NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 20, 2015 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
Walnut Board honors star students, community partners
WALNUT, CA—The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees recognized exemplary students and community volunteers during the February 19 meeting.
Westhoff Elementary fifth grader Philbert Loekman received the Super Star Student Award.
Loekman came to Westhoff as a kindergartner. All his teachers concur that he is a young man who works hard, stays positive, perseveres, and achieves his goal.
“Philbert is creative, asks good questions, and has great problem solving skills,” Principal Denise Rendon said.
While his teachers have certainly contributed to his success, it’s also greatly due to his hard work, drive to excel, and incredible amount of love and support from his parents and siblings.
“I believe it’s because of the partnership between his family and our school, and Philbert himself, that he has grown and matured into a confident, polite, high-achieving student that we can all be very proud of,” Rendon added. “He is one of Westhoff’s finest!”
Longtime Westhoff Elementary community member and talented artist Shel Dominica was honored with the Partner in Education. Award. The relationship began several years ago when her son Shane was a student.
“Shel quickly became a valuable resource. First as an involved parent and now as a treasured community partner,” said Rendon.
Dominica created and painted a “Where the Wild Things Are” wall mural on the school library.
“It has a very special meaning to Westhoff as it depicts a teacher reading to students.”
The featured teacher is WVUSD retiree Ann Hedstrom who is surrounded by former students, including the artist’s son.
Fifteen years ago, Dominica designed the first school logo for t-shirts that is still used today. Recently she repaired and repainted the Blue Ribbon logo and mural.
Dominica has contributed banners for back-to school nights, Halloween parades, and Mrs. Nelson’s book club events. She is currently working on a dedication script for the school’s new walking labyrinth.
“Westhoff is very fortunate to have Shel as our Community Partner. But the real reason we love Shel is her quiet demeanor, her generosity, and her talent in creating our fabulous Westhoff wear.
The Board lauded Suzanne Middle School parent volunteers Christina Kondo and Lenora Wong with the Community Partner Award.
“They both have been supportive parents and exemplary leaders for our community,” stated Principal Les Ojeda.
Kondo and Wong currently serve as co-presidents for the school’s Community Club. The organization plays a pivotal role in supplementing additional resources that the general budget cannot support.
“These ladies are often at our school site counting money, organizing events, and supporting our students with many activities they provide. They work exceptionally well with one another and bring a feeling of unity and hard work to the parent group,” Ojeda said.
Community Club supports numerous activities including 6th grade- renaissance faire, Greek festival, summit; 7th grade- science assembly, wildlife learning center; 8th grade- blue and white tea, summit, end of year picnic, promotion; Science Olympiad, Math Counts, reading challenge, school-wide assemblies, spring musical, binder reminders, teacher support funds, and even new benches for the lunch area. A successful booster drive helped raise close to $70,000 for the school.
“Thank you both for your dedication, commitment, and of the time you spent working at our school. You have truly made a positive difference for all our students and teachers!” Ojeda added.
The Board presented Suzanne Middle School 8th grader Jocelyn Nakamine with the Super Star Student Award.
“Jocelyn has a heart of gold,” Ojeda commented. “What stands out the most about Jocelyn is her passion to help others and make a difference in their lives.”
The teen often spends time reaching out to kids on campus that look sad or lonely.
“She will simply sit and get to know them for a bit and make sure they end the conversation ends with a smile,” Ojeda explained.
Nakamine is a member of the elite leadership class. Her committee work focuses on activities that inspire unity and friendship. She recently led the Hot Cocoa Chatter event that helped students get to know each other.
“It was a difficult task that required tons of planning, hard work, and even running with cups of cocoa! But she executed it flawlessly, demonstrating true leadership ability.” Ojeda said.
Peers have written about Nakamine in their leadership journals as an example of a true leader. Many admire how hard she worked to improve volleyball skills before the season began. She is a constant source of encouragement during practice and games.
Ojeda shared a tribute from leadership teacher Kristina Natividad.
“When filling out student recommendations, the highest level on the rating scale is top 10 in teacher’s career,” she explained. “In the past ten years, I have checked that box maybe once. Without hesitation, I would choose that explanation for Jocelyn Nakamine.”
The Board of Trustees presented Westhoff Elementary fifth grader Philbert Loekman with the Super Star Student Award on February 19. Shown with parents, Principal Denise Rendon, and Board President Larry Redinger.
Westhoff Elementary community member and artist Shel Dominica was honored with the Partner in Education Award during the February 19 Board Meeting. Shown with Principal Denise Rendon and Board President Larry Redinger.
Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees lauded Suzanne Middle School parent volunteers Christina Kondo and Lenora Wong with the Community Partner Award during the February 19 meeting. Shown with their children, Principal Les Ojeda, and Board President Larry Redinger.
The WVUSD Board of Trustees presented Suzanne Middle School 8th grader Jocelyn Nakamine with the Super Star Student Award. Shown with Principal Les Ojeda and Board President Larry Redinger.
Shown with family members, Principal Les Odeda, and Board President Larry Redinger.