Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - June 11, 2021

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Graduates of Distinction program returns with in-person ceremony

Following a one-year hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walla Walla Public Schools resumed its prestigious Graduates of Distinction program with an in-person ceremony at the Marcus Whitman Hotel Monday, June 7.

This year's honorees are:

- Elizabeth “Libby” Frazier, Class of 1973 (A retail business real estate expert who dedicates her time to serving the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Linda Thorne, Libby’s high school sociology teacher, is her inspirational staff member. Libby says “She was a great role model for me in the 70’s - a professional woman juggling a job and family, and excelling at everything.”

- Judith Huntington, Class of 1964 (A healthcare leader who empowers nurses to better serve their communities)
Inspirational Staff Member: Johnnie Dennis, Judy’s physics and geometry teacher at Wa-Hi, is her most inspirational staff member. She remembers that “he taught his students important critical thinking and study skills that are invaluable to this day.”

- Garth Lindsey, Class of 1962 (A certified public accountant specializing in television industry financial operations)
Inspirational Staff Member: Garth chose George White, his music/choir teacher at Wa-Hi, as his most inspirational staff member. Garth says he so appreciated Mr. White’s “dedication to teaching music and his interest in his students. He instilled in me a love of music.”

- Mike Monahan; Class of 1960 (National irrigation sales leader who champions health and fitness in the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Wa-Hi’s famous football coach, Felix Fletcher, was Mike’s most inspirational staff member. He says he remembers him with fondness as both coach and mentor.

- Allison Bingham, PhD; Class of 1977 (A global leader focusing on improving health to move humanity forward)
Inspirational Staff Member: Allison chose Diane Briggs, her junior high volleyball and basketball coach, as her inspirational staff member. She has stayed in contact with her for 45 years as a friend and mentor and says Diane’s dedication and support has never wavered.

- Kathy Covey; Class of 1973 (A pioneer in social services programs who broke down barriers for women in the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Kathy’s inspirational staff member is Tom Barbour, her high school psychology teacher who inspired her to go into the field of social work. She said, “It was as much about how and what he taught as it was about how he taught and dealt with challenging students. He was an incredible teacher and human being.”

This is the highest honor bestowed by the school district. These individuals have distinguished themselves in their communities and careers, and they continue to bring honor to the district.

"This is the 23rd year of our Graduates of Distinction Program, established to recognize and honor the distinguished achievements of our high school graduates," said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "In addition, we take time to pay tribute to school staff members who provided positive school experiences, and were inspirational in the lives of these graduates. Congratulations to the 2021 Graduates of Distinction."

Superintendent Smith receives state student leadership award

The Washington Association of School Administrators awarded Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith with the Student Achievement Leadership award for the Southeast region during its annual meeting in Richland June 9.

This award is presented to WASA members who have provided leadership for the implementation of an innovation that has resulted in measurable growth in student achievement. The innovation serves as a tool for modeling new programs.

Dr. Smith spearheaded the development of an inclusive and comprehensive strategic planning process when he arrived in 2016. Built on a foundation of stakeholder voice and equity, the plan incorporated a “We All Belong Here” vision that prioritized quality instruction, aligned systems, student supports and community partnerships. Under his leadership, graduation rates have soared to all-time highs, from 80.4% to 91.7%. Additionally, the district has virtually eliminated the graduation gap between student populations. With an unwavering commitment toward equity and access, the Hispanic/Latino graduation rate has increased nearly 20% under Smith’s leadership to 88%, 10% above the state average.

“We are focused on engaging our students and bringing their voice to the table,” said Dr. Smith. “We have developed a Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council this school year and it has really changed the way we make decisions. It allows for students to make choices for students.”

Superintendent Smith said the award is a reflection of the success of the entire school district and thanked staff, students, parents and district leaders for making this award possible.

Knight receives 2021 Southeast Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award

Local financial advisor Lawson Knight received the 2021 Southeast Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership award on behalf of Walla Walla Public Schools at the Washington Association of School Administrators Southeast region annual meeting in Richland June 9.

Knight has been an active volunteer with Walla Walla Public Schools for years serving on the Bond Oversight Committee, as a Finance Department Retreat facilitator, Lincoln High School Facilities Planning Task Force member, High School Facilities Task Force member, Green Park PTA member and Strategic Planning Committee participant. He also served as the Replacement Levy chair for Walla Walla Citizens for Schools during the successful 2020 Levy approved by voters with a 72 percent yes vote.

