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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!  

Board of Trustees recognize Walnut High all-star students, parents, and staff

NEWS                                                                                    Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   880 S. Lemon Avenue
October 23, 2014                                                                  Walnut, CA 91789

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

Trustees recognize Walnut High students, parents, and staff

WALNUT, CA—The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees lauded exemplary students, parents, and staff members from Walnut High School on October 15.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members were recognized for their exemplary top 10 performances at state and national competitions.

At the national FBLA Awards of Excellence, Kevin Chen competed in Business Calculations and won the 7th Place award. Howard Chen, Ricci Lam, and Henry Ao competed as a team in Network Design and brought home 9th Place in the country.

“We’re very proud that they represent Walnut High School and Walnut Valley,” said Principal Jeff Jordan.
Dedicated FBLA advisor and business teacher Neil Jacoby was also lauded. Jacoby helps the 200-members prepare for competitions during lunch and after school, and attends weekend events, and out-of-area championships. He does this all on his own time and does not receive any compensation.

“I really appreciate Mr. Jacoby’s time commitment and expertise as a business professional to help guide our students to reach their success,” Jordan said. 

Five Walnut High parents were honored with the Partner in Education Award.

Principal Jordan shared the praise of band directors Dr. Buddy Clements and Corey Wicks as Band Boosters Kristen Swift-Ramirez, Diane Takahashi, and Janet Lau were lauded as the “power band mom trifecta.”

“They do absolutely everything for the Blue Thunder Band,” Jordan said. The trio also raised three outstanding Blue Thunder drum majors.

The Band Boosters are proven fundraisers and also feed the band members. They provide band camp lunches, performance “band-wiches,” rehearsal snacks, parade water, holiday parties, football games, banquets, and more.

“If there’s an event, we know that our kids will be nourished. They are so good, that at any time, we can count on them,” Jordan said.

“We can send a text that says ‘Hi Super Moms, we need to feed 250 kids hot dogs and nachos in about 90 minutes.’ And they are soon on their way to Costco.”

Takahashi is also the “uniform mom” who effortlessly leads a team of volunteers that outfit the entire band.

Joan and Lou Simonelli have been involved with the school band for over 13 years.

They now have two amazing children who are both in college.

“They have become such a part of Blue Thunder that our current students don’t know their kids have already graduated. They are truly our patriarchs,” said Jordan.

The Simonellis drive the truck, build sets, sew costumes, fix flats, get gas, treat allergic reactions, replace brake lights, paint almost anything, go to the hardware store, take pictures, and much more!

“All of these parents are terrific people, faithful servants, and shining role models for our students,” he said about all five Band Boosters.

Chemistry teacher Garrett Lim was recognized for being named a Major League Baseball All-Star Teacher. Garrett was among 30 winning educators who received thousands of votes from across the country. Target, People Magazine, and the MLB sponsored the event.

“He is the people’s all-star teacher,” Jordan said. Lim and his wife were flown to Minneapolis to participate in all the festivities prior to the All-Star Game and to watch the premier game from a luxury box at Target Field.  Lim represented his favorite team, the White Sox, and met several baseball legends.

Lim has the ability to take a complicated topic within science and make it relevant and fun to learn. He engages students using demonstrations, technology, and humor. He also helps his students make connections between science and life.

“I believe that Garrett represented all of our educators and taught us that we all make a difference with kids every day. Garrett is not only a big league teacher; he is a big league person. And we are proud that he is on our team,” Jordan said. 

Walnut High senior Jeff Huang was honored as a Super Star Student.

Huang recently named a winner of the Jim Staunton Champions for Character by the CIF Southern Section.

“This was a result of his on and off the court leadership as well as setting a positive example for all of us to follow,” Jordan said.

Huang is a four-year member of publications and currently the yearbook editor-in-chief and newspaper business manager. In addition, he is a member of FBLA, Interact, and a key four-year basketball player. He’s also senior class president. 

As a sophomore, he launched the Hoops for Hope club that combines his passion for basketball as well as service, by hosting clinics for children in the community. This year, the club will join forces with the Best Buddies club to offer basketball opportunities for severely handicapped students. Huang has a 3.98 GPA and hopes to attend Stanford University.


Walnut High FBLA members Kevin Chen, Howard Chen, Ricci Lam, and Henry Ao, and advisor Neil Jacoby were recognized for their achievements at the national competition. Shown with Principal Jeff Jordan and Board President Cindy Ruiz. 

Walnut High School Principal Jeff Jordan introduces FBLA honorees during the October 15 Board Meeting. Four team members scored in the top 10 during the national competition.  

The WVUSD Board of Trustees honored Walnut High Band Boosters Janet Lau, Diane Takahashi, Kristen Swift-Ramirez, and Joan and Lou Simonelli with the Partner in Education Award. Shown with Principal Jeff Jordan and Board President Cindy Ruiz. 

Chemistry teacher Garrett Lim was recognized for being named a 2014 All-Star Teacher by People Magazine, Target, and the Major Baseball League. Garrett was among the 30 educators voted to represent their favorite MLB teams at the All-Star Game in Minnesota. 
Shown with Board President Cindy Ruiz.
Shown with his wife, Principal Jeff Jordan, and Board President Cindy Ruiz.

Walnut High School senior Jeff Huang was honored as a Super Star Student on October 15. He was recently awarded the 2014 Jim Staunton Champions for Character Award for his leadership on and off the basketball court. Shown with his parents, Principal Jeff Jordan, and Board President Cindy Ruiz.