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Portrait of a Graduate … Celebrating our Students

by | Apr 1, 2019

Happy April Fools Day! As an Educator, I always hope this day lands on a weekend, but here we are on a Monday. 

For years, I tried to get my twins to trade classes on April fools day, but they never would do it. Good boys; they must have gotten that from their mom.

No foolin’ today in this column. Today I am writing, once again, about how amazing our students, staff, and community are. This fact is absolutely highlighted in our Prescott Unified School District Education Foundation “Rising Stars” event. This is not a fundraiser, but rather an awareness-raiser. The pioneers of our foundation said, “We know about these amazing relationships between the teachers and our kids, but how do we share this with others?”  So the Foundation went to work to tell our “story.”

PUSD Education Foundation Rising Stars from 2018

Rising Stars from 2018

Each year, teachers nominate PHS seniors who stand out because they have inspired the teacher and others through their character. Once students are chosen, the tables turn and the Foundation works with the kids to identify the teacher or staff member in PUSD that most influenced their life. We then memorialize these stories in videos. This year, we tricked the teachers by telling them that we were videoing them on the topic of teaching. Then, we interrupted with the surprise of these special students walking in to read a letter to their teacher about how they had influenced the students’ lives. Yes, there were tears.  And there will be many more on April 29, when this whole process is presented at a lovely dinner program where teachers, students, families, and friends of the PUSD Education Foundation all come together to see these “shining stars.” It may be my favorite event of the year. Find out more at

PUSD Education Foundation Rising Stars from 2017

Rising Stars from 2017

I would like to tell you more about the amazing students in PUSD by sharing what they “look like” when they graduate from Prescott High School. At a recent Governing Board retreat, we revisited our “Portrait of a Graduate” and realized that we need to share this information more often. In 2015, we spent the year talking with community to gather information for our strategic plan. We visited every staff, held public forums, visited our local clubs, and asked all to participate in a survey to guide our strategic plan. The survey asked people to tell us the attributes of an ideal graduate. The result is what we strive to instill in “Every Child, Every Day.”

PHS graduation

With the input from thousands, we simply took the top 20 most mentioned words to create the Portrait of a Graduate. Here is what our community believes our Prescott High School graduates offer to the world. PHS graduates are: globally aware, strong communicators, fair, ethical, financially knowledgeable, creative, respectful, independent, collaborative, technologically savvy, hard workers, persistent, lifelong learners, artistic, healthy, goal oriented, honest, problem solvers, organized, active community members and citizens, critical thinkers, college and career ready, confident, empathetic, and compassionate.

Folks, the future is in good hands.

For more details on our strategic plan and detailed graphics of our Portrait of a Graduate, please visit


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