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CCISD announces CCASB Award winners

Photo provided by the Copper Country Intermediate School District Copper Country Intermediate School District Superintendent George Stockero poses with the 2021 Copper Country Association of School Boards Awards recipients (from left) Kevin Store, of the Portage Health Foundation, Gwen Stockwell, Ed Semmens, and Quinn Aho.

HANCOCK — The Copper Country Intermediate School District announced their Copper Country Association of School Boards Awards recipients Tuesday. Below is the CCISD’s descriptions of each award winner.

– Outstanding Employee Award – Ed Semmens

Ed Semmens is the Copper Country ISD’s head of maintenance and transportation supervisor. Ed is extremely hardworking and wants everything done right. Ed has to deal with requests from more staff than probably than any other person within the CCISD.

Not only does Ed have to take care of the main ISD building, the CTE building and the bus garage, he also takes care of issues in all the ISD run classrooms in six different buildings throughout the Copper Country. Ed is always creative and willing to make or modify things so students are able to access their environment.

He can fix just about anything that needs to be fixed (and that is a lot around here sometimes). Ed has a good relationship with students and is a positive role model. Ed never says no to anything, and it’s always done sooner than he says. He always finds a way to get it done, and with a smile.

Photo provided by the Copper Country Intermediate School District Copper Country Association of School Boards Awards recipient Maya Dove of L’Anse.

– School Service Award – Gwen Stockwell

School Psychologist Gwen Stockwell was hired at Copper Country ISD in March of 1997 and retired in January of 2021 with almost 24 years of service.

Gwen was an original member of the Learn to Read committee which formed in 2005. The purpose of the committee was to explore ways to help improve reading instruction in CCISD schools. Gwen wrote the original CCISD Response To Intervention document which introduced districts to the foundational ideas of what we now call Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS).

Gwen was part of the CCISD MTSS committee when it started in 2012 and always volunteered to take notes for the group. She was a key provider of the training sessions for teachers and served as a Coach for several districts. Her patient direction and encouragement along with her deep knowledge base and calm demeanor moved CCISD districts’ implementation of MTSS forward.

Gwen was also one of the founding members and long-term secretary of Simple Kindness for Youth (SKY), which provides grants to students across Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw Counties. SKY grants are used to pay for things like clothing, books, extracurricular activities, and much more for students who cannot otherwise afford them.

Gwen has been a much-admired member of the CCISD staff. When asked to reflect on working with Gwen, colleagues shared qualities she possesses that they admire including kindness, compassion, thoughtfulness, generosity and humbleness. Staff shared that they deeply appreciated her knowledge, dedication, professionalism and commitment to her job. Many staff mentioned that Gwen puts the best interest of students and families first. Gwen is friendly, relatable and cares deeply for others. She has been missed since her retirement earlier this year.

– Student Leadership Award – Maya Dove – L’Anse Senior

Maya has been a part of the CTE culinary arts program for both her junior and senior year. Throughout those two years, she has consistently shown initiative in the class and gladly takes the lead for class or group projects. She is one of the go-to’s for ideas and suggestions and always takes the time to support her fellow classmates that may be struggling.

Maya is driven to contribute to her community after the community showed up so strongly for her and her family after her childhood home tragically burned when she was in the 8th grade. She has always felt proud “paying it forward” after feeling so taken care of by the people around her. She volunteers regularly at her local church with lunches, holidays, with adoration and with other donations. She enjoys participating at events like Toys for Tots and anything else she can give back to other local families in need. Maya has taken a lot of her time to improve on the idea of fundraising while keeping a positive attitude about helping. Maya’s CTE teacher, Megan O’Connell, stated Maya sets very high standards for herself and the company she keeps around her.

Student Leadership Award – Quinn Aho – Senior in the High School Mild CI Classroom.

Each and every day, Quinn comes to school with a positive attitude and is excited to learn. No matter what task we do, he “loves” it. Worksheets, tests, Kahoot, task cards, etc. Whining or complaining is not in his make-up.

Quinn is a leader in our classroom and at Hancock High. He is the person who is called on to get things done in our building. He sets up the gym for basketball, and volleyball games. He stacks chairs in the commons area every afternoon. He also moves paper for the High School office as needed. Quinn takes responsibility seriously. He always turns his work in on time. He reminds classmates of our work-based learning schedule. If someone is absent or unable to do a job, he volunteers to complete it. Quinn also has a near perfect attendance record.

Quinn is a social butterfly at Hancock Central High. Quinn’s Gen Ed peers want to hang out with him and they make a point of checking in with him each day. He is also a favorite among staff members. Quinn is quick to compliment others and praise their accomplishments.

Quinn is a well-rounded young man who will be missed by all at Hancock High School when he graduates.

– Area-Wide Community Leadership Award – Portage Health Foundation

Every year, all local schools get together to select a person or organization that has made an impact on all the schools and present them with the Copper Country Association of School Boards’ Area-Wide Award. COVID provided many challenges to all local schools.

The Portage Health Foundation understood these challenges and stepped in to help, by donated money to all local schools to use towards masks, cleaning supplies or computers for students to use for on-line options. The Portage Health Foundation also paid for Professional Development, called “Capturing Kids Hearts.” This was offered to every school.

Though some schools did not take advantage this past year, they will be offered the PD again this upcoming year. The Portage Health Foundation has provided grants to many schools for individual school projects. The Portage Health Foundation also donated a large sum of money for Career & Technical Education before the millage was passed to help show that if the cost to send students was lowed, more students would take advantage of these programs.

The Portage Health Foundation has demonstrated year after year their commitment to all our local schools. This past year, more than ever, the Portage Health Foundation did all they could to help schools through the COVID crisis.

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