Patty McClelland began her final assembly as principal of Voyager Elementary by reminding the students that they are Kids at Hope: Smart, talented and capable of success.
It is a mantra that the school has adopted, teaching each student to value themselves and their goals. On Thursday, the school showed how they valued McClelland, honoring her with a new annual award for student achievement.
McClelland, clearly touched, took a moment to address the school and share the one thing she wanted them to always remember: They are smart.
“I know that you are smart,” she said. “Every person in this room is smart in many different ways.”
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McClelland never saw the surprise coming, as Peninsula School District Superintendent Chuck Cuzetto approached the stage to praise her time at the school.
Cuzetto told students about how McClelland had earned her degree from the University of Puget Sound; took classes at Western Washington, Pacific Lutheran and Santa Clara universities; and taught for a period in the Netherlands and University Place. She’s been at Voyager for eight years.
“Whoever her teachers were teaching her how to be a good teacher, they did a good job,” Cuzetto told students.
As she reminded the students about their abilities, she also told them to trust their smarts, because knowing what they’re smart at will show them their dreams. And dreams are things to never give up on.
“You never, ever give up on the things that are important to you,” she said.
McClelland’s surprise was at the end of an annual assembly honoring students for their volunteer service and achievement over the past year. Awards were given out for field day accomplishments to choir participation to volunteering.
Voyager PTA president Brian Bergren presented McClelland with the plaque which will hold the names of two high-achieving students each year.
Next year, current Purdy Assistant Principal Katja Rimmele will take over at Voyager.