Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - March 25, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
District announces series of administrative promotions

Walla Walla Public Schools announces the district will see new faces in different leadership roles next school year as it adjusts to retirements and changing administrative needs.

Walla Walla High School Assistant Principal Mindy Meyer has been promoted to Director of Human Resources. Meyer has been employed with Walla Walla Public Schools as a teacher and administrator spanning 31 years and has served in her current role for 12 years. Meyer will assume her new position July 1 as she replaces current Human Resources Director Liz Campeau who is retiring.

Pioneer Middle School Assistant Principal Rob Ahrens will return back to Walla Walla High School to assume Meyer’s former position. Ahrens spent 19 years as a Science teacher at Walla Walla High School, is a graduate of Wa-Hi and was a recent finalist for the Wa-Hi Principal position.

Walla Walla High School Assistant Principal Stacy Estes will transfer to Pioneer Middle School to assume Ahrens’ former position. Estes has been employed in the district for 11 years. He spent nine years as assistant Principal of McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco prior to coming to Walla Walla. The district will seek internal candidates to fill Estes’ vacant position at Walla Walla High School.

Special Education Director Libby Thompson is moving to Walla Walla High School to direct high school special education programs after serving seven years in her current role. In her new administrative position of Wa-Hi Special Education/504 Supervisor, Thompson will supervise high school special education teachers, monitor Individual Education and 504 plans, evaluate programs and support community engagement partnerships.

“Under Libby’s leadership, performance has improved, collaboration with community partners has been enhanced, and she has helped steward remarkable strides in our inclusionary efforts,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “While she has truly enjoyed her time as director, in recent months she has expressed a deepening interest in returning to a position that gets her closer to kids and her passion working with high school students, faculty and their families.”

Prospect Point Elementary Principal Barbara Casey has been promoted to Director of Special Education beginning July 1. Casey has been employed by Walla Walla Public Schools for 15 years and has extensive experience in special education as a classroom teacher and behavior specialist. On Monday the district will be posting the Prospect Point principal position and conduct a comprehensive and inclusive search process.

Superintendent Smith says these administrative promotions and new assignments will help ensure the district continues to realize its vision of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.

“We are blessed to have been able to grow and develop exceptional staff and leaders within our own system,” said Dr. Smith. “We have former paras who are now serving as remarkable teachers - teachers who have become exceptional principals - and principals who have advanced their leadership and now maintain districtwide roles in the central office. It is rewarding to lead a district that not only cultivates, but values individual growth and opportunity, and I’m excited to see them shine in their new roles.”

Spring Break – April 4-8

• NO SCHOOL April 4-8 (Spring Break)
• Classes resume Monday, April 11

Kindergarten and Early Learning Roundup returns in person

Save the Date! Walla Walla Public Schools is excited to announce the return of the Kindergarten & Early Learning Roundup to an in-person format at the WW Fairgrounds, April 12 between 4:00-7:00 p.m. If you have a child entering kindergarten or an early learning program like TK, Headstart and ECEAP this fall then this event is for you. Learn more at wwps.org/kindergartenroundup
• Tuesday, April 12
• Walla Walla Fairgrounds
• 4 to 7 p.m.
• Meet principals, teachers and staff from your child’s new school
• Learn how and when to register for school
• Learn about Birth-to-5 options and resources for your child
• Visit community and school booths for information and resources
• Event Information: Pam Clayton: pclayton@wwps.org / (509) 526-6781

School activities FREE for everyone

Spring is in the air and a great time to attend a school district concert, play or game. Remember, all of these activities are FREE. Just show up and enjoy. These activities are made possible by voter-approved levy dollars. Thank you for supporting our vision of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.

Activities Schedules:
Music (check Upcoming Events) 

School Stories
National Merit® Scholarship Program Finalists and Commended Scholars are announced

Walla Walla Public Schools continues to Develop Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates as the 2022 National Merit® Scholarship Program Finalists and Commended Scholars are announced.

Walla Walla High School Senior, Lauren Adams, has been named a National Merit Scholarship Program Finalist and fellow Wa-Hi seniors Dominic Bayer, Aaron Christopherson, Samuel Haugen, Sariah Hepworth, and Grace McDevitt have each been recognized as National Merit Commended Scholars. Lauren is in the running to be selected for one of nearly 8000 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be awarded later this spring.

National Merit Finalists score in the top 1% of the 1.66 million students who take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) each year and the Commended Scholars are in the top 3%.

