The Denison Education Foundation recently celebrated high-achieving students and the educators they say influenced them the most during the annual Scholars Among Us dinner.


The event was held at the Texoma Events Center in Denison and honored 38 Denison High School seniors who either ranked in the top 10 percent of their class or achieved the title of Socrates Scholar, as well as the 32 Denison Independent School District educators who those students credited with helping in their success. The audience, full of parents, district administrators and foundation members, dined together and were treated to a slide-show of photos.


“This is a special night because it gives us an opportunity to celebrate not only the achievements of our top Denison graduates, but also the teachers that have had the greatest influence on them,” DEF Executive Director Lisa Crawley said. “Rarely are our teachers recognized for their dedication and hard work, and this is an excellent opportunity to do that.”


Denison ISD’s longtime Superintendent Henry Scott, a former teacher himself, attended the event and sat at a front table among the guests of honor. After decades in the district, Scott said there is little in the way of his students’ success that catches him off guard, adding that their accomplishments are a result of Denison ISD’s high expectations.


“I don’t know that I’m surprised, but I’m always excited to see every graduating class go through this banquet,” Scott said. “We know that our students have the ability to achieve at an extremely high level and, as a district, that we can set high expectations and challenge them to reach those expectations. That’s what this program is all about.”


With just days left before graduation of the senior class, Scott said he envisions two things for the young people preparing to leave the district.


“I just hope that, No. 1, they become happy and productive individuals and contribute to our society,” Scott said. “But, No. 2, my hope is that they’re able to achieve their dreams.”


Senior Laura Martinez worked her way into the DHS Class of 2017’s top 10 percent and was among those honored at the Scholars Among Us dinner. She said the event brought not only her most influential teacher, Spencer Barnett, by her side, but all who enabled her to be successful as she went through school.


“I think it’s great,” Martinez said. “Having everyone that I grew up with around and all the influential classroom leaders, especially mine, and having my parents here — it’s everyone that supported me in one room at one dinner.”


Martinez said she will begin classes at University of Texas at Austin in the fall and will pursue a degree in computer science — a line of study she didn’t even know she was interested in until taking Barnett’s robotics class.


“It definitely pays off,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like it for the longest time, but once you get there, you don’t feel the pain of staying up late and doing homework, doing the extra credit. Once you see the college and career opportunities, that admittance letter, it’s all worth it.”


DHS history and government teacher David Bullard was chosen by three students as the educator who most influenced them. He said his multiple nominations likely had much to do with students’ love of history and politics, but said he felt the same way about the annual dinner.


“I love it,” Bullard said. “You get to celebrate with the kids.”


The educator said he will miss the students in his class this year, as they displayed remarkable maturity and a strong work ethic. Bullard said that combination is rare and one that made his job all the more meaningful.


“It’s just a great group,” Bullard said. “You stumble across a group every once in a while that really captures you a little bit as a teacher. This is one of those groups that is different than anything I’ve ever experienced.


The following list identifies the students honored at the 2017 Scholars Among Us dinner, as well as the educators they said most influenced them.


Joshua Allbritton


Family: Bradley Boatner and Karen Allbriton


Community Service: NHS Breakfast with Santa; Coat drives and church activities and programs


Leadership: Leader of DHS Physical Training program


Extra-curricular Activities: NHS; DHS Physical Training program; DHS Woodworking program


Future Plans: I plan to acquire a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation and continue with my current enlistment in the United States Navy. I plan to make a career with the military as a Naval Flight Officer.


Most Influential Educator: Michael Fischer


High School Athletic Trainer


Began working for Denison ISD: 1997


“From the beginning of my Freshman year, Doc has continued as a significant leader in my life. He not only provided me with all the knowledge and resources needed to become an able physical trainer, but continued to influence and direct me towards the path of success in multiple sections of my life. The leadership and guidance provided by Doc continues to alter the person I am today.”


Bobbie Arnett


Family: Gary and Melissa Arnett


Community Service: Big Brother Big Sister


Leadership: National Honor Society


Extra-curricular Activities: Cheerleading; Jacket Update


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas Tech at the College of Media & Communications. I hope to major in Electronic Communications and hope to work towards my Masters.


Most Influential Educator: Brian Eaves


High School Journalism teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2002


“I picked Mr. Eaves because he hasn’t just been a teacher, but also a friend. He has helped me improve my editing skills. If it wasn’t for Eaves and his class, I wouldn’t want to major in Electronic Communications.”


