Congratulations to Ja’Quezz Grayson our April 2021 Rising Star!
Ja’Quezz was nominated by Cari Briscoe:
"Ja’Quezz Grayson is a sixth grade student at Washington Elementary in the Omaha Public Schools. Ja’Quezz is hard of hearing but uses sign language to access information. Over the years, school has not been easy for Ja’Quezz and he has struggled with enjoying the process of learning because it has always been so difficult for him. Struggles in his home life during his early years, and health issues all contributed to difficulties with learning and behavior. This school year, is of course, like no other any student or teacher has faced and as teachers we have been increasingly worried about our students and their progress since schools shut down last March. Ja’Quezz is a student that has taken on the challenge of learning during a pandemic and has worked harder than most students. Our school had to start the year in August in full remote learning mode for six weeks. Ja’Quezz was online every day and worked as hard as he could, even though trying to learn and watch sign language and listen on a small iPad was very difficult. When Ja’Quezz and his peers were allowed to return to school at the end of September, Ja’Quezz was ready for learning in person and ready to be back having socialization with his peers and staff again. He has excelled in his learning growth, his attitude, his behavior, and his maturity! I taught Ja’Quezz in second and third grade and although I am not his teacher now, we have remained close and have many conversations each day in the hallways about how he is doing and other fun things we like to chat about. Ja’Quezz often emails me (for social distancing reasons) but also comes to my class to visit me and show me a paper or project he has finished and received a good grade on, or a math concept he is mastering so that I can help give positive feedback and encouragement for him to keep going! Ja’Quezz has shown his teachers, since being back in person, that he is growing into a very mature young man. He is focused in class, he works incredibly hard, and is making great growth in his learning this year, in spite of the challenges of a pandemic. Ja’Quezz has shown great responsibility as a student and is becoming a leader in his classroom. I am so proud of Ja’Quezz and his maturity, ability to persevere during a hard school year, and how he is working so hard to get ready for middle school next year. His teachers and interpreters are all so proud of him and how he has grown this year, despite all the challenges. I hope you will consider Ja’Quezz for your Rising Star Award."