Big Bear Lake, CA — The Kiwanis Club of Big Bear Valley was joined by Bear Valley Unified’s Superintendent Dr. Nancy Wright and school principals—including North Shore Elementary’s Kevin Amburgey, Baldwin Lane Elementary’s Melinda Peterson, Big Bear Elementary’s Jeannette Haston, Big Bear Middle School’s Julie Chamberlin, Big Bear High School’s Mike Ghelber, and teacher Doug Lane on behalf of Chautauqua High School—to honor students from across the Big Bear Valley in the 11th annual Hope of America Awards presented at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center on Monday. As noted by Kiwanis Club President Gail Dick, “The Kiwanis Club of Big Bear Valley is pleased to honor these outstanding students and to recognize their many achievements. I know the families, teachers, friends and the whole Big Bear community say congratulations to these special students. We also honor the parents of these students and appreciate the significant contribution they have made to their accomplishments.” Those students recognized as the Hope of America include, from Baldwin Lane, Bruno Mendez, Paul Bahkos, Remington Brink and Alicia Smith; from Big Bear Elementary, Elsie Caldwell, Connor Hafen, Savannah Dwight and Parker Acosta; from North Shore, Kortney Carmody, Keeley McMillen, B.J. Negrete and Kaylee Belanger; from Fallsvale School, Maribeth Evans and Mattie Duran; from BBMS, Jacqueline Caldwell, Ryan Stolliker and Samantha Bumstead; from BBHS, Rosalva Bravo, Sarah Button, Samantha Maybrier and Drew Waner; and, from Chautauqua, Janette Hernandez. In a special presentation from half-way across the world, eighth grade award recipient Jordan Romero appeared on the big screen, via live video with Mt. Everest in the background, to thank the Kiwanis Club; the 13-year-old mountaineer and one of 23 Hope of America recipients, shared with the audience in the PAC that he misses his family and Big Bear.

BVUSD's Superintendent Nancy Wright (at podium) and school site principals recognize students onstage at the PAC. The BBHS Jazz Band, led by Karl Thompson, provided the music for the 11th annual event.