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VanNatta, Ambrose Saluted as 2021 Real Heroes

A community volunteer and former HMS employee have been recognized by a regional business group for their outstanding commitment to students in Hockinson.

Justin VanNatta, co-owner of Hockinson Market, and Jessica Ambrose, former HMS Counselor,  were both recognized last week as “Learn Here Real Heroes” a part of Identity Clark County's Learn Here Project. The project showcases Clark County’s educational system and its leaders in an effort to inspire others and attract people and businesses to the region.

In recognizing VanNatta, the group wrote the following citation:

Justin

Justin VanNatta

When driving through Hockinson, you can't miss the iconic Hockinson Market run by Hockinson alum Justin VanNatta and his father Jim. The convenience store and tap room are situated at the main intersection between school and community, just like his family.  The second-generation owner works hand in hand with Hockinson Schools and local parent-teacher association to support students. From donation nights to school merchandise sales, Hockinson Market has always been an ally to the district. It even made the sweet gesture of partnering with PWT to provide a free ice cream cone to every elementary student as a reward for persevering through the challenges of the 2020-21 school year. Justin also lends his graphic design skills to district initiatives, including designing a custom t-shirt to congratulate 5th Grade graduates.

In recognizing Ambrose, ICC's citation reads:

Jessica

Jessica Ambrose

If one of a counselor's greatest assets is a big heart, then it's no wonder Jessica Ambrose is a beloved school counselor. She makes herself available to students, lending an ear without judgment and helping them adapt and explore themselves and their futures. She helps create programs where she sees needs, such as a care closet managed by students in our 18-21 Transition Program, Lunch Bunch groups, a middle-school mentoring initiative and individual support programs. Here efforts help create a positive culture as students set their course in life.

"Hockinson students are so fortunate to have volunteers and staff like Justin and Jessica working on behalf of our students and supporting education in the Hockinson community,” said Hockinson School District Superintendent Steve Marshall. “Their generosity and dedication elevates student learning, inspires others to give back and support our schools, and helps strengthen our community. We are appreciative of their efforts and proud of them for earning this well-deserved recognition.”

The Learn Here Project showcases Clark County’s quality educational system and honors exemplary staff and volunteers, with cooperation from area educational institutions. The project is supported by Real Living, The Real Estate Group, Northwest Capital Mortgage, iQ Credit Union, and the Port of Vancouver USA. It is part of the Land Here, Live Here business growth initiative created and coordinated by the non-profit business leaders’ group Identity Clark County. More information is available from Identity Clark County at www.iccbusiness.org.





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