By Kelli Gile, Walnut Valley Unified
It’s back-to-school time in the Walnut Valley Unified School District. Nearly 14,600 students began classes in the 15 campuses on Monday, August 18.
“We had a great first day,” said Walnut High School Principal Jeff Jordan. ”Students and staff were excited to be back. There was an upbeat attitude all day.”
The teens happily chatted at break time, stopped by their lockers, and checked schedules before dashing off to their next class.
Maple Hill Elementary in Diamond Bar opened doors to its completely modernized campus in Diamond Bar.
Everyone was relocated to portable buildings during the $5.6 million construction project last year.
This was the first chance for students and their families to see the new school.
“We made it!” exclaimed Principal Nancy Stingley. “Everybody’s here and inside, everybody’s happy, and everybody’s smiling.”
“Wellyn’s very lucky she’s going to a brand new school,” said kindergarten parent Jocelyn Wong.
Fourth graders Gabrielle Zabresky, Valentina Yonemoto, Carlie Law and Ella Liu were excited to see their new classrooms before the school bell rang.
What do they like best about school?
“We love math – it’s fun!’ the girls exclaimed.
“It’s really nice,” commented parent Grace Wang just outside her child’s classroom.
Fifth grade teacher Shirley Conner greeted students who were lined up before the 8 a.m.school bell rang.
“Welcome back to school. It’s beautiful inside!” she said
“It’s such a gift to us,” beamed fourth grade teacher Tami Berry.
“Everything’s new and wonderful, and different. As we had time to get to know the school, you all will have time to get to know the school,” she told her students.
“It’s going to be a very fun place to learn,” Berry added.
The school has a brand-new interior design, multipurpose room and exterior landscaping. Classrooms feature state-of-the-art technology, skylights and generous storage cabinets. Six hundred new desks and chairs were purchased for the campus.
“It’s big and roomy, everything is clean and new, and up-to-date technologically,” said kindergarten teacher Lisa Esse, who has been at the school for 20 years.
“And every teacher is excited!”
“It’s like a new beginning for us. It’s beautiful, it’s kid-friendly and we have a lot of new technology that we didn’t have before,” said third grade teacher Sue Conrad-Kanstul.
Teachers will now use wireless microphones and be able project assignments using cool mobile stations that adjust up and down, she explained.
Kanstul is happy that she will no longer have her back to the screen while at the front of the class.
“The kids used to say ‘Mrs. Kanstul I can’t see the board.’ And now I can watch what I’m projecting. I would say it’s 21st century.”
“I look forward to another great school year at Suzanne Middle School,” said Principal Les Ojeda.
“We have a great number of returning students and new students that seem incredibly intelligent, enthusiastic and eager to learn.”
Westhoff Elementary celebrated the first day of school with balloons, chalk greetings, posters, music and a staff with welcoming smiles.
“It’s going to be a great school year!” said Principal Denise Rendon.