Adin Ascher


Family: Stephen Ascher and Donna Ascher


Community Service: NHS Coat Drive


Extra-curricular Activities: Spanish Club; Robotics Club


Future Plans: I plan to get a Master’s degree in Architecture and Business, and then get hired in Japan for either, while teaching part-time there as an English teacher.


Most Influential Educator: Rosana Goodwin


High School Spanish teacher/ESL


Began working for Denison ISD: 2002


“Mrs. Goodwin has been very influential on my life because she helped me come to the realization that life should be as enjoyable as the work you do. She helped me decide on architecture and business careers through the many class discussions we’ve had over the year. For that I would like to say, thank you, Mrs. Goodwin!”


Quenton Billy


Family: Patricia Billy and Charloutte Coulson


Extra-curricular Activities: Band, played trumpet 6th – 11th grades


Future Plans: I plan to travel. It’s hard to choose what you want whenever the answer isn’t simple. I plan on getting my general studies at Grayson College and take it from there.


Most Influential Educator: Angela Nowlin


High School English teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2009


“From the beginning of my high school career, I didn’t really have an outlet for any depression that was going through my head. And, with a new school year arriving and having minimal friends, it was difficult to express myself or talk about what was going through my head. However, when I entered Mrs. Nowlin’s Pre-AP English 1, I never knew that my biggest inspiration would be at the head of the class. For the past four years now, Mrs. Nowlin has read all the stories, poems and essays I’ve written for both school and pleasure. Without thinking twice, she took me under her wing and never denied my creativity and kept pushing me to be myself. She might not actually be family or a friend on social media, but I have a more transcending love for my mentor that can’t be explained.”


Shantell Boone


Family: Lionel Boone and Cherelle Cleveland


Community Service: Volunteered with Paula Cawthon on various occasions serving food; Tutors Prime Time on Tuesday afternoons


Extra-curricular Activities: AVID Tutor; Prime Time Tutor, Choir, 6 years; Acapella Choir; Science Club; National Honor Society; qualified for State Choir Solo and Ensemble; Jacket Greeter


Future Plans: I plan to attend Southeastern Oklahoma State University as a Music Education major and Accounting minor.


Most Influential Educator: Holly Bach


DHS Assistant Principal


Began working for Denison ISD: 2014


“Mrs. Bach has been almost like a second Mother to me since Sophomore year. She not only made me more confident in my writing, but she has helped me be a more confident student. To this day she helps edit my essays, and if I am ever overwhelmed, she welcomes me with open ears.”


Noah Burden


Family: Sherri Burden


Community Service: Denison Animal Welfare Group; Time keeper at Denison Swim Meets; TMC Zombie Fun Run; pass out schedules for school; Helping Hands; Denison Athletic Clean-up; Angel Tree


Leadership: Denteens, Secretary; Student Council, V.P.; NHS, Historian; Basketball, Co-team Captain


Extra-curricular Activities: Denteens; National Honor Society; Student Council; Spanish Club; Basketball; Jacket Greeter


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas A&M where I will major in Kinesiology and go into the Physical Therapy career path.


Most Influential Educator: Rick Mitchell


Middle School Art teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1981


“The reason why Mr. Mitchell changed and played an important role in my life is what he said one day in Track time. Now, Mr. Mitchell never liked Track time, and one day he got fed up with everyone slacking off. So, he gave us a speech on followers and leaders, using sheep and dogs. Ever since I heard this speech I started to really apply myself to everything I do.”


Will Burkhead


Family: David and Charissa Burkhead


Community Service: NHS Breakfast with Santa; Pet Shelter; Vacation Bible School; Colorado Mission Trip


Leadership: Student Council, Board of Directors, 1 year


Extra-curricular Activities: Football, 4 years; Track, 2 years; FCA, 4 years; NHS, 2 years; Denteens, 2 years; Woodshop, 2 years; FFA, 2 years; Student Council, 3 years


Future Plans: I plan to attend Stephen F. Austin and obtain a degree in Forest & Wildlife Management. Afterwards, I hope to work for a conservation organization and work as a Project Manager.


Most Influential Educator: David Bullard


DHS- US History, AP US History, AP Government teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2004


“Throughout the last two years, Mr. Bullard has helped build my character. With all he has taught me, Mr. Bullard has become a great mentor that I share a sense of patriotism and love for the outdoors with. He has an inspiring character and work ethic. He truly is a great teacher and mentor.”


