Columbia Heights 2016-17 Year in Review

The students in the Columbia Heights High School class of 2017 have officially finished their high school careers as they walked across the stage on Thursday, June 8.

The 2016-17 school year was filled with many accomplishments from Columbia Heights students and staff, all who exude a great amount of “Heights Pride.”

Here is the 2016-17 Year in Review:

July -- Graduating senior Nathan Smoka received the annual Sister Cities Young Artist Showcase grand prize for his painting “Unity.” Smoka was chosen as the national winner and represented Columbia Heights at the award ceremony in Washington D.C. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
August -- The 2016-17 school year was the first to offer free pre-kindergarden classes to all early learners in the Columbia Heights School District. Pictured is Fumi Ball and her son Kent. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
September -- Columbia Heights Superintendent Kathy Kelly first made an appearance on Instagram as @thesuptcolheights. Kelly posts achievements, activities and updates about the Columbia Heights School District and has gained an immense following through the new social media outlet. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
October -- Columbia Heights Public Schools honored Medal of Honor recipient and Columbia Heights High School graduate Pfc. James D. LaBelle by unveiling a memorial plaque located in front of the Hylander Center. LaBelle demonstrated courage and commitment to his men at the battle of Iwo Jima in WWII. The ceremony also honored Columbia Heights Activities Director Matthew Miller, who is a Columbia Heights Public Schools Alumni of Distinction and Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation Above and Beyond Citizen Honor Recipient. Miller rescued and aided victims at the I-35 bridge collapse in 2007, saving the lives of 10 people. (Sun Focus file photo by Sarah Burghardt)
October -- Columbia Heights Public Schools honored Medal of Honor recipient and Columbia Heights High School graduate Pfc. James D. LaBelle by unveiling a memorial plaque located in front of the Hylander Center. LaBelle demonstrated courage and commitment to his men at the battle of Iwo Jima in WWII. The ceremony also honored Columbia Heights Activities Director Matthew Miller, who is a Columbia Heights Public Schools Alumni of Distinction and Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation Above and Beyond Citizen Honor Recipient. Miller rescued and aided victims at the I-35 bridge collapse in 2007, saving the lives of 10 people. (Sun Focus file photo by Sarah Burghardt)
November -- Every Valley View Elementary student received five free Scholastic books as a gift from the nonprofit Read Indeed. The Columbia Heights school was selected as one of only four metropolitan schools to receive 500 brand new free Scholastic books for students at the school. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
December -- Columbia Heights High School Assistant Principal John Kulick was selected as the 2016 Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. He was nominated by senior Sabrina Tobe for his outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence. Each year, student members of the National Society of High School Scholars are invited to nominate an educator who has made a significant contribution to their academic career. Kulick was the first educator in Columbia Heights Public Schools to be selected for this honor. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
January -- Incumbents John Larkin, Naty Severson and newcomer Lorien Mueller, all elected in November 2016, were administered the oath of office for the Columbia Heights School Board. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools) February -- Eight Columbia Heights elementary students showcased their culinary talent at the first Sodexo Future Chefs Culinary Competition. The competition is part of a national program that encourages healthy eating habits to children while promoting creativity and fun in the kitchen. Pictured is Jade Ramnarine who took first place in the competition. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
March -- The 2017 New York Study Seminar gave 35 students the opportunity to explore different artistic opportunities in Manhattan during their spring break. The week was filled with college tours, museum visits and Broadway performances. Pictured is the Columbia Heights Dynamix choir students, who sang in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
April -- Advanced Placement Social Studies teacher Erin Edwardson-Stern was named the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools)
May -- Shari Gestson, who started attending Columbia Heights Public Schools in third grade, was the 2016-17 District Employee of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Heights Public Schools
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October -- Columbia Heights Public Schools honored Medal of Honor recipient and Columbia Heights High School graduate Pfc. James D. LaBelle by unveiling a memorial plaque located in front of the Hylander Center. LaBelle demonstrated courage and commitment to his men at the battle of Iwo Jima in WWII. The ceremony also honored Columbia Heights Activities Director Matthew Miller, who is a Columbia Heights Public Schools Alumni of Distinction and Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation Above and Beyond Citizen Honor Recipient. Miller rescued and aided victims at the I-35 bridge collapse in 2007, saving the lives of 10 people. (Sun Focus file photo by Sarah Burghardt)