Savanna Oaks Middle School - May 20, 2013


Kiana Cline has demonstrated consistent academic excellence in her Core classes with a 3.8 cumulative grade point average. Her teachers explain that she envisions herself at a higher level, then pursues that goal successfully. She is extremely focused, takes pride and responsibility in her work, and is an independent achiever. In Spanish class, she demonstrates poise, good analytical and verbal skills, while remaining helpful to others who may be struggling. Kiana likes seeing friends and meeting new people in school, while receiving an education for a future job. For her, that may be a career in medicine or law. Kiana also appreciates the opportunities at school for extracurricular sports such as volleyball and basketball, as well as Art and other Encore classes. Outside of school, Kiana has helped out at the senior center her grandmother resides in with arts and crafts activities. She also helps out with laundry and yard work chores at home. Savanna Oaks was proud to present Kiana as an Outstanding Young Scholar through the Madison Urban League last year, in 7th grade and we wish her great success in the future.

Bailey Danz was an easy student for her teachers to honor in this way. She could have qualified this year for an outstanding academic award in every one of her Core classes. This rare strength across all areas is reflected in her 3.9 cumulative grade point average. When Bailey speaks in class, people listen. She is also extremely artistic and a very prolific reader. Teachers appreciate Bailey’s quiet leadership, organization and big picture awareness. Bailey says that she particularly enjoys her Language Arts, Science and Art classes at Savanna Oaks with an eye towards perhaps blending a career in biology and art. At home, Bailey walks the family dog, and has been known to help out with dishes and laundry but really tries to focus on studying and getting good grades. Bailey is well-liked by teachers and her peers.

Steven Kellerman is a welcome combination of student, athlete and all-around leader. His 3.9 cumulative grade point average speaks to his willingness to go above and beyond and think deeply in his classes. Steven asks really good questions, is highly organized and can figure things out well on his own. What gives Steven added dimension is his good sense of fun and humor. He won’t get pulled into negative situations and students follow his leadership both in class and on the basketball court. Steven says he appreciates the variety of subjects at school and brings his sense of competition into the classroom because getting good grades is a feel good experience. He thinks a career in sales might be in his future because he likes to negotiate. He also has an interest in teaching, perhaps Math or Science. At home, he sometimes helps with dishes and cleaning up around the house. He also has helped his church group with serving and cleaning up for a Soup Kitchen event. Steven has been a strong role model for his class.

Brett Wagner's teachers will tell you he is always organized, thoughtful, and does a great job engaging others in the learning process. There is no place this is more evident than in the music wing, where teachers joke that Brett deserves his own office. Think of a task related to music, and it’s likely Brett has done it. He has conducted chamber orchestra during Access, given private lessons, accompanied students on piano, and stepped in to teach entire classes when given the opportunity. Think of an instrument and it’s likely Brett plays it-bass, viola, violin, piano, trumpet, flute, French horn, and accordion!  Outside of school Brett has achieved a black belt in karate and plays with the WI Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO). He said it’s hard to even imagine what he used to do before he started playing musical instruments and hopes to find a profession that allows him to make a living in music. Becoming a conductor or musical director sounds appealing, and Brett hopes to explore schools like Juilliard when the time comes.

Ariadne (“Ari”) Saucedo-Griensen: When teachers describe Ari, there is a common theme of quiet leadership, perseverance, and a willingness to go above and beyond expectations to excel. Well-respected by her peers, teachers often see Ari encouraging others to join in and get things done. One example of this hard work paying off was the 8th grade “cafeteria project” contest which Ari and her partners won this year. Ari played the violin for two years and had a lot of fun joining the basketball team for the first time this year.  Ari moved to the US at the age of 8 and remembers how it felt to go to school and not understand any English. She worked hard to catch up with her peers and has decided she’d like to be either a teacher or a lawyer some day. She enjoys helping people talk things through when something is not right and figure out how to resolve it. She also enjoys working with young children. Ari would like to attend UW-Madison.

Will Zunker has had an amazing 8th grade year and has clearly made a strong positive impression on his teachers. In the classroom Will always does quality work and demonstrates an advanced level of understanding, all while remaining humble and helpful to others. He has helped out as both a lab assistant and peer tutor during the school day, and he excelled in several extracurricular sports after school.   Will has been involved in band for three years and played on the Math 24 team for two years. He participates in cross-country, basketball, and track, but his favorite sport is golf.  He began playing with the WI Junior PGA last year. His favorite subject in school is math, and Will plans to pursue a career in either business or engineering after high school. He would like to attend UW-Madison.

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