Skip to main content

Walnut valley Unified School District

Main Menu Toggle
ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

White Coat Ceremony

April 25, 2019

By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources


WALNUT, CA— On Tuesday night,29 Walnut High seniors were presented with white lab coats and honor medallions marking the culmination of the three-year International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme/Project Lead the Way (IBCP-PLTW) Biomedical Sciences program.


Walnut High launched the rigorous pathway in 2013, and is one of only five schools in California to offer both IBCP with the PLTW Biomedical Sciences program as its career-related component.


“I am really grateful that I chose this program and lucky our school provides it for us,” shared Jocelyn Sagahon-Ramirez before the White Coat Ceremony held April 23.


“I’ve always been interested in the medical field and this has really made an impact on me.”


Sagahon-Ramirez said she knew she was headed in the right direction during the very first PLTW course, Principals of Biomedical Sciences, she took as a sophomore.


“We followed the fictional character, Anna Garcia, who had died and researched several diseases like diabetes and Sickle cell anemia,” she said.


“I learned a lot and was even able to share information with a family member who has diabetes.”


This month, students in another class, PLTW Medical Interventions, unlocked a key to the molecular basis of genes by growing tiny dots of luminescent proteins.


“It was a whole process!” explained Chris Chang, 17, of the five-day experiment.


“We inserted the glowing gene from a jellyfish into bacteria and then purified the isolated cells by centrifuging the cultures,” he said.


On day two of the pGlo lab, students viewed their transformed glowing cells by placing the plastic petri dishes under a fluorescent light.


“The kids love this microbiology wet lab - it’s very visual,” said teacher Ellie Blanchard.


“The IBCP-PLTW program is really special because students get to experience these labs and hands-on projects,” Blanchard said.


“They are doing labs I didn’t even get to do in college!” she added.


The pGlo experiment demonstrates the real-world techniques used to manipulate genes to make human insulin and treat patients with diabetes.


“There’s a reason for everything we’re doing in these classes,” said Chang who plans to major in Biology and pursue a career as a surgeon.


“I feel accomplished and my parents are really proud of me!”


Congratulations to the following Class of 2019 honorees: Johnathan Acosta, Matthew Alvarado, Nikhil Bhakta, Justin Burdick, Naomi Cayaban, Chris Chang, Kim Chen, Kaitlyn Choi, Malena Damian, Coby Fan, Emi Hays, Kevin Ho, Kanon Klassen, Angel Ko, Elyssa Ledesma, Crystal Lee, Jaslynn Lugo, Bryson Manalang, Joshua Morales, Victoria Moran, Summer Moore, Matthew Rivera, Jocelyn Sagahon-Ramirez, Select Soloria, Sarah Stevenson-Cundy, Jing Wong, Iris Yang, Aaron Zhao, and Olivia Zhou.


Additionally, three students received special awards for displaying exemplary effort during the course of the program: Jonathan Acosta – Creative Thinker, Jocelyn Sagahon-Ramirez – Enthusiastic Learner, and Emi Hays – Excellence in Biomedical Sciences.


“These students have worked tremendously hard to successfully complete the courses in the Biomedical Science Pathway,” said Instructional Dean Barbie Cole during the presentation.


PLTW teachers Chiara Morgan, Bryn Schultz, Ellie Blanchard, and Trisha Shah presented the awards during the event attended by families, staff, and District officials.


The IBCP and PLTW programs require students to compete two biomedical science courses, IBCP requires two additional IB Diploma courses, that culminate with end-of-year exams.


Students also complete a personal and professional skills course, numerous service-learning projects, and a written reflective project.




Walnut High School honors 29 seniors who successfully completed the rigorous IBCP-PLTW program during a White Coat Ceremony on April 23. 


PLTW teachers present awards of achievement during the White Coat Ceremony held on April 23. 


Walnut High seniors celebrate completion of IBCP-PLTW program at White Coat Ceremony.