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First Evening of Excellence recognizes 'spark'

Attitude, hard work, passion all rewarded

Luis Gaeta, left, recieves an award from math teacher Linda Skov, right, during The Dalles Wahtonka High School's first Evening of Excellence.

Photo by Jade McDowell
Luis Gaeta, left, recieves an award from math teacher Linda Skov, right, during The Dalles Wahtonka High School's first Evening of Excellence.

— Students were recognized for their leadership, attitude and work ethic during The Dalles Wahtonka High School’s first Evening of Excellence on May 15.

The event, hosted by the National Honor Society, was meant to recognize students “who, in the judgment of their teacher, have displayed that outstanding ‘spark’ and love for learning in a particular class,” according to George Zenker, a National Honor Society student who introduced the event.

“In many cases the recipient may not be the student who earned all A’s in course work but rather that should who stands out and demonstrates love and enthusiasm for the subject,” he said. “Quite often this student is one who serves as a positive role model for all other students to follow.”

Approximately 45 awards were given out. Each student receiving recognition was handed a certificate as a National Honor Society student read what the teacher who had nominated them wrote about them.

Math teacher Ty Wenzel recognized Natosha Johnson, who she taught as a freshman and now has in her class again.

“She has a passion for learning of all kinds … I am positive I have not seen such an improvement in a student in all of my 23 years of teaching,” Wenzel wrote.

Peny Wallace, an art teacher, recognized Katherine Kramer for her hard work and leadership in meeting her deadlines for the yearbook and helping others do the same.

“She was a tremendous help to yearbook club with her winning attitude and positive commitment to yearbook,” Wallace wrote.

Students were recognized in math, the arts, language arts, science, physical education, career technical education and special programs.

Some were complimented on their attitude, others their sense of humor or their respectful treatment of teachers and students. Some students received awards from multiple teachers. Often teachers would mention barriers the students had overcome, like working two jobs outside of school or learning in a second language after moving to the United States as a teenager.

Tegner Weiseth, staff supervisor for the National Honor Society, said the Evening of Excellence was begun as a way to encourage community, teacher and parent support for students.

Awards were given to the following students:

Principal’s Award:

Katie Conklin



Natosha Johnson

Christian Benson

Sydney Langer

Luis Gaeta

Mary McIntosh

Jorge Gutierrez Arellano

The Arts:

Lauren Chavez

Destiny Aytes

Katherine Kramer

Natalie Williams

Ashley Robertson

Cece Pincock

Carsen Cordell

Lilly Ley

Zach Whitmire

Language Arts:

Louis Gaeta

Colton Lee

Ema Erikson

Riley Nelson

Jacob Congdon

Joasa Bowers

Bryan Sanchez


Blake Diede

Max Macclennon

Grant Pearson

Katie Burns

Cece Pincock

Ashley Munsen

Miranda Schell

Physical Education:

Lori Cimmiyotti

Career & Technical Education:

Amanda Cimmiyotti

Max McClennan

Special Programs:

Kristina Settje

Ashley Kumm

Jaqueline Quintana

Mayra Delgadillo

Sergio Orquiz

Daniela Torres

Raquel Torres

Cristian Aguayo

Francisco Delgadillo

Bryan Sanchez


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