On April 9, the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the Student, Educator, Volunteers, Young Professional, and Business of the Year at their annual awards dinner. McNicholas claimed six of the winners:
· Student of the Year: Carly Fehr
· Educator of the Year: Theology teacher Mary Beth Sandmann ‘79
· Volunteers of the Year: Parents Sharon Tobin and Karen Veeneman ‘84
· Young Professional of the Year: Alumna Beth Hamad ’07
· Business of the Year: Jersey Mike’s owned by alumnus Keith McCarroll ’89
Student of the Year – Carly Fehr
Senior Carly Fehr is a four-year member of the Service Club, with the majority of her service hours going towards her work at Matthew 25 Ministries. Along with Service Club, she is also a four-year member of Ski Club, a two-year member of the lacrosse team, receiving the most improved award in 2017, and she Fehr has been a part of the school’s Student Ambassador program and Improvisation Club.
Fehr has always proven academics to be important to her, being a four-year honor roll student, and was named Theology Student of the Year in 2018. She is a part of the SAIL program, and has worked closely with Valerie Combs, Intervention Specialist in the SAIL program, for four years. “I couldn’t be happier that Carly is this year’s Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce’s Student of the Year. I’ve had the unique privilege of working with Carly every day since her Freshman Year, and she is an exceptional young lady. She possesses an unparalleled work ethic and has earned academic honors each year. Of all of Carly’s gifts (and there are many!), I am most impressed with her genuine love and concern for others. Carly is a natural leader who lives by her Christian beliefs and ideals,” Combs said.
Fehr has shown leadership skills through being a Freshman Retreat leader, Junior Retreat leader, and a Kairos leader. Fehr was also on Mardi Gras Honor Guard, Homecoming Court and Mardi Gras Court over her years at McNicholas and a nominee for Eastern Hills Student of the Month. “She is kind, compassionate, genuine and so very humble. No matter the challenge or adventure, she gives her whole self to its success and is passionate about the results. She has greatly enriched the McNicholas community, and I know she will go on to make our world a better place. I have the deepest respect for Carly and wish her all the best,” Combs added.
Fehr feels grateful for the experience: “I never thought of myself as special, but it is nice to be acknowledge for the things I have done. It makes me realize that I may just be doing something right.” She also wanted to thank her parents, Valerie Combs, and seniors Jill and Olivia Tore for their support and the resources they have given her to achieve her success.
Educator of the Year – Mary Beth Sandmann
Mary Beth Sandmann has devoted her life to McNicholas High School, graduating in “1979, with some pretty amazing people!” Sandmann said. She returned to McNicholas in 1994 to teach Theology. Sandmann is also the Director of the Kairos Board which plans the Kairos retreats that every senior at McNicholas attends before he/she graduates. Along with the Kairos Board, she is also a member of the Campus Ministry Team, Mardi Gras Committee and moderator of the Art Club.
“Mary Beth works tirelessly for the students to help them develop their faith,” said Teresa Davis, fellow theology teacher. “She works long hours and weekends behind the scenes covering a multitude of both mundane tasks and thoughtful details that others do not see. She asks for nothing, does not want praise or affirmation, but seeks to see signs of growth in students and to improve retreats.”
Over her 25 years teaching at McNicholas, her and her husband, Bob Sandmann, have sent seven children to McNicholas, and she is a cancer survivor. “I loved teaching my children!” Sandmann said. Outside of McNicholas, Sandmann is the youth coordinator for the Festival of Faiths, helps with a Habitat for Humanity lunch group, works with CAIN, and also is as a member of the Bridge of Faith Trialogue. Last year’s Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year John Norman said, “Mary Beth works for the good of others. The students love Mrs. Sandmann and her kind and gentle manner. The love of Christ shines through her warm smile, her compassion, her service, and her example of faith.”
Sandmann spoke of her success and said, “I find that fulfillment and purpose through every teacher I’ve been able to work with and know as a friend, through my family, through students who I get to see grow and develop as kind, and giving young women and men who make the world a better place!” She added, “It is very nice to be recognized for what I do, but really, I constantly find that I still have much room to grow, and I have much to learn. I feel grateful, and I am humbled every day, that I get to journey in this community of McNicholas.”