Teachers Have 10 Insightful Things to Say About Belleville’s Top 10

Marie Perry, Communications Director for the School District of Belleville

Belleville’s Top 10 Front Row (L-R): Mrs. Meir, Mrs. Jenkins, Ben Johnson, Carter Scholey and Mr. Berthelon. Back Row (L-R): Mr. Bussey, Mrs. Treder, Alora Spiegel, Sofie Veeneman, Emily Swanson, Megan Stone, Ava Patrow and Señora Schade. Photo courtesy of Marie Perry


As the flurry of May begins for seniors, Senior Awards Night offers one small moment in time to reflect on one’s accomplishments over the past four years.  From freshman year until the spring of one’s senior year, there are many tests to take, places to be, decisions to make, and friendships to build.  However, receiving the honor of being one of the Top 10 students of your class when all is said and done takes resilience, goal setting, and grit.

On May 8th, Belleville High School honored its Class of 2024 and recognized its Top 10 students.  The Capitol Conference Top 10 are Isaac Erb, Timothy Fleener III, Benjamin Johnson, Ava Patrow, Joshua Potter, Carter Scholey, Alora Spiegel, Megan Stone, Emily Swanson, and Sofie Veeneman.

While Senior Awards Night allowed time to acknowledge these ten graduating seniors, Belleville’s May School Board Meeting made special time for their teachers to spotlight their academic achievements individually as they each possess gifts that they will take with them on their journey.

Alora Spiegel received the Valedictorian Award and the Academic Excellence Scholarship.  Mrs.Treder took time to let the school board know more about Spiegel’s academic accomplishments.

Mrs. Treder notes, “Alora is a fantastic writer!  She has great leadership, research, and all around academic skills.  Combined with her patience, compassion, and kind heart, Alora will go far in life.  No matter what she chooses to do, I know she will be successful in all her endeavors.”

Ava Patrow was also awarded the Valedictorian Award, and her strong academics were spotlighted by her Spanish teacher Katelyn Schade.

“She is a well-rounded student that is very involved in the school and in the community.  She is a part of many student organizations such as Student Council, NHS, Young Samaritans, and the Principals’ Advisory Committee.  She is involved in the community through the Meals on Wheels Program, Turkey Drop, and other Young Samaritans activities.  Academically, she is an exemplary student that is in many advanced classes such as AP Calc, Stats, and Language.  Although there is no AP Spanish, she is in the highest level of Spanish that Belleville offers, which deserves recognition,” says Señora Schade.

Megan Stone’s academic career was highlighted by her teacher Mrs. Amy Lewis.

Mrs. Lewis underscores, “Megan possesses a combination of wit, determination, and intelligence that promises a bright future ahead.  I have every confidence that she will achieve great things, and I eagerly anticipate witnessing her journey unfold.”

Meredith Smith provided insightful commentary about Timothy Fleener’s accomplishments in Chemistry.  Tim plans to pursue chemistry in college.

Mrs. Smith wrote, “It wasn’t until this school year that I really got to know Tim when he joined my AP/Dual Credit Chemistry classes.  I have had many students over the years that tolerated chemistry and only a handful of students that really loved chemistry.  It wasn’t very long into this school year that Tim and I both realized that chemistry is a natural language for him to speak and that he should consider a career in chemistry as well as join Science Olympiad again.”

Benjamin Johnson was noted for his many academic accomplishments and will begin his college career in Engineering Mechanics at UW-Madison in the fall; but for a teacher starting his career at Belleville High School in the wake of tragedy, Nicholas Berthelon saw even more of Ben’s talents.

Mr. Berthelon acknowledges, “Ben was the one student who really stood out during that time to help welcome me to school.  Ben played a key role in helping me transition into my teaching roles and helping me get an understanding of how things worked in the classroom and at the school in general.”

Sofie Veeneman was honored by her teacher Stephanie Meir for her academic excellence and musical talents during her high school career.

Mrs. Meir says, “Sofie is a very talented musician who has learned how to play three instruments over her middle and high school career.  She is quiet, but beneath the surface there is a current of intelligence, kindness, and consideration.  Her work is always done well and she is such a dedicated student.  Sofie is also tenacious.  When she sets her attention to something, she will give it 100%.  I know as she moves on to the next level in her education that she will thrive.  I am very honored to have Sofie in the band all these years and I have had the pleasure of watching her grow into the amazing person that she is today.  Congratulations Sofie and best wishes in college!”

Joshua Potter’s high school career was spotlighted through the words of his teacher and coach Robert Gentilli.

Mr. Gentilli emphasizes, “He is the ultimate teammate and classmate, and I see his academics and athletics closely intertwined in his success as a student athlete.  Josh shows integrity, hard work, and the desire to do the best that he can do at every situation he is in.  He makes those around him better as well.  He has made me better, and I thank him for that – and for the state title!”

Isaac Erb plans to study Mechanical Engineering next year at UW-Platteville after spending dedicated time in the Wildcat Manufacturing program under the direction of Nicholas Berthelon and Mr. Pickett.

“I really got to know Isaac over the course of this last school year when he started taking Wildcat Manufacturing with me and Mr. Pickett.  Through this class, Isaac has shown me how knowledgeable he is in manufacturing and many of the things he has learned through his Youth Apprenticeship at Kelsch Machine,” says Mr. Berthelon.

Carter Scholey is known for his excellence in Cross Country and athletics, but his academic career was brought to light by his teacher Elizabeth Jenkins.

Mrs. Jenkins reflects, “One of my first classroom memories of Carter happened after one of our first quizzes in Honors English 10.  He stayed after class and asked, ‘How can I improve?’  It wasn’t about the grade, it was how he could get better.  Over the last three years Carter and I have had many similar conversations, all about how he could improve his skills.  Clearly, this work ethic has carried into other aspects of his life.”

Emily Swanson’s strengths in the sciences were emphasized by her teacher Travor Bussey at the May School Board meeting.

Mr. Bussey highlights, “I’ve had the honor and privilege of having Emily in three of my science classes here at Belleville High School.  From dissecting fish in Biology through the last day of AP Environmental Science roasting marshmallows over a camp stove, Emily has always shown a genuine curiosity, a desire to learn how to learn, and a great amount of humility even as a top academic student.”

The Belleville Learning Community is proud to be the foundation for these Top 10 students to take wing in June and start the next chapter of their lives academically.

Associate Principal Kyle Loshaw is excited for them.  “This group of students has worked extremely hard and navigated an unprecedented four years of high school.  This is one of our most competitive Top 10s we have seen.  I am so proud of the accomplishments this group has made – not only in the classroom but also as leaders in a variety of different areas outside of the classroom.  The entire class of 2024 is a fantastic example of what we aspire all of our Wildcats to be,” says Loshaw.