2019 - 2020 Outstanding School Volunteers Recognized
The Okaloosa County School Board recognized the District’s Outstanding School Volunteers at the February 24th School Board meeting. The Outstanding School Volunteer Award is presented annually to school volunteers who have shown outstanding dedication and commitment to quality education in Florida. Volunteers are selected based on the following criteria: (1) type of contribution, (2) character of service, (3) number of years, and (4) breadth of service. The Outstanding School Volunteer Award recognizes a youth, an adult and a senior volunteer in each of Florida’s five reporting regions.
Congratulations to the 2019 - 2020 Outstanding School Volunteers!
Student Volunteer: Lyndsey Laborde, Fort Walton Beach High School
Lyndsey Laborde, a senior at Fort Walton Beach High School, saw a need to help the less fortunate students by making sure they had food. Lyndsey created ‘The Pantry’ to help students and families struggling with hunger or uncertainty by providing an opportunity to obtain food at no cost. This project opened the doors for the community to donate items for the pantry, so all stakeholders partnered to help these families. Lyndsey has 218 hours of community service, a 4.72 grade point average, and ensures that our students and their families are taken care of each week.
Lyndsey is the happiest when students come in to gather items to feed their family for the weekend. The smallest things that are donated can be the biggest gift to these students and their families. The Pantry has impacted the lives of our homeless students and inspired our community to be a part of a program that will allow children to learn because they are fed.
Adult Volunteer: Alicia Williams, Choctawhatchee High School
Alicia Williams works as a volunteer assisting our attendance office as well as over-seeing nearly all facets of the Federal Impact Campaign (FIC) process. She is extremely knowledgeable and experienced with attendance, FIC and AS400 and has built many relationships with students. She checks on their well-being, academics, sports, and much, much more. Many of the students who struggle to get here on time, or even at all, go out of their way to swing by and say hello to her and let her know that they are here, which very clearly impacts academics. The relationships she has built and continues to build, in addition to her friendly and enthusiastic personality, have directly impacted numerous students and staff members alike.
Alicia is helpful in the many tasks that she has assists with, takes the lead on, and she completes everything with a smile on her face regardless of the time constraints or obstacles in her way. She is often bombarded and pulled away by students and parents coming and going because of the location of the office. She is regularly here by 8:00 AM and often stays as late as 3:00 PM or 3:30 PM to work on FIC, putting information in teacher boxes, and assisting with attendance clean-up. The fact that all these efforts and hours are completely volunteer, is nothing short of amazing.
Senior Volunteer: Mary Wright, Edge Elementary School
Mary Wright has been actively involved in volunteering for the last 10 years. Beginning with an idea to provide benevolence through her church to school aged children of single mothers, she initiated a tutoring program which benefits students in the primary grades. The program has since expanded to include any student in need of the service, no questions asked. The program is for students in Kindergarten, first grade and second grade encompassing tutoring in the area of Math and English Language Arts. They work on building core competencies, phonetic awareness, comprehension, vocabulary and sight word recognition. Helping students to achieve the required grade level standards and maintain pace with the current curriculum.
Mary single handedly organizes, maintains, and facilitates the program insuring sufficient tutors for each child. Tutors are recruited by her through the church congregation making sure there is a “just right” fit between tutor and student. Wright will burden herself by taking on more students before allowing any student to go without service. Additionally, her program improves social skills, manners and promotes a positive connection with the student’s teacher and parents. Mary’s idea spans an inter-generational relationship benefiting not only the students but also the tutors. The work being done with these students has had an outstanding impact on both the students and the school overall. Currently, the program she manages is helping 30 students with additional students on a waiting list. Mary exemplifies the perfect example of what a volunteer should be. We are blessed beyond measure to have her as a member of our Edge Family.