Real Hero recipients and friendsPhoto on left, pictured left to right: Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies – Kirstin Kunihisa, associate principal; Karen Young, head custodian; Anastasia Romanchenko, daughter; Toliy Romanchenko, custodian and “Real Hero;” Larisa Romancheko, Toliy’s wife; Anzhela Kalutsky, daughter.

Photo on right, pictured left to right: Minnehaha Elementary School – Aiko Chappell, Family-Community Resource Center coordinator; Alicia Dunn, volunteer and “Real Hero;” Troy Winzer, principal


Event celebrates heroes in education

An employee and a volunteer from Vancouver Public Schools were honored at Identity Clark County’s “Real Heroes” celebration on Oct. 17.  Anatoliy “Toliy” Romanchenko, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies, and Alicia Dunn, Minnehaha Elementary School, were among 23 employees and volunteers recognized as part of ICC’s Learn Here project to showcase the local educational system.

Romanchenko and Dunn were recognized for their exemplary work in supporting the education of the community’s youth.

Toliy Romanchenko, custodian, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies

Toliy Romanchenko, more commonly known as “Superman” for his high standards, can be found throughout the halls of Fort Vancouver High School. Toliy, with his contagious smile, is a big part of creating a welcoming and thriving sense of community on campus. Whether helping colleagues work through challenging tasks, taking extra care to interact with special needs students, or lending a listening ear to staff, Toliy leads by example and inspires those around him to be their best. Toliy’s genuine character and desire to help others is an invaluable asset to the high school. And per his request, we’re keeping this recognition short and to the point. Thank you, Toliy, for everything you do!

Alicia Dunn, volunteer, Minnehaha Elementary School

Positive mentor relationships and inspirational environments greatly enhance children’s self-esteem, academic success and long-term health. Through programs like Lunch Buddies, at-risk students are connected with community members who come to school once a week to enjoy lunch together, share stories, play games and act as positive role-models. With a little more than half of Minnehaha Elementary students receiving free and reduced-priced lunch, many of these kids need a little extra love and care. Parent-volunteer and reliable Lunch Buddy, Alicia Dunn, consistently steps up to support teachers and provide for students through traditional and nontraditional means. Tapping into a wealth of what she calls ‘Pinterest-fueled creativity,’ Alicia routinely transforms the school’s doorways and hallways into imaginative themed portals built from colorful paper helping encourage students to engage with their environment. A recent favorite theme “camp out with a good book,” featured a nearly life-size AirStream trailer on the bulletin wall accompanied with a three-dimensional campfire and chairs. What Alicia consistently accomplishes with a roll of butcher paper, scissors, tape and a lot of elbow grease is truly heroic. Thanks, Alicia.