Every month from October through April, the town of Basalt recognizes students from each Basalt school for being role models in their community. The Student of the Month program began in 2000 as a way to recognize the powerful role that character can play both in education and in the community.
In 2002, the program was modified to incorporate the six specific “Pillars of Character” for which a student can be nominated. These foundational pillars are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
“Our students of the month represent some of our most honored and loved Basalt citizens,” says Mayor Jacque Whitsitt. “They are humble youth leaders who have shown great humility, kindness and respect for their peers and community. Their innocence and appreciation touch us deeply every time we present. Recognizing these heroes is an honor for council and a gift to us all.”
Each month, teachers nominate a boy and a girl who exemplify that month’s pillar, and the teacher’s nominating narrative is read aloud when students receive their award at the monthly Basalt Town Council meeting. In addition to receiving a certificate and Basalt pin, students also receive a free Basalt pool pass for the following summer season.
“Students often get recognized for talents and skills like grades, athletics or the arts,” says Basalt Middle School Assistant Principal Ty Hayden. “This program allows us to recognize students who set a positive example for those around them. The Pillars of Character can have a wide impact on the culture and climate of a school.”
Students of the Month October-December:
October's pillar was “Trustworthiness.” Basalt Elementary School honored Hayden Pearlman (second grade) and Kendra Rosas-Saldana (second grade). Basalt Middle School honored Parker Sims (fifth grade) and Tamara Gonzalez (eighth grade). Basalt High School honored Tristin Palardy (12th grade) and Mariaine Gonzalez (12th grade).
November's theme was “Respect.” BES honored Armando Ceballos-Barreto (third grade) and Jennedy Perez-Perez (third grade). BMS honored Arym Mellin (eighth grade) and Amelia Allen (eighth grade). BHS honored Steven Garcia-Machuca (12th grade) and Kalyn Solis Martinez (12th grade).
December's theme was “Responsibility.” BES honored Abraham Diazbarriga (fourth grade) and Natalie Chavarin Elizalde (fourth grade). BMS honored Henry Haag (sixth grade) and Taylin Beckman (sixth grade). BHS honored Jaciel Saucedo (11th grade) and Karuna Owens (ninth grade).
Jazz Aspen Snowmass Honor Jazz Band
Once a year, Jazz Aspen Snowmass offers band students the chance to take their skills to the next level and perform in a regional jazz band. To be considered, students must practice challenging music on their own time and submit an audition tape.
“The JAS Honor Jazz program is a high-level opportunity for students to play with other motivated students and get instruction from college-level jazz instructors,” says JAS In-Schools Director Chris Bank. “Many of these schools don’t have jazz in the curriculum, so it is a great introduction to a different music than what they experience in concert band.”
In its 12th year, the program chose 80 students this year from 11 towns ranging from Aspen to Rifle. Students place not only in a band level but also in their instrument. After a few weeks practicing new music on their own, they all will come together in February to spend two days receiving instruction from talented local musicians and university instructors. The program closes with a performance open to the public at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Roaring Fork High School.
This year, Basalt will be sending 12 students to the program.
“These students put in a great deal of effort and hard work, mostly after school or during their lunch time, to earn this honor,” says Basalt Band Director Nick Lenio. “This event gives them a great opportunity to make music with students from across western Colorado whom they’ve never met before. It illustrates how music can be a form of communication, a connector, and a universal language that we all can speak.”
Basalt participants for the JAS Honor Jazz Band include:
Band 2 (high school): Josef Lloyd (fourth-place trumpet) and Isaac Musselman (first-place piano).
Band 3 (high school): Leighton Albright (first-place baritone sax), Makai Yllanes (a middle school student who placed third trombone at the high school level) and Ari Hahn (fourth-place trumpet).
Band 4 (middle school): Juliana Carpenter (first-place baritone sax), William Daniel (first-place tenor sax), Eric Vasquez (first-place trumpet), Lauren Custodio (fifth-place trumpet), Owen Lambert (first-place trombone), Nadav Hahn (third-place trombone) and Duncan Lucca (first place-bass guitar).
All State Choir
Basalt High School senior Emily Northrup, junior Caitlin Coon and junior Conrad Noel went through an arduous audition process in Grand Junction this fall. According to choir director Brittany von Stein, the initial audition process included preparing a memorized classical solo, sight-reading music and various music theory skills such as tonal quality, diction and scales.
Northrup and Noel earned spots in the Mixed Choir, while Coon was accepted into the Treble Choir. They beat out more than 550 other students and will sing in these groups with more than 1,200 students from across the state in Denver on Feb. 2.
The audition process isn’t over yet, however. In order to stay for the rehearsals and concert, students will audition a second time when they arrive in Denver to ensure they’ve learned all six of their songs.
“It is one of the hardest All State Choir processes that I’ve seen,” Von Stein notes.