Stories around the district

2 months ago

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Grandma Doris helps Henderson Elementary first grade student James Havel with reading.

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Grandpa Albert assists Henderson second graders Serena Garcia and Jyles Williams with an assignment in class.

Foster Grandparents support LCSD1 teachers, students

As educators and support staff head into a new school year, members of the Foster Grandparent program thought it was appropriate to recognize their contributions.Foster Grandparent Program Coordinator Judi Johnston explained this year the volunteers chose to recognize teachers and staff as their front-line people for their 9/11 commemoration project. In past years, they have chosen firefighters and emergency medical responders who put their lives on the line every day.“Our volunteers said during this pandemic they feel the same way about our teachers and staff at the schools,” Johnston said. “They’re working hard to keep everything clean and sanitized and keep the children safe as well as themselves.”As stated by Harold, who is a Foster Grandparent volunteer, “With the pandemic,it has been more difficult for teachers and everyone to continue life as normal as possible. We thank all teachers and staff for a job well done and continued success in the years to come.”Johnston explained the pandemic has also affected the Foster Grandparent program. Prior to COVID-19, 45 people served 684 Laramie County School District 1 youth. Last year the numbers decreased by more than half. However, the program continued with some modifications, and she said nearly all of her volunteers have been deployed back into the schools. They are also accepting new applicants.“The pandemic has taken its toll on the program but we’re confident that with its long and enduring history the program will rebound when COVID-19 begins to subside,” Johnston said. Foster Grandparents began in Cheyenne in 1976. Johnston,who has been with the program the past 38 years, has seen a variety of changes. Locally, it is sponsored by Youth Alternatives. Its national sponsor is AmeriCorps Seniors. This year, as the only volunteer program allowed in LCSD1 schools, Foster Grandparents follows strict health protocols. Volunteers have been trained on handwashing and masking guidelines. Johnston said each grandparent goes through a background check. “They are vetted very thoroughly when it comes to the background check and once they’re cleared we provide orientation training for them,” she said.Henderson Elementary Principal Karen Brooks-Lyons said throughout the years, her Foster Grandparents have provided a valuable service for students and staff alike. “Having this program in my building is a blessing to gain the wisdom from our seniors in our community,” Brooks-Lyons said.“They are that extra smile some students need when they may be having a bad day and need to be encouraged. As for me, it’s a reminder how important every day is and it’s okay to share with special people like our Foster Grandparents.”Johnston explained once they are deployed to a school, her volunteers work with students on a variety of subjects depending on the need. They also serve as role models and mentors. Grandpa Albert at Henderson said he has served with the program for nearly 13 years. He spent 12 years working with kindergarten students and this year is working with second graders. “I really enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve had kids that have been here since I started and they’re in sixth grade now. I’ve also had some who are now in high school.”Albert explained when he retired, his mother, who was a Foster Grandparent in Torrington,encouraged him to apply. He explained the work is always varied. “The other day at P.E. two little boys came up and said, ‘can you be our partner,’ grandpa? When they want me to do something with them, I do.”One day, he said some of the students asked him what he liked to do outside of work. “I told them I like to ride motorcycles,” Albert said. “One of the little boys looked at me and said, ‘but you’re a grandpa, I thought grandpas didn’t ride motorcycles.’ I told him this one does!”“Foster Grandparents benefit our students in many different ways, from reading to them, working one-to-one on vocabulary words and helping them with math facts,” Brooks-Lyons said. “They are another set of eyes in the classroom when the teacher is giving direct instruction.”Grandma Norma, who serves at Henderson, has been a volunteer for seven years.