Academics for All is pleased to honor Keaton Phipps, son of Kyle and Lynie Phipps, as this week’s Summit Award finalist. Phipps is a member of the National Honor Society, has been selected to the All-State Orchestra three times, the All-Northwest Band, and even the All-National Alternate once, all in addition to handling a rigorous course load. Throughout her high school career, Phipps took numerous advanced placement courses and college-level courses, including numerous advanced math courses and numerous group classes, maintaining an unweighted GPA of 3.9 .
“SHS has given me all the essential tools I will need in college to be successful,” Phipps said.
He names SHS math teacher Tim Daniels as one of his favorite teachers.
“Mr. Daniels has this unique ability to perfectly combine essential teaching with fun,” Phipps said. “His teaching style is engaging.
Daniels taught Phipps in his pre-calculus class in eighth grade.
“What impressed me about Keaton wasn’t just his math smarts, but also how well he fit in with my juniors and seniors,” Daniels said. “They loved working with him, and he’s actually helped a lot of them solve the toughest problems! Keaton is confident in his abilities but also very humble.
Phipps began playing the French horn in seventh grade and plans to continue playing while pursuing a career in music education.
“Through music, I learned an important lesson: hard work is the best path to success,” he said.
He named Erin Schanzenbach, director of the Sheridan Junior High School band, as an influential teacher who “pushed me to work hard to learn my instrument.”
“I knew Keaton was going to be an amazing musician, but I also knew he would be a student who would make the classroom a happier place,” Shanzenbach said of Phipps. “Few students have the same drive as Keaton, which pushed me to become a better educator. He will excel in any field he decides.
Phipps also said former SHS band manager Diane Knutson played “a huge role in my musical growth”.
“She pushed me just as hard to train to get better and helped secure my first All-State selection,” Phipps said.
Knutson also commends Phipps for his hard work and can-do attitude.
“I loved teaching at Keaton! Not only does he work hard in the classroom, but he has a laid-back attitude that makes teaching and learning fun,” Knutson said. “Keaton smiles or laughs quickly when the learning gets tough and puts everyone around him to ease. He’s an exceptional student, musician, and person, and I can’t wait to see what his future holds.
Phipps not only plays the French horn, but also began composing during his freshman year. He has produced three amateur compositions and is currently working on a piece written for horn, violin, viola, cello and double bass.
Phipps enjoys volunteering and says the most rewarding aspect is the connections made with people he might not otherwise have met. He especially enjoyed coaching the YMCA youth soccer program.
“Through this I met some great kids and we had a lot of fun together,” Phipps said. “After just a few hours a week for five weeks with them, I had learned so much about them and we became very close. Without this volunteer opportunity, I would never have met these wonderful young people.
Phipps named his parents as his biggest motivators.
“Through everything I do, they push me to do my best,” he said. “This encouragement helps me succeed in many of my projects. I admire them because they work hard.
Through hard work and cultivating his talents, Phipps will undoubtedly continue to enjoy success. Academics for All congratulates Keaton Phipps!