WVUSD Trustees Recognize Students, Parents For Making A Difference

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Fifth grade artists are recognized as honorable mention winners in the Music K-8 Magazine Cover Contest.

 By Kelli Gile

WALNUT—Super star students and parent volunteers from Maple Hill and Westhoff elementary schools were honored by the Walnut Valley USD Board of Trustees on April 19.

In addition, the Board recognized 14 talented young artists named winners in the 2017 Music K-8 Magazine Cover Contest and the 2017 Board Representatives.

Maple Hill Elementary all-star parent Natalie Johnson received the Partner in Education Award.

“When there is fun at Maple Hill, Natalie is front and center,” said Principal Kelly Morris.

Photo couresty: WVUSD
Maple Hill Elementary all-star parent Natalie Johnson receives the Partner in Education Award. Shown with Principal Kelly Morris, Board President Dr. Tony Torng, and family members.

Natalie, a Maple Hill alum, serves as the community club 2nd vice president in charge of fundraising.

This year, she planned and organized a new VIP Dance, along with the annual fall fundraiser, luau lunch, Hawk Walk pep rally, and jog-a-thon.

Natalie’s personal priority is to be a champion for kids. She also strives to make sure they receive the same love and excitement she received at the school, Morris said.

“Her events generate excitement and joy in the lives of all our children and teachers. She is a true memory maker!”

Fifth grader Leah Owens received Super Star Student Award.

“Leah has been capturing all our hearts since the first grade. She is incomparable, dynamic, effervescent, and beyond loving,” Morris described.

She has the gift of connecting with people, whether they are strangers or life-long friends.

“Leah has such a light within her, but also knows how to encourage the light within others,” Morris said.

This year, Maple Hill created a new school slogan: Kind Hearts, Strong Minds, Brave Spirit, Hawk Pride.

“Leah is the poster child and embodies all of these qualities!” Morris added.

Current and former teachers were also on hand to pay tribute to the student of the year who volunteers, greets students, makes announcements, and shares “Hawk Pride” all around the campus.

“On numerous occasions, I have watched Leah showing kindness to students who are struggling to make friends,” said 4th grade teacher Samantha Valadez.

“She sees the best in people and easily finds ways to make meaningful connections.”

Two valuable members of the Westhoff Elementary community were honored with the Partner in Education Award.

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Maple Hill Elementary all-star parent Natalie Johnson receives the Partner in Education Award. Shown with Principal Kelly Morris, Board President Dr. Tony Torng, and family members.

Parent Valerie Lu quickly became a volunteer in her children’s classes when they started school in 2013, and now serves as the community club vice president.

Valerie collaborates with other parents and stepped up to coordinate phone banking during recent bond campaigns. She helps lead and serve at all schoolwide events including culture fair, walk-a-thon, movie night, Santa’s workshop, and colonial fair. She is also the co-chair for the 5th grade promotion committee and is currently making keepsake invitations for students.

“Westhoff staff members feel that she is responsible, reliable, humble, and never seeks recognition for all that she quietly does behind the scenes,” said Principal Denise Rendon.

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Westhoff parent Preston McChesney is lauded with Partner in Education Award on April 19. Shown with Principal Denise Rendon, Board President Dr. Tony Torng, and family members.

Dedicated volunteer Preston McChesney has been helping out in his two children’s classes for the past several years. He is always available when needed and has a positive attitude that rubs off on others.

“Our teachers say that they can count on tons of support from this Dad!” Rendon said.

Preston can often be found sitting on the floor helping classroom reading groups, chaperoning field trips, setting up class parties, and even taking pictures for parents who aren’t there. And most importantly, he is an excellent role model for Westhoff students.

“He inspires all of us with his positive attitude, his devotion to his beautiful family, and genuine kindness he shares so freely. Thank you, for the generous donation of your time!” said Rendon.

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Fifth grader Valentina Galvan is recognized with the Super Star Student Award. Shown with Board President Dr. Tony Torng.

Fifth grader Valentina Galvan was recognized with the Super Star Student Award.

Valentina exemplifies good character and sets a wonderful example for her classmates, according to teacher Kimberley Dalton.  She “buddy” reads with struggling readers or those learning English, and brings a smile to those around her because she is so encouraging.

This year, the active student council member led school spirit rallies, organized a school-wide book drive for an orphanage in Rosemead, collected socks for the homeless people, and helped run a note-writing campaign for those serving in the military.

Valentina is always willing to help those around her, and at the same time, maintains excellent study habits, great grades, and citizenship.

“Valentina has a natural sense of goodness and she will do extraordinary things!” Rendon said.

Fourteen elementary students were recognized as winners in the international 2017 Music K-8 Magazine Cover Contest.

Music Specialist Greta Baker introduced the talented 5th grade artists who received certificates of special recognition and color prints of their original designs.

This year’s top WVUSD winner is 2nd Runner-Up – Nadia Tsai from Vejar. Top Finalists are Justin Kung- Castle Rock and Sarah Fan – Westhoff. Finalists are Gloria Nien – Maple Hill, Melody Song – Quail Summit, and Ashley Chiu – Castle Rock. Honorable Mentions are Ashton Chen – Evergreen, Riley Phan – Walnut, LeAnna Fan – Vejar, Mia Zhang – Castle Rock, Alyssa Ma – Maple Hill, Sabrina Lin – Maple Hill, Amin Rasheed – Vejar, and Isabella Torreyson – Vejar.

WVUSD Trustees recognized the 2017 Student Representatives Abigail Nakaishi – Diamond Bar High and Katelyn Rowley – Walnut High for dedicated service.

The seniors are appointed to serve one-year terms, acting as liaisons between their campuses and the Board. Each month, the teens attend open meetings and present detailed reports of campus activities.