Justin Keele
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Award Recipients & Testimonials

Welcome - Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Dear Generous Donator,

I was fortunate enough to receive the Justin Keele Make a Difference award in the spring of 2008. As senior at Eureka Senior High School, I formed a senior project to paint a vocational-career technical education mural across from the stadium at Eureka High. I wanted the mural to celebrate the achievements of the past and sustainability of the future representing Humboldt County industry and, the importance of vocational education. Career technical education is something I truly value from my experience at Eureka High School and I wanted to convey this message to the community.

The senior project taught me how to work well with adults, make deadlines, organize other people and remain organized myself. I began this process by forming a plan and creating a design for the mural and submitting a grant application to the Justin Keele Make a Difference Award. I worked diligently to receive approval from the volunteer committee and the Eureka City School Board, including attending meetings and creating an information packet about the mural. Once approval was obtained we purchased the materials and began the project.

The other students involved Kelly Kovacovich, Teal Moore, Jacob Spencer, Henry Hoff and Brandon Brockoff also gained much from the experience. Volunteers for the project were able to complete their service learning hour requirement, the Eureka High School Agriculture Pathway or senior project credit. We truly worked as a team creatively and artistically. Some of us contributed more to the construction, some to the organization and some to the painting. Overall, we shared our knowledge and skill learning from each other. Unfortunately we have lost our dear friend Jake Spencer since the painting of the mural, in this way the mural will also provide remembrance of him as a great person and friend.

Mr. David Stevens, the Eureka High School Woodshop teacher, was absolutely essential in advising and completing the project. I would also like to thank Mr. Jim Smith and Mrs. Sandy Lovfald the Eureka High School Agriculture teachers and Eureka FFA advisors for their influential assistance in the project. I would like to thank those on the Eureka City School Board for their time in hearing my presentation and for their approval. A big thank you must also go out to Mr. Dean Beck and Mr. Steve Lovfald for completing the task I could not do, of hanging the mural, completing the project.

The Justin Keele Make a Difference Award funded the project, thus the experience for those contributors, volunteers and the resulting mural. I am thankful for the award and the opportunity. The Justin Keele Make A Difference Award is truly a kind project and follows through on its philosophy of “paying it forward”.

The finished mural was on display at the 2008 EHS graduation and received a Best of Show Award from the 2008 Redwood Acres and Humboldt County Fair. On July 3rd, 2010 it was finally able to be hung on the exterior of the Agriculture Department building on Del Norte Street facing Albee Stadium. The establishment on the wall was a few years behind schedule, but finally, safe, secure and serving as a piece of art to share in the community.

Please take time to observe the mural and know we are truly thankful for the efforts of all who contributed, and, very thankful for the award. I hope this mural will supply pride, remembrance, and beauty for the community, visitors, student population and Eureka.

Valerie Grant
Student Forestry and Natural Resources/Agriculture Communications
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Valerie Grant

7/9/2010 3:06:53 PM69.19.14.27

I hope this testimonial makes it through. I wrote one about 3 weeks ago and it seems to have slipped through somewhere!

I am so honored, as are the seniors in the first graduating AVID class at Eureka High School, to be one of the first recipients of the Justin Keele Make a Difference Award. The award alone is beautiful, but to have known Justin and to understand fully the depth of the meaning of this award adds a magnificence that is somewhat overwhelming.

Having worked with Justin closely in matters of leadership at EHS, I know that he would be really proud of the AVID Honoring Ceremony that took place at the Morris Graves Museum in part due to the contribution of some of the funds from his foundation. He would have smiled that big Justin smile and added some incredible magic touch to the whole thing to make it seem like it was "extra-special" - he had that way about him!! He would have approved and deighted in the outcome.

This AVID class, being the very first to graduate from EHS, is extra special in that they have set the bar for those who follow in their footsteps. They have shown to many other students like them that it is possible to go to college even if you don't have the financial means, the support at home, or didn't have access to information that would lead you there. All of these graduates (21) will go out and contribute to their worlds and carry forth one of Justin's goals -"To leave the world a bit better".

I am deeply honored to have known Justin and to be included in the first distribution of his fund. I am a proud torch carrier for the spirit of Justin. I am blessed.

Love - Stephanie Jackson

Stephanie Jackson

6/22/2008 9:02:14 AM12.72.195.30

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