“I enjoy the kids very much and I help them with whatever they need help with,” she said.Twelve-year volunteer Grandma Doris said, “I enjoy working with the kids and it gets me out of the house. I help them with whatever they need. Mostly it seems they have trouble with math.”Johnston said she continues as program coordinator because she believes in the program’s value to both students and volunteers.“I see the impact that the program has on the Foster Grandparents,” Johnston said. “This gives them a purpose; it gives them a reason to get out of bed every day because they know those kids are counting on them to be there. It’s a win-win for both the kids and the grandparents.”Henderson Foster Grandparent Danny said, “The thing I like about it is when the kid gets the lightbulb that comes on and you know, ‘he gets it!’ ”’ ”’ ”” she said.Twelve-year volunteer Grandma Doris said, “I enjoy working with the kids and it gets me out of the house. I help them with whatever they need. Mostly it seems they have trouble with math.”Johnston said she continues as program coordinator because she believes in the program’s value to both students and volunteers.“I see the impact that the program has on the Foster Grandparents,” Johnston said. “This gives them a purpose; it gives them a reason to get out of bed every day because they know those kids are counting on them to be there. It’s a win-win for both the kids and the grandparents.”Henderson Foster Grandparent Danny said, “The thing I like about it is when the kid gets the lightbulb that comes on and you know, ‘he gets it!’ ”” she said.Twelve-year volunteer Grandma Doris said, “I enjoy working with the kids and it gets me out of the house. I help them with whatever they need. Mostly it seems they have trouble with math.”Johnston said she continues as program coordinator because she believes in the program’s value to both students and volunteers.“I see the impact that the program has on the Foster Grandparents,” Johnston said. “This gives them a purpose; it gives them a reason to get out of bed every day because they know those kids are counting on them to be there. It’s a win-win for both the kids and the grandparents.”Henderson Foster Grandparent Danny said, “The thing I like about it is when the kid gets the lightbulb that comes on and you know, ‘he gets it!’ ”I help them with whatever they need. Mostly it seems they have trouble with math.”Johnston said she continues as program coordinator because she believes in the program’s value to both students and volunteers.“I see the impact that the program has on the Foster Grandparents,” Johnston said. “This gives them a purpose; it gives them a reason to get out of bed every day because they know those kids are counting on them to be there. It’s a win-win for both the kids and the grandparents.”Henderson Foster Grandparent Danny said, “The thing I like about it is when the kid gets the lightbulb that comes on and you know, ‘he gets it!’ ”I help them with whatever they need. Mostly it seems they have trouble with math.”Johnston said she continues as program coordinator because she believes in the program’s value to both students and volunteers.“I see the impact that the program has on the Foster Grandparents,” Johnston said. “This gives them a purpose; it gives them a reason to get out of bed every day because they know those kids are counting on them to be there. It’s a win-win for both the kids and the grandparents.”Henderson Foster Grandparent Danny said, “The thing I like about it is when the kid gets the lightbulb that comes on and you know, ‘he gets it!’ ”“I see the impact that the program has on the Foster Grandparents,” Johnston said. “This gives them a purpose; it gives them a reason to get out of bed every day because they know those kids are counting on them to be there. It’s a win-win for both the kids and the grandparents.”Henderson Foster Grandparent Danny said, “The thing I like about it is when the kid gets the lightbulb that comes on and you know, ‘he gets it!’ ”“I see the impact that the program has on the Foster Grandparents,” Johnston said. “This gives them a purpose; it gives them a reason to get out of bed every day because they know those kids are counting on them to be there. It’s a win-win for both the kids and the grandparents.”Henderson Foster Grandparent Danny said, “The thing I like about it is when the kid gets the lightbulb that comes on and you know, ‘he gets it!’ ”

