Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - May 27, 2022

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District Stories

School Stories

Community Stories

District Stories
Cesar Hernandez named new principal for Green Park Elementary; Amy Ford promoted to assistant principal

Walla Walla Public Schools announces Cesar Hernandez has been named the new principal for Green Park Elementary School. Hernandez is currently the Assistant Principal at Green Park Elementary. The principal selection process was extensive, including 15 staff, parent, and school board representatives serving on the interview and walkthrough teams. The interview team spent four hours carefully reviewing the feedback staff provided on the principal input survey, participating in two comprehensive interview processes, and carefully deliberating between the two finalists. Also, approximately 50 participants attended “Meet and Greet” sessions to provide feedback into this important decision.

“Mr. Hernandez maintains a deep understanding of the dual program, the Green Park community, and is a shining example of our “grow your own" efforts,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Born in Walla Walla, he is a former Green Park Elementary, Garrison Middle School and Walla Walla High School student and graduate. He started his career with the district 10 years ago as a paraprofessional, then became a dual language teacher, and now serves as an assistant principal with two years under his belt at Green Park.”

Hernandez received an Associates of Arts degree from Walla Walla Community College, a Bachelor’s Degree from Washington State University and a Master’s in Education and administrative credential from Eastern Washington University.

“Being asked to serve as the next Green Park Principal is a dream come true,” said Hernandez. “I look forward to providing the best education possible for all our students, supporting our outstanding staff and engaging with our community. This is where my heart is and I want to thank the staff and community for their support.”

Amy Ford, the other finalist for the Green Park Principal position, has been promoted to replace Hernandez as Assistant Principal at Green Park Elementary.

“With Cesar's appointment to principal, that left us with an opening for assistant principal,” said Dr. Smith. “It became clear throughout the interview process that the two of them together would be an outstanding leadership pair for our Green Park community.”

Ford is currently the Director of Walla Walla Online. She began her career in Walla Walla Public Schools 19 years ago as a teacher at Berney Elementary. She later relocated to Edison Elementary where she taught 4th grade and was the LAP/Title Assessment Specialist. Ford graduated from McLoughlin High School in Milton Freewater. She went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Communications and a Master’s in Education from Portland State University. She is currently enrolled in the Principal Certification Program through Eastern Washington University.

“I am so excited to be returning to my elementary roots and joining Green Park's staff as the assistant principal next year,” said Ford. “I look forward to joining the Panther family and working together with Mr. Hernandez to support the students, staff and families who make Green Park a special place in our Walla Walla community.”

Current Principal Rick Kline is retiring at the end of the school year. Hernandez and Ford will report July 1, 2022.

No School Monday, May 30 – Memorial Day

There is no school Monday, May 30 in honor of Memorial Day. Classes resume Tuesday, May 31. 

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.

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.

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
SEATech Health Science Careers/Pre-Nursing pinning ceremony

SEATech students in the Health Science Careers/Pre-Nursing program are participating in their 2021-2022 Pinning ceremony Tuesday, May 31 at SEATech at 6 p.m.

Instructor Sandy Thomas also reports her students will be sitting for their State Boards to receive their Certified Nursing Assistant License on June 8 and 9. The state evaluators are coming to SEATech to test for written exams and skills test.

“This is the first step in Healthcare and is required for the nursing programs at WWCC and CBC,” said Thomas. “We have a very strong class this year and are hoping for a 100% passing rate.”

WWHS JROTC cadets hold change of command at public event

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

The battalion change of command highlighted the day's events. Newly-promoted cadet Lt. Col. Kaden Kerr was installed as the battalion commander, effective immediately. He received the Blue Devil Battalion colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Tony Marrero, Senior Army Instructor. The outgoing BC, c/Lt. Col. Maxwell Wooster has been selected for an Army ROTC scholarship and will be a cadet at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

The assembled battalion was reviewed by retired Army CSM Terry Atchison. The cadets then held a formal "pass in review" in a final parade led by the 2022 graduating class.

In addition to Wednesday’s ceremonies, a plaque honoring Master Sgt. Gerald W. Taylor, former WWHS JROTC Army Instructor, was presented by JROTC Booster Club President Gene Gossett to current rifle team captain, c/Maj. Cassidy Hanson. It will be mounted in the hallway outside the JROTC marksmanship range. Taylor coached the Wa-Hi rifle team for more than 20 years and trained numerous regional and national champions.

