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 National Honor Society member, selected three time All-State Orchestra, All-Northwest Band, and even All-National alternate once — all in addition to managing a rigorous course load. Throughout his high school career, Phipps has taken numerous Advanced Placement classes and college level courses, including many advanced math classes and numerous band classes, maintaining a 3.9 unweighted GPA.
“SHS has provided me with all the essential tools that I will need in college to succeed,” Phipps said.
He names Tim Daniels, SHS math teacher, as one of his favorite teachers.
“Mr. Daniels possesses this unique ability to perfectly blend essential teaching with fun," Phipps said. "His style of teaching is engaging.”
Daniels taught Phipps in his pre-calculus class as an eighth-grader.
“What impressed me about Keaton was not only his math intelligence but also how he fit right in with my juniors and seniors," Daniels said. "They loved working with him, and he actually helped many of them out with the tougher 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 as he pursues a career in music education.
“Through music, I have learned an important lesson: hard work is the best path to success,” he said.
He named Erin Schanzenbach, Sheridan Junior High School band director, as an influential teacher who “pushed me to work hard in learning my instrument.”
“I knew that Keaton was going to be an incredible musician, but I also knew he would be a student that 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 whatever area he decides.”
Phipps also said former SHS band director Diane Knutson played “a massive role in my musical growth."
"She pushed me just as hard to practice to become better and helped me to secure my first selection into All-State,” Phipps said.
Knutson also commends Phipps for his hard work and positive attitude.
“I loved teaching Keaton! Not only does he work hard in class, he has an easy-going manner about him that makes both teaching and learning fun," Knutson said. "Keaton is quick to smile or laugh when learning gets difficult, and puts all those around him at ease. He is an outstanding student, musician and person, and I'm very excited to see what his future holds.”
Phipps not only plays French horn but also began composing in his junior year. He has completed three amateur compositions and is currently working on a piece written for horn, violin, viola, cello and bass.
Phipps enjoys volunteering and says the most rewarding aspect is the relationships built with people he may not have met otherwise. He especially enjoyed being a coach for the YMCA’s youth soccer program.
“Through this, I met some great kids and we had a lot of fun together," Phipps said. "After only a couple of hours a week for five weeks with them, I had learned so much about them, and we grew very close. Without this volunteering opportunity, I would have never met those great young people.”
Phipps named his parents as his biggest motivators.
“Through everything I do, they are pushing me to try my best," he said. "This encouragement helps me to succeed in many of my endeavors. I look up to them because they work hard.”
Through hard work and cultivating his talents, Phipps will no doubt continue to find success. Academics for All congratulates Keaton Phipps!