WALLA WALLA - Eight community residents were recognized Tuesday by the Walla Walla School Board for their outstanding contributions as volunteers to Walla Walla Public Schools.
Superintendent Mick Miller introduced the recipients of the 2010-11 Art Regier Volunteer of the Year awards to the Walla Walla School Board during the regular meeting. This year's Art Regier honorees are: Jennifer Northam, Marla Carmody, Jeneen Webb, Abel Hernandez, Bill Erickson, Patrick Carman, Stephanie Kytola and Melissa Gardner.
The Art Regier award was instituted in 1991 as a memorial to "Grandpa Art" Regier, a retiree who devoted years of service to elementary schools in Walla Walla. Regier epitomized the spirit of volunteerism in education, the district said in a release. His dedication and concern for students were the inspiration for the award, which is given out every school year.
The criteria for selection outlines that nominees must have shown exceptional service or contributions to children of Walla Walla Public Schools, unusual dedication, and demonstrated care, compassion and empathy.
Carmody was selected for her support of Sharpstein Elementary students, particularly her work with first-grade teacher Carolyn Smith. Carmody helps prepare materials, designs creative bulletin board and assists with special projects. She also teaches enrichment classes to students who are in need of extra support in reading, math and writing.
Webb recently helped Blue Ridge Elementary raise nearly $5,000 through a fundraising initiative. Webb is the artist who hand-painted the mural of an eagle at the school. It is meant to inspire Blue Ridge "Eagles" to soar. Webb, who was nominated by Principal Kim Doepker, also visits the school often to offer support.
Hernandez coordinates and organizes the Blue Ridge Elementary morning activities, and helps students learn the value and importance of exercise and learning. His work with the YMCA has opened doors to Blue Ridge students to participate in activities, including karate and Zumba lessons, and as a result enriching their lives.
Erickson is a committed supporter of the Walla Walla High School Latino Club, and has helped students have a positive impact in the community. He has helped introduce Wa-Hi students to activities including Science Bowl competitions, Hispanic Youth Engineering Camp and the Cascade Challenge, exposing them to new opportunities and experiences. Erickson also often attends school activities and programs to show support for students.
Carman is the founder of Walla Walla Kids Read, a yearly event that exposes all local elementary students to nationally recognized authors. Through the program, Carman has helped instill the value of literacy and love of books within students. His nominators noted that Walla Walla Kids Read also gives students the opportunity to visit a college campus, and unites them around common books.
Kytola coordinates the Berney Elementary School "mile club," which helps students see the key role exercise plays in learning. Kytola supports the Math Team at Berney, and also provides valuable assistance with the district's vision and hearing screening program and the school's flu clinic.
Gardner has dedicated years of support to Prospect Point Elementary, Garrison Middle School and Walla Walla High School. She has been a PTA officer for many years, offering leadership and strength. She has also provided consistent classroom support through the years.
Northam is a key supporter of the Edison Elementary PTA, and also makes time to support classroom activities and special events. Northam offered assistance with the district's recent maintenance and operations levy, giving time and resources to help the district secure funding for Walla Walla youths.