Warm Springs Elementary promoted 77 fifth graders into middle school with a celebration that brought hundreds of family, friends and community supports to recognize the students’ individual achievements as well as the school’s accomplishments for the year.

Principal Houn Hib began by thanking teachers, staff, councilors and parents for supporting the school and its students through what was, at times, a challenging year.

Hib then encouraged the students to dream.

“Your dreams are special and unique. They’re meant to be pursued and accomplished,” he said. “They’re about doing what you’re meant to do. Know you’re worth and that you’re more than good enough. Dreams are accomplished by average people with a growth mindset.”

Deputies from the Highland Police Department’s child protection team also attended by special invitation from Principal Hib.

Hib shared that they are an excellent example of the school’s theme of “you’re more than good enough” sharing that in their service to the community’s children the deputies don’t do “just good enough” but strive to do the job in a way that matters to Highland and Warm Springs.

Hib gave special appreciation for the students who participated in an undercover anti-bullying team by making a special point of befriending a student who was being bullied.

Rudy A. Brito Diaz was recognized with the most improved behavior award and served as one of several student speakers.

Diaz, whom Hib shared came to the school with serious challenges at home, overcame serious discipline problems thanks to the caring and understanding of teachers, staff and his fellow students.

“I cam a long way from where I started. Some looked at me as a trouble kid who would not change. I had a hard life and was mad at the world,” Diaz shared while thanking those at the school who helped change his life and attitude. “I’m not a perfect kid but I’m a better kid with a lifetime to get better and to heal from these things that tried to destroy me.”

Hib also shared that this year more than 50 English learners were reclassified as they entered mainstream classes.

The Kiwanis Club presented four students with its annual Hope of America Award for future leaders of good character. Sadie Marshall, Emmanuel Campos, Keynea Jones and Diego Apolonio received the awards for their “outstanding citizen traits, ethical and moral character and academic competency” based on recommendations of their teachers.

Eliud Ortiz Martinez earned the perfect attendance award and Elijah Martinez the music award.

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