Van Horn High School sophomore Colby Hendrix listens to his teacher’s nomination essay after he won the award for best Industrial Technology student during Thursday’s second-annual Independence School District Academy Awards. The event was held at Hilton Garden Inn. At right is Assistant Superintendent Brad McLaughlin, who presented the awards and later was given a special Trail Blazer Award for his role in the academies’ early success.

A student from each of the district’s three high schools was nominated in each of the six academies, and Teacher of the Year had six nominees.

Teacher of the Year went to Col. Mike Byrd of Van Horn (public service academy).

Other academy winners included:

Arts and Education: José Mendoza, senior, William Chrisman

Business: Shelby Fordham, senior, Truman

Freshman: Sophia Grace Vickers, Truman

Public Service: Augustus Spano, junior, Truman

STEM: Anna Bogart, senior, Van Horn

Seniors Walter Gilliam from Truman and Brianna Durham from Van Horn received $2,500 scholarships from Orbital ATK. New Business Partner of the Year went to Cory Mullins of Drones4Hire, and Business Partner of the Year went to Staff Sgt. Clayton Fidler of the Missouri Army National Guard. More pictures from the event can be found at www.examiner.net. [Mike Genet/The Examiner]