QES sixth-grade student Emmett Tompkins, left, earned the Principal’s Recognition Award for his academic excellence and outstanding citizenship during the Dec. 16 online school board meeting. Emmett is shown here on a hike with his brother Stirling, mother Michelle Coppoletta and father Ryan Tompkins. Photo submitted.

QES sixth-grader Emmett Tompkins earns Principal’s Recognition Award

Roni Java

Special to Plumas News

Outstanding Quincy Elementary School (QES) sixth-grader Emmett Tompkins earned the Principal’s Recognition Award, a top honor, for model citizenship and academic excellence at the Dec. 16 broadcast of this month’s meeting for the Plumas Unified School District’s (PUSD) Governing Board of Trustees.

QES Principal Lara Hollister welcomed Emmett and his family members who had logged on for the virtual meeting held by Zoom teleconference. Introducing the student to the school board members, she said his parents Ryan Tompkins and Michelle Coppoletta were watching the presentation with Emmett and their younger son, Stirling, as well as grandparents Joe and Cathy Coppoletta and Marian Tompkins.


“Emmett is currently serving as our QES Student Council President and he has made a number of contributions to his school community over the years, including being part of the yearbook,” the principal said.

PUSD School Board President Leslie Edlund smiled from her remote location and congratulated the student for his exemplary achievements. Fellow Trustees Dave Keller, Joleen Cline and Traci Holt, clerk of the board, followed suit and also commended him. Trustee JoDee Read logged on soon afterwards.

“Such a good job, Emmett,” Edlund said. “It’s great to see you and your lovely family here tonight.”

Principal Hollister told the trustees that the sixth-grade student is known at Quincy Elementary for his scholarship, leadership and, most of all, his kindness.

“Emmett loves to learn and his joy is contagious,” she said. “He is always willing to jump in and help anyone in need. In fact, he has served as our ambassador to welcome new students.”


The principal also said Emmett’s teachers have many “epic” stories about what a good student he is and Hollister’s favorite one was about a seemingly small event that had taken place just that day.

“It’s a little insight about maturity,” Principal Hollister noted. “And it’s also an excellent perspective on this fear we may all have that our students are falling behind. Today, as our student council president, Emmett let me know that we need to change our council meetings because they conflict with an obligation he has at home. The fact that he knows of his obligations at home and is able to schedule them with me is a whole new level of executive functioning. That’s different from what I’ve come to expect from sixth-graders. So I found that little thing very impressive.”

Emmett’s QES teachers sent word through the principal that he works hard, takes pride in his work, is kind and respectful to his classmates and teachers and he has “a fantastic sense of humor.”


Hollister added that the student’s actions and his quality of character make him an example and leader to his peers.

“You rock, Emmett!” his principal said with a deep smile. “Keep being you!”

Lastly, Hollister shared some personal comments that Emmett’s family had provided for the meeting.

Reading from their statement, Hollister told the school trustees, “Emmett’s parents have this to say. Some of our most meaningful accomplishments are defined by recognition from our peers and mentors, and as such, we greatly appreciate Quincy Elementary recognizing Emmett’s citizenship as a student. Words cannot convey how proud we are. And while we as parents might enjoy taking credit for our children’s success, this is completely Emmett’s effort and accomplishment.”

The family also expressed pride in their son for being “a sweet, kind kid and a wonderful big brother with a passion for learning.” Their words conveyed their admiration for Emmett’s dedication to “finishing one huge novel after another” and the statement ended with a humorous commendation.


“Thanks to the pandemic,” the QES principal read with a chuckle, “his parents say he is also displaying some promising life skills, particularly in the dishwashing and laundry department!”

Concluding the award presentation to her top student, Principal Hollister said she and Emmett’s teachers are confident he will continue to rise in levels of academic achievement and leadership and she acknowledged the value of family participation in a student’s success.

“I will repeat those words: Emmett, please keep being you and family members, thank you for supporting him here tonight.”

The Plumas County Unified School District and its County Office of Education enjoy recognizing exceptional pupils who do well academically and also accomplish great things both in and out of school.

The Principal’s Recognition Award honors outstanding students who display the characteristics that PUSD’s governing board promotes in its mission statement and within the vision adopted for Plumas schools and students countywide.


Each school chooses to award a student for demonstrating personal achievement. The honor recognizes students for developing the skills necessary to be self-directed, productive and responsible citizens.