New National Honor Society Members Introduced, Senior Awards Distributed

Faith. Family. Football.

Those are the three pillars that legendary Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas lived by prior to his untimely and tragic passing in 2009. As a way to honor the legendary Aplington-Parkersburg educator and coach, each spring the Iowa Football Coaches Association selects one individual from each class as the recipient of the Ed Thomas Award, and the winners are chosen based on their commitment to character and integrity.

In the state of Iowa, there is no greater honor bestowed upon a student-athlete. All-conference and all-state accolades are tremendous achievements. But the Ed Thomas Award takes it to another level.

And now, the honor has come to the halls of Gilbert High School.

Iowa Football Coaches Association member Ken Winkler made a stop at Gilbert Wednesday night during Senior Awards Night to surprise soon-to-be GHS graduate Ben Melody with the Ed Thomas Award for Class 3A.

The IFCA couldn’t have chosen a better recipient than Ben, who demonstrates empathy and compassion on a daily basis as he makes his way through our halls. He consistently puts others first, and his work in bringing Moving Forward to fruition will have a lasting impact on our district long after he’s a student.

“I was absolutely pumped to hear Ben was receiving the Ed Thomas Award,” Gilbert Head Football Coach Graham Lundt, who nominated Ben for the award, said. “Ben has such a positive influence on our football program, school, and community. His legacy of what he has done off the field will be felt forever.

“Ben is an inspiration to not only his peers, but the adults around him. In my coaching career, I cannot think of a more deserving student-athlete than Ben.

Gilbert Activities Director Ian Smith echoed Coach Lundt’s thoughts.

“Getting to know Ben over the last year is one of the greatest honors of my education career,” Smith said. “He’s a top-notch individual and the impact he’s made on the Gilbert school district will be felt for years to come.

“Winning this award is extremely fitting because of the young man that Ben is, and I’d like to thank Coach Graham Lundt for nominating Ben for this great honor.”

The Ed Thomas Award was just one piece of what was an incredible evening inside the GHS auditorium. The evening began with 29 new members being inducted into the National Honor Society, and it was followed by Senior Awards Night, where accolades and scholarships were handed out to a large number of our 2023 graduates.

The list of new National Honor Society members, as well as all of the award and scholarship winners, are listed below.

Congratulations to Ben on his prestigious award. Congratulations to our newest National Honor Society members. Congratulations to all of our seniors on their achievements.

It was a great night for our students and our school district!

2023 National Honor Society — New Members

•Olivia Blumhagen
•Sadie Breyfogle
•Averie Bruner
•Abby Deal
•Carly Dolan
•Adalyn Gauck
•Will Hawthorne
•Ella Henningsen
•Taryn Hicks
•Zoey Jones
•Mia Kautman
•Nathan Lee
•Mayson McQueeney
•Kiera Miler
•Kilee Miller
•Gretchen Mizerak
•Laurel Mizerak
•Vivian Nally
•Elle O’Brien
•Abby Patel
•Taylor Puck
•Kaylin Richards
•Anna Saltzman
•Mollie Schnormeier
•Elizabeth Smith
•Andrew Soupir
•Reese Wilson
•Carter Winter
•Kylie Zeigler

Senior Awards Night Winners

•Ed Thomas Award — Ben Melody.

•Bernie Saggau Award — Owen Kautman.

•IGHSAU Iowa Girl Award — Abby Greder.

•HAMO Foundation Scholarship — Cody Wirth, Nolan Weber, Maria Saltzman, Lauren Nissen, Owen Kautman, Ava Henningsen, Alex Harswick, Emma Nelson, Brooklynn Nees, Connor Clark.

•GEA Future Teacher Scholarship — Addison Pink, Jessica Stoker.

•Athletic Booster Scholarships — Owen Kautman, Lauren Nissen, Cason Eggert, Julianne Lundvall.

•Key Cooperative Scholarship — Abigail Dies, Cody Wirth.

•Grandma Jensen Scholarship — Judith Ruiz-Ortiz.

•Story Medical Foundation — Brooklynn Nees, Madeline Roche.

•Beta Tau Delta Sorority — Brooklynn Nees, Madeline Roche, Brock Christensen.

•Marge Bly Scholarship — Madeline Roche, Owen Kautman.

•VL Schwenk Scholarship — Zach Holtan.

•Clare E Shepard Scholarship — Brooklynn Nees.

•Fine Arts Booster Scholarship — David Hinderaker, Jessica Stoker, Lane Maxson, Seera Smadi, Anna Tallman.

•DAR Good Citizen Award — Ben Melody.

•Award from Central Iowa Realtors — Alex Ruba.

•Chris Covell Scholarship — Jessica Stoker.

•Bob Jensen Scholarship — Ben Melody.

•US Army Scholarship — Storm Cichy.

•Ames Noon Kiwanis Club Scholarship — Madeline Roche, Owen Kautman.

•DMACC Scholarships — Maggie Fink, Madelyn Sabus, Ozzy Sents.

•Bethany Life Scholarship — Madelyn Sabus.

•FFA Alumni Scholarship — Abby Dies, Julianne Lundvall, Wilson Lofstedt, Makayla Britcher.

•Bill Ludwig Lions Club Scholarship — Madeline Roche, Maria Saltzman.

•GRIP Mentoring — Lauren Nissen, Jackson Stensland, Ben Melody, Aidan Wimmer, Brock Christensen, Jake Danilson, Carson Ragaller, Erik Soenksen, Owen Kautman, Brooklynn Nees, Owen Wirth, Addison Pink.

•Dr. James McKean Memorial Scholarship — Eden Gildehaus.

•League of Women Voters — Maria Saltzman, Madeline Roche.

•Class Clown Award — Josh Huang.

•Cory Keith Patterson Award — Hank Johnson.

•Lindsay Ellingson Memorial Scholarship — Owen Kautman, Madeline Roche, Johnna Rotto.

•Pro Nails Scholarship — Madeline Roche, Lauren Nissen.

•Geil Family Scholarship — Lauren Nissen, Madeline Roche.