Just about every week during this first school year, The Gator’s Eye featured a Gator of the Week. These were students who demonstrated kindness and resilience. Students who were helpful and involved. Students who truly contributed to the creation of our school community. Now, as the year comes to an end, The Gator’s Eye would like to recognize two Gators of the Year. These Gators are, to borrow a definition from Band Director Mr. Myers, the “personification of our school’s core beliefs,” and “leaders within the school and the community.”
Our first-ever Gators of the Year are Sara Abell and Tyler Coffee.
Sara Abell is an engaged and involved member of our school community and Green Level’s Band program. She has been featured in “Gators Together” and “Gators at Home.” From students to Student Services, the Green Level community has nothing but glowing praise for Sara.
Mr. Myers told us that Sara is “one of the most remarkable students I’ve encountered,” adding that she “is humble, yet she works hard to achieve great things. She is kind and considerate, yet she stands up for what she believes. She is always willing to help and was instrumental in developing our program from day one, helping us unpack boxes and set up our space. She has attended and contributed to every online class and optional meet-up activity and is constantly checking in on her classmates. Sara truly leads with kindness and compassion for others.” English teacher Mrs. Singh says that Sara “is a kind, thoughtful student who leads through her actions. She displays compassion and respect for all and listens as well as she speaks.” Dean of Students Mrs. Roberts calls Sara “one of the kindest, most genuine students I have ever worked with,” noting how impressed she was with Sara’s “poise and humility” when they worked together to planning her four years at Green Level. Mrs. Roberts “really cannot wait to see what Sara continues to do here at Green Level – and beyond.”
Classmates and peers agree that Sara is special. Adam Kashmola says that“She is such a respectful person to both her teachers and her friends. No matter how close you are with her she will pay attention and listen to what you have to say, and she is super nice and easy to talk to!” Sophia Landry adds that “Sara is an awesome friend, student, and team member. She works hard to make sure she does every activity to the best of her ability. She stays positive and always seems to remain in control of every aspect of her life.” Landry is “so grateful to be Sara’s friend and learn from her great attitude, confidence, and joy for life.”
When we reviewed the nominations for Gator of the Year, one name clearly stood out: Tyler Coffee. It seems that when teachers, students, and staff thought about an individual who truly embodied the best in our school community, Tyler quickly came to mind. The feedback we received stressed not only Tyler’s academic success, but also his warm personality and his school pride.
Tyler is well known to the Green Level community as the guy with the enthusiastic smile leading our student section–the “Gator Goonies”–during pep rallies and athletic events. Kayleen Ahlquist even told us that Tyler “was our school spirit this year,” explaining that he “started the spirit in football games and inspired our school at pep rallies,” and that he even supported the basketball team the whole season despite being injured and not being able to play.”
Tyler’s peers and classmates also appreciate his kindness and his determination to include and involve everyone. Cicero Leak IV told us that Tyler “knows everyone in our school matters and puts the ones he cares most about before him,” adding that “Tyler cares about the school and its students and making sure it all stays good.” Kayleen Ahlquist told us that “he talks to everyone.”
Tyler’s classmates and teachers also recognize the role he plays as a school leader in our student discussion group, known as the Round Table. Round Table faculty sponsors Mrs. Hill and Ms. Nation praised Tyler’s courage in sharing his thoughts and ideas but also his ability to be quiet and listen when needed. He helps to foster honest and healthy conversations, and is expected to be a student discussion leader when Round Table reconvenes next year.
A number of Tyler’s teachers shared their admiration and respect for him. Spanish teacher Roger Collins says that Tyler is an “outstanding young man,” adding that “his determination to better himself and his school really stood out to me.” Football Coach Ben Godeau told us that “Tyler has a warm personality that enhances the overall culture of our school. He’s a natural leader and someone who peers gravitate towards.” Coach Godeau was appreciative of Tyler’s “constant support for our athletic programs” and says that in addition to admiring Tyler’s school spirit, he also admires his persistence and resilience, explaining that “I witnessed his daily work ethic to rehabilitate his surgically repaired knee. It goes without question that Tyler’s determination and effort will lead him towards a bright future.”
The Gator’s Eye is confident that both Sara and Tyler do indeed have bright futures ahead. We thank them both for improving our school, helping to keep us all connected, and making us stronger as a community. These students truly represent the best of what it means to be a Gator. Congratulations, Sara and Tyler!