Kiwanis Fine Arts Banquet Honors Ten NDA Students

Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

On Monday, May 4, students, faculty, and parents gathered in the Riverside Ballroom for the 36th annual George Kress Youth Awards Banquet sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Green Bay – Downtown.

The awards banquet recognizes high school students who have shown excellence in either art, drama, forensics, music or journalism.

“What’s unique about the Kiwanis awards is that they recognize those students who have excelled in the arts,” said Dr. Ravizza, who attended the awards Monday night. “At NDA, we pride ourselves on developing well-rounded students who use their gifts and talents.”

The Kiwanis awards celebrates many of the students whose accomplishments are often overshadowed by the glory and hype of sports programs.

“We give a lot of headlines to the sports teams,” said English teacher Carolyn Brown, another attendee of the Kiwanis banquet, “but not enough cheers for these students. Just like the Optimist Club wants to encourage young people, so the Kiwanis club members strive to recognize outstanding young people in the Green Bay schools.”

Each year during the ceremony, a guest speaker is invited to give a presentation to the award recipients, their parents and their teachers. This year the guest speaker was Mary Eisenreich, a retired music teacher who remains an active member of the music community.

Brown, who sat next to Eisenreich, noted how down-to-earth and frank she was. Eisenreich was not only the speaker, but also the entertainment for the evening.

“She sang Civil War songs, or snippets of songs, and gave us a history lesson about the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this year.  Then she challenged the young people to find their passion and not let anyone stop them from living it,” described Brown.

After the entertainment and speech, each school (there were seven total recognized) had its principal announce the students who received awards.

The NDA students recognized for excellence in art were Stephanie LaLuzerne and Marisa Jacques. Carmen Roskos and Luke LeClair received the awards for Drama. Nico Jacques and Aidan Glaser-Schoff were awarded for their exceptional work in Forensics. Olivia Flis was awarded the Music award for Band, and Juliana Martin received the Music award for Choir. Haley Cullen and Abigail Stewart were recognized in Journalism.

Ravizza said that he was “very proud of this group and their achievements.”

“They are super students who have left their mark at NDA in the fine arts,” said Brown. “Just as a star football player or basketball player works and develops his skills, they too have practiced long hours and dedicated themselves to something they love. It was inspiring to look at these young people and have their parents and fellow fine art lovers applaud their dedication.”