Quentin Burroughs


Family: Micky and Renee Burroughs


Community Service: National Honor Society; taking care of bedridden Grandmother


Leadership: Robotics, Head Programmer; Congressional App Challenge, Head Programmer


Extra-curricular Activities: Enseo Internship; Best Competition; Marching Band, 2 years; Robotics, 2 years; Congressional App Challenge, 2nd Place;


Future Plans: I plan to become a video game developer.


Most Influential Educator: Scott Deen


High School Physics teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2014


“He’s a pretty laid back teacher usually, but you can definitely tell he cares about his students, and that they get their work done. He’s also helped me really enjoy all things physics and has helped everyone leave the class feeling as if they understand the world a bit better.”


Boston Byerly


Family: Chet and Amber Byerly


Community Service: Community Clean-ups; DAWG shelter


Leadership: Student Council, Treasurer-Historian; Party Pit Leader; FCA Leadership team, 3 years; Den-teens, Treasurer


Extra-curricular Activities: Basketball, Track, Cross Country, Football, National Honor Society, FCA, Student Council, Spanish Club, FFA, Den-teens, Jacket Greeter and TAFE


Future Plans: I plan to go to Texas A&M University and major in Business.


Most Influential Educator: Chet Byerly


High School Geometry teacher and Head Boys Basketball Coach


Began working for Denison ISD: 2013


“Coach Byerly has made a large impact in my life for over 18 years. He has taught me life lessons that helped me inside and outside of school. I am very thankful for my father.”


Condey Calhoun


Family: Rick Calhoun and Carla Calhoun


Community Service: Church volunteer; Big Brother Big Sister; Volunteered in multiple organizations throughout the year.


Extra-curricular Activities: National Honor Society; Student Council; Jacket Greeter; participated in Swarm of friends; Varsity Tennis, Freshman & Sophomore years; Varsity Cheerleader, Senior year.


Future Plans: I plan to attend Austin College and major in Pre-med and pursue my dream of being a doctor.


Most Influential Educator: Leanne Rogers


High School Librarian


Began working for Denison ISD: 2012


“My Freshman year she made the transition from Middle school to High school so much easier. She made me feel a lot more comfortable being a little baby around big, bad Seniors. And throughout the year, she became one of my best friends. Throughout the past four years, she has helped with not only school and school work, but with life. She has given me advice that I will never forget. I can’t thank her enough for how much she’s been there for me. She has helped me through so much, and she is such an inspiration to me. I’m going to miss her so much!”


Cameron Canton


Family: Craig Canton and Melinda Canton


Community Service: Community service through National Honor Society and Church and Youth group.


Leadership: Church Youth Group Leader


Extra-curricular Activities: Robotics; DHS Drill Team; Student Council; National Honor Society; Church leadership and Praise band.


Future Plans: I plan to attend Baylor University for my undergraduate degree, and intend on attending seminary afterwards to prepare myself to become a missionary.


Most Influential Educator: Lou Chandler


High School English Dept. Chair; AP & Regular English teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2004


“Mr. Chandler is one teacher who pushed me to my fullest potential. He’s the type of teacher you want to make proud and do your best for. He made my transition as a new student to DHS a breeze. Mr. Chandler is a fantastic teacher and even greater person.”


Bao Catteau


Family: Todd and Henriann Catteau


Community Service: Big Brothers Big Sisters; Meals on Wheels; Park Avenue Church of Christ; National Honor Society; Helping Hands; Habitat for Humanity; Heart to Heart Hospice; Grayson Shelter; Salvation Army; Den-Teens, Student Council, The Pulse, Jacket Greeters; Blood donor


Leadership: Tennis Team, Captain; Senior Class Secretary; National Honor Society, President; Denison Youth Leadership Academy, Student Ambassadors


Extra-curricular Activities: National Honor Society; Varsity Tennis, Denison Youth Leadership Academy; Art; Cross Country; Senior Class officers; United States Tennis Association; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Den-teens, Jacket Greeters, Youth Group devotionals


Future Plans: I plan to attend Abilene Christian University to pursue a Biochemistry degree. With this degree, I plan to continue on to medical school to pursue the field of Anesthesiology. While engaging in these educational opportunities, I hope to participate in medical missions and to ultimately start a non-profit organization supporting orphanages or medical missions, or both.


