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The Impactful Relationship between PUSD Education Foundation’s “Rising Stars” and Their Teachers

Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.

On May 2nd, the annual Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) Education Foundation “Rising Stars” banquet was held to honor eight accomplished PHS seniors. Alongside them that evening were eight distinguished educators who were praised for their belief in these students and their ability to inspire them to pursue their ambitions and achieve their dreams.

PUSD Education Foundation, Rising Stars, Prescott Unified School District, awards, teachers, students,

These Rising Stars were nominated by PUSD staff for surpassing expectations and excelling in the face of adversity, achieving a B average or better on their path to graduation. They have all demonstrated determination and resilience on their journey toward their goals, whether that means pursuing higher education, military service, or job training. They have embraced the valuable life lessons learned throughout their high school careers and are poised to achieve great things.

During the banquet, the Rising Stars shared video messages expressing their gratitude toward their selected “Distinguished Educator.” These teachers were instrumental in shaping their high school experiences, offering tough love, praise, confidence, high expectations, and compassion. Through their guidance, the Rising Stars were able to overcome their struggles both in and outside of school to complete their assignments and achieve success.

The Rising Stars spoke of their educators’ patience and perseverance, as they pushed the students to strive for excellence and never give up in the face of obstacles. These PUSD educators encouraged and brainstormed with their students on how to reach their full potential, never accepting excuses and always looking for solutions to help them achieve their goals.

2023 Rising Stars and their future plans

Cameron Brown, Missy Townsend, PUSD Education Foundation

Cameron Brown
Future plans include going on a Mission for church and then attending Arizona State University and majoring in Business Finance.

Jen Hawley, Jessica Cope, PUSD Education Foundation

Jessica Cope
Future plans include attending the University of Michigan and majoring in Political Science.

Rebecca Wood, Joaquin Sierra, PUSD Education Foundation

Joaquin Sierra
Future plans include attending Florida International University and majoring in Music Production.

Crystal Ontiveros, Shaylin Amquist, PUSD Education Foundation

Shaylin Almquist
Future plans include attending Yavapai College for an Associate’s Degree in Science and then pursue a degree in either Social Work or Ultrasound Technician.

Brenda Lee, Leilani Chuning, PUSD Education Foundation

Leilani Chuning
Future plans include attending a 4-year University/College for a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a PhD in Psychology and a Juris Doctorate.

Molly Orr, Michaella Kpodo, PUSD Education Foundation

Michaella Kpodo
Future plans include attending a university to major in Film and Media with a possible double major in Philosophy.

Maurea Norris, Helen Wanamaker, PUSD Education Foundation

Maurea Norris
Future plans include attending UNLV and majoring in Engineering.

Elijah Resnick, Jim Rhine, PUSD Education Foundation

Elijah Resnick
Future plans include attending Seattle University.

2023 Distinguished Teachers

Helen Wanamaker English Teacher, PHS
Jen Hawley AP Literature and Language Teacher, PHS
Brenda Lee Introduction to Law Teacher, Mock Trial Coach, PHS
Molly Orr PHS at Yavapai College: Early College Program Director
Rebecca Wood English Teacher, PHS
Crystal Ontiveros Counselor, PHS
James Rhine Algebra 1 and Geometry Teacher, PHS
Missy Townsend Assistant Principal and Athletic Director, PHS

Read more stories like this one in the summer issue of Prescott Badger Nation online.

Read more stories from Education on Signals A

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