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!  

Friendship Summit held for Suzanne 6th graders

NEWS                                                                                    Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   880 S. Lemon Avenue
January 30, 2015                                                                   Walnut, CA 91789


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

Friendship Summit held for 6th graders

WALNUT, CA—Suzanne Middle School reached out to its sixth grade students during a Friendship Summit on January 29.

“The school’s pillar of the month is Caring and summit activities focused on how to make friends, how to build relationships, and find commonalities with other classmates,” said counselor GeorgeAnn Cusson.

Eighth grade student leaders from Peer Assistance Leadership Students (PALS) and Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS) worked with students during breakout sessions at the 4th annual event.

The school also hosts specific summit events targeted for 7th and 8th grade students.

“Suzanne fully embraces character education and really educates the whole child,” states teacher and advisor Marla Rickard.  

“I love that our 8th grade students care so much about the well-being of their classmates.  They spend a lot of time getting trained for facilitating all of the groups and are committed to making sure all kids are engaged and have the opportunities to connect with their peers.”

“These summits help students interact with each other,” said PALS member Sabrina Chou.

“They help people make new friends,” added 13-year-old Amilia Picella, a PLUS member.

“Today’s all about friendship! We want the kids to make new friends and be there for each other during the tough times too,” Chou added.

“Basically this entire Summit is to help everybody get out of their everyday groups. We’re trying to mix them up so they don’t just hang out with the same group of people all the time,” Maggie Ho added.

In room #22 sixth graders watched “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss about a group of yellow creatures who are very judgmental to those without a green stars on their bellies.

“I think the moral was don’t treat people differently because they’re different,” said Natalie Zzhamezhyan, age 11.

Field activities included a new version of rock-paper-scissors called giants-wizards-elves.

During the match groups formed two lines with their backs to each other.

“Everybody has to make a decision who they will be,” Picella explained.

At the signal students simultaneously turned to each other shouting out their response during the quick draw game.

Giants beat elves, wizards beat giants, and elves beat wizards – fun!

In the trust game students with eyes tightly closed are guided through a maze by partners. Then they switch,” explained PLUS member Jaslynn Lugo, age 14.

“It was fun and a little scary,” said Melissa Munoz, age 11, after completing the course.

Activities in the multipurpose room also helped students learn more about each other.

In the spider web, yarn is wrapped around the students after they answer questions about their interests, explained PALS member Grace Hangijojo.

“It makes them look cool and they get to know more about the people around them,” she said.

“Seeing these kids interacting with each other, caring for, and holding each other accountable in life are just a few of the positive outcomes of the Summits,” said Rickard. 

“I’ve had a good time today,” said 11-year-old Arin Thomspon.

“The best thing was the friendship web that showed what people have done for us or what we can do for people.”

“In this particular Summit kids learn that true friends may seem hard to make but in order to have good friends, you must be one yourself,” said Rickard.

“They learn that character shines through everyday decisions and the relationships they attain.  You just have to be you and embrace the unique attributes others have!”


PLUS and PALs student leaders helped everyone feel values during group introductions at the 6th grade Friendship Summit at Suzanne Middle School on January 29. 

Sixth graders put their trust to the test while being guided with eyes shut through a maze. 

Group activities at the 6th Grade Summit at Suzanne Middle School helped students get to know each other while having fun! 

Sixth graders learned more about themselves and each other during the Friendship Summit at Suzanne Middle School. Shown: Arin Thomspon and Grace Hangijojo.