Taking part in the Optimist Character Award presentation, were, from left, Devon Ellerbrock, First National Bank (Award Sponsor); Jeff Clement, KHS Guidance Counselor;  Tara Gerding, Jeff Knueve, Bailey Eickholt and Jane Rosengarten, Optimist President. (Photo submitted)
Taking part in the Optimist Character Award presentation, were, from left, Devon Ellerbrock, First National Bank (Award Sponsor); Jeff Clement, KHS Guidance Counselor; Tara Gerding, Jeff Knueve, Bailey Eickholt and Jane Rosengarten, Optimist President. (Photo submitted)
PUTNAM COUNTY — Three Kalida students were honored last week with the Putnam County Optimist Character Award. The students included Jeffrey Knueve, Tara Gerding and Bailey Eickholt. All three were nominated by Kalida High School Principal Chris Pfahler.

Knueve is a senior and does volunteering at the elementary almost every day. While there he assists the kindergarten teachers with activities for the students.

Pfahler said in the last few years he was an aide to the cafeteria and helped tutor others students with their classwork. These activities take place during his study halls.

“Jeffrey is a 4.0 student that is very involved in the extra-curricular activities of KHS,” Pfahler said. “He is currently the President of the Cats who Care Organization.

Gerding is a junior at Kalida High School. “She is a very giving student,” Pfahler said saying that every day she goes to the elementary and helps with the students in various activities.

“Tara works one-on-one with the kindergarten students helping with whatever skill I ask her to,” said Nancy Kaufman. “From tying shoes to alphabet sounds to counting to 100. Tara is a natural teacher and finds different ways to to help each child if they can’t get it.”

Gerding also tutors a group of students in the Middle School and helps them with homework or studying issues. She also is involved with Kalida St. Michael’s Church as a mass server and a lector at weekend masses.

Gerding is a member of the KHS Student Council, KHS volleyball team and the Cats Who Care Organization.

”She is a helpful, thoughtful student who shines with ambition in a quiet, non-descript way,” Pfahler said.

Eickholt is an office aide in Kalida High School and is responsible for reading the daily announcements each morning over the public address system.

“She does any errand we assign her with willingness and pep,” Pfahler said.

Eickholt maintains a 4.0 grade average while busy with many outside activities. She is on the KHS Student Council, Cats Who Care Organization, Kalida Recycling Committee and the KHS Cross Country and Track teams.

Pfahler said Bailey is the vice president of the Kalida Honor Society and a member of the Academic Club. She is also a teacher aide to two different teachers.

“After school hours, she donates time to the Challenged Champions Equestrian Therapy group in Ottawa and also volunteers at the local nursing home for four hours a week,” Pfahler said.