Most Influential Educator: Linda Jackson


Retired Elementary Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1994


“Every student knew Mrs. Jackson as the lady who pulled our teeth when we were too scared or too nervous to do it ourselves. To me, Mrs. Jackson helped me fit in as the smallest boy and only Chinese student. She combined fun and learning, and she was just as much a mother figure as she was a teacher. It is my pleasure to honor you after these 13 years. Thank you, Mrs. Jackson, for sparking my academic passion.”


Angela Chesser


Family: Michelle Chesser


Community Service: National Honor Society Breakfast with Santa; Parkside Baptist Church Rotator at annual Vacation Bible School; PBC Concession stand at Upward Basketball games; McKinney Dance Studio, Pre-Jazz/Hip Hop Assistant


Leadership: National Honor Society, Treasurer; DHS Stingerettes, Sergeant 2014-15


Extra-curricular Activities: Drill Team Stingerettes, 2013-15; McKinney Dance Studio Company member, 2015-present; National Honor Society, 2015-present


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in Radio, Television and Film in the hopes of becoming a Producer or Screenwriter.


Most Influential Educator: Staci Schneider


High School Social Studies teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1998


“Mrs. Schneider has shown me that hard work pays off. She reads every word on every worksheet and has helped me to grow in my writing and be able to defend my opinions. Mrs. Schneider’s work does not require memorizing, but requires learning and understanding, and for this reason, Mrs. Schneider helped me to grow as a student and prepared me for college.”


Shiloh Cooksey


Family: Jerry and Jeannie Gregory


Community Service: Park Avenue Church of Christ, Helping Hands, visit nursing homes, bake cookies for Police officers, Firemen and charities; Student Council canned food drive


Leadership: DHS French Club, Treasurer, 2016-17; DHS Senior Class Treasurer


Extra-curricular Activities: DHS Cheer 2013-16; DHS JV Soccer, 2013-14, Varsity Soccer 2014-17; DHS Track, Hurdles 2014-16; FFA, 2013-15; DHS Theatre 2015-17; DHS French Club 2016-17; Den-teens 2015-17; Student Council 2013-17; National Honor Society 2015-17; Jacket Greeter 2016-17


Future Plans: I plan to attend Harding University with a Major in Graphic Design and Minor in Bible in Missions or Business. Then I plan to open a small Graphic Design business and work with local churches/charities.


Most Influential Educator: David Bullard


DHS US History, AP US History & AP Government teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2004


“I chose Mr. Bullard because he has really helped me learn, and his teaching style really clicks with me. He really made history interesting. In addition to being a great educator, he is really fun to be around and provided a way for a bunch of us students to go see Trump’s Inauguration.”


Alyssa Cornelius


Family: Jason and Patti Cornelius


Community Service: Volunteer with Student Council, National Honor Society and Church.


Leadership: Student Council, President; Church Youth Leadership committee


Extra-curricular Activities: Student Council, 4 years; National Honor Society; Big Brother Big Sister; Swim Team, 2 years; Spanish Club, 4 years


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of Texas at Austin and get a degree in Biochemistry. After I complete my undergraduate education, I plan to attend medical school in order to become a medical doctor, possibly in the area of surgery.


Most Influential Educator: John Terry


High School Biology, Human Anatomy & Physiology teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1970


“Mr. Terry’s depth of knowledge is inspiring. He has been a huge factor in my interest in medicine. He allowed me to attend a genetics seminar with his AP Biology class this year because of my interest in science. His investment into his students is evident in all he does.”


Kaylee Green


Family: Joe and Mary Green


Community Service: Volunteer at the Animal Shelter, Food Pantry and Elementary schools


Leadership: Tennis, Captain; Student Council Officer; Senior Class Board of Directors


Extra-curricular Activities: Tennis, Student Council, Den-teens, National Honor Society


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas Tech and major in Media and Communications.


Most Influential Educator: Denise Schnitker


Retired High School English teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1996


“Ms. Schnitker has taught me not only lessons in the classroom, but lessons in life. She always went the extra mile to make sure her students understood that we are loved and important to this world. Because of her, I now know that I can do anything I put my mind to if I put my heart in it first.”


Nick Hackworth


Family: Brian Hackworth and Tyra Hackworth


Community Service: Church service projects; Church mission trips; National Honor Society service; Community clean-up with football team


Leadership: Leadership role on Arkansas canoe trip with the responsibility of finding and setting up campsites.


Extra-curricular activities: Football, Middle and High school; National Honor Society, 1 year; Track team, Middle and High school


Future Plans: I plan to go to Grayson College for two years and get my basics out of the way, then transfer to Southeastern to finish my Bachelors in Engineering.


