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BISD STRONG Award Recipients Winter 2018

Selected students were surprised in class by the superintendent.   Staff member Kyanne Hawkins was honored with an award.    Fellow classmates congratulate an award recipient.    Surprise! BISD STRONG Award recipient honored.


Aren’t surprises the best? Recently Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen surprised the nine BISD STRONG Award recipients. Along with big smiles there were quite a few happy tears as recipients listened to the reasons why they are being honored with an award. The BISD STRONG Award aims to recognize and celebrate the many individuals who make our district strong and have strong minds, strong hearts and a strong sense of community.

Here is the list of the Winter 2018 BISD STRONG Award winners and highlights from their nominations:

Kindergarten through 6th-grade Category:

  • Eli Cook (5th grade): Eli faces physical challenges every day, and comes to school with a positive disposition. He is kind, thoughtful, funny, and determined to excel in his work every day. Eli exemplifies resiliency, determination, and kindness; these are the strengths that matter most. Words used to describe Eli: thoughtful, patient, understanding, funny, creative thinker and music lover.
  • Zoe Inslee (kindergarten): Zoe is a natural helper with a huge heart. Zoe has a strong mind and a strong sense of community. Zoe is so kind, wise, enthusiastic and caring. It is such a joy to have her infectious enthusiasm and energy in class every day! She really does melt your heart with her natural, intrinsic social awareness, empathy, and maturity. Words used to describe Zoe: kind, outgoing, nurturing, caring, enthusiastic, thoughtful, happy
  • Aysen Lampa (1st grade): Aysen deserves some recognition for all of the kindness he shares and all of the personal growth and progress he has made. He helps neighbors take out trash and walk their pets. He goes out of his way to check on people and see if they are okay. I hear from classmates’ parents that he spends his recesses helping others and wandering around checking on everyone. Words used to describe Aysen: compassionate, passionate, dedicated, driven, accepting.


7th-grade to 12th-grade Category:

  • Will Browning (7th grade): Will is kind — I have witnessed him put others before himself in the classroom, and he always does this with a good heart. He never fails to pause to say “please” and “thank you”, reminding us all how easy common courtesy can be, and yet how rare it truly is. Will is funny — not only can he make others laugh with his, often dry, sense of humor, he is also able to laugh at himself. He has an uncanny ability to diffuse a situation by breaking into song or referencing a line from a movie at any given moment.Will has a huge heart that he gives willingly to others and to himself. He is accepting of himself when things might be difficult, but always looks at how to make it better. He truly cares about others and demonstrates that quality through his actions. Words used to describe Will include: hardworking, tenacious, funny, determined, resilient and reflective.
  • Emma Chee (12th grade): Three years ago, I asked Emma to teach my daughter the Special Olympics Gymnastics Routines. All on her own, Emma figured out the routines and figured out how to help my daughter master them. After that first session, Emma continued coaching my daughter most Saturdays for the next three years. I have been so impressed with Emma’s self direction, her work ethic, and her devotion to helping my daughter improve her skills. Emma has continuously gone over and above the job she signed on for. Words used to describe Emma: disciplined, dedicated, determined, strong, capable, compassionate
  • Kylie Turner (8th grade): Kylie a positive influence on those around her and she has a terrific attitude. Not only is Kylie an amazing and successful student, but she also thrives in her achievements outside of school. Particularly, she is learning Spanish by having daily early morning phone conversations with a Guatemalan teacher. She is passionate about learning this language and about the culture. On her own, Kylie discovered we have a Guatemalan ELL student at our school. She introduced herself to this student and has been helping her. Kylie often works with this student during lunch and, on several occasions has gone to class with her to help her to translate the lesson. Kylie is compassionate and action-oriented. She works hard and is making a difference in her community. Words used to describe Kylie: kind, positive, compassionate, involved, caring, problem-solver, hard-worker


BISD Staff Category:

  • Kyanne Hawkins (Blakely Front Office): Kyanne is a wonderful presence when you walk into Blakely! She has a Strong Heart: She is kind, compassionate and welcoming to everyone - new families and old families. Her smile and willingness to accept and help people who come into the office just makes it a truly welcoming place. Strong Mind: She knows and remembers everything! Strong Community: This springs from the welcoming place. Blakely is a better place because Kyanne is in the office! Words used to describe Kyanne: friendly, organized, kind, compassionate, understanding, helpful
  • Karen Knezevich (Sakai Teacher): Karen is the very best example of what a teacher should be and she is an amazing co-worker and supervisor. She is relatively new to the school district, but from the very first moment she arrived it seemed like she had been here forever. She is honest, trustworthy, kind, patient, firm, reasonable, understanding, and wise in her every day work. She is this way with EVERYONE — students, staff, and parents alike. She gives and gives and gives of herself day after day. She continues to support and unite our team in so many thoughtful and kind ways. She is ALWAYS there for each individual student in every way possible, even though they may test her over and over again. She is always kind. She always asks about others before talking about herself. Words used to describe Karen: kind, smart, funny, caring, encouraging, warm, giving
  • Tracy Shulman (BHS Teacher): Ms. Shulman is one of the most compassionate people I know. She takes it as her responsibility to connect and help each and every student in her class. She encourages all students to be their best and succeed in her class and in life. She provides a safe classroom full of care, kindness, and tolerance. Ms. Shulman connects with all of her students, and helps them with each of their unique weaknesses. From helping a disorganized student organize their binder, to providing a safe place for a shy public speaker, Ms. Shulman knows just how to fix any problem a student has. She has a strong heart, and genuinely wants to help her students learn about history, but most importantly, life lessons. To her, a strong mind isn’t one that can recite certain dates. She molds her students into critical and persuasive speakers that can communicate their ideas, yet accept the ideas of others. Words used to describe Tracy: empathetic, kind, caring, mentor, supportive, sincere.

Who do you know with a strong mind, strong heart and a strong sense of community? Now's the chance to nominate them for the Winter BISD STRONG Awards. Click here to submit your nomination.