Rotary Students of the Month

The Maryville Rotary Club presented Maryville High School seniors with certificates and scholarships on Wednesday afternoon outside the Lee and Nina Schneider Center for the Performing Arts. Shown from left in the front row are: Davin Davis, Olivia Stiff, Gwynn Smail and Trey Houchin. In the back row are: Justin Staples, Cassidy Spire, Rotary co-president Nate Jaster, Victoria Allen and Brady Farnan.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Eight Maryville High School seniors were recognized by Rotary Club members on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in the foyer of the Lee and Nina Schneider Center for the Performing Arts.

Wednesday’s brief meeting with the students: Olivia Stiff, Davin Davis, Gwynn Smail, Trey Houchin, Cassidy Spire, Justin Staples, Victoria Allen and Brady Farnan provided an opportunity to present their certificates and scholarships. Each student received $100 and now has the opportunity to apply for one of two larger Rotary Club scholarships at the end of the school year.

Each student biography below includes words in each student’s nomination letter. Typically, these words would be read in front of parents at a lunch recognizing the students each month. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club has not met since November to social distance.


Olivia Stiff and Davin Davis were named November students of the month.

Stiff is the daughter of Tina and Tim Stiff. Her sister is Ava Stiff.

“Olivia is kind, willing to help and reaches out to help other students,” according to her nomination. “She is reliable and responsible to complete work in her challenging senior course load. Olivia is very active in Student Council. She is very conscientious and is always thinking of ways to help others.”

Stiff has stayed active in high school including: volleyball, basketball, marching and concert band, jazz band, robotics, student council – secretary, International Club – president, Octagon Club, Leo Club – secretary, National Honor Society, honor Bands – NMIB, NCMBA, Project Lead the Way, HOSA, Missouri Leadership Seminar, American Legion Auxiliary and Missouri Girls State 2021.

Within the community, she has volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels for student council and NHS. She also has taken mission trips with the First United Methodist Church.

After graduation, Stiff plans to attend a four-year university to study pre-med.

She quoted Arianna Huffington for her personal philosophy on life, “Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.”

Davis is the son of Jim and Dixie Davis. His siblings are: Delton Davis and Nyah Davis.

“Davin is an awesome student — always ready to help and kind to fellow students,” according to his nomination. “He is good to help new students with Schoology, our students’ learning management system. He took part in freshman orientation to help the parents with Schoology too — a great help to Mr. Alvarez and Mrs. Houtchens.

“Davin has a positive attitude, no matter the situation. He is friendly to everyone, willing to do anything asked of him and is very responsible. He works hard to achieve success in all areas of his life.”

Davis has stayed busy during high school including: National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, International Club, Future Business Leaders of America, the superintendent’s cabinet, e2 leadership program, Missouri Boys State, volleyball manager, basketball manager, tennis and track.

Within the community he attends Countryside Christian Church, works at Pizza Ranch and frequently walks dogs at the New Nodaway Humane Society animal shelter.

After graduation he plans to further his education at the University of Missouri – Columbia in the speech pathology program. He hopes to become a speech pathologist in the future.

“I would like to have the ability to help those in need of communication therapy so they are able to regain one of the most important aspects of life, communication,” he wrote on an information sheet.

Davis wrote that his personal philosophy on life is to “cherish every moment with your friends and loved ones, and remember to take time to appreciate yourself and the work you do. I believe self-love is very important in shaping a leader because you must love yourself in order to understand failure and be able to overcome it. I am very much success-driven so sometimes I have to remind myself that failure is OK sometimes and you can learn lots from it. I also value my time with others because my friends and family are extremely important to me.”


Gwynn Smail and Trey Houchin were named December students of the month.

Smail is the daughter of Brian and Jaclyn Smail. Her brother is Grant Smail.

“Gwynn is an honest and hard-working girl and interested in learning (not just checking things off of a list),” according to her nomination. “She is involved in National Honor Society, Band (very!), and National Technical Honor Society. She works a job several nights a week during the school year.

“Gwynn is taking two dual credit courses at MHS and three dual credit business courses to best prepare herself for an accounting major in addition to working a job. Her attendance is excellent and she makes no excuses. She just does what she is supposed to do like the good citizen she is.

“Gwynn has embraced the MHS hybrid learning environment. She always has her work completed, asks to work ahead and supports her classmates whether in-person or on their virtual days. Her work ethic, responsibility and positive attitude is very evident.”

Smail has stayed active in high school with the following: Band, jazz band and drum line, All-District Jazz Band, Future Business Leaders of America and other honor bands.

Within the community she takes part in the Adopt-a-Family Christmas Tree, and local food drives. She worked the frontline during the pandemic as a grocery worker and has taken church mission trips.

After graduation Smail plans to attend Missouri State University and major in accounting with the intent of getting her CPA.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” she quoted Norman Vincent Peale as her personal philosophy on life.

