Bishop's Giselle Guardado recognized at Every Student Succeeding Event
SUNNYVALE, CA — March 8, 2016 – Families, teachers, and administrators came together March 9 to celebrate students for overcoming extraordinary challenges and demonstrating unwavering resilience and leadership.
Eight Sunnyvale School District students and two Fremont High School Union District students were recognized at a special ceremony through the Association of California School Administrators’ (ACSA) brand new Every Student Succeeding program.
This event was the first of its kind being put on by the ACSA. The purpose is to recognize students at all grade levels who have achieved success in the face of difficult challenges, which may be related to school, family, medical, or difference in ability and the educators who supported them along the way.
"We are proud to highlight these young men and women who have overcome great obstacles to succeed and the dedicated educators who have helped them get there," said Sunnyvale School District Superintendent Benjamin Picard.
Every student who was nominated received a certificate as well as a gift card from a local establishment. In addition, one student will advance to Region 8 of ACSA (Santa Clara County) for consideration of recognition at the region level. The student may then receive recognition at the state level. Columbia Middle School’s Nicole Zapata Meza was announced as that student at the event.
Melany Lopez is a 2nd grade student at Vargas Elementary School, nominated by Annette Grasty, principal; Cecilia Mendoza-Torres, assistant principal; as well as Stephanie Malcolm, resource specialist, and Pam Alvarado, teacher. Melany loves school and learning. While health issues have impacted her learning abilities she is making great gains with the support of her parents and the site team.
Jessa Marie Yang is a 2nd grade student at Cumberland Elementary School, nominated by Edy Mourtos, principal; Eric Carlson, Adaptive Physical Education teacher; Mary Chew, special education teacher; Victoria Mih, 1st grade teacher; Nikki Patel, 2nd grade teacher, and community swim instructors. Jessa was born with spina bifida and a spirit of determination, courage and maturity beyond her age. She is an avid swimmer and is always willing to try new things. Because Jessa is in a wheelchair, she often gets stares and has to answer questions, but she always comes away having made new friends.
Zeke Carder is a 4th grade student at Fairwood Explorer, nominated by his principal, Jeffrey Bryant, and Sarah Tellez, ELA/English Language Development Coordinator. Zeke was adopted from an orphanage in China by Shara and Mike Carder, which set him on a challenging path to adapt to a new language, new school environment, and life in a family both at home and in school.
Giselle Guardado is a 4th grade student at Bishop Elementary School, nominated by Becky Schmidt, assistant principal, supported by Suzanne Cicala, principal, as well as Mary Jo Anderson, teacher, and Kaitlin Hlinka, psychologist. During her first few years in school Giselle struggled academically and social-emotionally. When she was in 2nd grade her 12th grade brother was killed in a car accident. She worked through her grief with support at school and accepted her brother’s diploma at the high school graduation.
Marcel Wickler is a 4th grade student at Cherry Chase Elementary School, nominated by Anita Lee, principal, who has persevered through challenges and worked to develop relationships with peers and teachers. Now at Cherry Chase, he is excelling academically and socially, becoming a great friend who looks out for his classmates.
Laila Mitchell Widemon is a 5th grade student at Lakewood School, nominated by Pamela Cheng, principal. While Laila has struggled during emotional moments in the past, during this school year her engagement and attitude has made a positive shift resulting in improved attendance and motivation. She has taken on leadership roles, become involved in classroom discussions, and seeks out her teacher to debrief during times when she is feeling upset.
Nicole Zapata Meza is an 8th grade student at Columbia Middle School, nominated by Mary Beth Allmann, principal and supported by Esteban Ybarra, assistant principal, and Gladys Mazariegos, social worker. Nicole entered middle school as a student identified for support academically, behaviorally, and social-emotionally. Staff have guided her through a number of interventions including math and reading intervention and conflict mediation. As her outlook was improved during 7th grade her mother became seriously ill. While she took on additional responsibilities in the home she persevered at school and continued on a positive trajectory. As an 8th grader she is involved in orchestra and was selected to support 6th graders transitioning to middle school as a WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) leader.
Emily Zhao is an 8th grade student at Sunnyvale Middle School, nominated by assistant principal Ron Gantvoort. Emily channeled her struggles with depression and anxiety into a book titled, “Too Young.” While the book is available on Amazon, she has donated copies to the SMS library, counselor’s office, and principal’s office.
ACSA is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators. ACSA's top priority is advocating for public school students in kindergarten through grade 12, as well as adult learners. Its mission is to be the driving force of education in California and beyond.
Bishop Elementary School
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450 N Sunnyvale Ave Sunnyvale, CA 94085 (408) 522-8229 fax: Accessibility