Lakeside NISTAR

Lakeside NISTAR students Tommia Pakootas (left) and twin sister Suzzana Pakootas honored Lakeside Jr. Sr. High School teachers Steffani Hoffman and Jeremiah Manes as the 2019 NISTAR teachers.

Lakeside High School teachers Jeremiah Andrew Manes and Steffani Hoffman were recognized for their extraordinary effort and passion as part of the North Idaho Student Teacher Achievement Recognition Program (NISTAR) this year.

Lakeside seniors, and class of 2019 valedictorians, Tommia and Suzzana Pakootas, had the honor of selecting this year’s teachers. The twin sisters were selected for their twin academic and athletic achievements which also put them at the top of their class.

Suzzana honored Mr. Manes for his work as the associated student body leadership advisor.

“His class made me want to come to school,” Suzzana said. “He is an awesome ASB leadership advisor and we always had fun even when we had to be serious.”

Mr. Manes is the first ASB advisor to secure a sponsorship for all Lakeside ASB students to attend the state Association of Student Council conference in Boise.

“State was really fun too,” Suzzana said. “We basically had a bunch of fun learning how to be better leaders at our school.”

Mr. Manes, NISTAR recognition comes early in his career. He graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2016 and has taught at Lakeside for two years.

“I was glad that Suzie thought of me,” he said. “It feels good to be recognized and have your efforts validated. I hope that we’re going to keep growing and be smoother as an ASB in the future.”

Mr. Manes also teaches history at the high school and English at the middle school.

“History is my favorite subject ever,” Suzzana said.

Ms. Hoffman has worked at the school for 13 years and been selected for NISTAR multiple times. She is the agriculture and natural resources teacher, college and career advisor and student counselor.

Tommia honored Ms. Hoffman for the support she provided to her and Suzzana during a difficult year in which their 21-year-old sister, Olivia Pakootas, died in an auto accident on US-95, June 1, 2018.

“Me and Suzie have a had a rough year, personally, and [Ms. Hoffman] has been there for us. She’s always there to talk. And her door is always open,” Tommia said.

Ms. Hoffman said this is her fourth or fifth time being nominated for NISTAR.

“It’s awesome, it feels good, because the kids are the only reason I am here. So, when I know that I am actually there for them and mean a lot to them it makes it all worthwhile,” she said.

Of the girls, Ms. Hoffman said she likes that they have continuously challenged themselves.

“They’ve challenged themselves instead of just riding the waves and taking the courses they needed,” she said. “Both of them put everything into everything that they do.”

Tommia established a scholarship, for Tribal members, through Marimn Health this past year. The scholarship supports students pursuing medical studies.

Suzzana, the only applicant, won the scholarship. She starts pre-medical studies at the University of Washington in August.

Tommia has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Lower Columbia College where she will pursue a nursing degree.

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