Belin-Blank Center Honors Students and Teachers

Twenty-five Waukee Community School District students were among over 500 students from Iowa and throughout the nation who were recently invited to be honored at the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony. The ceremony was held Sunday, October 6, 2019, at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus.

Additionally, these students were given the opportunity to honor teachers they credited for having a profound influence on their lives.

Students were invited to be recognized by the Center for exceptional performance in the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search, for attending a selective Belin-Blank Center summer program (Blank Scholars Institute, Perry Research Scholars Institute, Secondary Student Training Program, or Summer Art & Writing Residencies), for receiving honors in a Belin-Blank Center competition (Junior Science & Humanities Symposium or Invent Iowa), or completing the STEM Excellence and Leadership program.

Addressing the students, teachers, and guests were the University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld; College of Education Associate Dean Amanda Thein; Director of the University of Iowa Honors Program Art Spisak, who delivered the keynote address to teachers; and Ruthina Malone, alumna of the Belin-Blank Center’s Project ACHIEVE program, who delivered the keynote address to the students.

The Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is an international full-service gifted education center at the University of Iowa’s College of Education.

These are the WCSD students listed in the program for the ceremony:

ACT (college entrance exam as an above-level test for grades 7-9)

  • Lucy Gannon, South Middle School
  • Caroline Montz, Waukee High School
  • Owen Scott, Waukee High School
  • Ryan Sjurson, Waukee High School
  • Samuel Thompson, Timberline School

Blank Summer Institute (one-week summer scholarship program for 130 Iowa students in grades 7 and 8)

  • Jack Andersen, Prairieview School
  • Natasha Bhatia, Timberline School
  • Gavin Cook, Prairieview School
  • Amelia Hanson, Prairieview School
  • Kiran Kothavale, Prairieview School
  • Eleonora Stoianova, Prairieview School
  • Erin Stone, Prairieview School
  • Dheeraj Tununguntla, Timberline School

I-EXCEL (talent search above-level test taken in grades 4-6)

  • Ben Boonstra, Waukee Middle School
  • Dashiell Coyier, South Middle School
  • Ellis Coyier, South Middle School
  • Carter Eigenheer, Waukee Middle School
  • Connor Leer, Grant Ragan
  • Zak Shlomi, Waukee Middle School
  • Yatharth Sirohi, South Middle School
  • Vivian Steger, Woodland Hills
  • Allen Tong, South Middle School
  • Vrishank Vennapusa, Waukee Middle School
  • Abby Welch, South Middle School

Perry Research Scholars Institute

  • Sam Boonstra, Waukee High School

Summer Writing Residency

  • Emma Vande Krol, Waukee High School

Educator Honorees

  • Codie Fetters, South Middle School
  • Anna Hawkins, Waukee Middle School
  • Karlee McKibban, Waukee Middle School
  • John Owens, Assistant Principal Waukee Elementary & Grant Ragan Elementary
  • Megan Tuttle, Eason Elementary
  • Kayla Weier, Grant Ragan Elementary
  • Sara Winn, Brookview Elementary
  • Jenna Swain, Woodland Hills Elementary