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Bigfork student promotes idea of family at school

by HILARY MATHESON
Daily Inter Lake | December 12, 2021 12:00 AM

Bigfork High School student body president Nya Schara leads with compassion and kindness for her fellow classmates.

“Good morning family” is a phrase students will hear when Schara reads daily announcements, according to library media specialist Scarlett Sherman, who nominated Schara as a Today’s Achievers, Tomorrow’s Leaders honoree.

“The whole purpose of it is to make the school environment a better place,” said Schara, who was recognized with the designation in November. “It’s pretty easy to be grumpy at school and so you kind of have to work to get kids you know to be uplifted at school. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to build a family here. That was the goal we set for ourselves in the beginning of the year.”

The Today’s Achievers, Tomorrow’s Leaders program recognizes the academic achievement and community involvement of high school students who contribute to improving the lives of others. The award is sponsored by Logan Health in collaboration with the Daily Inter Lake. In addition to the recognition, honorees choose a school club or activity to receive a $250 donation. She will donate the money to the student council.

In the nomination letter, Sherman highlighted the care and concern the Bigfork senior showed toward her peers during an especially trying time.

“This year, Nya took it upon herself to bridge the mental health gap. She did what no one wanted to do and started talking about difficult subjects in our community, more specifically, suicide. … When she does the daily announcements at school, she starts the announcements with ‘Good Morning Family,’ a guide to inclusion for our students and staff. And, yes, she considers us all family this year,” Sherman wrote.

“While we suffered a tragic loss at the beginning of this process, Nya was not immune to feeling the responsibility of the loss and instead of giving up in the face of adversity, she is persevering and continuing to put herself out there for the good of the school. Nya undoubtedly deserves some recognition for her hard work. I want her to feel rewarded and justified about what she is pursuing, even if she doesn't know the impact she is having on our small school,” she continued in the letter.

Selflessness is a word that came to mind when Schara was asked to define what it means to be a leader.

“A leader is someone who forgets about their pride or what their peers think of them in order to better the environment around them,” Schara said.

“You need to be selfless because there’s kind of no personal gain or personal reward from being a leader besides the fact that you’re helping other people,” she said, adding that a willingness to put in a lot of work is also required.

GROWING UP, Schara naturally fell into a leadership role as the oldest of three siblings. However, at some point, taking on leadership roles became a personal decision. In finding other ways to better her school, she became an Ignite Nation peer mentor. These mentors are paired up with freshmen to help them navigate high school, setting them up for success.

When physical limitations and surgeries stemming from hip dysplasia kept her from athletics — namely years of cheering and playing soccer — she sought other opportunities and became team manager for the boy’s soccer and basketball teams, which she’s done for two years.

“The theme of recovery is, ‘What can I do?’ because there are so many things that you can’t do when your leg isn’t working. You can’t just yell at it to work. So, the main challenge is finding things to do. For me, that was managing basketball and soccer,” she said, which also freed up time to dedicate to the student council.

“As manager I take stats. You’re kind of the team mom mixed with a waterboy,” she said with a smile.

She also volunteers her time coaching fifth- and sixth-graders with the Bigfork Bandits and at the Bigfork Food Bank. Academically, she maintains a 4.0 GPA, is enrolled in Running Start at Flathead Valley Community College and has taken honors English all four years of high school.

Fulfilling large tasks takes more than just the work of one. Schara wanted to recognize the work student council vice president Levi Taylor has put in, particularly during her surgery. She also called on the football team to help promote the idea of a school family.

“I approached the football team the middle of September and just said, ‘I want you guys to bring the family bond you have to the halls,’ and they did a great job at that,” she said.

“When I started this year I wanted to create a welcoming environment,” she said. “It’s kind of funny when you tell that to people because they’re like, ‘Oh, you know, we have another girl who thinks she can change the world. I totally get it, a lot of people say things and then don’t back up what they say, but I don’t want to be that person.”

She also listed the names of educators who have served as mentors.

“I know my name will be mentioned, but truthfully, there are so many people helping me. I mentioned Levi a bunch, but also Coach Ben with the football boys; he did great this year. Miss Sherman is awesome. Mr. Feller helps with student council. Mr. Hansen says yes to just about every single idea I approach him with. Teachers are doing great this year. Students are doing great this year and we’re recovering as a family.”

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or by email at hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

Learn More

Today’s Achievers, Tomorrow’s Leaders nomination criteria:

Eligibility: High school students in Flathead or Lake County.

Academics: Students who value their education by exhibiting academic responsibility (preferably have a 3.0 GPA or higher).

Character: Students who display integrity, compassion, service, excellence.

Citizenship: Students who nurture healthy communities through community service, volunteerism or other contributions to their community and/or school.

Leadership: Students who take initiative and are role models for others.

Forms are available at https://www.logan.org

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