Most Influential Educator: Sharla Mullens


8th Grade Social Studies teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2011


“My most influential educator is Mrs. Mullens because she introduced a new and exciting teaching method that very few teachers put in the effort to do. She did her best at making you feel and understand the type of environment she was teaching. That’s how a teacher should teach.”


Shila Hamilton


Family: LaSane and Kelly Hamilton


Community Service: D.A.W.G. Animal Shelter; KinderKraft Pre-school Reader; Food drive – can collector


Leadership: Junior Class Treasurer, Student Council, Board of Directors; Volleyball Co-team Captain; National Honor Society


Extra-Curricular Activities: Varsity Volleyball; Varsity Track & Field; National Honor Society; Student Council B.O.D.


Future Plans: I plan to go to Texas Tech University to further my education. After my four years at Texas Tech, I would like to get higher education to become a Dentist or Doctor.


Most Influential Educator: Chelsey Scoggins


6th Grade Math teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2010


“I chose Mrs. Scoggins because she made me believe in myself. I remember one day in class she asked me why I was in regular math instead of Pre-AP, and I replied with something along the lines of “because I’m stupid.” Mrs. Scoggins then proceeded to tell me reasons why I should be in Pre-AP, and why I should always push myself to be great. She truly motivated me to always strive to my full potential.”


Mark Hermoso


Family: Nelson Hermoso and Derby Hermoso


Community Service: Helped with Christmas lights; Habitat for Humanity


Extra-curricular Activities: Tennis team; National Honor Society, 2 years


Future Plans: I plan go to Texas A&M to major in Aerospace Engineering. I hope to be working for a major aviation company such as Boeing.


Most Influential Educator: Susan Arthur


B. McDaniel Intermediate School Assistant Principal


Began working for Denison ISD: 1997


“I have so many wonderful teachers, but one stands out for me, and that is my Middle school History teacher, Mrs. Arthur. She inspires action and persistence in making students understand the topics in the subject. She also thinks from a student’s perspective in giving helpful advice going into high school.”


Jaydan Hunt


Family: Eric and Dawn Hunt


Community Service: Peer tutoring; Mentoring young athletes


Leadership: Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership team; Student Council Board of Directors; Softball team, Captain


Extra-curricular Activities: Powerlifting; Softball, Track; National Honor Society; Student Council; Musical Theatre; Den-teens


Future Plans: I plan to go to Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas for Softball and Track and have a career in Athletic Training.


Most Influential Educator: Shonna Voight


Kindergarten Teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2003


“Mrs. Voight was the first teacher I had when I came to Denison in Kindergarten. She welcomed me with open arms and took me under her wing. She’s the one who inspired me to sing because she would sing to us during naptime. She has always encouraged me to push through every situation and keep God first. I’m very blessed and grateful to have met her.”


Kaylee Hurst


Family: Chris and Jina Hurst


Community Service: Clean up downtown (Athletic program); Resale Barn; Colorado Mission trip; Canned food drive


Leadership: Student Council, Board of Directors; Denison Youth Leadership Academy


Extra-curricular Activities: Tennis; Student Council; Den-teens


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas Tech University and major in Accounting.


Most Influential Educator: Linda Jackson


Retired Elementary Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: l994


“Mrs. Jackson was my Kindergarten teacher and first educator to ever influence me. She was and is still one of the kindest, smartest and sweetest people I know. She taught me to never give up and that I could do anything if I just try.”


Ali Javed


Family: Mohammed and Farah Javed


Community Service: National Honor Society volunteer; Breakfast with Santa; Grayson County Shelter; various Band volunteering


Leadership: Touch of Gold Head Drum Major


Extra-curricular Activities: Touch of Gold Marching Band, 4 years; Jazz Band, 3 years; Wind Ensemble, 4 years; National Honor Society, 2 years; Science Club, 1 year


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas A&M University and secure a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering. I hope to one day work for Intel or Boeing.


Most Influential Educator: Paul Onspaugh


Coordinator of Instrumental Music & DHS Head Band Director


Worked for Denison ISD: 1997-99 & 2004 to present


“Out of all of the instructors I’ve ever had, no one has lit a spark in me like Onspaugh has. The seven years I’ve spent with him have shaped who I am today by giving me something to be passionate about and helping me channel this passion into something as beautiful as music.”


