Newark High School senior Katie Thoms recently received the 2017 Newark Teachers’ Association $500 scholarship.
Kari Hamelinck, NTA scholarship committee chairman, presented the scholarship to Thoms at an afternoon reception in NHS Library attended by teachers; Thoms’ parents, Mary and Mark; and other well-wishers, including Superintendent Matt Cook.
Before Thoms received her scholarship, Mary Daly, a retired NMS special education teacher and co-president of NTA with NHS French teacher Rachael Chistolini, congratulated Thoms.
“We’re very happy she’ll follow in the footsteps of the teachers she’s most admired,’’ Daly said. “We know she’ll do a fabulous job.”
Members of the NTA scholarship committee include Newark Middle School Spanish teacher Marcela Mason; Kathleen Chambers, first-grade teacher at Lincoln School; Kathleen Zappia, special education teacher at Kelley School; and Hamelinck, an instructional coach at Kelley School.
The NTA scholarship is given each year to a student pursuing a career in teaching. The award was established to encourage interest and excellence in the field of education, and is given to a student who has consistently demonstrated a desire to prepare for a career in education and will be enrolled in college in the fall.
Thoms, whose current GPA is 92.06, will attend Edinboro University in the fall on a Division II scholarship. She plans to major in health and physical education sports administration.
She said she was “very happy” when she learned she was the recipient, and she thanked NTA members after receiving her scholarship.
In the essay she wrote in applying for the NTA scholarship, Thoms — a three-sport athlete in lacrosse, basketball and soccer — wrote that she wants to combine her love of sports and her love for school to become a physical education teacher.
“I am becoming a teacher because I love helping people and I want to make a difference in the lives of children,’’ she wrote. “I want to be someone who influences children to do their best, to never give up and chase their dreams. Throughout my schooling in Newark, I have been fortunate to have teachers who cared, treated me with respect, taught lifelong lessons, praised me when they knew I worked hard, helped me learn from my mistakes and encouraged me to become a leader. There is no doubt that my teachers have unknowingly influenced my choice of teaching as a profession.”
Mary Thoms, who teaches seventh-grade English at NMS, expressed how proud she and her husband, Mark, a sergeant at Newark Police Department, are of their daughter.
“We think Katie’s receiving the NTA scholarship is wonderful,’’ Mary Thoms said. “Katie works hard. She works hard for her grades. She’s involved in a lot of activities inside and outside of school. She works two part-time jobs.”
Thoms is a two-year member of National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Link Crew, where she served as a coordinator in 2016-17. She is a one-year member of Positive Leadership Uniting Students and Interact Club, a three-year Youth 2 Youth Club member and a four-year member of NHS Student Council. She served as class secretary in 2014-16 and as school secretary in 2016-17.
Thoms has received three NHS Script ‘N’ awards and was recognized for outstanding academic achievement in 2014-16.
She has been involved in AAU basketball for eight years and club lacrosse for six years. She was a scholar athlete in three sports seasons throughout high school and in eighth grade.
Thoms has been a four-year varsity girls lacrosse member and played one year in junior varsity when she was in seventh and eighth grade. Awards and recognition include honorable mention all-league and most valuable offensive player in 2014; captain, second team all-league and most valuable player in 2015; captain, second team all-league and MVOP in 2016; and captain, first team all-league and best offensive player in 2017.
In basketball, Thoms has been a three-year varsity girls team member and a two-year JV member. She was named JV most improved player in 2013, JV captain and best defensive player in 2014, most improved player in 2015 and captain in 2017. She received the Michelle DeRue Memorial Award.
Thoms has been a four-year varsity girls soccer team member and a one-year JV member in eighth grade. She was named second team all-league in 2015. In 2016, she was captain and recipient of the Coaches Award, Taylor Bliss all-tournament team, senior select game and second team all-league.
Thoms’ community service activities include volunteering at Alex Eligh Community Center basketball, soccer and lacrosse camps; Cracker Box Palace; and soccer and lacrosse booster clubs.