Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 20, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Graduates of Distinction named

Walla Walla Public Schools names this year's honorees for the Graduates of Distinction program. They are: Mark Thompson, Class of 1970; Russ Colombo, Class of 1974; J.P. “Jack” Fredrickson, Class of 1952 and Deborah Underwood, Class of 1979. This is the highest honor bestowed by the district.

These individuals have distinguished themselves in their communities and careers, and they continue to bring honor to the district. Celebrate alongside these distinguished alumni at a reception in their honor on Monday, June 6 (details listed below). Listen to their stories and hear who helped shape their lives during their school years.

Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
Time: 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Place: Walla Walla High School Commons (800 Abbott Road)
NOTE: This event is open to the public.

Walla Walla Public Schools names Partners of the Year

Walla Walla Public Schools established Partners in Learning Month in May 2010. This month the district sent nearly 200 proclamations and letters of recognition to its Partners in Learning.

“We so appreciate the individuals, businesses, organizations and agencies who engage with the district throughout the year in support of our students and our mission,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “We simply could not do what we do without their generosity and commitment.”

During the May 17, 2022 school board meeting, Superintendent Smith named Chervenell Construction, Jackson Contractor Group, Big Blue Boosters of Walla Walla and the Walla Walla Valley Disability Network Partners of the Year.

“This school year the district made significant progress in returning to a more traditional learning experience after two years of living through a global pandemic,” said Dr. Smith. “During these difficult times we have relied heavily on the support of our partners to navigate and support our staff, students and parents through the ups and downs of COVID. It truly does take a village to support our children and continue to achieve our vision of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.”

ThoughtExchange Survey closes Friday, May 20 

As the district wraps up a successful 2017-22 Strategic Plan, the Board of Directors is seeking broad stakeholder input as they prepare for the future. Beginning this spring and throughout next school year, the district will engage parents, staff, students and community members as they seek input towards the development of their next strategic plan.

The district recently launched a ThoughtExchange survey for all stakeholders, kicking off their extensive outreach and input process. The survey closes Friday, May 20.

Question: As we work towards achieving our vision of Developing Washington's Most Sought-After Graduates, what are the most important skills and attributes our graduates must gain in school in order to prepare them for success after graduation?

Please click HERE to join the exchange and share your input. 

Learn more about ThoughtExchange HERE 

Substitutes Hall of Appreciation

This week Substitute Coordinator Shari Strickland decorated the district office to show appreciation for all of the district’s substitutes.

“We are so thankful for everything they do to help hold the district together when employees are absent,” said Strickland.

Before COVID, Strickland would organize an Appreciation Reception for the substitutes at the district office, but the past two years Strickland sent out thank you cards and tokens of appreciation to the substitutes.

“This year we did a hybrid by doing a Hall of Appreciation,” said Strickland. “Substitutes were invited to stop by the district office and pick up treats, gifts and a card. More than 40 substitutes stopped by and walked the Hall of Appreciation which featured jokes, puns, WWPS water bottles and candy.”

2021-2022 Substitute Facts

Guest Teachers (Sept 6, 2021 to May 31, 2022)
• Hours: 38,461
• Certificated Subs: 99
• Certificated Para employees: 19 (1,468.75 hours)
• Student Teachers: 7 (418.75 hours)
• Most hours for one sub (not in a year-long spot): 1,056 hours (this sub never had a long term spot all year! WOW!)
• Runner-up for most hours (not in a year-long spot): 892.5 hours (this sub had two long term spots this school year)

Para-Educator (Sept 6, 2021 to May 31, 2022)
• Hours: 12,214.50
• Subs for the year: 66
• Most hours for one sub: 979.50 hours
• Para Subs in a long term spots (throughout the year): 49

Nutrition Services (Sept 6, 2021 to May 31, 2022)
• Hours: 1,309.75
• Subs: 12
• Most hours for one sub: 280 hours

Custodial Services (Sept 6, 2021 to May 31, 2022)
• Hours: 4,867.25
• Subs: 12
• Most hours for one sub: 1,142.50 hours

No School May 30 – Memorial Day

There is No School Monday, May 30 in celebration of Memorial Day. Classes resume Tuesday, May 31. 

Día del Niño / Day of the Child Celebration June 3

Join Walla Walla Public Schools in a community celebration of our most valuable asset...our children! Through a partnership with Fort Walla Walla, Community Bank, and Friends of Children of Walla Walla we are excited to bring games, music, food, and fun to families Friday, June 3 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Fort Walla Walla Museum. Admission is free to the event and the museum. A fajita dinner is also being provided free to the first 500 people. 