Many team and individual awards were presented during the concluding ceremonies. Among the presenters was Wa-Hi Principal Ron Higgins, who is retiring from public education at the end of this academic year. He has been a longtime champion for the program which molds future leaders and helps cadets learn to be better citizens.

Walla Walla Online and Opportunity students take field trip to McNary National Wildlife Refuge

On Friday, May 20 students from Walla Walla Online and Opportunity Program joined local birding expert, Mike Denny for a day of bird watching at McNary National Wildlife Refuge.

“Our group spent the morning exploring the trails around the Millet Pond in search of birds and listening to Mike’s amazing stories and natural history lessons,” said Walla Walla Online teacher Mary Burt. “During the adventure students witnessed an American Kestrel eating a mouse and a pair of Bald Eagles who had at least one chick peeking out of the nest.”

Some birds, like the Yellow Warbler and Bullock’s Oriole were more often heard singing than seen, but by the end of the morning most students got a glimpse of their brightly colored feathers, according to Burt.

“At one point Mike stopped everyone along the trail to point out a Brown-headed Cowbird and explained how this bird follows other bird species around in search of their nests where it will lay its egg.” said Burt. “The female cowbird is even able to make her egg look similar to the other eggs in the nest. When the cowbird egg hatches, the poor unsuspecting parents are tricked into raising a chick that often grows much larger than themselves.”

On our way back to Walla Walla, Mr. Denny took the group up Hatch Grade Road for a great view of the Walla Walla River delta where it empties into the Columbia River. At this stop the group found Lark Sparrows and listened to singing Western Meadowlarks.

“During this Walla Walla Online and Opportunity Program collaborative field trip, students made some new friends and added 25 bird species to their life lists,” said Burt. “It was simply wonderful to spend some time outdoors exploring together.”

2022-2023 Wa-Hi ASB Officers sworn in

The Walla Walla High School 2022-2023 ASB Officers were sworn in at the ASB Banquet Monday, May 23 in the High School Commons. Rachel Clark, outgoing ASB President, reflected on the importance of teamwork during her time leading this group through a challenging year.

"Even though this year was again different due to COVID, we were able to hold lots of successful events throughout the year,” said Clark. “Thank you to everyone in ASB for having a positive attitude and for all of your hard work this year.”

Paige Harvey, director of this year's Conspiracy of Hope Talent Show, presented the donations from this event to Hope Street Recovery Homes Founder and Director Karen Carmen. Karen thanked the ASB for the $1200. She was grateful to have received such strong support from the Wa-Hi Community.

Incoming ASB President Joseph Segovia identified "Family" as the theme for his administration.

"The story behind the idea of family is to create a place for students to feel loved, involved, and accepted,” said Segovia. “Families are able to come together through thick and thin regardless of the differences each family member may have."

Joining Joseph on the Executive Council will be Vice-President Jack Wanichek, Secretary Marlee Boyd and Treasurer Claire Laville.

Class officers were also sworn in, taking oaths of office and then turning on light-up blue devil horns.

Senior Class Officers
• President Lauryn Bergevin
• Vice President Paige Harvey
• Secretary/Treasurer Emerson Schulke

Junior Class Officers
• President Finley Reed
• Vice President Jorge Garcia
• Secretary Analia Avalos- McBain
• Treasurer Scarlett Barton

Sophomore Class Officers
• President Lucy Forest
• Vice President Ruah Havens
• Secretary Alli Snider
• Treasurer Leonel Moreno Salazar

Freshman Representatives will be Eva Maxwell and Alisson Roja (Garrison MS); and Seth Anderson and Miranda Barcenas (Pioneer MS).

University of Idaho welcomes Wooster with $113,000 ROTC scholarship

Congratulations to Walla Walla High School Senior Maxwell Wooster for receiving a $113,000 ROTC Scholarship from the University of Idaho. The three-year scholarship allows Max to participate in the Army ROTC for his first year without any commitment to the Army, according to the University of Idaho Army ROTC Recruiting Operations Officer Aaron Cloutier.

