Swartz and Sanford siblings earn RTHS Critical Thinking Award

Vicki Snyder-Chura
Posted 12/19/21

December's Rochelle Township High School Critical Thinking Award was given to teacher Scott Swartz and Samantha and Zach Sanford.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Swartz and Sanford siblings earn RTHS Critical Thinking Award


ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Township High School Renaissance Critical Thinking Award has been made possible by a generous donation from the RTHS Class of 1961 and the Rochelle Rotary club.

Critical thinking is all about taking the time to gather and evaluate information in order to reach the best possible decision. Unfortunately, good information isn’t always at your fingertips. Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone to find answers.  

English teacher Scott Swartz sets the bar in his classroom very high. Students are met with flexibility and understanding, knowing they are expected to learn the material to earn the grade. 

Swartz’s colleagues consider him a voice of reason; available to help, gracious about offering his opinion and unbothered if his input is disregarded. 

Swartz allows the students and colleagues to grow at their own rate. He helps others become better and stronger without advancing his own agenda. 

He left teaching for a few years to hone his broadcasting skills. Swartz, known far and wide as the voice of RTHS, is first and always will be an educator. There is no doubt we are better and stronger with him on our team.

Our Critical Thinking Award program invites teachers to nominate students who exhibit strong CT skills. This month we recognize a pair of siblings who showed exceptionally strong skills in very different ways.

Samantha Sanford was nominated by English teacher David Welle. His nomination was based on how hard Samantha worked throughout the semester in expository writing. Samantha showed strong skills from the beginning, but what most impressed Welle was how she applied them. He said her ability to express herself while following the rigorous rules of expository writing was masterful. Samantha collected a lot of information from a lot of sources, carefully evaluating before incorporating it into her work. 

Zach Sanford is also being honored this month. Last summer Zach suffered an ACL injury. It benched him for the whole of the 2021 football season, but he managed to be a force anyway, employing exceptional problem-solving skills which he generously shared with teammates. Zach assisted players as well as the coaches. He mentored younger players and became a real team leader. He organized and promoted SupeRfan participation at home games. Zach is an excellent example of how to use positivity and flexibility to rebound from a setback.

For everything he contributed to the Hubs’ success following an odd, abbreviated spring season (COVID-19), Zach was nominated by Hubs football coaching staff.

This month’s CT Award recipients will receive a $50 prize and the opportunity to designate an additional $50 each to the charity of their choice.