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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Skate Shoe Exec Visits Suzanne Students

NEWS                                                                                        Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 8, 2012                                                                     Walnut, CA 91789

Skate Shoe Exec Visits Suzanne Students

WALNUT, CA—For the past few weeks, Suzanne Middle School teacher Elisabeth Everts had been keeping a big secret from her 7th grade Language Arts students.

As the 35 students entered their 2nd period class on February 2 they immediately noticed two visitors.

And when their teacher introduced the president of Vans skate shoes, Kevin Bailey, and Coordinator of Grass Roots Events Mike Daher, the group cheered. 

The Vans chief contacted the teacher after receiving letters from six of her students during a recent writing assignment.

The class wrote formal business letters to companies about products that they were interested in. 

The emphasis was on being polite and the goal was to receive a reply, Everts said.

But they never expected a personal visit.

The globetrotting exec happened to be in Orange County and decided to drop by and surprise the Walnut students.

“You guys write really good letters and I appreciate those who chose to write us,” he said.

Bailey told the group he likes getting letters from students, hearing from the people who wear the shoes, what’s important to them, and getting their feedback.

He spent about 30 minutes talking about the legendary company’s history, current business structure, creative team, shoe design, production, special events, and then answered questions including “how many pairs of shoes did Vans make last year?” 

Answer: 30 million.

Bailey also stressed the importance of school subjects including Math, Art, Science, Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, and English in the business world.

“It’s important to think about it (college/career) and get the right foundational elements, and to keep progressing. And it’s OK if you don’t right now,” he added.

He told them that what they’re learning now will help in them in the future.

One day you’ll remember something when you least expect it or most need it, he said sharing a favorite saying from one of his own teachers.

“It will stick with you, I promise,” he said.

The Vans visitors also came bearing gifts.  The six students who wrote letters to the company received a special gift card for a free pair of online custom designed shoes.

The entire class received goodie bags with t-shirts, hats, coloring books, stickers, folders, and backpacks.

“I appreciate them taking time from their day to visit us and bring us gifts,” said Savannah Lopez.

And if you wondered what kind of shoes the President of Vans wears - Classic black and white checkerboard canvas slip-ons, of course.


Vans President Kevin Bailey answered questions from students during his visit to Suzanne Middle School. 

Suzanne 7th grade students Jocelyn Banuelos, Taylor Yamaguchi, Savannah Lopez, Amber Lee, and Johnnie Kellogg with Vans President Kevin Bailey and Coordinator of Grass Roots Events Mike Daher. 

Language Arts teacher Elisabeth Everts received a copy of Vans: Off the Wall, a book illustrating the company history of the canvas shoe company from President Kevin Bailey.