On May 19, I had the pleasure of taking in graduation from a new vantage point up on the stage. That night, I discovered that I had the best seat “in the house.” Not only did I have a great view of our graduates as they proudly walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, I also got to see the joyful expressions on the faces of parents, families, and loved ones who supported them along the way. Needless to say, it was quite a treat!
While every student traversed the same stage that night, each took a different path to get to that special moment. I’d like to highlight a bit about the path of the Class of 2017’s Eagle Award Winner, Duyen-Anh Vo. As I listened to Steve Leftridge read the nomination he wrote for Duyen-Anh, I was not only blown away by her personal contributions to and care for this world, but was reminded of all this great class has brought to the world already and what lies ahead thanks to them. If reading this doesn’t give you hope in the future, I don’t know what will.
As written by Steve Leftridge:
I’m honored to present this year’s Eagle Award to a student with a remarkable range of talent, discipline, heart, and character.
Throughout her high school career, she has been fiercely committed to personal excellence. She has a 3.9 GPA. She’s the senior class student council president. She’s the captain of the cheerleading squad. She is a highly gifted dancer–we’ve seen her become a viral sensation and win regional and national competitions; she recently appeared in the finals of the Teen Talent competition for the second straight year.
It’s all a result of the work–the blood, the sweat, the tears, that she has shed practicing and pushing herself as a dancer for many years. And she’s channeled most of that hard work back into our school–she’s choreographed everything here at the high school, from the cheerleading routines to the senior line dance to the Mr. Webster contest to her amazing performances at the All Write Festival. She’s also a terrific painter–she has produced beautiful art for our guests during each of our last All Write Festivals, for which she was our most valuable intern; she did as much as anyone to run the All Write Festival this year.
As artistic as she is, and I know her as a great English student, her first academic love is science, and next year at the University of Kentucky she’s majoring not only in dance but also pre-med. She wants to be a doctor. Because what really drives her is not only constant self-improvement but also making other people better.
And this is the side of her that she doesn’t make visible, that isn’t on stage. Not only has she spent her entire life working in her family’s restaurants, she has, since 6th grade, volunteered several hours a week at a local Medical Clinic. She has, for years, made care packages–full of stuffed animals, handmade crafts, and treats–for children battling cancer and she has taken those to local hospitals every Sunday, which she continues to do today. She volunteers at St. Cecilia’s, the Spanish school downtown, as a math tutor. Since grade school, she has, by her own initiative, made and delivered lunches to the homeless around town on the weekends. She also teaches dance–for no pay–to special needs classes at studios around St. Louis.
And she does all of these things with a smile on her face. She never complains. She is unfailingly nice to everyone and continually puts out the best kinds of vibes and lifts everyone around her.
She has sacrificed a great deal and worked literally around the clock to maximize her talents, to help others in need, to achieve personal excellence, to improve her community, and to make Webster Groves High School a more outstanding school.
So it is with great pleasure that I present the 2017 Webster Groves High School Eagle Award to Duyen Anh Vo.
Each child, Each day…John
- Please join us in celebrating and thanking the 2017 Class of WGSD Retirees! They are Nancy Zitzmann, principal of Bristol; Barb Davidson, Clark’s nurse; Susan Delanty, aide at Edgar Road; Beverly DePung, Edgar Road counselor; Karen Holden, Edgar Road aide; Nancy Hansbrough, Hixson teacher; Herman Townsend, custodial supervisor at Hixson; Don Knobbe, Steger teacher; Susan O’Brien, data specialist in Human Resources; Katie Burks, High School custodian; Chester Kennedy, High School custodian; Ken Manwarring, High School teacher; Margaret Skouby, High School teacher; Kim Baker, Hudson teacher; Debbie Grubbs, Hudson teacher; Jabetha Temming, Hudson teacher and James Wymore, Hudson librarian.
- Congratulations to Hixson student Isabella LaMantia, who was recently chosen for Princeton University’s Summer Institute for the Gifted. Students can choose from courses in the humanities, math, science, technology, visual and performing arts, fitness and recreation on the campus of the university.
- The WGSD School Board was one of only 24 (out of 518) public school districts to earn the 2017 Governance Team Award for “outstanding commitment to ongoing professional development, to regional and statewide leadership, and to active participation in legislative advocacy for public schools by the school board and superintendent.”
- Congrats to the WGHS Girls Track Team for placing 3rd at State! Also, special congratulations to WGHS 10th grader Nia Lyles who won the state championship in shot put and took 2nd in the discus(broke 37 year record)!
- Congratulations to High School teacher Jeanette Hencken, who was honored as Educator Associate with the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics at a banquet for her work in aerospace leadership.
- The WGSD Girls Soccer Team will travel to Kansas City, MO this Friday to play in the Class 3 Soccer Final 4! Good luck!
- In order to better support and partner with our community, we’d like you to take a brief communication survey: https://goo.gl/AMdkhL. Please submit your completed survey by Friday, June 16.
- Summer youth sports camps at Webster Groves High School can be found at the following link: https://goo.gl/oPgfT0 If you need more information please call the WGHS Activities Office at 314-918-4176.
- Interim Chief Financial Officer Bruce Ellerman will continue in that position for another year.
- WGSD Central Office summer hours are 7:00 am – 3:00 pm. Please call with any questions: 961-1233.