Davis Looney


Family: Matt and Jennifer Looney


Community Service: North Texas Swimming House of Delegates, Senior Athlete Representative; Denison Education Foundation Tinka Looney Memorial Golf Classic volunteer; Waples United Memorial Methodist Church; multiple National Honor Society projects


Leadership: National Honor Society, Vice President; Swim Team, Captain; Student Ambassador; Jacket Greeter


Extra-curricular Activities: Varsity Swimming; Metroplex Aquatics (club swimming); National Honor Society


Future Plans: I plan to research the field of genetics at New York University and graduate with a B.S. in Biology while continuing my swim career at the NCAA level. I will apply to Medical school in pursuit of an M.D.


Most Influential Educator: John Terry


High School Biology, Human Anatomy & Physiology teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1970


“Since Freshman year, Mr. Terry has inspired my passion for the study of life. Not only has he contributed to my understanding of Biology, but he has made me appreciate its complex and miraculous nature.”


Laura Martinez


Family: Laura Rios and Esau Martinez


Leadership: Robotics, President


Extra-curricular Activities: Powerlifting; Cheerleading; Robotics


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in Computer Science and become a software engineer for the organization fighting against child exploitation, Thorn.


Most Influential Educator: Spencer Barnett


High School Computer Programming & Robotics Coach


Began working for Denison ISD: 2014


“The past three years, Mr. Barnett has been much more than a teacher to me. Fifty words will not capture the gratitude I have for him. He has taught me the importance of character and has been my biggest support. Every laugh, tear, and lecture will follow me for the rest of my life.”


Dakota McAlister


Family: Kyle and Amyee McAlister


Community Service: Families Feeding Families volunteer; Grayson County Homeless Shelter; Young at Art; and Taking it to the Streets Homeless Ministry


Extra-curricular: Art, 2 years; Theatre, 2 years; UIL Literary Analysis, 1 year; FCCLA, 1 year


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of North Texas to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. After I graduate, I would like to become a Second Grade teacher.


Most Influential Educator: Trisa Dyer


11th & 12th Grade English teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2013


“Mrs. Dyer is such a kind and compassionate teacher. She is always available when I have questions or need help on an assignment. She has been incredibly understanding while I’ve been sick, and always makes sure I understand the work she assigns. I appreciate Mrs. Dyer so much for what she has done for me this year.”


Lindsay Meine


Family: Tim and Carol Neal


Community Service: Katy Hayes Equine Services; Denison FFA


Leadership: Fellowship of Christian Musicians 2016-17 Homecoming Sweetheart


Extra-curricular Activities: Denison FFA; Band; Fellowship of Christian Musicians


Future Plans: I plan to go to Texas A&M University for Equine Sciences of Veterinarian Medicine and Large Animal Sciences


Most Influential Educator: Wayne Blount


Retired Agriculture Education teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1986


“Mr. Blount was my most influential teacher because he was my Ag teacher, and he is the one who helped me with my steer, always gave me advice and taught me about Ag and FFA. He gave me my first steps into the agriculture world and for that I will always be grateful.”


Brianna Moran


Family: Christina Moran and Keith Moran


Community Service: National Honor Society; Helping Hands; Denison Animal Welfare Group; Homestead Nursing; Grayson Homeless Shelter; Town Trash Clean-ups


Leadership: National Honor Society, Secretary; Tennis Team, Captain; Senior Class Vice President; Student Council Officer


Extra-curricular: Tennis; Spanish Club; Jacket Greeter; Den-teens; National Honor Society; Student Council


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas Tech University and pursue a career in the Medical field or Biomedical Engineering.


Most Influential Educator: Denise Schnitker


Retired High School English teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1996


“Mrs. Schnitker is such a strong, inspiring woman and teacher. In and out of class, she taught life lessons that go well beyond the classroom. As cliché as it sounds, she inspired me to be true to myself and to follow my dreams. I am forever thankful for her.”


Braden Mundkowski


Family: John and Krista Waitt


Community Service: Summer mission trip to Arcadia Louisiana Boys and Girls Club; Student Life summer mission trip; Denison Education Foundation, volunteer; National Honor Society


Extra-curricular Activities: First Baptist Church Youth Group; National Honor Society; DHS Football


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of Texas at Austin to which I have been accepted, and I will be pursuing a career in the Business field.


Most Influential Educator: Donna Dowling


2nd, 3rd and 5th Grade teacher over 27 years


Began working for Denison ISD: 1990


“When I moved to Denison in the third grade, Mrs. Dowling was my first teacher. She is a very kind person who made my move to a new school easier and has continued to support me. I am very grateful to have had her as a teacher and to still know her today.”


