.” She went on to explain that she is not going to talk about success because the students are already successful. I don’t want to talk about motivation either, Sidar read down the list. “Different things motivate different people.”
“I was a competitor because I did not like people besting me, I wanted to be the best,” Sidar explained. So, Sidar is not going to talk about careers either as everyone already knows what they want to be. Finally, Sidar found what she was going to discuss with the students.
According to Sidar, she had a wonderful man in her life that had a tremendous impact on how she grew up. “He was a businessman, a coal-miner, a carpenter, a wine maker, a gardener, a goal raiser, and he was wonderful,” Gloria explained. That man that she spent every day of her youth with was her grandfather.
“I thought he was the most intelligent person I ever met,” Sidar said, “The one thing he told me at least once a week was ‘education is the most important thing you can have.’” Her grandfather admired people who had degrees as he only had a grade school education himself. He read five papers daily and taught Sidar her love for reading.
You need to be a lifelong learner, Sidar stressed. “Your teachers taught you a lot while your parents give you support, but you need to be a lifelong learner.” High school will just prepare you for college and college is where you find your role in life, according to Sidar.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t learn something,” Sidar noted, “You need to learn something from every person you meet.” According to Sidar, there is something you can learn every day, every experience, and with every person you come in contact with. “I just hope you choose to be a lifelong learner,” Sidar closed.
The students were then presented with their certificate and medals while various teachers announced their goals. The predominate goal was, “I want to get straight A’s in high school.”