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Optimists honor Northview trio as youths of month

By The Mercury

Three students from Northview Elementary School were honored as Youths Of The Month at the Nov. 14, 2012 meeting of the Manhattan Breakfast Optimist Club. 

Nanette York is in the 4th grade.  She was accompanied by her mother Natacha Perkins and her husband John, grandfather Chuck Barnes, brother Nathan, and stepmother Dr. Valerie York.  Her father is Sgt. Nate York who is in Georgia for military training. 

Nominating teacher Barbara Clark had a great, thorough nominating letter for Nanette.  “I would like to nominate Nanette York for Youth of the Month.  Nanette works very hard in all academic areas.  She is also a willing helper within the class.

“I think she is a great nominee for this award.  I’ve known Nanette since she was a kindergarten student.  She is now in my 4th grade class.  I’ve watched her grow & struggle & mature into the young lady she is today.  I have watched her go from a bouncy little girl to a studious young lady.  I’ve seen her change from a kindergartener that joined in with others to a fourth grade student that can lead others. 

“Nanette has grown both physically, emotionally, and in her attitude.  Nanette is a very good student.  She has done a great job in her reading.  She has exceeded her independent reading goal for the past two months.  Nanette is also very strong in math.  She enjoys any challenge that involves competition.  Along with all of her academic strengths, she is also very creative. 

She is a very talented artist and is a wonderful writer.  Her creativity really shines in her artwork and in her writing.  Nanette has a very caring nature.  She is the first to befriend students that need a friend.  She is also the first to volunteer to help adults or children.  She helps to make our class a nice place to be.  Nanette is a great young lady that I am proud to have in my class.  It is an honor to nominate her for the award…..”

Nanette’s mother and father both support Nanette’s qualities mentioned in Barb’s nomination.  Her mother Natacha said Nanette’s hero is her big brother Nathan.  They have a great relationship & do many things together.  Nanette loves horses.

In the future she would like to have a farm with horses.  She has had good experiences riding horses.  She likes to draw horses and to read about them. 

She loves music.  Recently she participated in a group that sang two songs onstage at the Veteran’s Parade.  Other interests include playing volleyball, soccer, & football with family and friends, jump rope, drawing, reading, kittens (although allergic to them), bike riding, running, dressing up her little brother & sister, organizing things, building things, shopping, collecting erasers that have the forms of different characters, singing and dancing, and attending church. 

So you can see why her mother says that Nanette has been active ever since she learned to walk.  In the past Nanette has participated in Brownie Scouts and gymnastics.  Her father, Nate, described her as a most active young lady, always smiling.  He told me that both of them participated in the “Fun Run,” and that Nanette ran an 8 minute mile. 

He is impressed with her skill in drawing and painting.  He said she draws every day.  He is very proud of Nanette’s reading logs that she compiled when she participated in the “Reading Challenge” sponsored by the Manhattan Library Association.

  Nanette stays in touch with her dad because they “skype” every night. 

Nanette, seeing all the ways you dive in & experience life and your school experience, we Optimists understand why you exemplify many of the values in our Optimist Creed.  We are so pleased to recognize you as one of our Youths of the Month.

Eight year old Nic Oliver is in the third grade.  He is the son of Jennifer Skaggs who attended the meeting this morning to honor Nic along with his brothers Jeremy, an eighth grader at Eisenhower Middle School, Sam, a sixth grader at Northview, and R. J., who is fifteen months old.  Also in attendance to recognize Nic were principal Shelley Aistrup, teachers Ron Donoho and Jessica Nelson, and staff member Stephanie Thomas.

Nic is a gentle, well-mannered and kind student who is soft-spoken but determined.  This is how Stephanie Thomas began her nominating statement for Nic Oliver.  Mrs. Nelson added to this theme by describing Nic as an incredibly hard working young man.  He is always ready and willing to participate in group discussions, answer questions and contribute new ideas to the class. 

Nic’s success in the classroom does not come easily for him.  He has to work harder than some of his classmates but is determined to succeed academically.  Because he is a hard worker Nic likes to encounter new challenges and comes to school every day ready to learn.  Mrs. Nelson pointed out that Nic is very caring about others.  He always includes other students whether it be playing games or working on group assignments.  Nic’s mother echoed many of these same thoughts about him when I visited with her.  She pointed out first that he is a young boy who loves to play. 

