Last-minute diligence paid off for Columbia County Fair Court members who came away from the Asotin County Fair parade April 23 with two top awards.
It was the court's first parade of the season, said Shane Laib in a release. Hostesses Ashley Myrick and Lexus Ward and hosts Chris McHaffie and Micah Yeater added finishing touches to their float just before the parade started and won the first-place prize in the Non-Mounted Royalty/Float division as well as the Judges Choice Award.
Following the parade, the team participated in the Asotin Fair Queens Luncheon.
The court will next participate in events at Waitsburg and Dayton in May. For more information and photos, see Columbia County Fair on Facebook.
To spotlight volunteers who've made exceptional contributions, Fort Walla Walla Museum hosted its annual awards banquet on April 19 in their honor.
Hundreds of people make the Museum hum like a top while it accommodates thousands of visitors during the season.
Volunteers who earned awards include archaeology, Bob Bonstead; building attendant, Edith Haggerty; carpentry, George Carpenter; collections, Kathy Stritzel; docent, Toss Benefiel; exhibits, Helen "Sis" Kerr; gardens, Larry Panasuk; HQ receptionist, Fran Chase; intern, Kristin Caruthers Hair; and museum store, Kitty Mossey. Bob Bonstead received the Morris Ganguet Outstanding Volunteer Award, which goes annually to a recent volunteer whose contributions have stood out even from other volunteers. Robert L. 'Steve' Stevenson received The Gerwyn A. Jones Service Award, which honors a volunteer whose contributions over time have been consistently beyond the call of duty.
When the staff at Fort Walla Walla Museum says they "couldn't do this without your help," it is more than a figure of speech, said Don Locati, operations manager.
"Operating an organization of this size, scope and ambition would truly not happen without the dedication and friendship of so many wonderful volunteers."
Brian Westfield, director of Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center, addressed the group in the Museum's Grand Hall as guest speaker.
Brian talked about the VA's Cultural Resource Management efforts to gain a better understanding of the historic and archaeological resources that are being impacted by their expansion projects, and the potential for partnering with Fort Walla Walla Museum to address cultural resource needs, according to a release from Paul Franzmann, communications manager.
Walla Walla Noon Rotary Club awarded three $1,000 scholarships in April to deserving students from area high schools.
Tre Michael Hazelbaker, a Waitsburg High School senior, is the son of Tad and Kitzi Brannock. Tre lettered in varsity football, basketball and baseball and earned membership in National Honor Society. He was tapped as a scholar athlete for each sport he played in the ninth-12th grades.
He has participated in his high school's food drives every year and the Leo service club penny drives; served Thanksgiving dinner to needy families; and carted baggage as a member of the Baggage Team for Cycle Oregon.
One of his teachers said "During his senior year Tre has become more outgoing and a quiet leader in the classroom and in the community. We selected Tre to honor his choices and to support his furthering of his education." Tre has been accepted to and will attend Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich, to study kinesiology and exercise science.
The daughter of Juan and Alejandrina Diaz, scholarship recipient Heather Diaz "is one of the most conscientious, hard-working, independent young women I have had the privilege to know," said Kathy Ruthven, college counselor with DeSales High School.
Heather has excelled in a very demanding Advanced Placement course load at DeSales, earning a 3.84 gpa. She has participated on Math and Knowledge Bowl teams and this year she and team members took first place in Washington state. She is active in Girls League and serves as yearbook editor. She has been involved through the Campus Ministry program as a retreat attendee and leader.
Accomplished in the musical arena, Heather has participated in band, choir and liturgical choir. She hopes to pursue a degree in music education.
And though she has been accepted at six liberal arts colleges including Whitworth, Gonzaga, Willamette, University of Portland, Seattle University and Pacific Lutheran, her family's financial circumstances will make it very difficult for her to pursue studies at a private institution.
"That is one reason, among many, that Heather is an exceptional choice for this Rotary Club of Walla Walla Scholarship," said Rotarian Chris Coates.
