Parkrose Masons laud local students

See which students they chose from the elementary schools – and why they were honored by this great fraternal organization …

To see why Raquel De Jesus, Tommy Thilavhanh, Rachel Billick-Smith, Andrew Hurt, Emma Brent, Victor Nguyen, Tatafu Moeaki, Ruth Gomez (in back), Jackob Ball (in back), and Morgaine Mingo-Midkiff were honored – read this story!

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As they do every year, since 1992, the Parkrose Masonic Lodge #179, along with members of the Eastgate Masonic Lodge, were honoring outstanding students from each of the Parkrose elementary schools and the middle school earlier in April.

“The purpose of this program,” said Christos Efthimiadis, the lodge’s Worshipful Master, “is to recognize, with the help of the teacher and principal, the good work these students have done this year.”

The Parkrose Middle School Brass Ensemble opens the ceremony by playing classical musical selections.

Almost every seat in the hall was filled with parents, students, and teachers – all eager to recognize the young scholars selected by their teachers, peers, and school administration.

Prescott Elementary

Prescott Elementary School honors their Outstanding Boy Student, Andrew Hurt. Standing to our right is the Lodge’s Worshipful Master, Christos Efthimiadis; to his left is teacher Mary Brown, principal Michael Lopes and Parkrose Lodge’s Past Master James Akers.

Prescott Elementary School’s Principal, Michael Lopes, introduced teacher Mary Brown who spoke about the school’s Boy Honoree, Andrew Hurt.

“This awesome student, I am so very proud of him,” Brown began.

“One of the qualities that I love best about him is his wonderful sense of humor. I believe that Andrew is destined for great things. I’m happy to have Andrew is part of my life for the last two years. I will miss the smile that lights up his face,” Brown said.

With her family standing at her side, Prescott Elementary School honors their Outstanding Girl Student, Rachel Pillick-Smith.

Prescott Elementary teacher Stephaine McCain spoke about the girl she nominated for the award, Rachel Pillick-Smith, saying, “My first impression of her was that she is a great student and really quiet. But she showed me quickly that she has a real zeal for life.

“Rachel, overall, is an enthusiastic learner. But what really stands out is her absolute love of reading. Her teachers and fellow students say she’s outstanding. She’s caring and dedicated in her friendships; she’s a natural leader. She’s a great citizen and an exceptional student who daily influences the lives of students and teachers at Prescott Elementary School.”

Russell Academy

Russell Academy honors their Outstanding Boy Student, Tommy Thilavahn.

Russell Academy teacher Chris McMurray had the honor of introducing Tommy Thilavahn.

“I could go on about Tommy’s academic achievement and growth; and how exemplary a student he is. Instead, Tommy deserves my thanks for being such a great student,” said McMurray.

“As I think about what an exemplary and outstanding student is, I think about how well Tommy presents himself and how he carries himself in a professional manner. I think he is well on his way to great successes.”

Russell Academy honors their Outstanding Girl Student, Raquel De Jesus.

Raquel De Jesus was chosen to receive recognition from her substitute teacher, Russell Academy’s Paula Schultz, standing in for Jane O’Brien.

“When I’m a substitute teacher, Raquel comes flying at me with a big smile saying, ‘I’m so glad you’ll be my teacher today’,” Schultz began.

“One student wrote, ‘Make sure you say she’s a good friend to others’. Her influence goes beyond the classroom. She’s sometimes called upon to translate in Spanish. As a recess-buddy, she’s kind and compassionate. She works hard in and out of the classroom. I look forward to seeing how she will be an positive influence in the middle school. She is truly worthy of being called our Student of the Year.”

Sacramento Elementary School
Ms. Stevie Blakely, Sacramento Elementary School’s Principal, started the awards by saying how proud she is of her students and staff. Blakely introduced teacher Melissa Alexander, who selected Morgaine Mingo-Midkiff as their honoree.

Sacramento Elementary School honors their Outstanding Girl Student, Morgaine Mingo-Midkiff.

“Morgaine is intelligent and kind; she is mature beyond her years,” said Alexander.

“She takes her education seriously. But she also has an appreciation for the simple and fun things in life, like wanting to dress up on Halloween or run around at recess. She has an innate passion for learning. In whatever she does in her life, I know that she’ll make a real difference.”

Sacramento Elementary School honors their Outstanding Boy Student, Victor Nguyen.

Teacher Brett Davidson had the pleasure of introducing Sacramento’s outstanding Boy student, Victor Nguyen. “Victor is dedicated and hard-working; he always seems to be doing the right thing.

“Math is Victor’s strong subject. He can correct me when I make mistakes, and does so well working out problems on the blackboard. He helps by translating for a student who is a newcomer to our country from Vietnam. Also, at recess, Victor is the unofficial leader in football touchdowns. Victor gives a full effort every day.”

Shaver Elementary School
Principal Cindy Bartman, from Shaver Elementary School, complemented her staff and students, and thanked the Parkrose Masons for their support.

Shaver Elementary School honors their Outstanding Boy Student, Jakob Ball.

Presenting honors to student Jakob Ball was his teacher, Peri Bauers, who said the decision to choose Jakob was a simple one.

“He’s very bright, kind, and trustworthy. He’s an excellent student in all areas, and excelled in all of the state tests. But more than this, he is a friend to all. Jakob goes out of his way to befriend those who others might ignore. He is our classroom student council representative this year. I thank Jakob for being a ‘teacher’s dream’, and a wonderful human being.”

Shaver Elementary School honors their Outstanding Girl Student, Ruth Gomez.

Ruth Gomez was selected by her teacher, Andrew Robinson.

“Some her achievements are these,” Robinson began. “She excelled in every one of her state exams. Ruth spends time as a mentor helping other students. She serves as a student council representative. She makes good use of her bilingual skills by translating instructions to other students in the class. What do I really think of Ruth? If it was possible to ‘buy stock’ in a student, I would buy as much as I could in Ruth Gomez.”

Parkrose Middle School
Parkrose Middle School’s Principal, Ana Gonzalez, welcomed parents, and honored students from her school.

Parkrose Middle School honors their Outstanding Boy Student, Tatafu Moeaki.

The teacher of student Tatafu Moeaki, Scott Ballou, said his student is easy to spot, “He stands, literally, head and shoulders above the other kids.

“Other kids like him; they want to be around him. He’s polite, respectful, and positive. It’s hard to catch him without a smile on his face. He works in the ‘snack shack’, where he’s always on time and ready to work. He works hard, and I’m glad that he’s a student with us.”

Parkrose Middle School honors their Outstanding Girl Student, Emma Brent.

The last honoree of the evening was Emma Brent. Glenda Dearinger, standing in for Emma’s teacher, began, “What a bunch of champions. Isn’t that neat?

“Instead of reading quotes the students and teachers gave me, I wrote down some of the words they used to describe Glenda. It sounds like a teacher’s wish list. These words are: Responsible, organized, cooperative, helpful, caring, eager-to-learn, positive attitude, self-confident, optimistic, cheerful – and the list goes on and on. Everyone enjoys being around Glenda. In class, students ask her for help. Her teacher said she’s also involved in virtually every sport. She’s a character – with real character – and a winner in all she does.”

In addition to the framed certificate presented to each of these students, each honored student’s name has been inscribed on a brass tag affixed to a permanent plaque that hangs in their respective schools.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Services

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