The Leavenworth Public Schools Education Foundation honored the "best of the best" Wednesday night.

The Leavenworth Public Schools Education Foundation honored the "best of the best" Wednesday night.

That's what foundation president Mike Reilly called the 18 Leavenworth High School seniors who have grade point averages of 4.0 or greater.

The students were recognized during the 10th annual Horizon Scholars Gala, an event the foundation hosts each year.

"Tonight, we honor four years of hard work," Reilly said.

Foundation Director Amy Sloan said students are able to achieve GPAs greater than 4.0 by taking certain classes such as advanced placement courses.

Each of the 18 Horizon Scholars was asked to pick his or her most influential teacher, and those educators also were recognized Wednesday.

"It is truly a unique event," Interim Superintendent Bret Church said.

He said the gala highlights the relationship building that is necessary for teachers and students to be successful.

Some educators were selected by more than one of the Horizon Scholars. Leavenworth High School counselor Lisa Shepard was selected by three students as their most influential educator.

Ahead of Wednesday's program, each student honored as a Horizon Scholar was photographed with his or her most influential teacher. Framed copies of the photographs were presented to the students during the gala. 

Each student was also presented a city of Leavenworth pin from City Commissioner Laura Janas Gasbarre.

The seniors and their influential teachers also were interviewed for a video that was screened during the gala.

In the video, teachers talked about the Horizon Scholars and offered advice to the graduating seniors.

High school teacher Jeff Baxter said senior Michelle Tennant has a level of maturity that is unusual in high school students.

"She's very level headed," Baxter said.

High school teacher Ginger Riddle called senior Jonathan Opila a "real thinker" who is able to see things from different points of view.

Opila was the only male among the 18 students recognized as Horizon Scholars.

Teacher Daniel Capps said senior Vanessa Turpin is tough and smart.

"She understands exactly what needs to be done," Capps said, and she doesn't have a lot of "give up" in her.

Kathryn Schiller and Beth Riccio, who have been chosen to represent the Leavenworth district in the 2015 Kansas Teacher of the Year competition, also were honored during the gala.

Each was presented a $250 check from the foundation, Sloan said.