South Adams honors academic Wall of Fame inductees

Authored by Jim Langham on May 13, 2013

The South Adams Academic Wall of Fame has been enlarged thanks to recognition of 40 students and a past South Adams graduate at the annual banquet held at the school this past Friday morning.
Top 10 academic honors were awarded to each class and Kent Liechty, now president/CEO of the First Bank of Berne, was inducted as this year’s “alumni of the year”.
“When we think of honoring our top students at South Adams, we need to recognize that first and foremost that we are an academic institution,” said South Adams High School principal Trent Lehman.
“When I arrived here, I saw that we were recognizing those in sports, music, FFA and other areas, but we didn’t have the academic awards that I thought we should,” said Lehman. “The Wall of Fame shows that we are first and foremost an institution with an academic focus. Graduates go from here and do great things. We want to recognize our top academic performers.”
In response to his recognition as a type alumni of the local school, Liechty responded, “I am very honored but humbled. I would like to thank the people who have made this possible, teachers, coaches, staff and other individuals.
“There are a lot of things you learn in the classroom that you take with you and use 20 to 30 years into the future,” continued Liechty. “I would like to thank my wife, Teri, my high school sweetheart, for all of her support.
“I thank God for giving me the opportunity to grow up in southern Adams County, to grow up in South Adams,” added Liechty.
Liechty shared a favorite quote from author Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things that you did do.”
Liechty told students that there will be times when life will be hard, challenging and difficult.
“As you make choices, don’t always take the easy route,” Liechty said to those present. “I challenge you to take the challenging classes, to challenge yourself.
“Do not fear failure; many times we all fail. I have failed at work, bad things happen,” observed Liechty.
Liechty referred to a Latin term he learned in class under Mrs. Jane Minch. The phrase meant, “seize the moment.”
“Seize the moment; seize the day,” noted Liechty. “Why do I see you as future community leaders? I see leaders who developed at South Adams High School, who excelled academically and who provided leadership, who were mentors to younger students. Be a mentor to kids in the future.
“When I look back at past mistakes, I understand them now as learning opportunities. God gave us the ability to succeed and South Adams gave us a challenge,” Liechty said.
Liechty concluded his talk by referring to an athlete who played basketball in high school and played fairly well in college.
“He was drafted in the NBA. In the NBA, he missed 9,000 shots, his team lost 300 games and 26 times he missed the last shot that could have helped his team win the game,” observed Liechty. “This player also won the NBA championship six times. His name was Michael Jordan. He didn’t give up when he missed the shot. Seize the moment.”
Freshmen top 10 students included: Daniel Burson, Jacqueline Gorrell, Katelin Hawbaker, Saedie Hawbaker, Madison Morgan, Cole Myers, Rebecca Zerby, Edita Veseli, Kati Greenway and Autumn Von Gunten.
Sophomore students include: Ellerie Baer, Cady Farlow, Sharon Balsiger, Alaina Johnston, Sariah Adams, Bradley Green, Derek Wanner, Aleesha Goodwin, Sydne Zuber and Lauren Smith.
Juniors are Erika Miller, Samantha Sprunger, Allison Sprunger, Brandy Rogers, Alyssa Bluhm, Chelsea Moore, Hannah Taing, Sydney Tumbleson, Shelby Mellencamp and Shiana Scott.
Senior top 10 students included: Evan Liechty, Megan Hreha, Andrew Litwiller, Abbie Fisher, Robert Fahl, Faith Von Gunten, Adrienne Pursley, Kaitlin Tubbs, Corey Suffernick and Alexander Kistler.

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