The Fredonia Rotary selected Laura Woods and Melissa Pchelka as Students of the Month.
Woods is the daughter of Colleen Vanderzyden and Steven Woods. She is currently a senior at Fredonia High School in the top five percent of her class, and will be graduating next June with an Advanced Regents Diploma with Honors. She has received the Principal's Award every quarter of high school, and as a junior she was awarded the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award. Woods has taken three years of Advanced English, one year of Advanced Global, and is currently in her second year of Advanced Music Performance, in addition to taking AP Psychology, AP English Literature and Composition and AP Music Theory.
Music has always been a very important part of Woods' life; she has played piano for ten years and violin for thirteen. On violin, she has participated in NYSSMA solo competitions, played in a volunteer violin quartet at community events, received the Director's Award, and was recently selected to participate in the Area All-State Symphonic Orchestra. Woods has been a section leader in her orchestra, as well as concertmaster for one of the two musicals for which she has played in the pit orchestra. She plans to play in the pit orchestra again for this year's musical, "Thoroughly Modern Millie." She has been treasurer of the high school orchestra for three years.
Woods has been a member of the Key Club for the past three years, participating in events such as the beach sweep, breast cancer walk, MS walk and ringing bells for the Salvation Army. At the end of last year she was elected treasurer for this current year. This year Woods is also a member of the high school yearbook, the "Folio." This past summer Woods worked as a housekeeper at the Maplewood Hotel in Lily Dale.
Woods plans to attend college for creative writing at either Susquehanna University, Hamilton College or St. Lawrence University, with the goal of going into publishing and becoming an editor. To continue with volunteer work, after college, Woods would like to join the Peace Corps to make a difference in another part of the world.
Pchelka, 17, is a senior at Fredonia High School. Pchelka is the daughter of Jennifer Pulver.
Pchelka took Advanced English freshman year through junior year, and is now taking English at SUNY Fredonia as a 3-1-3 student. Pchelka has taken Advanced Global 10, as well as AP United States History and AP Psychology in her junior year. In mathematics, she has been a year ahead since eighth grade, allowing her to take AP Calculus during her senior year. She has always enjoyed art, taking studio, drawing and film photography. As well as English at SUNY Fredonia, Pchelka also studies macroeconomics. Next semester, she hopes to take three or four classes at the college, having greatly enjoyed the experience. She is currently ranked second in her graduating class and will graduate with an Advanced Regents Diploma with Honors.
Throughout high school, Pchelka has participated in French Club, Key Club and Student Council. She was a member of Key Club every year, elected as an officer junior year. She joined the Student Council as an adviser in grade 11, playing a key role in prom committee. Although elected as class president and president of Key Club by her peers senior year, she has found it easier to stay focused on academics and hold a job by just participating as a member of the Key Club - not letting down her peers with any less than her best work. Pchelka is also an applicant for the new chapter of National Honor Society.
Passionate about performing, she has been on the Fredonia Varsity Basketball Cheerleading team since freshman year. Last year as a leader on the team, Pchelka assisted with choreographing the routine and providing music. She has also taken dance lessons at Chadwick Bay Academy of Dance since age 3. In eighth grade, she was invited to the advanced class, for which each year she choreographs an original solo. The past three years Pchelka has worked with children ages 4 to 5, teaching them ballet and tap dancing as an assistant teacher. Receiving her 15 years of dedication award this June, she is sure the transition away from dance will be a hard one.
Pchelka is also a part-time salesperson at TJ Maxx. When not studying, volunteering, dancing, or working, she balances hard work with enjoyment by reading, watching movies, attending football games and participating in other senior class events.
Next year, Pchelka hopes to attend New York University in New York City, Boston University or Michigan State University. She is not completely sure of the major she is interested in, but she is leaning toward a double major in sociology and another field.