A night of shining stars

March 30, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Parents thank dedicated schools volunteers

Big contributions were the order of the night as the Issaquah Parents Teachers and Students Association Council celebrated the volunteers of the Issaquah School District.

At the annual Golden Acorn Awards, at Skyline High School on March 16, more than 80 volunteers and district employees were recognized for their efforts to support education.

The awards are a time to celebrate and recognize all of the hard work the unsung heroes do for children and the schools that make them successful, said council member and organizer Judy Babb.
Each year, the PTSA councils from schools in the district select — from among recommendations of teachers, parents and students — volunteers who have contributed significantly to the betterment of their schools, programs and events.

Volunteers work in classrooms to help raise student achievement, attend field trips, coordinate fundraising efforts, lobby for education legislation and advocate for children’s health, wellness and education.

“In a time when monetary resources are tight, our volunteer resources become even more important,” said Heather Gillette, PTSA Council president and an award recipient. “This is a great opportunity to acknowledge our volunteer’s efforts and their contributions to all of our students in the district.”

Gillette, who has served as PTSA council president twice, was awarded with a Golden Acorn award from Skyline High School and an Outstanding Service award for her work on the council this year.

But the awards don’t just go to the hardest-working volunteers; awards also go to the hardest-working employees. This year, four district employees — Barbara Walton, principal at Grand Ridge Elementary School; Kathy Connally, principal at Endeavour Elementary School; Alaine Tibbetts, a bus driver in the Briarwood Elementary School area; and Curtis Betzler, a teacher at Beaver Lake Middle School — earned awards.

Walton received a lifetime honorary membership to the PTSA for her years of dedicated service to the district and as the first principal of Grand Ridge. Walton will retire from the district at the end of the year. Connally received an Outstanding Advocate award for her dedication to her students.

Tibbetts received a Golden Acorn for her dedication to students who ride her buses to and from Briarwood Elementary School each day. Betzler received the Outstanding Advocate award for his dedication to helping students help students across the world through the nonprofit organization he and PTSA parents formed called Generation Joy. The organization’s major humanitarian project is a necessities drive where students collect donations that are shipped to South African children living in orphanages.

“This year’s theme, Celebrating Giving Hearts, was chosen because that is what these people truly do,” Babb said of the winners. “They aren’t doing this for accolades, but this is what they truly love to do.”

This year’s winners are:

Elementary schools

Apollo: Chris Boster, Beth Koontz and Cliff LeCompte

Briarwood: Lara Chung, Joanne Kilcup, Stephanie Mayo, Kymberli Nelson and Jenna Thoresen

Cascade Ridge: Jaycee Cooper, Lynette Springborn and Tina Yerges

Challenger: Marilou Dacey, Sandi Dong and Shannon Karr. Leslie Miniken received an Honorary Lifetime PTA Membership.

Clark: Kristin Bartholet, Betsy Brewer and Sherry Feiler-Weins

Cougar Ridge: Elizabeth Brown, Sara Carmichael, Tricia Jerue and Becky Schultz. Stefanie Beighle received the Outstanding Advocate award.

Discovery: Connie Ellis, Jill Kelley and Ken Peatross Jr. and Jane Cristallo. Tom Thompson received Outstanding Advocates awards

Endeavour: Miranda Cantine, Becky Lawrence, Chris Leznek and Heather Stambaugh

Grand Ridge: Cyn Baumert, Lida Buckner and Theora Dalupan

Issaquah Valley: Tanya Alter, Suzie Kuflik and Kim Nardi

Maple Hills: Marsha Kauzlarich and Jennifer Wildermuth. Dawn Peschek was given the Outstanding Advocate award.

Newcastle: Edana Peacock and Lynne Hepp

Sunny Hills: Brian McRae, Darawan Morrison and Monica Rockwell. Donna Gelinas won the Outstanding Advocate award.

Sunset: Trina Elliot, Lisa McGowen, Elizabeth Tuohy and Connie Zue

Middle schools

Beaver Lake: Patty Grembowski and Alayna Niehaus

Issaquah: Sally Burnette and Kim Dreiblatt

Maywood: Kimberly Montague and Staci Schnell

Pine Lake: Monica De Raspe-Bolles, Ina Ghangurde and Stacy Heller

High schools

Issaquah: Lori Van De Mark, Vicki Hahn and Debbie Sexton. Jody Mull received the Outstanding Advocate award.

Liberty: Maryann DiPasquale, Holly Hollinger, Vanessa McDonald and Betsy Pendleton

Skyline: Teresa Bretl and Heather Gillette

PTSA Council awards

Golden Acorns – Donna Gelinas, Linda Guard, Jody Mull and Connie Rawson

Outstanding Advocates – Alison Meryweather and Leigh Stokes

Outstanding Service – Heather Gillette and Vicki Hoffman

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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