“Our future depends on equipping our children with the skills, critical thinking and love for learning to sustain our community and society,” said Knight. “I want to be part of helping produce an educational experience that makes this possible for all children, not just mine.”

Knight was born in McMinnville, OR but was raised in Seward, Nebraska. He graduated from Central High School, Monmouth-Independence, OR in 1990 before attending Oregon State University and University of Lyon, France.

Knight is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Walla Walla. He has also served as Executive Director of Blue Mountain Community Foundation during his time in Walla Walla. His professional resume also includes serving as Development Office and Campaign Manager for the Oregon State University Foundation.

Knight earned the Philanthropy Northwest Mary Helen Moore Volunteer-of-the-Year award in 2012. He was also honored by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce with its Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year 2012 for his work leading the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.

“Walla Walla Public Schools is fortunate to have Lawson Knight as one of its strongest supporters,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Lawson’s leadership and involvement helps the district realize its vision of Developing Washington’s Most-Sought After Graduates.”

Lawson and his wife, Cyndy, have three daughters; Madelyn (20), Wa-Hi graduate and sophomore at EWU, Molly (18) Wa-Hi student and Chloe (15) Wa-Hi student. He enjoys track and field, soccer, hiking, travel, cooking and volunteering.

Bond Oversight Committee tours Pioneer Middle School project

Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith recently took members of the Bond Oversight Committee on a tour of the Pioneer Middle School bond project

Superintendent Smith shared the project timeline, detailed the scope of the project and answered questions during the tour. This meeting marks the 18th time the committee has met since construction began following the successful November 2018 bond election.

Comprised of 11 community members, the BOC’s core purpose will be to carefully monitor the delivery of the proposed bond program to ensure accountability, fiscal transparency, and community trust.

• Committee Chair: Scott Morasch (Business, Business Owner/Operator, Financial, Facility/Construction, Parent)
• Committee Vice Chair: Mark Hess (Financial)
• Bonnie Bowton (Business)
• Yolanda Esquivel (Parent)
• Lawson Knight (Business Owner/Operator, Financial, Parent)
• Kim McDaniels (Business Owner/Operator, Financial)
• Terry McConn (At Large)
• Jennifer Mouat (Financial, Parent)
• Dick Moeller (Business Owner/Operator, Facility/Construction, Community Facilities Task Force)
• Ken Seibold (Business, Business Owner/Operator, Facility/Construction)
• Tony Wenham (Business, Business Owner/Operator)

Bond Oversight Committee 


Second round of school vaccine clinics 

This week Walla Walla Public Schools is hosting three, 2nd shot vaccine clinics in partnership with Walla Walla County Department of Community Health. Clinics are being held at Lincoln High School and Garrison and Pioneer Middle Schools. Last week a clinic was hosted at Walla Walla High School. All students under 18 had a signed parent consent form to receive the vaccine.

Summer Sol offers BEST SUMMER (Job) EVER!

We are looking for high school, college, and community members interested in working with elementary or middle school students this summer as part of our Summer Sol program. You will have the opportunity to participate in engaging activities and have fun facilitating hands-on projects, while also developing important relationships with our students. The work runs from June 21 - August 13, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. To apply, follow the job posting link below:


For more information, contact Becca O’Connor, roconnor@wwps.org. There are many positions to be filled. Apply today.

School Board Regular Business Meeting

• Tuesday, June 15
• 5:30 p.m.
• Walla Walla Public Schools district office (364 S. Park St.)
• Meeting open to the public
• IMPORTANT MEETING NOTICE: The board of directors will be meeting in person for its scheduled regular meetings per the Governor’s Phase 3 guidance. Members of the public who wish to attend the meeting may utilize the following methods:
• - In Person: Pre-registration is required. Please visit the district’s website for registration
• details: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
• - Watch: https://www.youtube.com/user/wwpublicschools
• Spanish Agenda / Agenda Español: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule

School Stories
Walla Walla High School Commencement & Fireworks Show

• Friday, June 11
• 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Fireworks show at conclusion of the ceremony – approximately 9 p.m.
• Walla Walla County Fairgrounds Grandstands
• Families/Students – Communicate with school officials regarding tickets to the ceremony
• Use Tietan St. entrance and parking lot
• LIVE STREAM LINK - http://bdnw.live/wahi
• Principal Ron Higgins – rhiggins@wwps.org

Opportunity Program Graduation

• Tuesday, June 15
• 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Walla Walla County Fairgrounds (Pepsi Stage)
• Families/Students – Communicate with school officials regarding tickets to the ceremony
• LIVE STREAM LINK - http://bdnw.live/opportunity
• Director Tom Porter – tporter@wwps.org

Lincoln High School graduation a huge success

Congratulations to Lincoln High School Class of 2021. The Graduation ceremony was held Thursday, June 10 at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds. Principal Marci Knauft says the Class of 2021 will always have a special place in her heart for their resiliency, courage and ability to overcome challenges.

