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Walnut valley Unified School District

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!  

A standing ovation for arts education

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

Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204

A standing ovation for arts education
Mrs. Pop Wins BRAVO Award

WALNUT, CA--Suzanne Middle School math and drama teacher Helen Papadopoulos was saluted as a 2012 BRAVO Award Winner during a special celebration held on March 1 at the Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert hall.

A total of ten winners were announced during the 30th Annual BRAVO Awards, honoring K-12 educators and schools who have worked to instate outstanding visual and performing arts programs on their campuses.

Awards were presented to educators in four different categories. Generalist Teacher, Arts Specialist Teacher, School Recognition and School Program. The winner of each received a cash reward to be put towards enhancing their chosen arts programs.  

Special host Garry Marshall presided over the awards celebration for the 29th time that featured student performances led by former BRAVO Award winners.

Helen Papadopoulos, or “Mrs. Pop” as her students call her, received a Generalist  Award.

She began finding ways to “sneak” integrated arts activities into her 8th grade math classroom and then realized, through her own “non-scientific research”, that students became not only more engaged, but more successful.

Mrs. Pop’s students are now writing poetry, making 3-D models, writing and performing songs, and creating multimedia presentations.

“We are a community of engaged and enthusiastic learners. We work together to achieve our goal of becoming mathematically powerful and literate learners,” she said. 

The BRAVO Awards were established in 1982 as a way for the Music Center to promote quality arts education for all students.

Students and educators made BRAVO nominations in October. Peers selected the pool of finalists and then the names of those finalists were sent on to a committee to choose the winners.

Each of this year's finalists participated in community workshops and was paired up with a Music Center Coach to fine-tune their teaching techniques.

 “Through technology, working collaboratively, and singing math songs, math ceases to be a spectator sport. We don’t just learn math, we do math,” said Papadopoulos, a 2007 California Teacher of the Year.


Helen Papadopoulos delivered a heartfelt thank you speech during the BRAVO Awards on March 1. Photo courtesy of Alex Pitt.  

Suzanne Middle School teacher Helen Papadopoulos received a 2012 BRAVO Award on March 1. Shown with Principal Les Ojeda, WVUSD Board Member Cindy Ruiz, and WVUSD Superintendent Dr. Dean Conklin. 

A BRAVO Celebration! Shown: Suzanne Middle School teacher Marla Rickard, daughter Leah Rickard (Helen’s current student), Helen and her daughter Mariann. (Helen BRAVO 2)