On Wednesday night Weed Elementary School recognized the graduates of their eighth grade class in front of an ecstatic gym packed full of faculty, students, and community members. The ceremony, which featured the presentation of various awards and honors, served as a significant milestone in the educational careers of the graduates.

On Wednesday night Weed Elementary School recognized the graduates of their eighth grade class in front of an ecstatic gym packed full of faculty, students, and community members. The ceremony, which featured the presentation of various awards and honors, served as a significant milestone in the educational careers of the graduates

Student Body Vice President Jonah Jackson, opened the event and said many of the graduates had attended WES since kindergarten. Jackson went on to say that “tonight we are beginning the next steps in our journey to adulthood ... We would not have made it this far without so much love and support from the Weed Elementary School staff, our parents and guardians, and friends and family.”

The welcoming address was followed by the presentation of awards from school staff and members of the community, the first of which was the Kiwanis Citizenship Award. Principal Alisa Cummings presented the award to Cody Schlenvogt.

Bret Lynch presented the Outstanding Technology Award to Cayden Coombs, whose reading level significantly surpasses that of a middle school student.

First year music teacher Doug Benton presented awards to Brett Lowenthal and Sophia Gonzales.

GearUp advisor Kelsea Ochs presented the Outstanding Improvement Award to Nahaja McGee, who was commended for her ability to think about the bigger picture.

Lynch presented Angel Cook with the Contribution Award. She served as an office aide, as well as a tutor for younger students and was described as being appreciated by her teachers, and being “highly capable, and very kind.”

Math and science teacher Ken Lemos, who is also the basketball coach, presented the Outstanding Math student award to Cayden Coombs.

The Iron Woman and Iron Man Awards were given to Abigail Escobedo and Jessiah Vogel. Kenna Viturino, who participated in all four sports offered at WES, and Jonah Jackson, were recognized as the 2019 Scholar Athletes.

Teacher Allison Blankenship talked about College of the Siskiyous’ annual Eighth Grade Inspiration Day, during which eighth graders from all around Siskiyou County gather to explore potential career paths for after high school. This day also features art and writing competitions, and, while WES didn’t manage a writing award recipient, Mary Guerra’s entry into the color art portion of the competition warranted third place honors.

Blankenship honored Jonah Jackson and Kenna Viturino for their recognition from the California Junior Scholastic Federation, as well as Nitaya Jones with the Outstanding Writing Award.

Bobbie Hall presented the Outstanding Scholar Award to Angel Cook and the Sportsmanship Award to Dante Parham and Mary Guerra.

“He is an amazing young man, who has always had a positive attitude both on the court and off the court,” Hall said of Parham. Hall said that Guerra is “a young lady who works harder than any player I’ve had the opportunity to coach ... Her calming and fierce attitude will take her far in life.”

Rotary Students of the Quarter were announced as Angel Cook, Jonah Jackson, and Kenna Viturino. Association of California School Administrators’ students of the year were Angel Cook and Jonah Jackson.

Presidential Educational Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards and the Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence to high achieving students. These awards were accompanied by a letter from the President of the United States, and the former was presented to Cayden Coombs, Abigail Escobedo, Nayeli Flores, Nathan Kephart, and Sophia Gonzales. The latter was presented to Angel Cook, Jonah Jackson, Nitaya Jones, Kenna Viturino, and Jessiah Vogel.

The presentation of the awards was followed by an address to the graduating class from Jeffrey Williams, who quoted legendary hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, inspiring the students with the message “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” elaborating that “You cannot succeed unless you try.”

“If you have a dream, turn it into a reality, and make it come true. If you have a vision, make it into a virtual reality. Paint your perfect picture,” Williams said. “Never let anything or anyone hold you from what you aspire to be,” before leaving the class with the message “it’s not goodbye, it’s I’ll see you later.”

Cummings and Weed Union Elementary School District trustee Debbie Moser then presented the diplomas.

Upon the presentation of the final diploma, Student Body Secretary Nitaya Jones recognized office staff Vickey Conner and Vickie Eddy, who are retiring this year after touching the lives of countless students.

Conner, who was unable to attend graduation, has worked at WES for 19 years. Vickie Eddy has been with the school for 33 years.

Student Body President Shayne Keomuennah thanked the families, the staff, and the community. She pointed to the class motto, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all,” before the students exited the stage to the tune of Post Malone’s “Sunflower.”