And, as Mark “Mr. Pokeeto” Donnell, guest speaker and clown at the Surry County Schools Volunteer of the Year dinner, pointed out, that is not simply because they work for free.
Each of the 17 schools in the system nominated a volunteer of the year who was recognized at the dinner before the volunteer of the year for the school system was announced.
Donnell, as he handed out small paper umbrellas, praised the volunteers for their importance to the school community.
“Many of you don’t understand the flow of energy in education,” he said as he made balloon hats connecting a number of school personnel including the superintendent, board of education chair and a principal. “You provide a really nice safe covering for them.”
Melissa Culler, the Westfield Elementary representative, was named the school system volunteer of the year. She has helped the 590 students at the school in a number of ways. From the classroom and the computer lab to the main office and the media center, her talents are many, school officials said.
“I was shocked,” she said of receiving the award. “I love the kids. I’ve worked with kids since high school. I couldn’t ask for a better school. None of this would be possible without the help of my husband and my dad.”
Culler helped the school raise $5,000 for the technology fund during the Octoberfest campaign and helped the media center raise more than $9,000 this year through book fairs and candy gram sales.
This is her fifth year volunteering at the school and she has accumulated 245 volunteer hours in this year alone.
“We’re very proud of all of our volunteers,” said Tracey Lewis, principal of Westfield Elementary. “The fact that we had the volunteer of the year is just icing on the cake. What Mrs. Culler does is just outstanding. She goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
Culler is in good company with the 16 other volunteers. As a group, the 17 individuals recognized Thursday night have donated more than 2,200 hours this school year. The school system has about 900 volunteers who donate their time on a daily basis in the classroom, helping with tutoring, volunteering with events and extracurriculars and a number of other tasks.
The volunteer of the year from Franklin Elementary is Candy Willard. The Cedar Ridge Elementary volunteer of the year is Rene Westmoreland. The Meadowview Middle School representative is Hayford Hawks. Surry Early College’s representative is Deborah Sprinkle. The Dobson Elementary volunteer of the year is Joy Mitchell. The Shoals Elementary volunteer of the year is Nicole Hicks. The Gentry Middle representative is Susan Holder. The Surry Central High volunteer representative is Frances Draughn. The White Plains volunteer of the year is Sharon Seymour. The Flat Rock Elementary representative is Tonya Edwards. Central Middle’s volunteer of the year is Crystal Meyers. East Surry High’s volunteer of the year is Whitney Bryant. Copeland Elementary’s representative is Mitch Hardy. The Mountain Park Elementary volunteer of the year is Robin Norman. The Pilot Mountain Middle representative is Sue Smith. North Surry’s volunteer of the year is Tina Butcher.
All of the volunteers at the event were presented with a certificate of recognition and a gift.
Contact Morgan Wall at email@example.com or 719-1929.