“Should Max decide that he wants to continue through the ROTC and earn the majority of his scholarship benefit, he will commission into the Army as a Second Lieutenant,” said Cloutier. “He will have the option to commission and serve our nation for four years in the Active Army or he can choose to commission into the Army Reserve Component (Reserves or National Guard) and serve part-time for eight years."

Scholar criteria is determined from high school grades and SAT or ACT scores. Higher grades and scores increase the chances to receive a scholarship. Participation in school activities, leadership roles, volunteering and physical fitness assessment results are also considered in the selection process.

“This is a competitive process, just because you are qualified does not mean you will automatically receive a scholarship,” said Cloutier. “The scholarship covers housing, tuition, books and a monthly living stipend.

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.
Cristian Martinez - Opportunity 
Tierra Golden - Wa-Hi & SEATech  
Lauren Adams - Wa-Hi   
Raquel Edwards - Wa-Hi & SEATech 

To see the entire series, click HERE 

Community Stories
Color Our Community On Awareness plans Juneteenth Jubilee at Pioneer Park

• Sunday, June 19
• Pioneer Park, Walla Walla
• 9 to 11 a.m. (non-denominational service)
• 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (music, vendors, dancing and more)
• More details online: https://www.cocoawwv.org/juneteenth/

The Dance Center of Walla Walla presents:  SNOW WHITE 

Directed by Idalee Hutson-Fish
Assistant Director is Caleb Leitch
Choreographed by Idalee Hutson-Fish, Caleb Leitch, Grace Fritzke
When: June 2, 2022, 7 pm
Where: Walla Walla Fairgrounds Pavilion
Tickets and more information at www.thedancecenterofwallawalla.com or at the door
Ticket prices online: $25 Adult $15 Student
Ticket prices at the door: $30 Adult $20 Student

Walla Walla Area Crime Watch announces this Year’s National Night Out CHIEF FOR A DAY

The Chief for a Day program is an opportunity to celebrate the lives of children living in our community who have a disability and/or chronic illness, by letting them serve as honorary Chiefs for our local public safety and correctional justice agencies. The nominations came from family, teachers, neighbors, and friends.
• The students who are chosen will be fitted for an official emergency service uniform from their designated agency.
• In the coming weeks, each child will be introduced as “Chief” to their classmates and presented with a Chief for a Day t-shirt. In July and August, they will take their oath of office, be officially introduced with their “chiefs” at a Walla Walla Sweets Game and participate at Walla Walla’s National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2.

This year there were nine Chief for a Day recipients selected:
• College Place Fire Chief - Juan Diaz, Sager Middle School
• College Place Police Chief - Manny Martinez, Davis Elementary
• Columbia County Sheriff - Richard Finch, Dayton Middle School
• Walla Walla County Sheriff - Emma Givens, Liberty Christian
• Walla Walla City Fire Chief - Sophie Beam, Pioneer Middle School
• Walla Walla Fire District 4 Chief - Julian Cook, Garrison Middle School
• Walla Walla Police Chief - Evan Harrison, Green Park Elementary
• Washington State Patrol Chief - Isaac Destito, Prospect Point Elementary
• Washington State Penitentiary Superintendent - Astrid Hamann, Green Park Elementary

Participating Agencies:
College Place Police Department, College Place Fire Department, Walla Walla Police Department, Walla Walla City Fire Department, Washington State Penitentiary, District 4 Fire Department, Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, and Washington State Penitentiary

Walla Walla Area Crime Watch (WWACW), a non-profit organization that supports crime prevention in the Walla Walla Valley, is hosting the Chief for a Day Swearing during National Night Out at Pioneer Park, August 2.

Educational Trips Abroad to Italy planned for next summer

• Educational Trips Abroad to Italy - Amalfi Coast Walking Tour (Summer 2023)
• Host – Kerri Tucker
• This is an upgraded tour through EF's Adult branch, Go Ahead Tours. Travel dates: June 24 - July 2, 2023
• Zoom meeting Tuesday, May 31 at 7PM - https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/2628448145#success
• Email Kerri Tucker at ktucker@wwps.org for more information.
• NOTE: This event is not sponsored by Walla Walla Public Schools

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 

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