Building Belonging Awards

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Prospect Point Elementary student Isaac Destito, and James Shipp from Garrison Middle School, received the district’s new Building Belonging award. Director of Equity and Dual Programs Dr. Julie Perron established this award to recognize students who promote activities that create and sustain a sense of belonging, fairness, and justice for all students.

Isaac wrote an autobiography about what it is like to be autistic from his perspective. He read his book to students at Prospect Point to bring awareness to autism.

James is an advocate for students on the margins and other students look to him for support and advice. He works hard to engage students in the SEL classrooms.

Bond Update

Progress continues on bond projects at Walla Walla High School, Lincoln High School and Pioneer Middle School. Students and staff will soon be able to occupy the new black box theater, greenroom/music room and support spaces for the school's drama program.

At Pioneer Middle School, contractors are working on new science classrooms, art room and, exterior siding and site development.

Lincoln High School is getting a complete modernization of the 1927 school. Classrooms are getting finished and the entryway and drama addition are shaping up. All projects remain on budget and on schedule.

Ribbon cutting ceremonies and tours are planned at all three schools this fall.

Walla Walla HIgh School
- Wednesday, Sept. 21
- 4 to 6 p.m.

Pioneer Middle School
- Wednesday, Sept. 28
- 4 to 6 p.m.

Lincoln HS
- Wednesday, Oct. 5
- 4 to 6 p.m.

Personnel Report (from May 17, 2022 school board meeting)


Jacob Croft, School Counselor (2022-23), Walla Walla High School
Leidy Martinez, Temporary ELD Teacher (2022-23), Walla Walla High School
Marilee Stimmel, Special Education Autism Teacher (2022-23), Sharpstein Elementary School

Heather Alexenko, Head Start Assistant Teacher (2022-23), WWCCF
• Heather was temporary for the 2021-2022 school year
Carlea Guess, Head Start Assistant Teacher (2022-23), WWCCF
• Carlea was temporary for the 2021-2022 school year
Gabriela Reyes, Head Start Assistant Teacher (2022-23), WWCC
• Gabriela was temporary for the 2021-2022 school year
Viola Sardina, Head Start Assistant Teacher (2022-23), WWCCF
• Viola was temporary for the 2021-2022 school year


Stacy Estes, Assistant Principal, Walla Walla High School, 11 years

Jordon Poynor, Education Specialist, Special Education, 8 years

Jennifer Apple, Para-Educator, Green Park Elementary School, 6 months
Mary Erdman, Para-Educator, Garrison Middle School, 23 years
Cody Finn, Para-Educator, Walla Walla High School, 1 year
Ruby Gonzalez, Bilingual Assistant Secretary, Prospect Point Elementary School, 5 years
Teresa Martinez, Head Start Assistant Teacher, WWCCF, 20 years
Krys Martz, Bus Driver, SE Washington Transportation Co-Op, 8 months
Lynn Porter Bingham, Health Clinician, Green Park and Edison Elementary School, 4 years
Fatima Robles, Head Start Bilingual Family Advocate, WWCCF, 8 months
Cheri Ruzicka, Para-Educator, WWCCF, 3 years


Maria Green, Math Teacher, Walla Walla High School, 2 years
Bailey Hayes, Fifth Grade Teacher, Prospect Point Elementary School, 3 years
• To serve as the Prospect Point Interim Assistant Principal for the 2022-2023 school year

2021-2022 Retirement Ceremonies 

Berney Elementary
Thursday, June 2
3:00 p.m.
• Joe Gribnau
• Lisa Braddock.

Green Park Elementary
• Wednesday, June 8
• 2:30 to 4 p.m.
• Loretta Wright, Tensie Lovejoy, Ingrid Olsen, and Heraclio Torres
• Green Park Library

Garrison MS
Wednesday, June 8
2:45-3:45 p.m.
Garrison Commons
• Mike Braddock
• Mary Erdman

Pioneer MS
• June 14
• Pioneer Commons
• 3:45pm-4:45pm
• Laurie Bohnet
• Pam Spence

• June 1
• 3 to 4 p.m.
• SEATech
• Jeffrey Townsend

Walla Walla High School
Wednesday, June 8
Location- Walla Walla High School Commons
Time- 3:00pm
Lori Dohe, Robert Dutton, Pattie Eagon, Peder Fretheim, John Golden, Spencer Iacolucci, Dave Larson

School Stories
WWHS JROTC cadets announce May 25 public ceremonies

The cadets of the Walla Walla High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps will hold their annual review and end of year pass in review parade next Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at the soccer field off Reser Road.