Josh Kraut, a Touchet High School senior, is the son of Amy Kraut. He transferred to Touchet two years ago and is also in the Running Start program at Walla Walla Community College to get a jump on his college career.
Musically inclined, Josh wants to pursue a degree in music education or music technology. He also played on Touchet's football team last year. He is involved and successful in Future Business Leaders of America, placing in two competition areas and competing in the state competition over spring break.
Josh has led an active extracurricular schedule and earned good grades while contending with Alport's Syndrome which is causing his kidneys to fail. His father also suffered from the same disease and it ultimately took his life. Josh has started kidney dialysis and is a candidate for a kidney transplant. "Even with this significant health challenge, Josh remains one of the most optimistic and positive of people," said Elissa Tinder, Touchet principal. In nominating him, Elissa said, "Josh is a polite young man and is absolutely great to be around."
Students from The Walla Walla Dance Company, under the tutelage of teachers Nancy Wells and Jennifer Clark, received awards during the recent NUVO Dance convention, Nancy said in a release.
Dancers Natalie Hargreaves, Charles Gordon, Chloe Danielson, Aanika Swant, Emmie Sue Odden, Alexis Barreras, Lisi Dobson, Jason Ilawoa, Aimee Escalante and Emma Crawford and Nancy and Jennifer took classes in jazz, hip hop, contemporary, ballet and tap from noted teachers and choreographers in the dance industry. Workshop teachers Travis Wall, Stacey Tookey and Ivan Koumaev were from the hit dance show "So You Think You can Dance," Nancy said. Runner-up BreakOut Dancer awards went to Walla Walla Dance Company dancers Charles Gordon, senior male artist; and Jason Ilawoa, junior male artist. A StandOut in Jazz Award went to Natalie Hargreaves and Aanika Swant received a StandOut in Ballet Award.
More than 500 dancers participated in the workshop and competition in Bellevue, Wash., March 11-13.
These dancers and more than 100 other Walla Walla Dance Company students will perform jazz, hip hop, ballet and contemporary styles in concert June 4 at Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College campus and June 9 at The Liberty Theatre in Dayton.
Margo Piver, a Walla Walla High School special education teacher, has been elected president of Walla Walla Valley Education Association.
Margo succeeds Richelle Palmer, and will serve a two-year term. Lincoln High School business education teacher Lori Finn will continue as vice president and Kay Barga, Edison Elementary second-grade teacher, remains secretary/treasurer.
"I am honored to have been chosen to serve the teachers of the Walla Walla Valley," Margo said. "In these difficult economic and political times it is even more important for school districts and teachers to work together to find creative ways to maintain high levels of programming for children. It is difficult to be in education right now and we are lucky to have such a supportive community that recognizes our teacher's efforts on behalf of kids."
The Gates Millennium Scholar program selected Walla Walla High School senior Janella Bermudez as a Gates Millennium Scholar to attend Gonzaga University this fall. The GMSP was established in 1999, and funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It provides 1,000 scholarships each year to outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students who aim to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest, the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review reported. Janella's good-through-graduation scholarship can be used at any college or university.
Her applications was assessed on academic achievement, community service and leadership potential. She also had to attain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 or have earned a GED to qualify.
The Gates Millennium Scholarship Award Provides: Support for the cost of education by covering unmet need and self-help aid; Renewable awards for Gates Millennium Scholars maintaining satisfactory academic progress; Graduate school funding for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science; Leadership development programs with distinctive personal, academic and professional growth opportunities.
"This wonderful accomplishment and also a thanks needs to go out to all of the individuals and programs who assisted her along this path," said Max Weber, assistant director and advisor from TRiO-Educational Talent Search. "This is a great achievement for not just Janella, but for the pre-college programs here at Wa-Hi, the teachers who influenced and guided Janella, and for the entire Wa-Hi community."
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