Student of the Week

23 days ago

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Mary Wallace

Carey Junior High, Week of Nov. 8

Carey Junior High eight grader Mary Wallace has been named the Nov. 8 Student of the Week.

She was nominated by the selection committee for her dedication to learning, and for putting her full effort into the work she does for all four of her honors’ core classes.

The committee noted that Wallace goes above and beyond the success criteria for every assignment and is a true believer in higher education as she seeks out opportunities for growth.

In addition, Wallace also serves as a leader for the Carey school community. She advocates for peers and herself by asking questions that help foster inquiry in the classroom. She also assists other students when they need help.

When not in school, she takes private piano and harp lessons. She has dedicated her last seven years to playing the piano and two years to playing the harp. Wallace is also in the process of writing a novel as she wants to practice her skills as a writer. In the future, she hopes to be a published author.

“She lives each day to its fullest with integrity and positivity as a student, classmate, friend, daughter and person,” Carey Principal Derek Nissen said. “She is a blessing to Carey and truly deserves to be recognized at the district level as the LCSD1 Student of the Week.”

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Dexter Steinhausen

South High, Week of Nov. 1

South High senior Dexter Steinhausen has been named the Nov. 1 Student of the Week.

The selection committee nominated Steinhausen because of his many classroom, community and club achievements. He is very active in swimming, participating in both school and club teams, as well as serving as an instructor with the Capital City Athletics Swim Club in Cheyenne.

Steinhausen is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, is a National Honor’s Society nominee for the current inductee class and is part of South High’s Advancement Via Individual Determination program.

His hobbies outside of school include bowling, football, basketball and volleyball.

“Dexter is a leader in the school that exemplifies our HERD values daily,” South Associate Principal Louis Sisemore said. “He has helped our custodial staff after football games clean up trash around our stadium and our school without prompting.”

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Andie Prince

Central High, Week of Oct. 25

Central High School junior Andie Prince has been named the Oct. 25 Student of the Week.

 She was nominated by the selection committee because of her infectious personality and work ethic. The committee noted her time spent as a student assistant in the Central High administration office made her an obvious choice for this accolade.

In addition, Prince excels in the classroom and on the women’s swim team. She is enrolled in an advanced placement (AP) Spanish 5 course, she is a member of the school's Spanish club, and she maintains a 3.7 GPA.

When not in school, she is employed at Capitol Cinema. She is also a member of the Greater Wyoming Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is currently working toward an Eagle Scout rank. Prince holds a leadership position in her church’s youth group, and she is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Recently, Prince attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camp. She intends on serving as a youth counselor at the next RYLA.

 After she graduates from high school, Prince plans to attend the University of Wyoming where she hopes to swim collegiately, and to pursue a medical degree, eventually becoming a psychiatrist.

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Alaysha Walker

Johnson Junior High, Week of Oct. 18

Alaysha Walker, who is an eighth grade student at Johnson Junior High, was selected as Laramie County School District 1’s Student of the Week for the week of Oct. 18.

According to members of the selection committee, Walker is a kind and considerate student. She is a hard worker and always completes her work to the best of her ability. She is always willing to help teachers and her classmates.

Walker is a straight A student and is a student announcer at sporting events.

“Alaysha Walker is a dedicated student who is always willing to help others and continuously strives for excellence,” committee members said. “She is a great example of our Firebird pledge and is always looking for ways that she can improve herself and her learning.”

Walker is a singer, and she takes lessons at Act Two studios. Outside of school, she babysits and enjoys spending time with her family. After graduation, she wants to attend The Julliard School.

“Alaysha is not only a smart student, but she also embodies what it means to be a Firebird,” committee members said. “She is a joy to have in class and an exceptional ambassador of Johnson.”

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Zoey Brown

East High, Week of Oct. 11

Zoey Brown, who is a junior at East High, was selected as Laramie County School District 1’s Student of the Week for the week of Oct. 11.

 “Zoey is a very humble, funny, kind student who is always encouraging to those around her,” members of the selection committee said. “She is extremely positive which is very admirable during challenging times.”

Committee members said Brown is a very good student, and she is taking honors trigonometry, differential calculus and AP statistics simultaneously.

Outside of school, Brown plays for the Colorado Fourteeners hockey team. She practices four times a week in Littleton, Colorado, and spends her weekends dedicated to clinics or competitions. Brown’s team qualified for nationals in 2020, but due to COVID-19, it was canceled.

