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Chemics News · SVL Scholar Athletes and Teacher of Year announced

The following students have been selected as Midland High School’s Saginaw Valley League Scholar Athletes for 2016-17.

A League-wide recognition luncheon will be held at the Horizon’s Center in Saginaw on Wednesday, April 26th.  Each member school will recognize two students and a teacher at this program.



Ella Colbert

Ella Colbert

Ella Colbert is the daughter of Edward and Kelley Colbert.  Ella has carried a 4.37 GPA while participating in four years of varsity cross country and track; serving as captain of both teams during her senior year.  She is a three-time SVL All-Academic Award recipient

Ella serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Focus, where she has earned MIPA All-State status in 2017 and a Sparty Award for excellence in writing in 2015.  She serves as the fundraising committee chair for the National Honor Society, is a member of the Spanish Honor Society, and is the president of the Political and Social Issues club which she helped found in 2016.  Community Service is a significant component of Ella’s character as she has been a contributing member of the Youth Outreach team at her church and of the Key Club and Kiva Club at Midland High School.

Ella says, “I have learned the importance of time management.  Being involved in many extracurricular activities, being a part of the track and cross country teams, and keeping up with my school work has been something that I have had to balance the past four years.  Learning now to prioritize my time has been incredibly beneficial and is a skill set that I plan to use in college where the school work will be more difficult and where I plan to continue to be very involved.”

Ella will attend the University of California at Berkeley.


Greg Landis

Greg Landis

Greg Landis is the son of Dave and Sue Landis.  Greg has earned a 4.43 GPA while participating in four years of football and baseball and three years of hockey.  He has served as a captain for all three teams during his senior year.  He is a member of the National Honor Society and has been named Academic All-State for football, hockey, and baseball.

Greg has received numerous post-season athletic honors.  His football awards include 1st and 2nd Team SVL, Midland Daily News Dream Team, and Detroit Free Press 1st Team All-State.  He was named to the Saginaw News Hockey Dream team and has earned 1st Team SVL honors.  His baseball awards include 2nd Team SVL and 1st Team All-District.

Greg’s commitment to his church is evident by his willingness to volunteer at Vacation Bible School while serving as a leader, planner, and emcee for the Youth to Youth retreat.  His service to his school includes physics tutoring, Kiva Club, and volunteering as a kick-off mentor for incoming 9th grade students.

He says, “Athletics has taught me several important lessons. First is time management. Playing sports requires a huge time commitment, to attend practices, games and time spent traveling. To be successful in sports as well as the class room, I had to manage my time to ensure that school work was completed on time and done well. Sports also showed me how to work well with others. On the field or the rink, you need to work with your teammates to be successful. I would like to think that part of my individual accomplishments are due to the fact that I helped those around me to be the best that they could be. I also learned leadership skills. Getting others motivated to excel on the field and to lift my teammates up when they were struggling are two things I feel I have done throughout my career. Evidence of my success as a leader is shown by being named as a captain in my senior year.”

Greg will be attending Michigan State University.


Melissa Toner

Teacher of the Year

Toner, Melissa (1)

Melissa Toner has been named a Saginaw Valley League “Teacher of the Year” for 2017, representing Midland High School. The award, established in 1995, recognizes one teacher from each of the member high schools in the league.

Ms. Toner graduated from the Saginaw Valley State University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and later from Grand Canyon University earning a Master’s Degree in Secondary Teaching. Ms. Toner has taught in the Social Studies Department at Midland High School for the past 12 years.  Courses taught include: Government, Economics, Psychology and she is currently the Lead Teacher for the MHS Social Student Department.

Ms. Toner is an exceptional teacher who maintains high expectations for her all of her students.  She employs sound instructional strategies and she is encouraging and engaging.  Equally as important is that fact that her students know that she cares about them.  The high standards that she has set along with her devotion to her students have resulted in a bond that students value and appreciate well after high school.  Colleagues have stated “If you want to see what a master teacher looks like then visit Ms. Toner’s classroom”.

In addition, Ms. Toner has also been described as a true innovator.  She regularly volunteers to be involved in new building or district initiatives, especially if they are technology related.  Ms. Toner was one of the first teachers at Midland High School to use iPads in the classroom, to include Project Based Learning philosophy in her lesson planning, and she has been a long time user of web-based programs that support teaching and learning.  Ms. Toner devotes time in the summer to research ideas to improve her teaching craft.

Ms. Toner has also served in the following roles: MHS Building Technology Instructional Leader (BTIL), class sponsor, representative for the district’s Teacher Communication Committee, MHS Beautification Committee member, and she has been a co-advisor for Psychology Club.  Clearly, her involvements and commitment to Midland High School extend far beyond her classroom.

Melissa resides in Midland with her husband of 37 years, Jerry Toner.  Together they are the proud parents of Zachary Toner and Megan Peterson.  Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, especially her three grandchildren, Lucianna Peterson, Lea Peterson and Carman Toner.  Melissa is also very proud of her parents, Lowell and Dee.