The YMCA held held their Outstanding Student & Educator Awards Breakfast on April 26th. Recipients from GCSD included Seniors Jaden Burke and Olivia Ruso, as well as first grade teacher Vikki Hawkins. Congratulations!
Jaden Burke, a 12th grade student at GHS, is an accomplished student who has been a vital part of the Boys Varsity Tennis team as manager since her sophomore year. Not only was she a key player on the Girls Varsity two-time Patroon Conference Championship tennis team, but she also helped lead a Section 2 Class B runner-up team. In addition to her athletic achievements, Jaden has made significant contributions to the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) chapter at Greenville High School. Over the past three years, she has taken on leadership roles in various projects aimed at promoting inclusion within schools and creating a better environment for all students. Jaden's compassion and dedication to helping others are further demonstrated through her tutoring of younger students, which taught her the value of patience and advocating for the needs of others. As she moves on to the next phase of her academic journey, Jaden will be attending SUNY Albany in the Fall and majoring in Political Science.
Olivia Ruso, a12th grade student at GHS, exudes leadership in many areas. As the parliamentarian for the National Honor Society and a student representative for various committees and organizations in the District, Olivia is incredibly involved. In addition, she has devoted her time and effort to volunteer for the YMCA afterschool program and as a CIT for the Greene County YMCA from 2017-2019. Olivia is also a talented singer/musician, and produces the Spartanville Spotlight and morning announcements for the Media Club. Recently, she volunteered through the GEF and was a speaker for the NJHS induction ceremony. Olivia is a leader for Mental Health Advocates and has made it her mission to educate her peers on the importance of mental health. Olivia will be attending SUNY Oneonta in the Fall to major in Communications.
Vikki Hawkins is an exceptional first-grade teacher at Scott M. Ellis Elementary School. Her journey to this point has been one of remarkable perseverance and dedication. Despite having to drop out of high school at the age of 16 to care for her family, Vikki never gave up on her dreams. Years later, she returned to complete her GED, followed by her Bachelor's and Master's degrees, both earned with high honors. With 23 years of teaching experience, Vikki is a seasoned educator who deeply cares about her students and the community. She goes above and beyond to make a positive impact through the Caring Kids Club, which she runs with great enthusiasm. The club conducts bi-annual food drives, a hat and mitten drive, and even creates thank-you baskets for local fire departments and care packages for our military. During the COVID shutdown, she worked tirelessly with local food pantries, donors from the school and community, and the Rotary to organize a food pantry out of the high school. In addition, she arranged bus deliveries for families who were unable to come to the school. Her efforts were instrumental in ensuring that the needs of the community were met during this challenging time.
Vikki is a shining example of a teacher who possesses remarkable creativity, attention, and care for her students. She is passionate about making school an important place in the community and loves to see her students excited about learning. While they are with her, she considers her students part of her family, and she treats them as such.