Overton, Kreider and Poliska win RTHS January Critical Thinking awards

Vicki Snyder-Chura
Posted 2/28/22

RTHS students Kenny Overton and Trent Kreider and Athletic Department Assistant Ronda Poliska won the school's January Critical Thinking awards.

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Overton, Kreider and Poliska win RTHS January Critical Thinking awards


ROCHELLE — Rochelle Township High School Biology teacher Nelson Baker nominated two students for the school’s January Critical Thinking award. He said, “These two, independently, worked at home on an extension to our cladograms portion of biology class. Our assignment only required them to do two missions (approximately 1.5 hours of work).  

A cladogram (from Greek clados ‘branch’ and gramma ‘character’) is a diagram used in cladistics to show relations among organisms. (Thank you Wikipedia).

Baker went on to say, “Both Trent Kreider and Kenny Overton returned the next day having completed all six missions. That extended far past what they needed to know for the course. It had to have taken them both several hours at home, outside of class for no additional gains, other than knowledge. This shows that they are taking initiative in their learning and allowing themselves to be interested in the course material, rather than just completing it to check a box. Very impressive.”

Each of the boys said they completed all the missions because they enjoyed the science and the challenge. Kreider is contemplating a science-based career. Overton isn’t quite ready to commit, but said he really enjoys Mr. Baker’s class.

According to RTHS Athletic Director Rich Harvey, his assistant Ronda Poliska, “is unbelievable at critical thinking and multitasking.”

“She has created a system that allows her to organize schedules, buses, forms, eligibility, assigning official and many more tasks. She then communicates all the information and makes sure everyone is taken care of. 

“Ronda is proud of RTHS and is always striving to make sure we are represented in a positive manner by making sure all details are covered. On top of that she does it with a smile or a giggle. I can't thank her enough for all that she does for our school, students, and staff.”

Thanks to a generous donation from the RTHS Class of 1961, RTHS is able to recognize and reward critical thinkers every month this school year. Recipients receive a $100 reward. They are asked to designate half to a local non-profit organization.

Poliska designated $50 to Miss Carly’s Rescue Mission. Overton chose TAILS Humane Society. Kreider has yet to decide.