Skip to main content

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!  

We Love our Staff!

NEWS                                                                                    Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 19, 2014                                                                 Walnut, CA 91789

We Love our Staff!
Suzanne CARE Club hosts Valentine’s Day breakfast

WALNUT, CA—Suzanne Middle School CARE Club members have been working hard in service of others.  CARE is an acronym for Community Awareness Reaching Education. The service club is comprised of 90 members and teacher advisors Michelle Harmonson and Janice Crab have hosted several successful events.

To kick off the 2013-2014 school year, the club organized a pop-top drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. For Halloween, the club held a candy drive asking students to donate their own trick-or-treating candy. On November 1, the club collected over 800 lbs. of sweets that were bagged and delivered to the L.A. Mission for the annual Thanksgiving feast.

During the holidays, the CARE Club raised money for the Toys for Boys Drive benefitting the McKinley Children's Center in San Dimas. They shopped and fulfilled the wish lists of 55 residents. The boys received sports equipment, toys, gift cards, movies, music CD's, clothing and more.

“Every school should have a caring group of students who dedicate their time and energy for a greater cause. I am proud of our Suzanne CARE Club members and the advisors who work so hard to help and recognize worthy causes.  They all do an amazing job,“ Principal Les Ojeda.

For Valentine’s Day, one of the club officers, 8th grader Katrina Trang, had the idea to give teachers something that could be used as a hall pass.

“In previous years, the students have made personalized frames, inspirational posters, and the teacher's initials decorated with stickers that reflected the teacher's personality,” explained Harmonson.

This year, Trang wanted to try something more ambitious - a pencil!

The resourceful teacher enlisted the help of her father, Wes King, a retired space systems engineer from McDonnell Douglas who has taken up woodworking as a hobby.

With spare wood in his garage woodshop, King used a router to cut 90 pencils out of ½” plywood, even taking the time to round off the edges.

“He also gave us advice on how to best paint the would-be hall passes,” Harmonson said.

Students painted each pencil by hand. They taped off the different colors to get clean, straight lines.

The dedicated group came extra hours after school and during lunch to touch up each pencil until it was perfect, and then coated them in a clear lacquer.

Students laced a leather string through a hole drilled at the eraser end of the pencils so they could hang in classrooms or work areas.

Each Valentine’s Day gift was personalized with the staff member’s name. And every Suzanne Middle School administrator, teacher, instructional aide, custodian, librarian, and food service staff member received one.

“I think it is so wonderful to work with such amazing, dedicated, and caring students at Suzanne. Their caring inspires me,” Crabb said.

Teachers quickly hung them in their rooms and decided to stick with paper hall passes because "these are too beautiful to let a student take it to the bathroom," Harmonson shared.

On February 12, teachers and staff were invited to a Minion-themed Valentine’s Day bagel breakfast, continuing the spirit established after most of the staff dressed as characters from Despicable Me for Halloween.

It was a complete surprise to the Walnut staff.

“Ooh, there's one for me, too. I'm not a teacher!” one office secretary exclaimed.

“We work on inclusion for all. Teachers, aides, administrators, nurses and custodians work in unison to create a safe home for our students at Suzanne Middle School, Harmonson said. 

The students of CARE Club are already brainstorming ideas for next year's staff gift. How are we going to top this?

The CARE club originated as a design-based learning project in 1995 in a section of 7th grade GATE language arts.

“When the GATE class was moved to a different subject area, we gave it new life in the form of an after-school club open to all students,” Harmonson said.

The first few years enrollment was as few as 10-15 students. Now the group has grown so large we have to split the club into two groups and alternate weeks for each group to meet.

CARE Club introduces students to their ability to help others in their family, community and world. They are global citizens!


CARE Club members carefully painted each Valentine’s Day gift. 

Suzanne Middle School CARE Club proudly display completed gifts.

CARE Club members wrapped presents and made ornaments for the Toys for Boys fundraiser. Also shown with Advisor Michelle Harmonon. 

Earlier this year, the CARE Club hosted a candy drive to benefit the L.A. Mission