Collage of the employee and students of the month for March 2022

On March 8, Ridgefield School District officials recognized the March 2022 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 – Susan Karnes, Sunset Ridge Intermediate 

Susan Karnes has been such a gift and an asset to the Ridgefield School District and the Special Education department for over 10 years! Susan brings a long list of intangible skills and is the epitome of a team player, always willing to lend a hand in whatever capacity is necessary at the time. Her flexibility allows her to support teachers and students with only a moment’s notice, and still maximize the productivity of the time spent with her students. Susan is warm and welcoming, making every student feel like they are her favorite. She exudes a calm and optimistic spirit and has a gift for using positive reinforcement to hold students to high learning expectations. Her students look forward to seeing and working with her every day. Students know she cares about them as people and she works hard to help them understand why learning is important. Most notably, Susan possesses a mythical quality that has earned her the moniker, “The Kid Whisperer”. Students who refuse to speak to or respond to any other adults seem to magically come out of their shells and find peace and comfort from Mrs. Karnes. At Sunset Ridge, we have seen many students blossom when working with Susan. She truly brings the best out of everyone that she works with. She so deserves this recognition as an invaluable member of the Sunset Ridge school community! 

Early Learning Center – Carson Giles, Pre-K

Carson is often one of our first students to arrive at the Early Learning Center each morning. He wears his biggest smile throughout the day. He enjoys a good pirate joke and always giggles when we ask about his numerous concert shirts–Johnny Cash being a favorite. On the rare occasion he is not happy or silly, Carson has learned to go to a calming place and he’s ready to reconnect in no time. Carson’s actions remind us all that "it's all good" even when it doesn't go how we expect. Carson, we're always proud of you and love the personality you bring to our days in preschool. It's a joy to watch you learn and play alongside your classmates. For all of these reasons, and many more, we’re glad to have you as our March Student of the Month at the Early Learning Center. Go, Hash Browns! 

South Ridge Elementary School – Benjamin TerHorst, 4th Grade

Benjamin TerHorst is an amazing 4th grade student at South Ridge. Benjamin is outgoing and is a deep thinker who likes to share his ideas and thoughts with his fellow classmates. He is always looking for ways to improve South Ridge. He is passionate about technology, even creating a step-by-step tutorial on how to animate drawings on the computer to teach his peers. This is one example of the ways that Ben likes to help others. He enjoys making people laugh and his smile and humor always bring joy to others. Benjamin is a curious learner who asks great questions. He is caring, compassionate, and a fantastic example of what it means to be a South Ridge Roadrunner. 

Union Ridge Elementary School – Hayden Barnette, 4th Grade

Fourth grader Hayden Barnette is an excellent student and an exceptional young man. Hayden is always kind to students and staff, helpful whenever he gets the chance, and has a great attitude–even when things get tough. He has an amazing work ethic. Hayden does not give up or quit. He perseveres through the task and continues to work hard and give it everything he has. Hayden also has a lot of integrity for someone his age, and he leads by example. He consistently makes the right choices, even if they aren’t necessarily the popular ones.

Wisdom Ridge AcademyGinger Gorycki, 6th Grade 

Ginger stands out for so many great qualities such as her unwavering kindness and out-of-the-box creativity. But it is her perseverance and hard work that really set her apart. Ginger advocates for herself, voluntarily attends all of our extra support sessions each week, and consistently comes to enrichment and helps to create a safe, inclusive, and fun atmosphere. Her kindness and positive spirit consistently make the students and staff around her smile. We are so grateful that she is a part of our Wisdom Ridge family, and confident that Ginger will continue to do great things. 

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School – Parker Bellah, 6th Grade

Parker is a natural leader who was voted by his classmates to take the role of classroom president. In this role, he continues to hone his skills as an advocate for his peers. He is considerate and empathetic to his classmates’ feelings and opinions, which he consistently displays on a daily basis. Not only is his leadership noticed by his classmates and teachers, but his resiliency also shines through in the effort he puts forth in both academics and in while supporting his peers. Parker exhibits the “See Something, Say Something” behaviors we encourage and has been known to speak up for others in situations of unkind interactions on the playground. Keep up the fantastic work Parker! 

View Ridge Middle School – Nathan Kim, 8th Grade

Leadership, empathy, compassion, friendliness, mindfulness and kindness are only a few of the many qualities that make Nathan a great student. Nathan not only demonstrates these qualities daily in the classroom, but also as a leader on the basketball court. His teammates look to him for leadership and he is always willing to share his playing time with others. Many of Nathan’s teachers commented that he is an “engaged and active learner,” who asks meaningful questions and puts in maximum effort while showing resilience and persistence each day, using feedback to keep working on a task. As he works with others, he is helpful and supportive of his classmates. When Nathan contributes to class discussions, he demonstrates a high level of understanding in his subjects. One of Nathan’s teachers said, “He is a student who other students admire.” Nathan genuinely cares about his learning, excelling, and improving himself and others and is always Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient!  Congratulations, Nathan! 

Ridgefield High School – Alberto Vasquez-Ramirez 

This is a story of exceptional resilience and perseverance. This is the story of Alberto Vasquez-Ramirez. When Alberto was four, his parents moved to Washington, leaving Alberto with his grandparents in Mexico. Alberto came to the United States in February 2020, and at the age of 18, enrolled in Ridgefield High School despite speaking no English. After just one month, schools were shut down and Alberto was placed into remote learning. As teachers were navigating how to successfully implement remote teaching, Alberto was navigating a new country, a new language, a new educational system, a pandemic, and virtual learning. It is a testament to Alberto’s resiliency, and his teacher’s creativity and tenacity, that Alberto remained in school through that first year. In late August 2020, the new school year again started remotely. Alberto, like all other Ridgefield students, met his new teachers and classmates over Zoom. Alberto, once again, found ways to negotiate his way through virtual learning. Alberto passed all of his classes, but considered not coming back to school this fall. Through the encouragement of school staff, Alberto came back to school for his senior year. A new country, a new educational system, a new way of life, a new language, and, in a few months, this soon-to-be 21-year-old will be a new Ridgefield High School graduate carrying a 3.4 GPA. We are proud of the hundreds of students and staff who have shown #RidgefieldResilience in the face of adversity, and we are especially proud to present Alberto as Ridgefield High School’s March Student of the Month.