Ellie North


Family: Mark and Sara North


Community Service: Student Council volunteer activities; Worked in Southside Baptist Church’s Nursery and Children’s classes


Leadership: FCA Leadership team, 3 years; Student Council Board of Directors; Junior Class Board of Directors


Extra-curricular Activities: Musical Theater, 3 years; Varsity Choir, 1 year; JV Soccer team, Freshman year; Varsity Soccer team, Sophomore year; Student Council, 4 years; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4 years; National Honor Society, 2 years


Future Plans: I plan to attend Southeastern Oklahoma State University. I am planning to major in Elementary Education, and also plan to receive my Masters degree in Education.


Most Influential Educator: Valerie Walters


DHS Pre-AP Geometry & AP Calculus teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2001


“Mrs. Walters is one of the most inspirational individuals I know. Mrs. Walters loves her profession, loves her students even more and has undoubtedly made a lasting impression on my life. I aspire to be as great a teacher, and woman, as she is one day.”


Madison Poe


Family: Steve and Monica Poe


Community Service: Helping Hands; Denison Animal Welfare Group; Titus; Breakfast with Santa; Angel Tree; Canned Food Drive; Park clean-up


Leadership: Head Cheerleader; Class President; National Honor Society Project Coordinator; Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership team; Den-teens Reporter


Extra-curricular Activities: Cheer; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society; Den-teens; Spanish Club; Musical Theatre; Troupe 6319; Park Avenue Church of Christ


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas A&M University in the pursuit of a degree in Political Science which will be used to obtain a Masters in Law. With this I will open my own law practice with an inclination towards families and children.


Most Influential Educator: Odis Luper


DISD Emergency Management & Security


Began working for Denison ISD: 2005


“Being the school’s correctional officer, Odis is a person students see daily, however, he’s not seen as the big, mean stereotypical law enforcement. You can find him smiling, laughing and greeting passersby as he walks down the hallway. It takes a special person to be in charge of reprimanding students and still hold their affection. Odis has shown me that no matter your career or position, you can always create your own reputation based on how you interact with people. He continues to exemplify every day how far a little kindness and smile can go.”


Shane Roberts


Family: Chris and Tonia Roberts


Community service: Showing with heart; Breakfast with Santa, National Honor Society Coat drive; Ringing the bell for Salvation Army; Picked up trash for Downtown Denison


Leadership: FFA Treasurer


Extra-curricular Activities: Soccer; FFA; National Honor Society; 4-H


Future Plans: I plan to attend Grayson to receive my basics, then transfer to the University of North Texas.


Most Influential Educator: Wayne Blount


Retired Agriculture Education teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 1986


“Mr. Blount has played a very important role in my high school career. Even though he retired before my Junior year, I knew that I could always go to him for advice and that he was only a phone call away. He taught me many life skills and helped shape me into the person I am today.”


Sara Shumaker


Family: Chris and Beth Shumaker


Leadership: Junior Class Vice President; Golf team Captain; Student Council Officer; Den-teens Vice President


Extra-curricular Activities: Golf; Soccer; Volleyball; Student Council; Den-teens; Spanish Club; National Honor Society; Sister Cities


Future Plans: I plan to attend Tarleton State University and study Nursing to achieve my goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.


Most Influential Educator: J. C. Doty


High School Government/Economics and Head Golf Coach


Began working for Denison ISD: 2005


“I have been privileged to know Coach Doty for more than my 4 years of high school. He has taught me much more than just golf, and he has always been there for me. I will always cherish his dedication to see me achieve in everything I do.”


Grace Spader


Family: Dean Spader and Cheryl Criss


Community Service: I have done countless hours of community service outside and inside of school for FFA and National Honor Society.


Leadership: Denison FFA President


Extra-curricular Activities: Denison FFA President; Goat showman; National Honor Society


Future Plans: I plan to go to the University of North Texas and become a teacher.


Most Influential Educator: Nicole Douda


DHS Family and Consumer Science teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2013


“I have always wanted to become a teacher for as long as I can remember. When I got to 10th grade, I didn’t want to do it anymore, but Mrs. Douda helped me, and she told me about her teaching program, and I did that my Junior year. She changed the way I saw teaching and helped me realize how much I truly love it. I will forever be grateful for her.”


