Optimists honor outstanding Northview students

By A Contributor

Article and photographs provided by members of the Manhattan Breakfast Optimist Club.
Three students from Northview Elementary School were honored as the October Youths Of The Month at the December 7, 2011 meeting of the Manhattan Breakfast Optimist Club. 

Emerson Murrell, is ten-years-old and in the fourth grade.  Emerson is the daughter of Ramey and Debbie Murrell.  Her parents, along with her sisters Bentley, who is eight-years-old and in the second grade, and Denton, who is three, joined us to honor Emerson.  Her grandmother Jacki Murrell also attended the meeting. 

Representing the school were principal Shelley Aistrup and teachers Stephanie Thomas, Denise Christensen, and Jessica Nelson. Mrs. Thomas said in her nominating statement that Emerson is a person who people like to be around.  She comes to school with a bright and cheery smile nearly every day.  She is a positive attribute to the school and to her class.  Ms. Christensen wrote that Emerson works hard in class and is very involved in whatever activity the class is doing.  Emerson is friendly with all students and considers everyone a friend.  She always includes everyone and will even seek out others students to join in activities.  Mrs. Thomas echoed these sentiments by stating that Emerson is eager to help her peers as well as any adult who might need assistance.  She participates in a friendship group at school to which she always brings a positive attitude and a multitude of ideas to share. 

Mrs. Murrell agreed that Emerson is a friendly outgoing person.  She added that Emerson is very social and that she loves all of her friends and school.  Things do not always come easy for Emerson; sometimes she has struggled with certain situations.  However, she strives to do her best under all circumstances and, according to Mrs. Thomas has “matured into a more coachable student.”

Outside of school Emerson is a very energetic young girl.  She participates in dance class at the Bates Dance Studio, where she loves to tap dance and to perform ballet.  Emerson loves to perform and that she tends to have theatrical tendencies. 

Emerson also likes to do crafty types of activities.  She doesn’t always see eye to eye with her sisters on everything; but, she is a person who is ready and willing to contribute to any group.  Ms. Christensen concluded that Emerson always tries her hardest and gives it her best. 

As a result she considers it a privilege to have her in class this year.  Mrs. Thomas concluded that her presence at Northview makes the school an even better place.  What a wonderful example of the Optimist Creed in action.

Cameron Carr-Thompson, is a 3rd grader and 9 years old.  Cameron’s mother Vernita Thompson and sisters Passion, who is 16 and a sophomore at MHS, and Allarai,  who is 4 years of age, came to breakfast with Cameron, as did Nominating Teachers Ron Donoho and Peggy Riley, Northview YOM Coordinator Stephanie Thomas, and of course Principal Shelley Aistrup.

Teacher Ron Donoho showed high regard for Cameron with this nominating statement: “Cameron is a wonderful student.  When he comes upon a challenge, he consistently puts forth the effort necessary to accomplish the task.  He takes pride in his work and has beautiful handwriting.  Cameron contributes regularly to our classroom community and is a thoughtful and caring role model.  We are happy to have him as a member of our class. 

He is most deserving of the Youth of the Month Award.” Teacher Peggy Riley seconded Ron’s nomination with this statement: “Cameron is a considerate, helpful young man.  He takes pleasure in being able to help his teachers, adults, and his peers.  Cameron is very friendly and makes others feel welcome and included in the group.  He always has a smile and a cheerful greeting for those around him.

Cameron is conscientious about his school work striving for good grades.  He has excellent penmanship and enjoys drawing and creating art projects. Cameron has a wealth of information about a variety of animals, their habitats, and their characteristics.  When choosing books from the library, he will choose nonfiction books – usually animal books!”

Cameron’s mother, Vernita, emphasized that he likes to study geckoes, spiders, snakes, and ants. She says he really likes to draw sharks and dolphins. His teacher Ron also emphasized Cameron’s deep interest in science.

We Optimists have a deep respect for Cameron’s desire to learn.  It is our hope that he will continue to make the best of his school experiences and lessons.  He is a person who especially exemplifies many of the elements of our Optimist Creed.


Hailley Libertus is an 11-year-old 6th grader. Parents Valorie and Jayson Libertus, Grandmother Darlene Hadden and 8-year-old sister Britanee provided a supporting cast.  Nominating Teachers were Holly Olberding and Felicity Balluch, and Northview YOM Coordinator Stephanie Thomas and Principal Shelley Aistrup completed the crew.

  Teacher Holly Olberding said of Hailley: “Hailley is a determined individual who always works hard.  She always wants to do her best and does this with a smile on her face.  Hailley is always willing to help others and is friendly to those around her. I am proud to nominate her for this month’s award.” 

Holly further describes Hailley with the words – “kind, perky, & positive.” Hailley is also described as a very organized student.  For a project Hailley wrote an original story and illustrated it. Outside school Hailley is quite active in sports.  Hailley played her first season of volleyball in the City League on the team named “The Hot Tamales.”  She would like to play volleyball when she goes to Middle School. She also played the positions of shortstop and catcher for her softball team, named the “Royals,” in the Saturn League.  The team was coached by her parents, Valorie and Jayson.  The team won 1st place in the league. 

As if volleyball and softball wasn’t enough, Hailley also played soccer on the City League team named the “Coyotes.”  She played mostly defense and goalie on this team which also placed 1st.  Off the playing field Hailley enjoys reading mysteries and biographies. In the future she wants to learn to play the guitar. 

She likes to work with crafts and to build things.  Her parents describe Hailley as “happy, fun loving, and likes to laugh.”  She gets along with everybody and likes to help people. They are proud of Hailley’s work in school.  She has earned all “A’s” thus far.  In short, her father describes her as “awesome.”  We Optimists respect her wide range of interests and good work in school.  Her zest for life and caring for others illustrates many of the elements in our Optimist Creed.

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