1st grader, Joy Pelayo,
1st grader, Joy Pelayo, enjoying dinner with her family before the rain started.

Nishimoto’s Annual Aspire Dinner

Nishimoto staff serves dinner to award recipients and families
Nishimoto staff serves dinner to award recipients and families.
2nd grade reclassified students
2nd grade reclassified students posing with their awards.

DESPITE STORYM WEATHER, Nishimoto Elementary School hosted their annual Aspire to Succeed Dinner on May 23, 2019. Classroom created banners were hung around the Hawk’s Nest, providing a colorful backdrop to celebrate 87 students, from grades kindergarten through sixth grade, who were re-designated as Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (R-FEP). This is a classification given to students who were once identified as English Learners and have met all of the district criteria to be considered fluent and proficient in both social and academic English. Nishimoto Primary Literacy Support Specialist and event co-chair, Shawna Petrosian, remarked, “For a student to be re-designated takes a collective effort. The Aspire Dinner is our way of celebrating the student, parents, and staff who have played a role in this great accomplishment. It’s such a special event we look forward to every year.” The Nishimoto Hawks have been hosting this event annually for many years, but this was the first time the number of honorees and family members surpassed the capacity of the school cafeteria. School staff got to work right after students went home after school, to prepare the outdoor amphitheater area to host honorees and families for dinner and an awards presentation. More than 70 families enjoyed a dinner of hamburgers, fruits, chips, and cookies prepared and served by the Nishimoto staff. Just as dinner was concluding, the first rain drops began to fall, quickly followed by distant thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. Family members hurriedly scrambled under the hallway eaves to stay dry, but were still able to watch proudly as their students’ names were announced and they walked across the stage to receive a plaque presented by school administration and the teachers from their grade level. “I felt so happy because I got an award and my mom was proud of me,” said Brenda De Jesus Sanchez, the youngest recipient to be re-classified. Izabella Cruz-Colin, current fifth grader added, “It made me feel very proud to be reclassified because I was the first person in my family to be re-classified while I was still in elementary school.” After all the awards were presented, families gathered in the cafeteria to take photos, or stayed to shop at the Book Fair being held in the school library. Mia Macadangdang, the Curriculum and Instruction Teacher on Special Assignment and event co-chair, noted, “Although the skies turned grey and it rained during the Aspire dinner, the smiling faces of the students and the beaming proud parents made the entire evening very special. It is a wonderful tradition that brings our staff and community together to honor our re-designated students.”


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