WVUSD Board Lauds Outstanding Students and Parent Volunteers

Evergreen Elementary student Michelle Xu was the winner of the 2013 WVUSD Holiday Card Contest. The fifth grader was recognized during the January 15 Board Meeting. Photo Credit: WVUSD
Evergreen Elementary student Michelle Xu was the winner of the 2013 WVUSD Holiday Card Contest. The fifth grader was recognized during the January 15 Board Meeting. Photo Credit: WVUSD
The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees paid tribute to outstanding students and parent volunteers during the January 15 meeting.

Evergreen Elementary 5th grader Michelle Xu won the 2013 Holiday Greeting Card Art Contest. The talented young artist was recognized with a certificate and framed copy of her original artwork by Board President Cindy Ruiz. She also received a gift certificate to Chick-fil-A restaurant courtesy of owners Bob and Michelle Sun.

Walnut Elementary School 5th grader Andrew Zambrano was honored as a Super Star Student.

“Since kindergarten, he has taken advantage of several opportunities to become involved in school. He plays saxophone in our school band, sings in the Showcase Choir, won awards in chess and is an assembly greeter which highlights his terrific interpersonal skills,” Principal Green said.

Andrew’s past and present teachers include Jana Young, Karen Breitkreitz, Jill Igarashi-Takayama, Jeff Almberg and Dan Park.  They describe him as “ambitious,” “mature,” and “one of the best when it comes to work hard, play harder.”  He has earned straight A’s in 3rd and 4th grades. 

Andrew has been able to do all this with the loving support of his parents who make sure he is enrolled in after-school wrestling, jujitsu and basketball. 

“Andrew is also the creative force behind our new Coding Connection Club that is scheduled to launch next week,” Principal Janet Green said.

“He discovered that it’s ‘cool to learn how to code’ during a three-week Summer Institute for the Gifted at UCLA. And he wants to share ways to help design and build apps,” she added. 

Walnut Elementary parent volunteer Ceping Chao was introduced as the school’s Partner in Education. 

“She is a founding parent of our Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Mandarin program and her two daughters are currently in DLI Kindergarten and Grade 2,” said Principal Green. 

“Ceping is a behind-the-scenes motivating force in our Dual Language Immersion Program. Four years ago, she trusted us enough to enroll her daughter Jianlan in Walnut Valley’s first pre-kindergarten Mandarin DLI class,” Green added.

She liked the program enough to continue enrolling her younger daughter Meilan in DLI Kindergarten class this year.

“Ceping volunteers her time in the classrooms and the teachers say that she is always ready to lend a helping hand.  They love her because she is so patient with students.  She attends parent education meetings and convinces more parents to become involved.  She has even taken on the task of revamping and revising our school website – I believe there were 5 pages of changes to be made!” said Green. 

“On a personal note, I can depend on Ceping to give me honest feedback and ask probing questions about the future of our entire school, not just DLI.  She is a true partner and I have learned a lot from her.  Thank you, Ceping, for your dedication to our school,” Principal Green said.

“Her dedication to the DLI program and Walnut Elementary is evident in the amount of hours she spends here as a volunteer, researcher, website overseer, and parent workshop attendee.  What I appreciate the most about her are the quietly probing questions she asks about the structure and future of dual language in our district.  She is a constant reminder for us to do what is best not just for her children but for ALL Walnut Elementary students,” said Green. 

Diamond Bar High School junior Josh DeSoto-Rivera was honored with the Super Star Student Award.

“I want to recognize Josh for the growth he has shown through the past years. He really didn’t have any goals and didn’t see the intrinsic reward of a good education. As a sophomore, he entered the Pathways Communications Academy,” she said. 

“It is a great program, now 17 years-old, that offers our kids a school within a school opportunity. It incorporates concepts of multiple intelligences, career guidance, interactive instruction and applied learning – all while focusing on interpersonal relationships,” Real explained.

The curriculum includes a broad spectrum of college prep and career tech electives as well as a steering committee of local businessmen and educational institutions who work closely with students. 

“The program offers an opportunity for real life experiences and it makes students aware and competitive in today’s job force. Because of this program, I think Josh saw the light,” Real explained.

Josh’s teachers and Grade Level Coordinator (GLC) also formed a partnership to ensure is success. 

“His behavior, attendance and grades have improved. And I’m sure we’ll see more growth during the next year and a half. And his career goal is to become a chef,” Real said.

P.E. Teacher Mr. John Martin confirmed that Josh has become more motivated in class. “He is great!” he added. 

“Josh is a really a neat kid with a quiet confident spirit,” said GLC Mrs. Julie Salas. “There is a place on campus affectionately called Joshua Park. Somehow his presence there has transformed it into a place of calmness and serenity,” she described.

DBHS Principal Catherine Real introduced parent George Ganesh as the recipient of the Partner in Education Award. 

“I’d like to recognize Mr. Ganesh’s contribution to our school. He is a member of our Boosters, he is on the District Steering Coming Committee and an advisor to our Robotics Club” Principal Real said.

This summer, he took on summer registration for the Boosters Club. Mr. Ganesh’s job was to organize and get the Booster parents enthusiastic to work at the booth during four weeks of registration appointments, Real explained.

“And of course, the process went a lot like him: it was organized, it was pleasant and it was productive. I can’t say enough about the contributions that he made because at the end of registration, the Boosters had reached a new level of unity, sign-ups and participation,” Real said.

“When I think about Mr. Ganesh, I also think of his children, Namesha and Niraj. They are a lot like him. They are equally enthusiastic, well-rounded, intelligent, kind, compassionate and humble. I think it's true what they say about apple not falling very far from the tree!” Real said.


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