Nick Sparks


Family: Tim Sparks and Charity Sparks


Community Service: Denison Athletic Booster Club; Den-teens; National Honor Society; Jacket Greeter; Fellowship of Christian Athletes


Leadership: Football team; Den-teens; FCA


Extra-curricular Activities: National Honor Society; Football; Baseball; Track; Student Council; Den-teens; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Jacket Greeter


Future Plans: I plan to attend Texas Tech University and major in Kinesiology. Later to become a Physical Therapist.


Most Influential Educator: Charlie Means


Scott Middle School teacher and Football Coach


Began working for Denison ISD: 2000


“Not only did Coach Means teach me to be a leader on the field, but he also taught me how to be one off the field. He taught me that little eyes are always watching me whether I want them to or not. More importantly, he has showed me how to fight through adversity, even in times of doubt.”


Kendra Tackett


Family: Aulinda Allison


Leadership: Flute Section Leader


Extra-curricular Activities: Band, 4 years; Art Club, 2 years; Yearbook, 1 year


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of North Texas to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and possibly minor in Music.


Most Influential Educator: Elizabeth Schielack


High School Art Teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2011


“I have always loved to create, but before I came to high school, going into an artistic field was just a thought. However, in the last four years Mrs. Schielack has changed that for me. She showed me new ways to create and helped me improve on any skills I already had, and in the process, she helped me see that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I think I speak for many though when I say Mrs. Schielack isn’t influential just because she’s an amazing Art teacher, she’s also a great friend to every student. In my experience, she’s always had faith in me and supported me. She goes to every performance she can, and to all of us it is always a great feeling to know you have someone in the audience to cheer for you. She cele-brates all of our successes with us whether it be mastering a new skill in Art, making State or earning Socrates Scholar. She’s always there for us, and that’s what makes her such a great teacher.”


Anna Tully


Family: Paul Tully and Julie Tully


Community Service: Frequent volunteer at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church; Student Council volunteer for Helping Hands food pantry; Loy Lake Stock Show volunteer


Leadership: Stingerettes, Vice-President; En Croix, Vice President Junior year


Extra-curricular Activities: Stingerettes; Student Council; Spanish Club; En Croix, Fellowship of Christian Dancers


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of Mississippi (Ole’ Miss) to major in Zoology and minor in Spanish. I’d like to work in South America doing conservation work in the ecotourism industry.


Most Influential Educator: Jennifer Brown


DHS Math Department Chair


Began working for Denison ISD: 1999


“Mrs. Brown is not only a wonderful teacher, but a wonderful person all around. I’ve known her for years now, and she’s been an inspiration and role model for me to base my academic as well as spiritual life on. Math has always been difficult for me, but this year she’s gone above and beyond to help me when I’m struggling. I’m very blessed to know her, and I’m thankful for all that she’s done.”


Laura Waldrip


Family: David Waldrip and Janice Waldrip


Community Service: TMC Jr. Volunteer; DAWG Shelter; Helping Hands


Leadership: Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leader; Student Council


Extra-curricular Activities: Soccer; Drill Team; National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes; En Croix, Den-teens; Art, UIL


Future Plans: I plan to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio to obtain a degree in Marketing. I hope to one day be the head of or own a fashion company that gives most of its profits to those in need. I also want to travel to the places I am helping.


Most Influential Educator: Janice Waldrip


Elementary 2nd Grade teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2015


“My Mom is an amazing teacher. Not only that but just a perfect Mom in general. Throughout my life she has taught me so many lessons and new things in and out of school, and she continues to teach me every day. My Mom is my best friend, and I hope she knows the impact she makes every day, not only in my life, but to other students as well.”


Nick Westenhaver


Family: Ron and Brenda Westenhaver


Community Service: Several years volunteering at local Nursing homes playing the guitar with fellow students from Victory Music; Helped clean up my neighborhood from a severe storm last summer.


Extra-curricular Activities: Powerlifting, 9th grade; Football, 9-11th grades; Track and Field, 9-12th grades; Guitar, 9-10th grades


Future Plans: I plan to attend and graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of North Texas. I also plan to possibly obtain a job in the field of game design.


Most Influential Educator: David Bullard


DHS US History, AP US History, AP Government teacher


Began working for Denison ISD: 2004


“Mr. Bullard has played an important role in my life because he’s been the one person at school that I can talk about politics with that actually understands what he’s talking about, and because he reminds me of the way my Dad acts and thinks. Plus he’s from Oklahoma.”