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Linda Mah
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Washington Gives Thanks

Thanksgiving Celebration Included Renaming Library

Washington Celebrates a Thanksgiving for Literacy, Renames Library after Former Principal

Thanksgiving came early to the Washington Writers’ Academy community.

About 225 people attended the school’s 10th annual Thanksgiving event, called Giving Thanks for Literacy. The celebration was open to community members as well as students and their families. The night included a Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, corn and dessert.

The event was also used to celebrate the renaming of the school library, which was named the Barbara Ruhs Witzak Media Center in honor of her leadership as principal of the school from 1992 to 2005. In addition to serving as the principal at Washington, Witzak was also the assistant superintendent for instruction during her career with KPS.

Witzak is retired but continues to work for the district as the coordinator for the Lift Up Through Literacy program, which provides hands-on training for parents to support them in their children’s school efforts.

In his remarks congratulating Witzak, KPS Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice called her a “warrior for children.”

Washington Principal Lanisha Spiller called Witzak the original “Queen Bee” of Washington.

Spiller welcomed guests to the event saying, “We’re thankful not only for your investment in your children but for your investment in Washington as a whole.”

The event, which was organized by Title 1 specialists Emily Ziegler and Nina LeSuer, opened with a song from Washington students. The tables were decorated with gourds, which families were invited to take home and cook for Thanksgiving, as well as colorful placemats on which the students had written about all of the things for which they give thanks, including families, pets, and a free education.

The program was supported with donations from New Way Thrift, the Senior Services Foster Grandparents program, Maggie’s Cafe & Catering, and anonymous donors.


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