Recognizing Hard-Working Students at Ward Elementary
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By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
OCTOBER 12, 2020 – On Friday afternoon, two cars filled with balloons and treats pulled up to fifth-grader Millyanes Rivera’s house.
Angela McHam, who is the principal of Ward Elementary, stepped out of one car, and Regina Youmans, who is the Parent Involvement Coordinator at Ward, stepped out of the other.
By then Millyanes and her mother, Mirtita Rivera, had come down the front steps of their house to see what all the hubbub was about.
They soon learned that McHam and Youmans were there to surprise – and congratulate – Millyanes on being the Ward Fifth-Grade Student of the Month.
“We are so proud of you for showing Ward pride,” McHam said.
Asked why she thought she had been chosen as Student-of-the-Month, Millyannes said, “Maybe because I pay a lot of attention in class…I work so hard.”
She said she will be glad when she and other students are able to return to the school building.
“I really miss school a lot,” she said. “It’s really a lot harder to do assignments.”
Lots of things would be easier if she could do them on paper rather than on the computer, she said.
Millyanes had been chosen from among all the fifth-graders nominated by fifth-grade teachers at Ward.
Millyanes’ teacher is Elizabeth Paschal.
“I nominated her for Student-of-the-Month,” Paschal said, “because she is a student who has been super-engaged during remote learning. She is prepared for our live classes, engages in our discussions, is articulate and volunteers to help resolve technology issues through screen-sharing when needed.”
Millyanes’ house was the first stop on a whirlwind afternoon for McHam and Youmans. Before the afternoon was over, they would have visited the home of the Student-of-the-Month for each grade level.
After they headed off to surprise and congratulate the next student, Millyanes and her mother talked a bit more.
Asked how she felt about the honor, Millyannes said, “I feel really excited.”
Her mother said she was really proud of her.
Asked what makes her daughter special, Rivera said, “She is sweet, kind. She always likes to help others.
Rivera’s husband and Millyanes’ father, Jose, is a firefighter. He was working so he couldn’t be there. Her older brother, Misael, is a seventh-grader.
Millyannes already knows for sure what she wants to do for a living.
“I always wanted to be a baker,” she said. “I love how you can make cakes and make them so pretty.”
“I just love it.”
Her mother has a birthday coming up, and she was so excited about baking her a cake that she already made one. Now she was going to have to bake her another one on her actual birthday.
The other Student-of-the-Month winners and the comments from their teachers are:
“Josey is an energetic, kind, and thoughtful student. She is a hard worker and shows perseverance during learning. She is always on task and respectful towards her classmates.”
“D'Asha is a child that is eager to learn. She is always present, not just in attendance but in terms of learning and giving her best. She is a constant in our class. She is a wonderful example of an excellent student in these present and difficult times. She is present in each class, well-prepared, and successful despite these challenging times. She is a wonderful example of rising to excellence despite difficult circumstances. She is certainly worthy of this honor and I appreciate her so much!”
“Knoelle is very friendly, helpful, excellent student, out-going, attentive, keen learner, diligent, intelligent! Excellent example of PRIDE – Preseverance, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Effort.”
“My student Ava Fuentes is always first to get online to class smiling and happy each morning! She eagerly greets the class and has her school materials organized and ready for action. She is a very positive student and willingly contributes to our class each day!”
“Reeva is a friendly, ambitious and excellent student. She is always ready for class and the one of the first students to volunteer in class. She is great example of a student that displays PRIDE.”
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