Below are the April winners of the Atlas Butler Awards. Congratulations.

Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling, White Castle, College Advantage and ThisWeek Community Newspapers are recognizing exemplary students who represent their school and community by demonstrating hard work and strength of service.

Throughout the 2011-12 school year, Atlas Butler's panel of judges will select 10 monthly nominees, who are featured in their respective ThisWeek communities. A $250 award will be provided in the student's name to a local classroom of the teacher of the nominee's choice.

All selected monthly nominees are featured on Over the course of the ninth-month school year, 90 nominees are selected. Each nominee becomes eligible for an annual prize: three Atlas Butler students of the year, $2,500; five first-place winners, $1,000 each; and 15 honorable mentions, $500 each. To read other students' profiles or to nominate your student, visit

Nominations close on the 15th of each month. Help our panel decide winners on Facebook from the 17th to the 23rd of each month.


Mason Boggs

Senior at Westerville North High School

Nominated by: Patti Wilson

Class with A: AP Physics

Teacher of winning classroom: Dave Weaner

Mason is co-captain of the Westerville North Ultimate Frisbee team. As part of that team he helped organize the first ever Youth Ultimate Frisbee League in Westerville through cooperation with Westerville Parks and Recreation. He is working to get kids active in a new sport. He has also helped do clinics for a middle school, two elementary schools and helped present at the Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance State Convention. He is doing his part to decrease childhood obesity, when schools are eliminating a very important part of a students overall education program, physical education. Westerville Schools have just eliminated physical education as we know it in all the elementary schools in the district.

Erwin Dugasz, III

Senior at Delaware Hayes High School

Nominated by: Pamela Dugasz

Class with A: French 2

Teacher of winning classroom: Mrs. Fitz

Each year Erwin volunteers for the Stroll for Epilepsy sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation of Central Ohio. He has helped set up and tear down for this event, as well as, man one of the scavenger hunt posts where he asks participants questions about epilepsy. Erwin has grown up with his sister being an epileptic, so he understands the need for research to better understand this disorder and possibly cure it, and the need for funds to help those with epilepsy.

Brian Hasenkamp

Senior at Bishop Ready High School

Nominated by: Mary Kay Hasenkamp

Class with A: Theology

Teacher of winning classroom: Mr. Guillory

Brian enjoys volunteering with the Special Olympics of Ohio. This has been a rewarding experience for him. In fact, after sharing his positive experiences with his brother and friends, they have joined in the volunteer efforts with this wonderful organization. Brian started with Special Olympics for service hours in high school. He also participated through his parish, St. Brendan Church, in Hilliard, when he answered a request in the church bulletin for volunteers. This request was for the Tent Town games at the Special Olympic State games held on the campus of the Ohio State University. The joy that the participants receive from even the smallest victory brought joy of even greater magnitude to Brian as he witnessed their effort and perseverance. He plans to volunteer for the Special Olympic games again this year and wishes to continue this endeavor in college and beyond.

Tiara Johnson

Senior at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School

Nominated by: Rebekah Krauss

Class with A: English

Teacher of winning classroom: Rebekah Krauss

Tiara is an outstanding student who is always looking to leave the world a better place than she found it. She has engaged in a wide range of extra-curricular activities including the OCLRE's Mock Trial Competition. She has attended Leadership Training through the Kiwanis Club, as well as is a graduate of the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington DC where she participated in a mock trial with law professors in a Supreme Court case. Her humanitarian efforts are clearest here in Columbus. As an Ohio Youth Voices participant she advised political leaders on the laws that specifically affect school students, as well as advised upcoming teachers on what they should do in order to be effective teachers in public schools. She not only hopes to influence the future through her advocacy, she also has compassion for those who are in need today. She is an active member in the Deaf Ministry at New Birth Christian Ministries. There, as part of the sign language choir, she travels to nursing homes for the deaf to sign gospel songs for them. Tiara hopes to blend her passion for making the future bright, bringing happiness and comfort to those who are in need by become so proficient as a Sign Language Interpreter that she will be able to aid the deaf in having their voices heard.

Eric Niehaus

Senior at DeSales High School

Nominated by: Ruth Seggerson

Class with A: AP Government & Politics

Teacher of winning classroom: Ruth Seggerson

Eric Niehaus is a truly extraordinary young man with a long history of service at St. Francis DeSales High School, at his church, and in the larger community. At DeSales he has served as a peer minister, admissions ambassador, senior class president, retreat leader, and Ronald McDonald House Collection organizer, as well as serving as a leader in many other activities and clubs. In his community he has worked with youth soccer camps, organized and captained Relay for Life teams, worked at the Columbus Furniture Bank, and volunteered with the Westerville Area Resource Ministry.
At St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church he serves as an usher, helps with confirmation retreats, and has participated in youth ministry for three years. Eric's great concern for others is perfectly illustrated by his participation in the "Gospel Road" Outreach Program. With other members of his parish youth group, he spent eight days of his summer vacation in Cranks Creek, Kentucky, fixing up a flood-damaged home and building a bed for a man who had been sleeping on his floor. As you can see, Eric Niehaus is a very busy young man with a very big heart.

