District to honor outstanding volunteers and business partners April 6
SARASOTA COUNTY, April 3, 2017 – Superintendent Todd Bowden, School Board Chairwoman Caroline Zucker, administrators, school-based staff and guests will celebrate the individuals and organizations that donate their time, talent and treasure to the Sarasota County School District and its students at the annual Volunteers and Business Partners Recognition Celebration. The invitation-only event will be held this year at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 6, at the Venice Community Center. ABC 7 News Anchor Scott Dennis will be master of ceremonies.
Last year more than 12,000 students, parents, community members and business leaders participated in the district’s Volunteer and Partnership program. Their work — over 210,000 hours of donated time — has been valued at nearly $5 million annually, but Danielle Schwied, the district’s volunteer and partnership coordinator, calls it “priceless.”
The Gold Sponsor of the event is Achieva Credit Union. Silver sponsors are Publix Super Market Charities and Caldwell Trust Company. The Bronze Sponsor is the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The awards for district volunteers and business partners were donated by Sarasota Trophy in honor of Ron Carr, past president of the TeamUP Volunteer & Partnership Council, an independent organization that supports the district’s Volunteer and Partnership program. Photography is provided by Prestige Portraits by Lifetouch. Cash awards to students for outstanding community volunteerism are courtesy of Freeman Orthodontics, Stage Door Studios and the TeamUP Volunteer & Partnership Council.
This year’s district honorees include Outstanding Youth Volunteer McKensie Murray of Booker High School. Murray has served the school and community for the past four years, logging more than 600 hours at her own school as well as at Booker Middle School, the Multi-Cultural Health Institute, Imagine Academy and the Sarasota Rotary Club. She has served as a tutor, mentor, health care intern, and BHS Ambassador. “McKensie is compassionate, selfless and a tireless model of excellence in community involvement, said Principal Rachel Shelley. “As a senior, she leaves a lasting legacy through the Mission Possible program she envisioned and implemented.” The program helps ensure that BHS seniors are meeting graduation requirements.
The Outstanding Adult Volunteer is Nancy Sit of Gulf Gate Elementary School. Awesome, amazing, incredible, marvelous and wonderful are just a few of the superlatives Principal Robin Magac and others used to describe her. In the past year, Sit has devoted almost 700 hours of her time to create and maintain the school’s Clothes Closet. Open each Friday, many of Gulf Gate’s families can be found making selections from the beautiful clothes and shoes at this unique boutique. Sit was honored at a Baltimore Orioles spring training game Feb. 26 as a “Birdland Community Hero.” The school is grateful for Sit’s support of the school and its families.
The Outstanding Senior Volunteer is Sherer Miller of Englewood Elementary School. Miller is a retired teacher who spends her free time engaging third-grade students in hands-on science and math concepts, bringing science concepts to life. Miller rotates through classes, teaching lessons aligned with third-grade standards while raising children to new heights. Not only does she teach and engage students in science and math, she also reads to the students and brings “goodies” to each class weekly, often reaching five different classes a week. “Sherer is an amazing volunteer,” said Principal Mark Grossenbacher. “We are so blessed to have her expertise and energy and we’re privileged to know her!”
The district’s Outstanding Local Business Partner of the Year is Kiwanis Club of Siesta Key, the Wilkinson Elementary School Business Partner. Kiwanis Club of Siesta Key has been a business partner with the school for several years. “They always go above and beyond,” said Principal Susan Nations. Their members provide gifts for 100 students in need at the holidays, they sponsor eight classrooms and promote academic excellence through their BUGS (Bringing Up Grades) program. “We are very thankful for this partnership,” said Nations.
This year’s Outstanding Corporate Business Partner of the Year is Stonegate Bank, the Garden Elementary School Business Partner. Formerly Florida Shores Bank, Stonebank has been a dedicated business partner of the school for five years. Their support ranges from board meetings, assisting with the Gator Run, the Junior Achievement Bowl, kindergarten assessments, Donuts for Dads, serving lunch to staff, the Holiday Shop and much more. “Through their generous gifts of funds, equipment and time, Stonegate Bank has blessed our students and staff,” said Principal Amy Archer.
Other awards to be celebrated at the event include the Lilly Kaighin Service Award to Venice High student Rebecca Betterton, the Bette Woodson Service Award to Pine View School student Jade Fischer, the Teeja Service Through the Arts Award to Owen Leonard of Booker High School, and the Freeman Orthodontics Inspiration Awards to Emma Gallagher of Venice High School and Sarah Elizabeth Goehring of Suncoast Polytechnical High School.
The Venice Community Center is located at 326 Nokomis Ave. S. in Venice.
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