Nominations coming in for 2014 Diamond Awards

July 31, 2014

By Contributor

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For the second year in a row, the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s Diamond Awards will be an elegant evening affair, hosted at The Golf Club at Newcastle.

Nominations are already coming in for the Nov. 20 ceremony that honors Newcastle’s top community members. Get to know some of the nominees below, and be sure to cast your nominations at

David Black — Education Award

By Karin Frost Blakley

David Black, a language arts teacher at McKnight Middle School, is truly one of those teachers who makes an impact on students for years to come. My son said of him, “Mom, he was one of the best teachers I have ever had. He relates to the students and makes learning fun. I wish I could have him again next year.” He teaches language arts, and has been practicing the art and science that is teaching for more than a decade. I know that he has been on board at least that long, because he was also a favorite instructor of my oldest son Tyler.

One of his gifts is to not only impart knowledge, but also the importance of critical thinking. I hope that the judges will recognize David’s skill, creativity and tenure in having a positive impact on the students of the Renton School District. P.S. In my opinion, his ability to organize and run the seventh-grade field trip to visit the Woodland Park Zoo should make him a shoo in — that was an experience!

Jinjuan Wang — Education Award

By Carolyn Pastoriza

Jinjuan Wang is the owner of Kumon Newport Hills, a Japanese franchise that offers an after-school math and reading program. She helps children of all ages and levels become eager, independent self-learners. She is energetic, organized, patient, maintains a supportive atmosphere for the students, and assists parents with their questions and keeps them updated on student progress.

She has made a difference in my daughter’s life. My daughter now loves math, is able to work out math problems on her own and thinks for herself. Our community has benefitted from Jinjuan Wang. She is a special person who has helped the children of our community grow and develop life skills.

Mary VonRanker — Community Leadership Award

By Peter Zevenbergen

Mary VonRanker has been a longtime friend of the greater Newcastle area. Mary brings a can-do attitude to every one of her endeavors. Whether it is her giving of time to the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, her involvement in Newcastle Earth Days or her commitment to sustainability and green business practices, Mary always exhibits a positive energy that is absolutely infectious. We are lucky to have Mary as part of our community.

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