“We are very proud of our scholars,” shared Walla Walla High School principal, Ron Higgins. “It is exciting to have six of our seniors recognized for their academic accomplishments. These students have worked incredibly hard to achieve this recognition and they are the latest group of Blue Devils who have distinguished themselves academically. I’ll add that all six of these seniors are also greatly involved in a variety of school activities, clubs, and athletic teams. They represent Walla Walla High School and our community so well. Congratulations to all of them.”

• Lauren Adams is the daughter of Dan and Theresa Adams. After graduation Lauren plans on attending Washington University in St. Louis and concentrating her studies in Biomedical Engineering and Spanish.
• Dominic Bayer is the son of Daniel Bayer and Tia Gore. Dominic is one of 6,000 Questbridge Match Scholars nationwide, and was accepted on a full ride scholarship to attend Northwestern where he will study Pre-Law and minor in Psychology.
• Aaron Christopherson is the son of Neal Christopherson and Michelle Janning. While undecided at this time on which college he’ll attend next year, Aaron will pursue studying Biology and use those skills to work in agriculture or sustainability.
• Samuel Haugen is the son of Mark and Kelli Haugen. Samuel will attend either Washington University in St. Louis, Rice University, or Johns Hopkins, where he intends to study Biomedical Engineering and may consider medical school after graduation from college.
• Sariah Hepworth is the daughter of Lael and Jenny Hepworth. After graduation Sariah will attend college at either Idaho State University or BYU-Provo. She plans to major in either Microbiology or Biomedical Engineering and later have an emphasis on prosthetics/orthotics.
• Grace McDevitt is the daughter of Michael and Dana McDevitt. Grace plans on attending a four-year university and is interested in studying neuroscience and/or data science.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) during their junior year of high school.

Garrison Middle School students participate in National History Day competition

On Saturday, March 12, 53 Garrison Middle School 8th graders traveled to Eastern Washington University to participate in the National History Day competition. The theme of this year's competition was "Debate and Diplomacy.” Students entered 15 different projects which ranged from websites and documentaries to large exhibit boards and live performances. Each group also submitted process papers and an annotated bibliography.

Garrison students represented WWPS well. The following students and projects were recognized at the awards ceremony, and have been invited to enter their projects at the state level competition, for a chance to represent Washington State at the National level:

Marcus Whitman Statue, Documentary
Ben Clearman, Ari Kim-Leavitt, Theo Gryler, Jin Kumar, Eleanor Leise
Marcus Whitman Statue, Website
Parker Pauley, Kellen Van Slyke, Basil Reed, Evan King, Michael Spalding
Snake River Dam, Website
Stanley Hammond, Hayes Hendley, Huck Mouat
The Space Treaty of 1967, Exhibit Board
Eva Maxwell, Natalia Horn Qunitero, Natalie Williams
Nellie Bly: Performance
Josie Van Dyke, Emily Cabbage, Quincy Boggs
Eleanor Roosevelt, Performance
Gelena Martinez, Ayla Cohen, Sunni Armitage, Juliet Lugoloobi
Trail of Tears, Documentary
Evelyn Wolf, Ayden Hainline, Violet Schaub
The Mexican-American War, Exhibit Board
Jose Sanchez Tello, Alan Rojas, Diego Vieyra, Mason Gehrett
State vs Federal Rights: The Medical Marijuana Issue, Exhibit Board
Molly Babbitt, Korinne Hayes, Teegan Timmons, Shayla Creason
Golden Pandas: War of 1812, Website
Logan Hood, Nile Dumser, Kieran Masuhud

“After the judging portion of the competition, students were given a tour of the campus and many expressed excitement at the idea of attending college,” said Teacher Beth Clearman. ”This event could not have happened without the support and endorsement of GEAR UP site director Teresa Gringas, her staff and parent chaperones.”

SEATech students compete at Boeing Everett plant

Last weekend four SEATech students from the Advanced Manufacturing and Welding Technology class competed at the Boeing assembly plant in Everett in the SkillsUSA State Manufacturing Assembler Competition. Students had to build a project using their aerospace skills and participate in an interview.

Xander Frederickson placed 2nd and Nathanael Bennett placed 3rd. Both students won a variety of prizes, including Boeing jackets and gaming systems. Both of these students also interviewed earlier in the week for paid Boeing internships. The hands-on project was monitored and judged by the Boeing trainers and the interview was conducted by the Boeing hiring team.

In addition to placing at state, SEATech recently had three seniors interview for employment with Boeing and all three were offered positions.

