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BISD STRONG Awards handed out for Spring 2020

Traditionally, BISD STRONG Awards are handed out in ceremonies where the superintendent surprises students and staff in their classrooms or offices. However, due to COVID-19, this round of awards required a complicated coordination of schedules to track down and surprise the individuals. We were able to award 10/12 awards in person. One student recipient no longer lives locally (we will mail her the award) and one staff recipient we haven't yet tracked down, but never fear! We will. 

Please join us in congratulating the following BISD STRONG Winners for Spring 2020.

Do you know someone who is BISD STRONG? Nominate them today! 

Julia Keys

Julia Keys, BHS Senior:

  • Julia has been a highlight to my year and has been very nice and kind to me and a great friend.
  • She has always been there for me and makes it a point to talk to me when I’m having a rough or hard time with things.
  • Julia is super nice and caring to me. She supports me and tries to help me. She makes it a point to talk to me and ask how I’m doing. 
  • Getting to know her has changed my high school career. She has also been a lot of fun to hang out with.
  • Words used to describe Julia: kind, loving, sweet, caring, passionate, thoughtful, amazing, awesome, respectful, confident, devoted, easy-going, enthusiastic, funny, gentle, helpful, great friend


Elizabeth Ande, BHS Art Teacher:

  • Ms. Ande is a remarkable teacher who goes above and beyond to connect with her students and the community at large. Her dedication to each individual student is a model for all. Literally my child is more at peace, more relaxed and much happier the semesters he has her.
  • She creates community projects, such as the valentines hearts hanging on campus, with her Ceramics club. The untold extra hours she puts in to make these types of positive projects for students is amazing. I have yet to ever see her without a smile on her face and radiating positive energy. She checks in with both of my students to see how they are. She offers tea and coffee before school to any student- this gives a safe space for check in and creating community.
  • Ms. Ande has truly made the most positive impact on my life through all my high school days. I have been in her class every semester during high school, and she has been extra nice to me every day I see her. 
  • Ms. Ande represents strong hearts, because she’s always been super supportive to me and loving when I talk to her. She always makes time to talk with me before class starts about her weekend and how we are doing. 
  • Ms. Ande is very strong minded, because she likes talking to her students and getting to know them, and she is super caring and sweet. 
  • Ms. Ande is very strong in the community, because she loves making everyone feel comfortable and she wants everyone to have a great time in her class and to feel like they got something out of it. I always love being in her class.
  • Words used to describe Ms. Ande: dynamic, energetic, compassionate, caring, creative, loving, sweet, kind, respectful, encouraging, gentle, helpful, supportive


Michelle Smith, Wilkes 4th Grade Teacher:

  • Ms. Smith was a great teacher to her 2018-2019 class and could focus on the whole class at the same time as focusing on one person.
  • She is an amazing person and a role model for kindness.
  • She was my teacher last year and had my whole class spellbound.
  • She is the best teacher ever!
  • She pays attention to every student's needs and lets us know she cares about our success. She even writes us letters.
  • Keeps all her students motivated to do their work and cares about each of us as individuals.
  • Even people who were not in her math class came to her for help.
  • She cares about everybody and takes time out of her day to respect students' needs.
  • She is so much more than we can write on this survey!
  • Words used to describe Ms. Smith: caring, appreciative, understanding, gracious, funny, kind, selfless, fun-loving, silly, kind, helpful, compassionate, softhearted, tolerant, patient, gentle, brave, trustworthy


Serena Zyskowski, Odyssey 3/4 Teacher:

  • She is kind, understanding and  always tries to make you feel good even if you did something wrong. She is helpful. When you're having a bad day you can just go talk to her and she'll help you feel better.
  • I believe she has  a strong mind and heart because she always rewrites  our math tests to make them more interesting for us and she will always help me with my problems.
  • She will always be somewhere in our hearts.
  • Words used to describe Serena: warmhearted, strong mind, amazing, comforting, funny, understanding, sweet


Chloe Snow, 5th Grader at Sakai:

  • I am nominating this student because she never excludes anyone, she always is welcoming new students, helping in class, and always being a nice and caring person.
  • Chloe deserves the BISD STRONG award because she never excludes anyone, she is never rude, gets straight to work, she is always in a wonderful mood when she walks in the classroom, and is very free spirited. 
  • Words used to describe Chloe: creative, friendly, open-minded, goofy, funny, warm-hearted


