Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sterling Scholar

On Tuesday, Sarah found out that she has been selected as Springville High School's Sterling Scholar for Social Studies. Way to go Sarah. It is a well deserved honor. Here is a list of the other scholars:

English – Carmen Payne
Mathematics – Wyatt LeFevre
Science – Mark Ohman
Social Science – Sarah Tueller Emmett
Skilled and Technical Sciences – Daniel Salazar
Family and Consumer Science – Sarah Skinner
Computer Technology – Erick Alfredo Vargas Flores
World Languages – Sally Wells
Dance – Kayla Hansen
Instrumental Music – Devin Smith
Vocal Performance – Haylee Markham
Speech/ Theater Arts/Forensics – Brynn Allred
Visual Arts – Katya Fullmer

Sally (maroon dress) and Haylee (tallest girl, back row) are close friends of Sarah's and have been part of her study group/support group (and musical friends) throughout high school. Sarah has worked very hard in school and has excelled in all of her many AP and honors classes. She has a knack for remembering details that she picks up in her readings, from teachers and classes, from what she watches, from her travles, and from conversations with family and friends. 

What follows are memories of her dad of of some of those readings and travels. (Marie's memories would certainly include 12 years of home work monitoring, science project helping, paper proof reading, and over all education supporting.)

One of my favorite memories of being a dad is the night time tradition of reading to our children--always lying next to them in bed. When Sarah was five and six, Marie and I took turns reading all of the American Girl books to her. Sarah's all time favorite girl was red-headed Felicity of colonial Williamsburg. She was so enamored with this spunky girl that her Aunt Diane stood in line at a book signing with Valerie Tripp, the author of the book, so Sarah could have her own autographed copy. Then as a family we made sure we visited Williamsburg as part of a trip "back east" to North Carolina for a nephew's wedding. The sad end to that trip, was that I accidentally left the autographed Felicity book on the plane never to be found again (we tried).

I remember one night reading aloud about Nez Perce Indian Kaya and her belief in a Great Spirit who guided her. That account led to a wonderful discussion, prompted by Sarah's thoughts and questions, about how the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost likewise leads and guides us. The three other six book sets that I remember reading were Josefina of the early Spanish colony in New Mexico, Addy an escaped slave during the civil war, and Kit who resourcefully typed her way through the depression. For many years after, theses books became Sarah's time-line of US history. When something was mentioned about US history she would smartly note that that happened during the time of Samantha or Kirsten or Felicity or whatever American Girl lived at that time.

Interestingly, Sarah never warmed up to the Little House on the Prairie series. Perhpas because when I read the first two books to her I always called the dog Hubsubub instead of Jack just to tease her. 

While never forced or planned, Sarah naturally gravitated to books about history, people and places. She read and re-read Children Just Like Me, a delightful DK book that shows the daily life of children around the world. One of her goals is to track down all of these book friends to see what their lives have become and perhaps write a follow up book: "Adults Just Like Me."

Through the years, as she became a voracious reader, she still allowed me to read books to her. Favorites for the both of us include: The Wheel on the School about children, storks, dikes and storms in Holland; The Bronze Bow about zealot Jews living in Roman-occupied Palestine, and the Witch of Blackbird Pond about non-accepting Puritans in New England. These all have historical accuracy and are set in real places. (I also read the first Harry Potter to her, and the first two Fablehaven books to her but then she read the rest of these fantasy series on her own.)

Sarah always looks forward to the monthly delivery of the National Geographic. When we visited London in December 2009, Sarah's selected souvenir was a book about all of the monarchs of England. She loved to read and report about all she learned about the nobles. For the past two years she has asked for a subscription to the Christian Science Monitor for her birthday.

While young Sarah watched and re-watched the Liberty Kids series about the American Revolution on PBS. She is now a great fan a BBC period shows.

Sarah has also enjoyed vacations (long and short road trips) and study abroad opportunities (Jerusalem and Semester at Sea) with her family. She loves to explore and learn as she goes. Here are a few photos of places she has been that have enriched her understanding of this wonderful world.

 Yellowstone 2006

 Redwoods 2008

Bethlehem orphanage Christmas 2009

 Amsterdam 2010

Petra Jordan 2010

 Hoover Dam 2012 (Percy Jackson fans will know the significance of this place)

NYC 2014

Saigon 2015, Making meals for the elderly to eat during the Tet (New Years) Holiday.

Kerela India 2015 (learning about women's cooperatives)

Trinity College Library, Dublin Ireland 2015


  1. NIce tribute to your wonderful daughter, Chad! Congratulations to Sarah, and to you and Marie for your role in Sarah's success!

  2. I concur with all that Bob said. She's obviously got her high intelligence level from her mom.