NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
August 13, 2015 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909)595-1261 ext. 31204
Soccer Star Alex Morgan Sends Welcome Message for Walnut Valley Employees
WALNUT, CA— About 1,400 Walnut Valley Unified School District staff members celebrated the new school year during a Welcome Back event held on August 12.
For the past 12 years, employees from every school and department have gathered together after the summer break for a breakfast and opening ceremony at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.
This year’s Welcome Back featured a surprise video message from soccer star and Diamond Bar High alum, Alex Morgan.
Morgan, an Olympic Gold Medalist, played forward for the U.S. women’s national soccer team who won the exciting FIFA World Cup Championship in July.
“We were well represented in Walnut Valley by Alex Morgan,” said WVUSD chief Dr. Robert Taylor as he introduced the tribute at the culmination of the event.
“Alex is a hero and international super star. We are so proud of her!” he added.
“I wish I could be there in person today, but I’m with my team supporting them in Kansas City,” Morgan shared via video. The soccer pro also plays for the Portland Thorns FC.
Morgan said she dreamed of becoming a professional footballer when she was just seven-years old.
Becoming a world champion was “definitely an accomplishment and an honor” she had worked toward her entire life, she noted.
Morgan also told the Walnut Valley team how important they were in shaping who she is today.
“I want to say a personal thank you for helping me and for always putting the kids first. It’s time to recognize you and celebrate what you’re doing.”
The Diamond Bar native also attended Maple Hill Elementary and Chaparral Middle School.
“Your selflessness, hard work, and sacrifice doesn’t go unnoticed,” she noted during the heartfelt tribute.
“I hope the 2015-2016 school year is a good one, better than the last ones. And go get ‘em!”
The Welcome Back program featured outstanding student entertainment.
A rock band from Diamond Bar High entertained the crowd during the outdoor continental breakfast.
Walnut High’s pep band kicked off the program inside the venue, followed by a flag ceremony led by Diamond Bar Boy Scout Troop 777 and national anthem performed the WHS senior Dana Hernandez.
The event included recognitions of Long-Service Employees, Teachers of the Year, and Cornerstone Award recipients.
Mary Harms, the 2014 Classified Employee of the Year and Jennifer Veneracion, the 2014-2015 District Teacher of the Year took the stage to deliver poignant messages to their peers.
“I feel like the luckiest person in the world to work with wonderful staff, who I now consider friends,” said Harms, the office assistant at Evergreen Elementary.
Harms paid tribute to Sharon Altman, the long-time office manager at Collegewood Elementary, where she and her two daughters attended.
“I strive to be like Sharon Altman - to greet every family and their students with kindness, with graciousness, and with a smile. And then perhaps they too will feel lucky to be part of the Evergreen family,” she added.
“During my first year of teaching I learned that I could be the most skilled teacher with the most elaborate lessons and most beautiful Pinterest-worthy looking classroom,” said Veneracion, a fifth grade teacher at C.J. Morris Elementary. “And it wouldn’t make a difference if I didn’t make my students believe these four simple phrases: I see you. I believe in you. You can do it. And I’m here.”
“What we do in our classrooms every year is extraordinary. We have the power to make a difference in the life of a child,” Veneracion said to her peers.
“Our Kids First environment here in Walnut Valley does not go unnoticed,” Dr. Taylor said during his keynote address.
“I can’t thank you enough for what you do every day in classrooms, in offices, out on the fields, or wherever you’re work area might be - you are greatly appreciated. Have a great first day of school!”
Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor introduces a surprise video message from soccer star and Diamond Bar High alum Alex Morgan during the Welcome Back program on August 12.
A Diamond Bar High rock band entertained during the WVUSD Welcome Back event held on August 12 at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.
The Walnut High School pep band under the direction of Buddy Clements and Corey Wicks kicked-off the Welcome Back event for Walnut Valley staff members.
Boy Scout Troop 777 led the opening flag ceremony.
Employees of the Year Mary Harms and Jennifer Veneracion spoke to their peers at the Welcome Back event held on August 12.
2015 Teacher of the Year Jennifer Veneracion shares a heartfelt message.
Jennifer Veneracion gets a “thumbs up” from husband and P.E teacher Ramil during her address.
Walnut Valley staff members gathered during the Welcome Back breakfast and program on August 13.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor delivered at keynote address during the Welcome Back event held on August 12 at Calvary Chapel.