20th annual recognition dinner honors special community members

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By Sophie Smith
Holt Journal staff writer

The 20th Annual Holt-Dimondale Community Recognition Dinner took place Wednesday, March 26 at the Chisholm Hills Golf Club in Lansing.

This annual event recognizes members of the Holt community and Holt Public Schools for their work and contributions.

Money from the dinner goes the Holt Education Foundation. This organization is a non-profit that partners with Holt Public Schools to award grants for projects within the classroom.

“A lot of different fundraisers are put on throughout the year (for the Holt Education Foundation),” said Outstanding School Employee recipient Toni Martell. “This one specifically honors members of the community for a great cause.”

Martell said she has attended this dinner in years past to support friends of hers that had been recognized.

Tickets were available for anyone to purchase, but most in attendance were staff members of Holt Public Schools as well as those with governmental positions such as those on the Delhi Township Board of Trustees.

The event began with a social hour with a silent auction and cash bar. Various gift baskets donated by different schools in the district were auctioned off. Performances by the Holt High School Band directed by Michael Emerson as well as the Holt High School Chorale Choir kept the feel of the evening upbeat and fun.

Following dinner was the recognition of outstanding alumnus, community members and school employees. Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth of Holt announced the nominees and each gave an acceptance speech.

“I have taught elementary at Dimondale for 36 years,” said Martell. “Through teaching I’ve learned a lot, but most importantly: change is constant, children are a joy and every single Pokemon has a different name.”

Camron Gnass, Holt High School grade of 1999 and the recipient for Outstanding Alumni Member reflected on his years back in high school.

“In high school a lot of teachers didn’t like me, and I liked to challenge the status quo,” Gnass said. “But the teachers that were supportive and were there for me were great, and Holt as a community and as a school district always pushed the norms and encouraged students to be themselves.”

Holt High School teacher Joann Weil emphasized how close she really has become with her coworkers and those involved in the school community over the last 11 years teaching.

“There was a point early on where I realized they were my second family,” Weil said about her coworkers. “I truly appreciated the friendship and the compassion from the people that I work with. And it’s not just the staff, it’s the community. I truly do feel like I have the best job in the world.”

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