This free, open public event will begin at 9:45 a.m. Families of cadets, veterans and the general public are especially invited and welcome to attend, according to cadet Lt. Col. Maxwell Wooster, the cadet battalion commander. A key part of the day's events will be the change of command ceremony in which the departing seniors pass leadership of the battalion to next year's class. The Senior Army Instructor, Command Sgt. Maj. Tony Marrero will preside over the ceremony.

Following the change of command, the battalion will be inspected by the reviewing officer, retired Army CSM Terry Atchison. The cadets will then hold a formal "pass in review" in a final parade led by the graduating 2022 class. School district and Wa-Hi officials will be on hand to present awards and to announce the winners of the day's various competitive events.

The Wa-Hi JROTC Booster Club and President Gene Gossett will also present a permanent plaque to the cadets and instructors. The plaque honors Master Sgt. Gerald W. Taylor and will later be mounted in the hallway just outside the doors of the rifle marksmanship range. Taylor was a highly-decorated Vietnam War veteran who retired after serving more than 21 years in the U.S. Army. After retiring from that career, he went on to become the JROTC Army Instructor and rifle team coach for more than 20 years. Under his guidance, the Wa-Hi Rifle Team won broad recognition and honors, both local and national. He passed away in Walla Walla January 2021.

The mission of JROTC is to help cadets learn to be better citizens. They learn military history, precision drill and ceremonies, marksmanship and leadership skills. The Wa-Hi “Blue Devil” Cadet Battalion competes in drill competitions and marksmanship events around the region and the nation.

Garrison MS team takes first place in National History Day Competition

On Saturday, April 30, 21 Garrison Middle School students traveled to Kirkland, WA to compete in the National History Day competition. There were more than 300 students participating. The team of 8th graders Eva Maxwell, Natalie Williams and Natalia Horn Quintero took first place for the state of Washington for their exhibit entitled "The 1967 Space Treaty." The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies, and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space. This victory qualified the Garrison MS team for the National competition to be held the first week of June. The national competition will be held virtually. The event was sponsored and paid for by GEAR UP, under the direction of Teresa Gingras.

Wa-Hi Athletics Post Season Competition Update by Athletic Director Chris Ferenz

It is an exciting week for the Walla Walla Blue Devil baseball, golf, softball, track and tennis teams. The baseball team is headed to Bellevue for the first round of the state 3A tournament, while the softball, track, golf and tennis teams are competing in Spokane.

The Blue Devil baseball team won the district 8 MCC/GSL championship last Saturday with a 4-3 win over the MCC regular season champion Kennewick Lions. On their way to the championship, the Blue Devils defeated the GSL regular season champion, University Titans. Seeded #8 in the state baseball championship bracket, the team faces #9 Bonney Lake, Saturday, May 21 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm. If the Devils advance past Bonney Lake, they will play the winner of #1 West Seattle and a team to be determined. Game time will be approximately one hour after the Devils matchup with Bonney Lake.

Walla Walla High School is sending 10 athletes to Spokane in tennis for the district 8 MCC/GSL regional tournament beginning at 1:00 Friday, May 20 at Ferris High School (girls) and Hart Park (boys). The girls’ team is sending one doubles team, while the boys’ team is sending two singles, and three doubles teams after clinching the MCC district championship by a 40 point margin.

Fast-Pitch Softball
Wednesday, May 18 the Blue Devil fast pitch softball team punched their ticket to the state 3A softball tournament with a 10-1 victory over Mt Spokane HS. Next up for the Blue Devils is a matchup with University High School in Spokane on Saturday, May 21. Game time has yet to be determined. This game will decide the district 8 champion as well as the #1 and #2 seeds to the state tournament.

Track & Field
After clinching the MCC District girls and boys track and field championships in Hermiston on May 14th, the Big Blue Train sends 46 athletes to Central Valley High School in Spokane on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 to compete in the Region 8 track and field championships. Three spots to the state track meet at Mt Tahoma High School, May 26-28, are on the line in each event.

Congratulations to junior Emerson Schulke and senior Sam Lastoskie for qualifying for the 3A state golf tournaments. Emerson will compete for the girl's title at MeadowWood golf course in Liberty Lake, while Sam will compete for the boy's title on the Liberty Lake golf course. Both tournaments run May 24 and 25, Tee times and results can be found on the WIAA website: https://www.wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=295

Wa-Hi Drama Spring musical: Cinderella

May 19-21 @ 7 p.m.
May 21 @ 2 p.m.
Admission is free

Walla Walla High School Drama presents its Spring Musical Cinderella. Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella has more singing and dancing and much more character development for roles like the step-sisters, the prince and the fairy godmother. Director Kristin Hessler and vocal director Colleen Hatch have assembled an outstanding cast that will perform once again with a live orchestra, under the direction of Julia Woods. The Drama Department is also working in collaboration with a talented choreographer, Caleb Leitch.

