Holmes is a Woman of Distinction

Hayes Freedom High School principal credited with empowering students

A Camas principal was among four women honored for making a difference in the lives of others at Washington State University’s recent Women of Distinction celebration.

For the first time, two nominees tied for Woman of Distinction in the community (non-student) category: Jennifer Cullison, a science teacher at Woodland High School, and Amy Holmes, founding principal of Hayes Freedom High School in Camas.

The two student awardees were Brittany Curtiss, a senior at River HomeLink School in Battle Ground, in the high school category, and Kia Calderon, a social studies undergraduate, in the WSU Vancouver student category.

According to a press release, Holmes advocates for students, staff and their families and works to ensure that each of her students has support for finding their unique path in life. She is the person whom students and graduates call on when they need a reference, want to apply for college, get married or divorced, have a baby or just need a pep talk. Amy models the school’s motto: “Be kind. Be proud. Be fearless.”

Dr. Allen Gabriel, co-founder of the Pink Lemonade Project, was the keynote speaker.

The foundation’s mission is to educate, empower and support those affected by breast cancer. Gabriel said he finds many of his patients working their treatments around baseball practice, ballet class and a host of other family obligations at a time when they need to put themselves first. The Pink Lemonade Project helps women learn to do that.

Women of Distinction has been held in concordance with Women’s History Month since 2009 to recognize women in Southwest Washington for inspiring, mentoring and empowering others.

Nominations are accepted for women in three categories: high school students, WSU Vancouver students and community members. Nominations typically open in February. Distinguished Woman of the Year award recipients are chosen by a committee of WSU Vancouver staff, faculty, students and community members.

Women of Distinction is sponsored by the Office of Student Involvement at WSU Vancouver and Unitus Community Credit Union.

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