When the weather is good she can always find him outside playing.  He especially enjoys going to the park and enjoying the opportunities for play there.  When he can’t be outside Nic enjoys playing computer games and video games.  He likes to play Minecraft on the computer and a wide variety of video games. 

Nic became active in scouting this past summer.  He enjoys the many activities that Cub Scouts afford him especially camping and has already achieved the rank of Bear.  When it comes to duties around the house Nic’s mother said that he is typical of most eight year old boys.  He doesn’t always keep his room neat and tidy but can be convinced to help clean up when he’s in the mood. 

Nic enjoys cooking and is always willing to step forward and help bake some cookies.  His mother concluded by pointing out that Nic is also very helpful by taking care of and playing with RJ.  Mrs. Nelson and Mr. Donoho, thank you for your hard work and for nominating such an outstanding young man for Youth of the Month.  Ms. Skaggs we commend you for providing a loving attitude and atmosphere for your family. 

Nic, the Optimist Club congratulates you on your hard work and determination.  As was pointed out in Mrs. Thomas’ nomination, you are a perfect recipient of the Youth of the Month Award because you always keep a positive attitude, even when things are tough.


Oliva Ortiz, a fifth grader, is the ten year old daughter of Joyce and Jim Ullmer.  Oliva’s brother Juan-Diego, a second grader at Northview, came with his parents to recognize Oliva.  Northview was represented by Principal Shelley Aistrup, nominating teacher Ashley Robinson, and staff member Stephanie Thomas.

Oliva Ortiz is an absolutely delightful young lady.  She is an excellent nominee for the Youth of the Month.  Mrs. Thomas and Miss Robinson began their nominating statements with those words of praise for Oliva.  Both agreed that Oliva is a great role model for her fellow students at Northview.  In fact, they believe that she could be a role model on how to be a role model. 

Miss Robinson pointed out that Oliva has a sweet, giving personality with a natural ability to know exactly what it takes to help others.  She possesses the ability to know just what to say or do to lend a helping hand.  She does it all without thinking of herself.  When someone in the class needs some support it is Oliva who comes to the rescue. 

Her calm and reassuring disposition puts other students at ease instantly.  One can always count on Oliva to have a positive attitude no matter how difficult a task might be and know that she will always put forth her best effort.  Mrs. Thomas described Oliva’s participation as a peer role model in a friendship group at Northview.  The objective of the group is to practice friendship skills and to demonstrate appropriate social skills to a peer who has more difficulty managing these skills.  Oliva is a pro.

  This is the second year that she has been involved as a mentor. Oliva always approaches her role modeling with enthusiasm, accepts people and their differences, is capable of correcting behavior in a gentle and loving manner, and does it all with a joyful attitude. 

Recently, Mrs. Thomas related, she was working with a fifth grade student who was being teased by his peers on the playground.  When she asked him who he could count on to be kind to him his response was an enthusiastic Oliva.  In fact, Mrs. Thomas believes that Oliva is a young teacher or social worker in the making.  Olivia’sname is Spanish for Olive.  It is a name that she received from her grandmother.  It is also a name that helps describe Oliva somewhat.  As her teachers said she can be sweet and soothing.  But an olive can also have a little spice as well.  Oliva also has a little spice in her. 

She is very energetic and enjoys participating in a variety of actives.  This past summer she became a member of the Girls Scouts.  She has found there to be many fun and rewarding activities with the Girls Scouts.  She has participated in dance classes for the past three years.  Currently she is excited about hip-hop dancing, a faster discipline that requires a lot of effort and energy. 

Oliva enjoys playing whatever sport is in season.  She recently finished the volleyball season and is looking forward to playing softball this coming summer.  At home Oliva is an avid reader.  She enjoys sitting down and reading a good book and is currently exploring the wonderful world of Harry Potter. 

Mrs. Thomas and Miss Robinson, thank you for your hard work and for bringing Oliva to us.  Mr. and Mrs. Ullmer, you have obviously provided a positive and loving environment for your family.  Oliva, the Optimist Club is proud to recognize you as a Youth of the Month.  We all agree with Miss Robinson when she wrote that you are a wonderful young lady with a bright future ahead.

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

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