Follow on Instagram and Facebook (@wahidramaproductions) to see the behind the scenes journey through closing night.

Meet Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates Video Series

Walla Walla Public Schools is producing a video series this spring featuring seniors from across the school district. This series – Meet Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates – aims to showcase how prepared these soon-to-be graduates are for life after high school. New videos will be released each week leading up to graduation ceremonies in June. Please take a few minutes to watch these videos and see why these amazing students are great representatives of the district’s vision statement of Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates.

Eddie Vu – Walla Walla High School 
Cameron Richey – Lincoln High School & SEATech 
Roberto Rodriguez – Walla Walla High School 

To see the entire series, click HERE 

Community Stories
Suicide Prevention Walk May 25 (open to the public)

• Suicide Prevention Walk – Together we can stop suicide in Walla Walla
• Wednesday, May 25 @ 1st Ave Plaza in downtown Walla Walla
• 4:30 p.m. - Live Music & Resource
• 5 p.m. - Welcome from Greg Kettner, Wa-Hi JROTC Color Guard & Community Partners
• 5:30 p.m. – Walk begins
• 6 p.m. – Meet back at the Plaza – Stand by Me singalong
• 7 p.m. – Closing Statements
• Thanks so much to Walla Walla County’s Peggy Needham for coordinating this event

The Little Theatre plans auditions for “The Little Mermaid”

Auditions for the production of “The Little Mermaid” will be held for local children entering 1st through 12th grade on Tuesday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to noon (please plan to stay for the full two hours) at The Little Theatre of Walla Walla, 1130 E Sumach Street. REHEARSALS will be held Tuesday through Friday, June 28–July 1, 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. This year’s show is tuition-free thanks to a grant from our benefactors, 100 Women Who Care. PERFORMANCES will be Saturday, July 2, 3:00 and 5:30 p.m. at The Little Theatre of Walla Walla, tickets are $10. For more information, call 509.876.2316 or go to www.ltww.org

Is your child wanting to play soccer at a more competitive level?

Walla Walla United Soccer Club is holding tryouts the first two weeks of June to form teams for Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. All teams will start training during the summer. The soccer is age appropriate and fun, but it is competitive soccer and involves trying out for a team, travel, and a higher level of competition.

Boys born between 2004 and 2014 and girls born between 2009 and 2014 are eligible to try out. For age specific try out dates and times and to pre-register for tryouts (required by May 30th) visit: www.wwusc.com

Parks & Rec Update  

Summer program registration is open!
Recreation Programs
• Blue Mountain Boys Baseball. Open to grades 6-10. Cost is $60.
• Fall Youth Soccer open to boys and girls grades K-8th. Cost is $50 ($60 after July 1).
• Fencing open to ages 8 and up. Cost is $10-$56.25
• Golf Lessons open ages 7 years and over. Cost is $48.
• NFL Flag Football open to boys and girls grades K–8th. Cost is $50.
• Pickleball Skills & Drills Day Clinic open to all ages. Cost is $20.
• Swim, Play, Discover Camp open to ages 5-10 years. Free to those who qualify for our scholarship program.
• Spring Cemetery Tour open to ages 12 years and over. Cost is FREE.
• Symbol Quest open to all ages. Cost is $15-$35.
• UPlay open to ages 7-12 years. Lunch is included. Cost is FREE.
• Youth Sports Camps and more!

Aquatic Programs
• Dive Camp open to ages 10-18 years. Cost is $35. No experience required.
• Hatha Yoga open to all ages. Cost is $12-$180.
• Lifeguard Training open to ages 15 and over. June 6-10. Cost is $190. Lifeguards who complete 400 hours of work for the City of Walla Walla throughout the 2022 pool season will be refunded a portion of their training.
• Sea Monkeys open to ages 6-16. Cost is $45.
• Stretch and Move open to all ages. Cost is $14-$80.
• SUP Yoga open to ages 15 and up. Cost is $25-$35.
• Sweat & Swim Boot Camp is open to ages 16 and over. Cost is $14-$76.
• Swim Lessons, Session I June 21-30 open to all ages. Cost is $31. SPACE IS LIMITED.

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 up.

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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