Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Amazing Shake - Resurrection Style

First place Amazing Shake winner Zach Pfeffer, second from left, speaks to the crowd at Resurrection School. The Message photos by Trisha Hannon Smith

After 15 years of teaching and more than 10 years as an education administrator, Theresa Berendes, principal at Resurrection School in Evansville, knows a thing of two about first impressions.


“When I interview new teachers, the first thing I do is shake their hand,” Berendes said. “That first impression says alot about a person.”


Determined to help their students make the best first impression possible, Berendes and her staff at Resurrection held the second annual Resurrection School Amazing Shake Challenge.


Tailored after the Ron Clark Academy’s Amazing Shake, students fine-tune their firm handshakes, introduction skills and conversational skills as they compete for the championship round.  For the past seven weeks, the 155 fifth- through eighth-graders participated in multiple elimination rounds, resulting in eight student finalists.


On Feb. 21, the students met with local dignitaries who scored them on their introduction, eye-contact, charm and shown interest, responses, questions and closing.  After the competition, the students walked down hallways lined with classmates cheering them for their accomplishments as the student body gathered in Resurrection Church to hear the top three winners announced.


Berendes thanked the judges gathered, including Mary Reese, Berry Global Human Resources Director; Steve Lockyear, Vanderburgh County coroner; Jackie Monroe, WFIE-TV 14 News anchor; Michelle Priar, Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Evansville; Thomas Kazee, President of the University of Evansville; Ira Boots, President and Director at Berry Plastics Acquisition Corporation; Linda White, Executive Director of the Deaconess Foundation; and Marcia Jochem, owner of Thyme in the Kitchen.  


Jochem had the honor of announcing the winners.  When the points were tallied, Zach Pfeffer received first place, Sophie Oliver received second and Holly Karges, third. Only three points separated first through third places.  


Berendes beamed with pride. “These eight students are a great example of the students at our school. You are shining bright today.”


To learn more about the Ron Clark Academy Amazing Shake, please visit