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April Rotary student is Dan Ritt

Dan Ritt is the Rotary Student of the Month for April. Ritt was nominated by HHS teacher Ms. Kari Jaeger, who wrote:

Throughout my teaching career, I've written countless recommendations, but I don't think I've ever written about a student who is more deserving of recognition than Mr. Dan Ritt!

Dan is not only the nicest student I've had, he is one of the nicest people I've ever met. His other teachers will tell you the same thing. (I know because I asked them.) Natalie Cardell describes Dan as "THE most polite student I've ever had. He is truly a kind soul." Paul Olson's words are, "Dan is easily the most respectful and kind student I have ever had!" Ask any of Dan's teachers about him, and they'll tell you that Dan leaves the classroom everyday with "Goodbye Mr./Mrs._______. Have a good day." I miss having Dan in class because his comments brightened my day; even though his words were the same every day, he managed to deliver them with the upmost sincerity because he was actually sincere. He's kind to his classmates, too. In the mornings, as he waits for his friends at the front door, he greets each person who enters with an opened door and a "Good morning!"

Dan is mature. In my Contemporary Literature class, the discussions sometimes became heated. Dan didn't dominate in those discussions. Instead, he listened and waited for the moment when someone needed rescuing, and then he'd join the discussion to clarify what a classmate was struggling to articulate or to tactfully challenge the opinion of a classmate who was becoming belligerent. Paul Olson's words describe Dan's maturity perfectly: "He works pretty hard in class, but what I love about him is that he takes ownership for whatever happens. If he misses an assignment it is no one else's fault; he takes the blame and apologizes. If does well, he then credits you as a teacher, and that is very rare for students. Empathy is something that isn't easily found in students, and I think that Dan has more than most adults."

Dan is admired but modest. In Paul Olson's classes, students participated in a "movember" facial-hair contest. Several students dropped out of the contest when they heard Dan was in the lead; they wanted Dan to win. My Contemporary Literature class was interrupted one day when a principal pulled Dan into the hall. When Dan reentered the room, his classmates, jaws on the floor, simply needed to know what Dan had done. As is his nature, Dan did not answer with a statement that begin with "I." His answer began with "You." He told his classmates, "Apparently you have selected me to be on the Snoweek court." The classroom erupted in clapping. (I'm very proud of the students at HHS for selecting such a deserving young man to represent them!)

For an assignment in my class, Dan described himself as someone who "doesn't talk much," who "steps aside, observes, and thinks." He says he "doesn't like to bother people." Dan would probably tell you that he doesn't stand out. But he does! Dan's future plans include serving in the armed forces, and I cannot think of a better person to represent our country.