Five outstanding teachers in Walla Walla Public Schools will be honored as this year’s recipients of Golden Onions.

This is the local version of the statewide Golden Apple Award presented to outstanding teachers.

The quintet will receive awards of $1,000 each at the Nov. 19 WWPS School Board meeting. This funding may be used for classroom and instructional improvements.

Longtime Walla Wallans, retired teacher Sue Gillespie and husband Mike Gillespie established the Golden Onion honors nine years ago to support teacher development.

Teachers are selected by the Walla Walla Public Schools through a competitive application process, according to a news release.

Recipients are Lori Gillin, Head Start preschool; McKenzie Bostwick, Sharpstein, third grade; Claudia Saldivar, Edison, dual language second grade; Laura Bertinelli, Walla Walla High School; Amy Kasenga, Garrison, dual language sixth-eighth grades.

“We are thrilled to support outstanding Walla Walla teachers, and hope others will join us in making Walla Walla classrooms the best they can be,” the Gillespies said.

The fund is part of Blue Mountain Community Foundation. To add to the Golden Onion Award or Gillespie Teacher Development Fund visit or make a check payable to “BMCF — Golden Onion” and mail to P.O. Box 603, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

For more information contact BMCF’s Kari Isaacson, executive director, or Liz McClure at 509-529-4371.

Weston Middle School giving

The Weston Middle School Parent Group organized a Christmas store for students for the first time in 2018, they reported on their Facebook wall.

“The excitement and desire of our students to be able to choose a gift to give to a loved one far exceeded our expectations. It was overwhelming to see the joy our students had in choosing an item and wrapping it, just so, for their important person. We immediately knew we needed to make it happen again this year,” the post noted on Monday.

Help is needed to serve the number of students who want to visit the Christmas Store.

Consider donating:

New or gently used items around the house that may make the perfect gift for a mother, father, sister, brother, favorite neighbor. Go to, go to comments or private message that you will be donating then drop items at the school before Nov. 25.

To make a monetary donation, private message the Parent Group via Facebook or contact Alecia Angell at 541-922-8450. The school is unable to accept money on the organizers’ behalf. They will arrange pick up.

Wrapping paper, tape and ribbon are also needed. Comment below the Facebook post and drop off at the school by Nov. 25.

“We wish we could bottle the joy we saw in the store last year. Please help to provide that to a WMS student again this year.”

Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or 526-8313.

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,