Collage of the employee and students of the month for October 2023

On October 10, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the October 2023 Employee and Students of the Month at the regular Board of Directors meeting. Congratulations to all of this month’s honorees! 

Employee of the Month

Bobbe Whetsell, Choir, Sunset Ridge Intermediate/View Ridge Middle
With 30-plus years of experience for the Ridgefield School District, Bobbe has a long-standing history of excellence in teaching. Bobbe is someone who loves what she does and holds high expectations for herself and her students. She is a strong advocate for her students and is continuously trying to expand her program. She actively recruits students to help create a diverse choir for both Sunset Ridge and View Ridge students. Bobbe is a fantastic team member and colleague. She has a heart for students and truly cares about who they are as individuals, as well as valuing them for the role they take in her choirs. In the classroom, Bobbe is flexible and responsive to student needs, provides continuous verbal feedback to students, and creates an extremely strong and connected community. Bobbe also constructs an incredible product when it comes to performances. She has created a long-lasting and successful choir program and pushes her students to perform at high levels. Thanks to her high expectations and encouragement, her students have enjoyed many successes at the state level with both individual and group performances. Bobbe has three decades of unwavering dedication to teaching excellence, which has positively impacted countless students in the Ridgefield School District. Her commitment to creating a diverse and thriving choir program demonstrates her passion for education and her students' growth. Congratulations, Bobbe!

Students of the Month

Kennedy Curtis, Pre-K at the Early Learning Center
Kennedy has shown tremendous growth already this year and always demonstrates so much kindness to her peers. She is a helper in the classroom and loves to guide her peers out to recess and support them. She is working on following daily routines and schedules as well as transitions. Kennedy is always so willing to help teachers and friends alike. If a friend gets hurt, Kennedy is the first one to check on them and get them what they need. She is so inquisitive and always asking questions to learn more about her surroundings and peers. She greets everyone on her way to school in the morning and brightens everyone’s day while she does it.

Amelia Speer, 4th Grade at South Ridge Elementary School
Amelia shows an incredible amount of resilience and responsibility. She has an impressive willingness to try new things and go beyond her comfort zone. In class, she demonstrates responsibility by staying on schedule, sometimes even helping Mr. Payne remember what's happening next. She is also respectful and kind, both in the classroom and at recess. We are so grateful to have her as part of our South Ridge community!

Medade Benedick, 4th Grade at Union Ridge Elementary School
Medade (Mae) Benedick is a happy, hardworking, and resilient 4th grader here at Union Ridge Elementary. She always strives to give 100 percent in all the work she does, is never afraid to ask questions, and will always lend a hand to others. Mae is outgoing and is kind to all her classmates and peers at school, she is such a wonderful student. Mae is also a great role model for other students, she always follows expectations and gently reminds others of what they need to do. Mae is a kind and supportive friend to all. Michelle Lindbo, a paraprofessional who works closely with Mae, said, "Mae is a beautiful young lady full of life and compassion. She has an infectious smile and generously shares compliments with peers and adults alike." In spite of hardships and challenges, Mae's happiness is contagious and she spreads positivity to everyone around her. These reasons and many more make Mae very deserving of Student of the Month honors. 

Donna Kennedy, 6th Grade at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School
Sunset Ridge is proud to nominate Donna Kennedy for our October Student of the Month. Donna embodies curiosity, a growth mindset, and consistent, positive effort towards learning and friendship. She always shows kindness to other students and is able to empathize with her peers. Donna has a go-with-the-flow flexibility that allows her to remain calm and focused in the classroom. Her teacher, Mr. Thayer said he’s been super impressed with her learning and growth already this year. Donna is self-motivated to improve her skills as she even does extra practice at home to ensure the skills she learns "click", which allows her to master them. 

Violet James, 8th Grade at View Ridge Middle School
As an eighth grader and ASB officer, Violet is in her second year of leadership. Her ASB advisor and science teacher Mr. Jequinto had this to say: “Violet has grown tremendously as a student and as a leader during her time at View Ridge. She has become a strong advocate for those who are less confident in their voice, and always puts the greater good of the group at the forefront of her decisions. She makes every group she is a part of a better group.” Focused, prepared, positive, kind, and purposeful are words that her teachers use to describe her. Mr. Mansfield added, “Violet is a staple in our community, consistently showing her positive impact in the classroom, in extracurricular events, and throughout her leadership endeavors. Every day she meets all students and staff with a smile and a can-do attitude. She is the embodiment of what it means to be a Heron!” She truly represents the Heron qualities of being respectful, responsible, and resilient, and we know this young lady will accomplish what she puts her mind to. Congratulations, Violet, this is a well-deserved honor! 

Nafisa Ula-Keeler, 8th Grade at Wisdom Ridge Academy
Nafisa started with Wisdom Ridge Academy last school year and continues to work hard and impress her teachers. Her grades are all top-notch, she comes in for enrichment opportunities, is respectful, responsible, and resilient. Her teacher says that Nafisa, “is a bright and shining star at Wisdom Ridge. She attends in-person sessions whenever she can, bringing humor, friendship, and immense creativity. She is always on top of her work and reaches out proactively with her questions.” Outside of school, Nafisa is involved in dance and hopes to earn a spot on the competitive dance team. She is a lover of human expression and enjoys everything to do with art, music, dance, reading, and creative writing. Sitting down with a good book is her favorite leisure activity. Nafisa speaks highly of Wisdom Ridge and the flexibility it allows as well as matching up with her preferred learning style and she is grateful for her teacher, Mrs. Robblee, and all of the support she offers to students. After high school, Nafisa hopes to attend either Portland State or Washington State University (Pullman) to study creative writing. While there are many outstanding students at Wisdom Ridge, Nafisa stands out among the best of the best, and it is for these reasons that she has been selected as the October Student of the Month.

Dillon Trussler, 12th Grade at Ridgefield High School
Oftentimes, high school students do not show much emotion when they are praised or congratulated for doing the right thing. That is not the case with our Student of the Month for October. Dillon “DJ” Trussler had the most surprised and excited face upon learning of his accomplishment, even saying “this is surreal!” No, it’s real DJ! Your teachers and staff at Ridgefield High School are honored to choose you to be our student of the month. DJ is enthusiastic about school, respectful to everyone, and encouraging and supportive of his classmates. DJ loves the school spirit shown by the Spudders during sporting events, school send-offs at the round-a-bout, or during assemblies. DJ says his most influential teacher throughout his years at RHS is Mrs. Hamann because she is always willing to listen and guides his thoughts in the right direction. If DJ could give one piece of advice to a younger student, it would be to treat school as if it’s your job, stating “the first bell is when you clock in, then you need to stay focused, ask for help, or be the help for someone else.” This selfless mentality will serve DJ well in the future, especially after graduating next spring. DJ loves playing video games, writing songs, and participating in fantasy sport leagues. After high school, DJ hopes to pursue a trade-based job. We are a better school because of students like you DJ and we couldn’t be more excited to honor you today. Well done!