Thanks to Walla Walla County for allowing the school district to use the fairgrounds for a safe, in-person site for this special occasion. Good luck Lincoln High School Class of 2021!


Little Devils Youth Sports Camps

• Location: Garrison Middle School
• Days: June 22, 23, 29, 30
• Times: (3rd to 5th grade) 11 a.m.-12 p.m., (6th to 8th grade) 12-1 p.m.

Girls Soccer
• Location: Reser Field
• Days: Aug 2,3, 4
• Time: 5-6:30 p.m.

• Location: Berney Elementary
• Days: June 28 to July 2
• Times: TBD

• Location: WaHi Football Field
• Days July 19 to 23
• Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Track & Field
• Location: WaHi Track
• Days: June 21- 23
• Time: 6:30-8 p.m.

Register on Family ID:

Wa-Hi Track & Field Team of the Month

Congratulations to the Walla Walla High School Track and Field team for being named 3A Team of the Month for May by the Dairy Farmers of Washington. Both Wa-Hi’s girls and boys track and field teams went undefeated (8-0), and won regular season titles and the Mid-Columbia Conference Championship 3A Titles for the second year in a row. They were also awarded the WIAA’s Distinguished Academic Award for team GPAs of 3.286 for the girls and 3.135 for the boys. The teams consisted of 38 MCC All-Conference Awards, 26 top-10 ranked in 3A, 10 top-5 ranked in 3A, including Track Athlete of the Year, Ella Nelson. The Blue Devils student-athletes also give back to two middle school programs by coaching them through their seasons.

Each month throughout the school year, the WIAA and the Dairy Farmers of Washington recognizes a varsity Team of the Month for each of the six classifications.

Winning teams will be chosen based on performance, dedication in the classroom and service to the community. Each Team of the Month winner will receive the following, courtesy of the Dairy Farmers of Washington:
• A commemorative trophy
• $100 donated to their program
• Local dairy product coupons

Walla Walla High School student-athletes college signing day announcement

This week the Walla Walla High School Athletics Department posted a story on its website announcing student-athletes who have signed to compete in college athletics next year. Due to COVID restrictions, the “signing day” events were not allowed to happen in-person.

“Signing Day” link 

Walla Walla High School 2021 Orchestra Awards

Walla Walla High School Orchestra teacher Julia Woods recently announced the 2021 Orchestra awards.

Outstanding Musician:
• Eriel Cruz

Arion Award:
• Guiovana Avalos

Wa-Hi MVP Orchestra Award:
• Lucien Petit - Given to a senior who is chosen by members of the ensemble in recognition of his/her valuable contributions to the orchestra.

National School Orchestra Award:
• Reid Tyler - Given to one senior, this award is a counterpart to the National Sousa Band Award and is the highest honor you can bestow upon a member of the high school orchestra to recognize excellence in playing and contributions to the ensemble.

Director’s Award:
• Haeli Johnson

Tutti Award:
• Lucien Petit - New award, in recognition of a student’s efforts to include “all” in orchestra and to ensure all voices are heard & represented.

Orchestra Letters:
• Luke Bona, cello
• Sophia Jenes, violin
• Abigail Lopez, violin
• Anna Milligan, cello
• Natalie Scheidemann, cello
• Ethan Harris, cello
• Claire Dorland, cello
• Leo Waggoner, double bass

Blue Devil Strength and Development program sets summer dates for in-person sessions

The 2021 summer Blue Devil Strength and Conditioning program for boys and girls grades 6-12 begins Monday, June 21 and continues through July 30. There will be two in-person sessions offered this summer at no cost for participants.

Session One
• 7 to 8:15 a.m.
• Monday-Thursday
• June 21 to July 30
• Wa-Hi Track & Field area and Track Shed

Session Two
• 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.
• Monday-Thursday
• June 21 to July 30
• Wa-Hi Track & Field area and Track Shed

Register on Family ID:
• For more information, contact Wa-Hi Athletics – (509) 526-8633

Head Football Coach Greg Lupfer and PE teacher Marqui Shields will lead the program this year and are excited to resume in-person strength and development sessions to enhance athletic skills and success.