Tulsi Patel

Senior at Hilliard Bradley High School

Nominated by: Bhavna Patel

Class with A: AP English

Teacher of winning classroom: Rae Cunningham

Tulsi is a very bright and hard working student holding above a 4.0 GPA. Currently she has a GPA of 4.44. She has earned all A's since elementary school. She is a volunteer at Doctors West Hospital and she is a tutor for kid's club at the Church. She also takes parts in dancing performances at the fund raising charity programs. She is going to OSU for Nursing.

Conner Sarich

Senior at Grandview Heights High School

Nominated by: Billie Sarich

Class with A: AP Calculus

Teacher of winning classroom: Steve Hall

Conner has taken advantage of all the opportunities available to him at Grandview Heights High School. He has earned 8 varsity letters in golf, bowling, wrestling, and tennis. He has been the Student Council Class Treasurer every year of high school. He is a member of National Honor Society and maintains a 4.1 GPA. He has served as Editor-In-Chief of the Journalism Program and is involved in many other school sponsored clubs/activities; In-the-Know Team, Film Club and Ski Club. He plays in both the marching band and the jazz band. He has spent countless hours volunteering for many community service events; Master of Ceremonies for Volley For the Cure, Grandview Library volunteer, and camp counselor. He is also an active member of Young Life.

Alan Swartz

Senior at The Wellington School

Nominated by: John Swartz

Class with A: AP BC Calc

Teacher of winning classroom: Dr. Mark Nandor

My son was captain of his FTC Robotics Team this past season. He led a group of nearly 20 students in the design, build and programming of two robots, which competed in three state championship tournaments (Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan). They competed in the final championship match in each of the three tournaments, winning twice. They also helped set a world points record for this FTC competition – out of more than 1600 teams worldwide (see more at
I am most impressed, though, with his level of commitment. He stayed after school week after week, sometimes working as late as 10 or 11 at night. He spent full days in the lab on Saturdays. He'd be the first member in and the last to leave. They had their ups and downs as a team, but invested huge amounts of time and passion in the entire endeavor. I believe that the lessons every member of the team learned are as much about teamwork, problem solving, strategy and hard work as they are about engineering. These are lessons that will serve them well in most other life situations.
Alan will be pursuing an engineering degree after a gap year or half-year. I have high confidence in his ability to succeed because I have watched him lead the robotics team. He set the direction for the team. He taught junior members the how-to's. He persevered when things were tough.
I am a proud father and believe he is deserving of recognition.

Sarah Weaver

Senior at Whetstone High School

Nominated by: Maren Miller

Class with A: AP English

Teacher of winning classroom: Mrs. Fitz

In late 2010, Sarah began preparing to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award. Sarah contacted the Columbus Metro Parks and, working with a park ranger, developed the concept of building a bridge that would open up a new trail. Sarah and the ranger designed the bridge, and developed a plan to use material already in the park, such as stone and railroad ties, making it as environmentally friendly as possible. Sarah was responsible for every aspect of the project, including supplies, labor, and finances. She organized volunteers for four days over two weekends and provided instruction, tools, snacks, and water for them. I was a volunteer and witnessed Sarah's organizational and leadership skills firsthand. What I found most impressive was Sarah's ability to delegate work to people's strengths. For example, one volunteer had experience working with rock, so he was in charge of laying out the stones for the sides of the bridge.
The completed bridge opens up a new trail for the 500,000 annual visitors to the Metro Park. As we packed up the equipment, a few people began to explore the new trail and commented on how nice it was. The project was a complete success and Sarah was awarded the Gold Award.

Jonathan Eskay Zins

Sophomore at St. Charles Preparatory School

Nominated by: Elaine Zins

Class with A: Latin/Religion

Teacher of winning classroom: Mr. Kyle Callahan

Jonathan created a scholarship in memory of the father of a close friend who unexpectedly passed away last year. The purpose was to help ease the financial burden of the family of a deserving student at St. Brendan School, the elementary school where Jonathan and his friend attended. He acted as fundraising and volunteer recruitment chairperson, beginning in July 2011 until present. He has invested over 200 hours thus far, planning, communicating with his friend's family, fundraising, recruiting volunteer helpers, banking, and creating the application, as well as interview questions. He has surpassed his fundraising goal and so decided to make this scholarship an ongoing service project to give back to his elementary school while honoring his friend's father.