Tickets on sale for Big Blue Boosters Fundraising Dinner & Auction

Attention Big Blue Supporters! Tickets are now available for the Annual Big Blue Boosters Fundraising Dinner & Auction on April 23, 2022. The event will take place at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds Pavilion, with doors and Silent Auction opening at 5:00 pm, dinner served at 6:00 pm, followed by a Live Auction. Tickets and Sponsorships can be purchased here: https://bigblueboosters.ejoinme.org/tickets

The Big Blue Boosters of Walla Walla is a non-profit organization which provides funds for projects and equipment at Walla Walla High School. From swim caps for the swim team to new iPads for coaches, the goal is to help our student athletes and coaches by enhancing the quality of their athletic experience. Big Blue Boosters makes this happen through its annual fundraising auction and dinner, gym sponsorship programs, and generous donations. The Big Blue Boosters of Walla Walla is a 501c3. Memberships and donations may be claimed as a charitable donation for tax purposes. Donations are accepted at any time during the year to help support athletes.

Community Stories
Nominations now accepted for Chief for the Day

Chief for a Day is hosted by Walla Walla Area Crime Watch. It is an event that is all about celebrating the lives of children who have been diagnosed with a disability or life-threatening or chronic medical condition. It is the mission of Chief for a Day to help these children and their families to forget about any challenges they may be dealing with, even if only for one day.

Selected students will receive an emergency service's uniform, attend a swearing in ceremony, take a group picture and on July 31 be introduced at a Sweets Game. * Each Chief will receive a Chief for a Day plaque.

Nomination Form: https://bit.ly/3qsQdW9

Participating this year are: the Walla Walla Police Department, College Place Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla Fire District 4, Walla Walla County Sheriff, Walla Walla City Fire Department and College Place Fire Department.

Walla2Hoops sets spring skills and shooting clinics

Walla2Hoops AAU basketball players have a great opportunity to keep developing their skills this spring. The club has set its spring skill sessions and shooting clinics schedule. These activities are FREE for all Walla2Hoops players.

Wednesday Skills Sessions with Coach Garnett
March 30 @ Pioneer
April 13 @ Garrison
April 27 @ Pioneer
May 11 @ Pioneer
May 25 @ Pioneer

5:30 - 6:30 pm -- Boys & Girls Grades 2 - 5
6:30 - 8:00 pm -- Boys & Girls Grades 5 - 8

Sunday Shooting Clinics at Pioneer Middle School
April 10
April 17
May 15
May 22

11:00am - 12:30pm -- All ages

Walla2Hoops is a 501C3 Non-Profit basketball club which operates under the umbrella of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Walla2Hoops provides an enriched basketball environment with a mission to create a positive competitive culture focused on developing character and basketball fundamentals.

For more information about becoming a member and joining the club, contact: walla2hoops@gmail.com.

Class of 1972 50th Reunion this summer

The Walla Walla High School Class of 1972 is celebrating its 50th Reunion this summer.
• Dates: July 15, 16 & 17
• Classmates from 1970 and 1971 are invited to join Class of 1972 graduates at Quirk Brewing Friday, July 15 at 5 p.m. for a no-host get together.
• Visit the Class of ’72 Facebook page to learn more.
• Information: Contact Linda Byerley at (509) 540-0206 or lindabyerley@gmail.com

Whitman Baseball Little League Camp – FREE

• Whitman Baseball Little League Camp – FREE
• April 5-7
• 9-11 a.m.
• Borleske Stadium
• All campers receive a t-shirt
• Questions: Colby Watilo – watiloc@whitman.edu
• Register: Visit the “Camps/Clinics” tab at: athletics.whitman.edu/sports/baseball

Parks & Rec Update

We are hiring! Parks & Recreation is looking for those interested in seasonal, part-time or full-time employment. Positions open in Park Maintenance, Recreation, and Aquatics. Positions available for those 15 years of age and over.
• The Pottery Painting Studio is looking for painters! Thanks to a donation from Academy Mortgage and Coffee Communications, we have over 100 SoupPort Bowls available to paint for FREE March 24-27. Painted bowls will be given to helpline for the SoupPort fundraiser. Registration is not required.
• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball. Open to grades 6-10. Cost is $60.
• Blue Mountain Girls Softball. Open to grades K-6. Cost is $40-$50.
• Pre Teeball. Open to boys and girls ages 3-5. Cost is $35.
• Registration is open for the Adult Softball League (Men’s and Co-Ed). Cost is $920 per team.
• Warrior Soccer Academy – Open to boys and girls ages 5-11. Cost is $50.

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

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, recreation@wallawallawa.gov or parks@wallawallawa.gov.

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