Optimist students of the month named

By The Mercury

Three students from Marlatt Elementary School were honored as Youths Of The Month at the October 24, 2012 meeting of the Manhattan Breakfast Optimist Club. 

Kiera Benco, is 8 years old and attends the second grade.  She is the daughter of Catherine and Tim Jones and Brad Benco, all of whom joined us to recognize Kiera.  Her brother Faolan, a seventh grader at Anthony Middle School also came to the presentation. Kiera’s nominating teacher Alyssa Schmitt, principle Brett Nelson, and staff member Jesie Courser represented Marlatt. Ms. Schmitt nominated Kiera for Youth of the Month for many reasons.  First and foremost is the fact that Kiera always walks into the classroom wearing a smile and with a great attitude.  Although this is Kiera’s first year at Marlatt; Ms. Schmitt states that one would not know it.  She has blended in and become a contributing member of the Marlatt family.  In fact, it was Kiera who made other new students to the school feel comfortable and welcome.  Because of her actions and participation in class Kiera has become an outstanding role model for her peers.  Kiera is an ambitious student who wants to take part and contribute.  She has already volunteered to bring her insect collection to share with her classmates during an upcoming unit about insects. Kiera’s mother pointed out that Kiera is very helpful around the house and that she likes to make people feel good.  Kiera enjoys playing outdoors with her friends when she gets home from school and can even be found upon occasion to be playing school at home.  She enjoys reading and is diligently tallying the minutes that she reads at home so she can contribute to her class’s total at school and earn points toward a book-it coupon.  In addition Kiera enjoys music.  She began playing the violin this past summer, and although her mother indicated that there might be some rough spots from time to time, she is certain that Kiera will master the beauty of the instrument.  Kiera also attends tap and ballet lessons twice a week.  She often makes up songs to provide her own accompaniment as she dances around the house.  Kiera is full of energy and a real joy to be with and to know. Ms. Schmitt concluded her nomination by stating that Kiera is truly a great addition to Marlatt School and that she is happy to have her in class this year.  The Optimist Club is proud to recognize Kiera as a Youth of the Month for October.

Hagen Ott is a 9 year old 3rd grader.  His father, Kenneth Ott, couldn’t attend because he is serving in Afghanistan, but he was joined by his mother, Nancy Ott, and by brothers Keeton and Riley, 16 and 15 respectively and both at Manhattan High School, and 10 year old Cameron who is also at Marlatt.  He was also accompanied by Nominating Teacher Julie Koenig, Student Intern Andrew Webb, Principal Brett Nelson, and Jesi Courser, the YOM coordinator for Marlatt. Nominating Teacher Julie Koenig had this nominating statement for Hagen: “Hagen has a kind & gentle personality.  These qualities make him a wonderful friend and role model for his peers.  He always gives his best & is willing to ‘dig in’ and work hard.  While Hagen takes his work very seriously, he has a great sense of humor and quick smile! Hagen’s father serves in the military.  He is very proud of his Dad.  In his hallmark style, Hagen shows his pride for our country through his actions and support for his family.  Hagen is a student that is deserving of Youth of the Month.” His 3rd grade teacher, Kelley Ribble, seconds Julie’s nomination of Hagen by describing Hagen as a “hard worker, on task, schedule orientated, willing to try new things, patient, kind about taking turns, good sense of humor, and a good friend.” Before Hagen moved to Manhattan he became involved in Cub Scouts.  He really wanted to be in it. He also played youth football in Oklahoma.  He was a running back and scored a touchdown. Rounding out his athletic involvement, Hagen likes baseball.  He has participated in 2 seasons of baseball and played left field. He likes to go fishing with his family at Tuttle Creek. Another hobby Hagen enjoys is riding on his bicycle. At school he enjoys science and P.E.  He is especially interested in studying about prehistoric animals.  In the future Hagen would like to serve in the Army.  He considers his dad to be his hero.  Hagen’s teachers consider him to be a valuable part of their classes and the Marlatt school community.  We Optimists salute Hagen for his determination to do his best.


4th grader Bryce Cameron is 9 years old.  Bryce had a whole cheering section led by his parents Emily and Bronson Cameron, Grandparents Sally Meyer, Donna Cameron and Mike McNeil, brother Braydon, who is 13 years old, and sister Bailey, who is 12, both of whom attend Eisenhower Middle School.  In addition, Bryce had the support of Nominating Teacher Taylor Hanney, Principal Brett Nelson, and Marlatt’s YOM coordinator Jesi Courser.  Nominating Teacher Taylor Hanney has this fine nominating statement for Bryce: “Bryce is a joy to be around.  He is considerate of others, extremely polite, and just an all-around pleasant boy.  As great as he is, he has a difficult time finding new friends.  He is very reserved and content with being by himself during activities.  He needs to realize how outstanding of a person he is & that he really is a good person.  I believe that this award would show him he is appreciated by others.”  Bryce has a wealth of interests and activities. Although he is shy, he has the personal qualities of being kind and respectful.  He supports his family by being a strong Eisenhower Middle School fan because his brother participates in football and his sister participates in basketball. Bryce likes to draw with pencil and crayons.  He likes to build things with Legos. He enjoys playing football, kickball, and basketball with family and friends. He enjoys running and riding his bicycle. He likes to play board games such as “Sorry” and “Life.”  He plays computer games on the iPod such as bike racing and flying a plane. He has the quality of involving everybody in games, play, or whatever activity. His favorite classes at school are art and gym.  He really enjoys the exploration part of science class.  This quality leads him to be enthused and attentive about news items such as the recent scientific parachute jump and space shuttle. Some of Bryce’s most enjoyable moments are those times when he gets to work on the farm with his grandfather.  He treasures being a participant in the planting, harvesting, and baling.  He enjoys being around the combine and baler. Bryce is a highly regarded person by those around him.  We Optimists respect his kind qualities and encourage him to keep participating and to keep his interest in learning.


Article and photographs provided by members of the Manhattan Breakfast Optimist Club.

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