HNHS honors Teacher of the Year, Valedictorian, Salutatorian

Huntington North honors Teacher of the Year, Valedictorian, Salutatorian
Posted on 04/14/2021
(L to R) Huntington North Salutatorian Barrett Barscz, Huntington North Teacher of the Year Nick Altman and Huntington North Valedictorian Noah Zahn pose together following Wednesday's awards programHuntington North High School named its Teacher of the Year, Valedictorian and Salutatorian in a ceremony Wednesday morning in Huntington North’s auditorium. Nick Altman claimed the Teacher of the Year recognition, while Huntington North seniors Noah Zahn and Barrett Barscz earned the designations of Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively, of the Class of 2021.

In addition to teaching radio and television classes, Altman oversees Huntington North’s weekly video announcements show, HNHS Today, and serves as the Station Manager for WVSH 91.9 FM. The radio station broadcasts all Huntington North football and boys and girls basketball games as well as all home and tournament baseball games. Altman also works with his students to stream live video at regular season home athletic events and other key events such as graduation.

A 2000 graduate of Huntington North, Altman graduated from Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Public Communication with a minor in Journalism. Following three years working in media and marketing, including serving as a staff writer at The Huntington Herald-Press for two years, Altman returned to Huntington North in 2007 after accepting his teaching position.

Altman’s students have won awards and placed in multiple categories at the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters annual competition, including Radio Play-By-Play and Television In-Depth.

Huntington North Principal Rief Gilg had high praise for Altman prior to naming Altman as the honoree, sharing various aspects that made Altman stand out as being deserving of the award.

“(Altman) demonstrates on a daily basis our core values of hard work and selfless service to others,” Gilg said. “The hours he puts into his craft, coupled with the incredible connections he makes with his students, make (him) the embodiment of all that is good in education. Teachers and students alike lauded our selection for his ability to connect, to make learning relevant and enjoyable and for being there to guide students and to continually listen and respond to their needs.”

Zahn, son of Michael and Susan Zahn, topped the Class of 2021, consisting of 316 students, after accumulating an impressive list of accomplishments in the classroom throughout his time at Huntington North, excelling in countless AP and dual credit courses en route to a cumulative grade-point average of 4.2424 on a 4.0 scale. Zahn’s hard work in the classroom earned him a spot within the Top 25 of his class in all four years of high school. In addition, he also serves as the president of Huntington North’s National Honors Society chapter.

Zahn also excelled outside of the classroom as well, playing both basketball and tennis throughout high school, including two years on the varsity boys basketball team and three years on the varsity boys tennis team, highlighted by two Sectional titles and advancing to Semi-State with his doubles partner as a senior. Zahn also served as the manager for the girls tennis team as a freshman and currently serves as the manager for the boys golf team.

Other school and community involvement endeavors for Zahn include serving on the Student Athletic Board, Huntington Youth Leadership team, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Camp, the Rotary Interact Service Club, Class Council and Student Council.

“I cannot say enough about this young man,” said Huntington North Guidance Counselor Elaine Willour. “Noah Zahn is a class act. He is a leader in all that he does. He is one of those students that leadership just comes naturally to. He cares about people, yet is driven to do whatever he does with excellence. His goal oriented approach to life causes me to have no doubt that he will be successful in his next stages of life. He is an all-around excellent student, good athlete and an outstanding person who embodies all of those characteristics you would like to see in your own children.”

By earning Valedictorian status, Zahn will be awarded the Delene Anne Regan Valedictorian Scholarship by the Huntington County Community Foundation at Huntington North’s Achievement Night program on Friday, May 21. The scholarship honors the pursuit of academic excellence and the memory of Delene Anne Regan, Huntington High School’s 1953 Valedictorian.

Zahn plans to attend the University of Notre Dame this fall to begin his pursuit of a degree in finance.

Barscz, son of Ben and Jennifer Barscz, finished on Zahn’s heels by recording a grade-point average of 4.2378, just 46 ten-thousandths of a point behind Zahn’s Valedictorian mark. Like Zahn, Barscz also claimed a spot within the Top 25 in his class in all four of his years at Huntington North and is a member of the National Honors Society. Throughout his time at Huntington North, Barscz accumulated 45 dual credits and completed six AP courses.

No stranger to athletics himself, Barscz has served as a student coach for the Huntington North volleyball team for the past three years, running drills and keeping statistics during practices and matches. Barscz has competed in club volleyball since the age of 13, playing for teams based in both Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis. Barscz had the opportunity to represent his country internationally, competing for the United States against teams representing Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Barscz is currently participating in his 10th year of 4-H, which has afforded him the opportunity to learn dedication, hard work and responsibility in addition to acquiring a number of new skills, including baking, bee keeping, glass blowing, photography and sewing. Barscz put those sewing skills to good use by producing face masks for local nursing homes and Huntington North’s clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barscz further utilizes his abilities to serve others through tutoring. Barscz has peer tutored for both math and Spanish since middle school and volunteered daily at Crestview Middle School as a junior to help ESL students with math and English knowledge skills each morning. Barscz demonstrated his bilingual ability last spring by passing the Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages Spanish assessment.

Chris Campbell, Barscz’s guidance counselor at Huntington North, had nothing but great things to say when reminiscing about Barscz’s accomplishments and character.

“His love for being a servant leader distinguishes him among his peers,” Campbell said. “His hard work, determination and passion will lead him to the many goals he has for himself. Barrett has a desire to utilize his abilities to improve the lives of others. He has begun this process right here in our school and community. I will remember him as a great student with a passion for learning, his strong work ethic and his leadership abilities.”

Barscz plans to attend Loyola University in Chicago this fall to begin his pursuit of studying medicine with the end goal of becoming a surgeon or anesthesiologist.
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