Following a one-year hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walla Walla Public Schools resumed its prestigious Graduates of Distinction program with an in-person ceremony at the Marcus Whitman Hotel Monday, June 7.
This year's honorees are:
- Elizabeth “Libby” Frazier, Class of 1973 (A retail business real estate expert who dedicates her time to serving the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Linda Thorne, Libby’s high school sociology teacher, is her inspirational staff member. Libby says “She was a great role model for me in the 70’s - a professional woman juggling a job and family, and excelling at everything.”
- Judith Huntington, Class of 1964 (A healthcare leader who empowers nurses to better serve their communities)
Inspirational Staff Member: Johnnie Dennis, Judy’s physics and geometry teacher at Wa-Hi, is her most inspirational staff member. She remembers that “he taught his students important critical thinking and study skills that are invaluable to this day.”
- Garth Lindsey, Class of 1962 (A certified public accountant specializing in television industry financial operations)
Inspirational Staff Member: Garth chose George White, his music/choir teacher at Wa-Hi, as his most inspirational staff member. Garth says he so appreciated Mr. White’s “dedication to teaching music and his interest in his students. He instilled in me a love of music.”
- Mike Monahan; Class of 1960 (National irrigation sales leader who champions health and fitness in the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Wa-Hi’s famous football coach, Felix Fletcher, was Mike’s most inspirational staff member. He says he remembers him with fondness as both coach and mentor.
- Allison Bingham, PhD; Class of 1977 (A global leader focusing on improving health to move humanity forward)
Inspirational Staff Member: Allison chose Diane Briggs, her junior high volleyball and basketball coach, as her inspirational staff member. She has stayed in contact with her for 45 years as a friend and mentor and says Diane’s dedication and support has never wavered.
- Kathy Covey; Class of 1973 (A pioneer in social services programs who broke down barriers for women in the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Kathy’s inspirational staff member is Tom Barbour, her high school psychology teacher who inspired her to go into the field of social work. She said, “It was as much about how and what he taught as it was about how he taught and dealt with challenging students. He was an incredible teacher and human being,”
This is the highest honor bestowed by the school district. These individuals have distinguished themselves in their communities and careers, and they continue to bring honor to the district.
"This is the 23rd year of our Graduates of Distinction Program, established to recognize and honor the distinguished achievements of our high school graduates," said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "In addition, we take time to pay tribute to school staff members who provided positive school experiences, and were inspirational in the lives of these graduates. Congratulations to the 2021 Graduates of Distinction."
PHOTO: Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith presents Mike Monahan with his award.