Ridgefield School District honors employee and students of December


Officials from the Ridgefield School District honored the December employee and students of the month at a school board meeting on Dec. 14. 

Justin Nelson, from View Ridge Middle School, was named the employee of the month as the district applauded his positive energy and uplifting attitude. Nelson has taken on extra responsibilities and challenges during the past year, stated a news release. He picked up new curriculum mid-year and is known to create an environment where all of his students feel comfortable and welcome. “He’s the teacher that students want to talk to and they know he listens to them,” stated the release. “We all know as adults that middle school can be some of the most challenging years emotionally. It takes a certain type of teacher to connect with students at this age and Justin is the perfect fit.” 

Maximus Wilfong was named the student of the month at the Early Learning Center. Wilfong, a pre-K student, is described as a “true joy” who radiates happiness and a positive attitude. “Max is very kind to others, always smiling in his own Max style and passes his happiness on to all of his classmates and teachers,” stated the release. Wilfong exhibits a bubbly personality and his passion for learning is described as contagious.

Second grader James Springer was named the student of the month at Wisdom Ridge Academy. Springer is known to work independently, while staying on track or ahead in pace in his subjects. The release stated he asks thoughtful questions and shows a high level of integrity in his work. He is also known to pay attention to details and is invested in the quality of his work. 

Fourth grader Ava Kraayeveld was selected as the student of the month at South Ridge Elementary School. Kraayeveld organizes a winter coat drive each year for the non profit One Warm Coat. Each year, she collects hundreds of coats to donate. The project, according to the release, started when Kraayeveld was a second grader. She is described as kind, compassionate and a quiet leader who models resiliency, respect and responsibility. 

Aayden Groth was selected as the student of the month at Union Ridge Elementary School. Groth, who is in third grade, has exhibited impressive academic growth and a steady perseverance, stated the release. He often thinks about others and is described as always ready to lend a helping hand. “He is a positive role model in class and can be counted on to follow expectations and give 100%,” stated the release. 

Elizabeth Klaus, a fifth grader, was named the student of the month at Sunset Ridge Intermediate School. Klaus is described as “an all around model student.” She shows kindness and respect for others and has excelled in both social and academic settings. Klaus is known to frequently help her peers and strives to do her best at all times, stated the release. She is described as a curious student who also possesses inquisitive thinking. 

Jorge Espinoza Moino was named the student of the month at View Ridge Middle School. Espinoza Moino, an eighth grader, is described as a “wonderful role model to his peers.” He was instrumental in assisting two new students from El Salvador, stated the release, as he helped them get settled in and helped with translations. Espinoza Moino is known to be polite, a positive influence and courteous. He is also described as a hard worker with creative ideas who participates in STEM — or science, technology, engineering and mathematics — and designs and robots outside of his regular school time.

Senior Acasia Hannah Barbaza was honored as the student of the month at Ridgefield High School. Barbaza is a member of the National Honor Society, the Art Club and Unite Ridgefield. She is described as dedicated and committed to her academic studies. She has taken four advancement placement classes in the past, and is taking an additional four this year, as she maintained a 4.0 GPA. Barbaza also plays viola and the piano and volunteers for several community organizations. Born in the Philippines, Barbaza later moved with her family to Singapore and then to New Jersey. When she was 9 years old, her family moved to Ridgefield. She plans to major in biochemistry at the University of Washington and wants to eventually become a surgeon.


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