Jonna Mathis, Nurse at Sakai

  • I am going through an unknown sickness that prevents me from learning without side effects. I spend a large amount of time in the nurse's office. Mrs. Mathis has been going out of her way to talk to my mom in person or on the phone, has recommended many resources and options, and has even attended a meeting with my parents to help me learn in the best possible way. Every time I come to her office she offers me all the resources she has to help me.
  • Mrs. Mathis has a strong heart. Every time a student comes to the nurses office, she offers all her services and asks what they think will make them better. I have seen this happen to every single student who comes to her office. She also will go out of her way to buy peppermints and tea (the favorite flavors and brands of her students) after she has finished working. Unlike an ordinary school school nurse, she will try all the options even if that means going out of her way to do it. 
  • Words used to describe Joanna: caring, sympathetic, responsible, doesn't give up, dedicated to her job, kind, will go out of her way to help a student

Max Simon

Max Simon, 7th Grader at Odyssey

  • Max is a gem. 
  • Max is a leader in our class.  He always works hard and is helpful, kind and inclusive, but recently he has taken a leadership role in a  service project. Our class is doing a book drive for Takuu Atoll in Papua New Guinea as they lost their library due to king tides and cyclones.  Max has been the communication liaison and he has reached out to local and national organizations to help with our book drive.  He has solicited help from the BI library, T and C, and he has even written to the Embassy in PNG!  Everytime he sends an email out to someone, he includes me and I am so impressed with his confidence and communication skills.  I feel very proud of how he is representing our school.
  • He makes our Odyssey community a stronger community, and he makes his service team a stronger community and hopefully he (and his team) are making Takuu Atoll a stronger community.  
  • Words used to describe Max: kind, caring, open and honest, thoughtful, great communicator and great with tech


Helene Lulelo, 8th Grader at Woodward

  • Helene's work ethic is fantastic!  She really wants to be here learning.
  • Helene left Congo & Angola with her family 18 months ago with the desire of immigrating to the U.S. so they could stay together and be safe. They weren't accepted because her parents were from different countries that hate each other. They traveled to Cuba, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Mexico (and more I think). It was dangerous. They had a rough journey in a boat.  All their documents were stolen. At one point they walked for 12 days straight, with the mother carrying the youngest sibling, age 3, on her back.  Helene has a great attitude, and she is fluent in several languages!
  • Words used to describe Helene: Resilient, honest, hard-working, thoughtful, intelligent,  adaptable, friendly


Wendy Kozina, WMS Math Teacher

  • She has incredible positive energy to inspire students. She also listens well and acknowledges kids.
  • I was initially impressed with her at open house (‘made me want to take Middle school math again, which says a lot) and then I’ve heard from my son that he really likes math this year. And again at conferences when, even though she wasn’t my child’s advisory teacher, she came into the classroom where we were and asked us about how things were going. She sat and thoughtfully listened, as well, to some of the “back story” behind his health and well-being. I was really impressed and happy that he has such a supportive teacher.
  • Words used to describe Ms. Kozina: energetic, thoughtful, kind, active listener


Jennifer Brooks, WMS Learning Strategies Teacher

  • Ms. Brooks is warm and welcoming and committed to communicating with her students and their parents. She’s encouraging and she builds bridges when students think they’re at a dead end. 
  • Ms. Brooks can anticipate when a student is getting off track and reaches out to parents in a welcoming manner to arrive at a path forward. 
  • She advocated for my son and was patient despite his challenges. She made the middle school years less scary. 
  • Words used to describe Ms. Brooks: Cheery, welcoming, dedicated, attentive. 

Isra Moussaoui, 11th Grader at BHS

  • Exemplary Helpline House Volunteer
  • Isra has used her STRONG HEART to get involved at Helpline House.  Helpline House runs on volunteers.  We would not be able to provide the services we do without the help of volunteers like Isra.
  • Isra shows up at Helpline House ready to work.  She is a very self assured person and a great addition to our volunteer staff.
  • Words used to describe Isra: Self motivated, hard working, responsible, self confident