According to the selection committee, “Zoey enjoys taking on leadership roles and was team captain for three consecutive years.”

Brown also helps with the local Zonta club, participates in the Silent Witness Walk and helps spread awareness about domestic violence and human trafficking. At school, Brown started the Z club to encourage young women to get involved in their community.

In her free time, she also works at McDonalds.

“She’s working hard to make a difference in her community,” committee members said. “Zoey is one of those kids that excels and simply always does what’s expected; she’s not afraid to go above and beyond and is a bright light in the halls of East High.”

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Taegen Becker

McCormick Junior High, Week of Oct. 4

Taegen Becker, who is an eighth grade student at McCormick Junior High, was selected as Laramie County School District 1’s Student of the Week for the week of Oct. 4.

“Taegen is a leader at McCormick,” members of the selection committee said. “She is always prepared for class, works well with others and always has a smile on her face.”

According to the committee, Becker is a model student who focuses on getting good grades. She enjoys baking and ice skating in her free time.

“Taegen is kind and respectful to her peers and the staff members at McCormick,” the selection committee said.

After graduation, Becker wants to become a realtor.

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Matthew Andera

Triumph High, Week of Sept. 27

Matthew Andera, who is a senior at Triumph High, was selected as Laramie County School District 1’s Student of the Week for the week of Sept. 27.

Since 2018, when Andera enrolled at Triumph High, he has been a great student who listens well in class.

“He has phenomenal memory and is very rarely in need of review,” members of the selection committee said. “If we learned something in class, even if it has been a year or more, it is likely that he still remembers it.”

According to the committee, he is a very bright student who often draws connections between concepts and classes that other students don’t recognize.

“Matthew Andera is a one-of-a-kind student,” committee members said. “He is always up for whatever is happening in class, gives it his best and without fail—excels at it.”

Along with being a bright student, Andera is also courageous and not afraid to speak up when someone has acted or spoken impolitely.

“Matthew has a great sense of humor, gets along well with others and is a true asset to our school,” committee members said. “In short—he’s the best!”

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Joseph Lucero

Carey Junior High, Week of Sept. 20

Joseph Lucero, who is an eighth grade student at Carey Junior High, was selected as Laramie County School District 1’s Student of the Week for the week of Sept. 20.

“Joseph Lucero is an exemplary student who always sets a great example for his peers,” members of the selection committee said. “Joseph works extremely hard in his classes and his grades are an example of this.”

Along with being a straight A student, Lucero is a member of the Carey basketball team. Outside of school, he participates in Boy Scouts. He enjoys hunting, fishing and camping.

“Joseph is a leader in both the halls and in the extracurricular activities that he participates in,” the selection committee said.

During his free time, Lucero volunteers at his church, with the Needs Inc. food drive and the Cheyenne Greek Festival.

“Joseph's character is worth noting as he is always a student who goes out of his way to help the other students around the school,” committee members said. “Joseph's attitude is always positive, and he represents the best of Carey Junior High.”

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Rayelle “Ellie” Brewer

South High, Week of Sept. 13

Rayelle Brewer, who is a senior at South High, was selected as Laramie County School District 1’s Student of the Week for the week of Sept. 13.

“Ellie is an active member of the South High community and her local community,” members of the selection committee said.

Brewer participates in the Robotics Club. She recently received an award for first Dean’s list for the State of Wyoming at the state robotics competition.

She is a member of the South High swim team. In her off season, she competes in club swimming and manages the boys’ swim team.

Along with the school’s orchestra, Brewer is involved with her church’s youth orchestra. She is a member of FBLA and performs numerous hours of community service.

“Ellie manages to maintain a weighted GPA of a 4.1, while balancing all of her extracurricular activities,” Assistant Principal Kristen Siegel said.

After high school, Brewer would like to study marine biology in college and continue swimming. She hopes to work in marine rescue and rehabilitation in the future.