Douglas’ Diamond ScholarsBy Bruce Whetten
Over 350 students in the Douglas Unified School District were honored last week in two separate ceremonies as part of the Diamond Scholars Academic Awards Night.
The two ceremonies took place April 23 in the James A. Brenden Auditorium on the Douglas High School campus.
The first ceremony, which took place for fourth and fifth grade elementary students, featured a speech from Jesse Altamirano, a student at Stevenson Elementary which was followed by a special guest speaker Dr. J.D. Rottweiler, President of Cochise College.
Following the two speeches 53 fourth grade students and 66 fifth grade students received special medallions of achievement.
The second ceremony was for students in the sixth through 12th grades.
The event featured a speech from Noelani Ramirez Dorame, a sixth grade student at Ray Borane Middle School and Frances Young, a junior at Douglas High School.
Dr. Rottweiler also spoke at the second ceremony. Both his talks were about the importance of education and how we need to watch out for that gorilla in our lives that could cause us to lose focus and how education can lead to longer, healthier, happier lives.
Douglas School Superintendent Sheila Rogers said many years ago, her superintendent at that time said we always honor athletes with sports banquets, etc.
“He was absolutely for that, but he also believed that we should honor students for academics,” she said. “As a result, he started this program in Gilbert. I participated in it as a teacher and as a principal.”
Rogers said when she came to Douglas she felt this ceremony would be awesome to have here.
“Because of state and federal mandates, we spend a lot of time talking about how to improve our AIMS scores, etc. I feel that we need to honor the students who come to school every day and work hard for their grades,” she said. “When we first discussed this at the administrative level, Beverly Enriquez suggested we call it ‘Douglas Diamond Scholars’ and thus it was begun. Rosella Melgoza, one of our academic coaches, was responsible for putting it all together.”
Rogers said at the elementary level, students had to have a 3.7 grade point average.
Middle school and high school students had to have a 3.8.
“This was at the end of the third quarter,” the superintendent said. “They also had to have good behavior and attendance. … We did have a couple of students who were missed, but we were able to honor them as this was discovered.”
Rogers said Monday night's ceremony was “amazing”.
“I was so proud of the students for their academic success this school year,” she said. “The families were so respectful of the students as they walked across the stage.”
The DUSD Governing Board took turns placing the medallions on the students. Bonnie Lopez, Assistant Superintendent and Beverly Enriquez, Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs assisted the Board Members.
The principals led the students into the auditorium and many of the teachers in the district were also there to support their students.
“It was a fabulous evening all around,” Rogers said. “It is my hope that this will become a tradition in the Douglas Unified School District.”
Rogers added a lot was learned from this event and she is already planning next year's.
“I am proud to be the Superintendent of the Douglas Unified School District and I am so proud of our Douglas Diamond Scholars,” she said.