Houchin is the son of Matt and Melanie Houchin. His brother is Tyler Houchin.

“Trey is a kind student,” according to his nomination. “He is upbeat, positive, polite and he participates well in class. He does his work and asks for help when he needs it. I believe he is a good role model for younger students.”

In school, Houchin has stayed busy with football, basketball and baseball.

Within the community, he has helped children in basketball and football camps. He also is involved in multiple community clean-ups with the football team during the past four years.

After graduation he plans to attend college and further his education.

“Always believe in yourself, no matter what,” is his personal philosophy on life.


Cassidy Spire and Justin Staples were named January students of the month.

Spire is the daughter of Monica and Andrew Spire. Her siblings are: Riley, Kaylie and Drew Spire.

“She demonstrates a willingness to work hard to help others through many different extracurricular activities such as Future Business Leaders of America, Student Council and the International Club,” according to her nomination. “Cassidy has proven herself to be a leader in the little things — taking on jobs that need to be done and helping others be successful. She was one of the seniors who took charge with homecoming decorating — working nearly all of her day off during conferences to get things done. She’s come to get the camera and take pictures for the yearbook even though she’s not actually in the class.”

Spire has stayed busy during her high school career with: Student Council – communications coordinator, National Honor Society – vice president, National Technical Honor Society – president, soccer, SkillsUSA, Octagon Club, HOSA, Leo Club – vice president, International Club – treasurer and Special Education, Spanish.

In the community, she walks dogs at the New Nodaway Humane Society animal shelter, rings bells for the Salvation Army and has hosted a food drive and a clothes drive. She also stocks shelves at The Ministry Center, serves food for children at The Learning Center, adopts residents at local nursing homes for Christmas and the Adopt-a-Family program.

After graduation, she plans to attend North Central Missouri College to obtain her RN and continue her education to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Her goal is to become a neonatal nurse practitioner.

“My personal philosophy to life is to live my life to the fullest and never take anything for granted,” she said.

Staples is the son of Devin and Jen Staples. He has two brothers Zach and Jaxson Staples.

“Justin is a hard worker in class and wants to do well,” according to his nomination. “He has always been helpful. Any time I ask for volunteers to help me, he is always the first to step up. I have so much respect for him. He is also involved in activities while being a good student.”

During his high school career he’s been involved in soccer – varsity captain, basketball, tennis, Spectrum, International Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Within the community he referees youth soccer games, is a junior coach for swim team and walks dogs at the New Nodaway Humane Society animal shelter.

After graduation he plans to attend college to become a chiropractor.

“Always be kind to others. Treat others like you want to be treated. Treat all people and animals with manners,” is his personal philosophy on life.


Victoria Allen and Brady Farnan were named February students of the month.

Allen is the daughter of Terry Jr. and Erin Allen. Her siblings include: Don and Luke Allen.

“Tori is a great student and demonstrates a very determined attitude toward her studies and her goals,” according to her nomination. “Tori is highly self-motivated in academics and athletics. She is a hard worker, sets goals for herslef and works tirelessly to achieve them. She represents MHS well in the community and beyond.

“I appreciate that Tori really seeks to understand. She always wants to know more and asks good questions. She doesn’t just accept the things we say at face value. She digs deeper and truly wants to learn. Tori is also an exceptionally hard worker. And I also appreciate her tell-it-like-it-is nature.

“Tori is a high achiever, very driven, humble and respectful, soccer player, Student Council member, took class on campus at Northwest her junior year and is involved in other school activities.”

During her high school career she participated in varsity girls soccer, Nodaway County Rugby Club, Student Council – treasurer 10th grade, president 11th grade, vice president 12th grade, Octagon Club, Leo Club – president, National Honor Society and Robotics Club.

Within the community, she helps at the Manna Kitchen. She volunteered at a youth soccer camp and helped with St. Gregory’s rummage sale. She also helped with Maryville’s summer school and St. Gregory Barbarigo Catholic Church vacation Bible school.

After graduation Allen plans to attend Missouri University of Science and Technology. She would like to major in mathematics and is exploring different engineering paths.

Her personal philosophy on life is “to use my gifts for good; giving back to my community.”

Farnan is the son of Darren and Shantel Farnan. His sister is Maggie Farnan.

“Brady is involved and is a leader in many school activities,” according to his nomination. “He is a strong role model through his actions. He is not vocal, but he quietly chooses to do the right things. Brady is a model student.”

Farnan has stayed active during his high school career with numerous activities including: football, Future Business Leaders of America, Octagon club, Hound Howling Center, International Club, basketball, baseball and National Honor Society.

Within the community he has volunteered with a high school youth group, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He has also performed community service through football.

After graduation Farnan plans to attend Northwest Missouri State University and major in business economics.

“Always live life to the fullest and take advantage of every opportunity you get,” is his personal philosophy on life.