For more information, contact:
Coach Greg Lupfer – glupfer@wwps.org

Community Stories
YMCA Youth Programs

Friday Night Dodgeball: Starting June 18 5-7PM Older youth and Teens Gym 2

Rookie Soccer June 21-25 Ages 4-6 9-10 AM $40.00 at Martin Field
Youth Soccer June 21-25 Ages 7-10 9-11 AM $65.00 at Martin Field

Pebbles Rock Climbing June 21-24 Age 4-6 3:15-4:15 $50
Pitons Rock Climbing June 21-24 Age 7-10 4:15-5:15 $50

Youth Basketball Camps June 28-July 2 Ages 4-6 9-10 AM $40.00- YMCA Main Gym
Youth Basketball Camps June 28-July 2 Ages 7-10 9-11 AM $65.00- YMCA Main Gym

Register Online: https://www.wwymca.org/

Jump into Summer with Safety

• Bike Safety for Kids & Car Seat Check Up
• Give aways and prizes (bike helmets, snacks, goodies)
• Win a FREE bike or car seat
• Saturday, June 19
• 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
• Children’s Home Society (1612 Penny Lane)

Free books for kids

• Celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the first of several diverse little libraries offering free books for kids
• Saturday, June 19 @ 9 a.m.
• Colville Street Patisserie
• Diverse little libraries will be hosted around Walla Walla and College Place
• Contact Victoria Lidzbarski for more information: vlidzbarski@gmail.com

Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Update

Veterans Memorial Pool is open! Open swim is from 4pm – 6:30pm Monday through Friday and 11am – 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Phase 3 allows for the pool to operate as normal while maintaining social distancing. Pool pass prices Youth/Senior/Veteran $75 Adult $88 Family $180.

Registration for summer programs are open!

Recreation Programs
• Pickleball For Youth – Ages 10-16 years. Cost is $60.
• NFL Flag Football – Grades K-8. Cost is $50.
• Cornhole Throwdown Tournament – July 24 Ages 12 and up. Cost is $50/team.
• T’ai Chi – Classes open to Ages 12 and up. Cost is $48.
• Symbol Quest – Late registration is open until June 13. Interactive journey for all ages to discover the stories etched in stone throughout Mt View Cemetery – Cost is $20-$30 (customer hoodie included).
• Youth Fencing – Beginning Classes for ages 8-18. Cost is $60. Equipment provided.
• Adult Fencing – Classes for ages 18 and up. Cost is $75. Equipment provided.
• Ukulele Class - Ages 12 and up. Cost is $65.
• Fall Youth Soccer League – Grades K-8. Cost is $60.
• Hatha Yoga – All ages. Cost is $60.
• Walla Walla Soccer Alliance Skills Clinic – Ages 5-10 years. Cost is $30-$50.
• UPlay Summer Camp – 10am – 3pm, Monday – Friday. Free for ages 7-12 years.
• All Comers Track Meet – Ages 1-12 years. Cost is $3.
• CJoy Yoga in the park – Ages 12 and up. Cost is $11-$100.
• Little Kicks Soccer – Ages 3-5 years. Cost is $70.
• Youth Track Clinic – Grades 1-5. Cost is $35.

Pool Programs
• Swimming Lessons – Ages 3 months and up. Session II is open. Cost is $35.
• Sea Monkeys Swim Team – Ages 6-16 years. Cost is $85.
• Discover Scuba – Ages 12 and up. Cost is $60.
• Lap Swim 101 – Ages 17 and up. Cost is $35.
• Sweat & Swim Boot Camp – Ages 16 and up. Cost is $40.
• SUP Yoga – Ages 15 and up. Cost is $35. (Paddleboard included)
In need of financial assistance to help with youth program costs? We have simplified the youth scholarship application process for 2021, thanks to private community donations we are able to help with 75% of the program cost! Call 527-4527 or email recreation@wallawallawa.gov us to request a scholarship for your child(ren). The only requirement is that you establish an online account so that we have a place to apply the scholarship.

NEW – Parks and Recreation App! Easy access to game schedules, program registration and more! Download it from your App Store/Google Play Store - Walla Walla Parks and Rec
Pottery Studio is OPEN! Thursday/Friday 2pm-5:30pm and Saturday 10am-12:30pm.

Please visit our website at www.wwpr.us for updated information regarding recreation programs as it becomes available. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Parks & Recreation Office at 509-527-4527.

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