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ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

Challengers for Change

July 24, 2020                       

By Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources

WALNUT, CA--Suzanne Middle School has been rewarded for engaging students in civic-minded activities with a 2020 Civic Learning Award of Merit.

California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond co-sponsor the program for K-12 public schools.

Suzanne is among 75 honorees celebrated for strong civics curriculum in schools and service-learning projects in their communities.

The Challengers for Change program focuses on Integrating emotional intelligence and leadership skills into the 21st century academic instruction through collaboration between students, staff, and the community. 

During daily advisement periods, students participate in small group discussions on current events such as the presidential debates, global warming, Internet safety, and more.

Grade Level Summits allow students to focus on a specific topic including friendship, grit and perseverance, and emotional learning.

The events highlight the school’s desire to hear student perspective, provide civic knowledge, and broach controversial issues in a safe and positive learning environment.

Challengers for Change provides a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities for students to take their classroom learning and apply it to community service.

During in Relay for Life events, students create team names, collect donations, and walk for a cause.

Student clubs implement events such as Red Ribbon and Kindness weeks while learning about topics such as vaping concerns, health, and bullying.

C.A.R.E. (Community Awareness Reaching Education) Club provides service to local missions, foster homes, and shelters, with members organizing a Toys for Boys drive each December.

The Conservation Club offers a chance to become actively engaged in environmental issues with members hosting a recycling program and beach clean-up activities.

“We believe students who participate in extracurricular activities not only feel more connected to our school, but they also learn that there is value in helping others,” said Principal Dr. Amy Smith.


Suzanne Middle School is winner of a 2020 Civic Learning Award of Merit for engaging students in civic-minded activities