It's a good thing to be reminded of the positive influences in the Carthage education system.
Every month, the Carthage R-9 School Board recognizes this idea by awarding local students or district employees for doing the right thing, no matter what the circumstances.
When an anonymous patron from the community contacted Dr. Blaine Henningsen, Carthage superintendent, to express gratitude and admiration for a certain instructor, it was clear who earned the Do the Right Thing Award for the month of November.
As a new cardio fitness coach to the Carthage High School this year, Kelsey Kirby told her class they were going to compete in the Maple Leaf 5K Run in October. The young ladies trained since the beginning of the school year despite physical challenges and personal doubts.
“I said, 'you want us to do what?'” said CHS senior Toni Simmons, remembering the not-so-enthusiastic reaction from her and her classmates.
The students admitted on the day of the race that in the beginning they were not talented runners. But, Kirby had 68 students sign up, and that was the estimate number she thought showed up that morning of the Maple Leaf runs.
“I had some girls unable to run a minute without stopping when we first started,” Kirby said after the race. “But a little at a time, we kept improving. And, here we are. I've had many students reach their goals today. I'm super proud of them.”
One student was especially proud of her personal accomplishment.
“I did it!” said CHS senior Rajan Thrasher.
“We were very proud of our students for the tenacity and dedication they demonstrated in the Maple Leaf run,” said Kandy Fraizer, CHS principal. “Miss Kirby motivated and encouraged them to make the choice of healthy habits including diet and exercise. It is great to see a new teacher come in with ideas and programs that promote self esteem and the empowerment of young ladies.”
Henningsen agreed the award was given to a well-deserving individual.
“She's awesome,” he said of Kirby. “She was a new hire this year and has already learned that if you get to know the kids on a personal level, show up to their games, performances, whatever they do, it means a lot to them. It shows them that they care, and that makes for a wonderful working relationship.”
The recipient for the Do the Right Thing Award for the month of October was CHS drama teacher Colleen Kartchner. At a conference, an individual started choking and Kartchner performed the Heimlich Maneuver effectively – saving the person's life.
“The award is small, but we feel a little goes a long way,” Henningsen said. “It's good to recognize students and staff for going above and beyond what is expected.”