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Department of Media and Communications | Office of Community Relations | June 2010


Virginia Beach schools benefit from the service of nearly 20,000 volunteers annually.  If you are a parent, grandparent, or family member of a current VBCPS student, and you are interested in volunteering at your child's school, you may contact the school directly to learn more about opportunities to support the school. Community members may also contact schools directly and/or may visit the Volunteers in Education site to complete a Request to Volunteer form so that the Office of Community Relations may assist you with placement as a school volunteer.

Virginia Beach Council of PTAs recognizes Citywide Volunteers of the Year
From among the school division’s 83 Volunteers of the Year the Virginia Beach Council of PTAs selects three individuals who represent the best of the best at their respective levels. This year’s recipients include:

Rusty Harris, a dedicated volunteer at Strawbridge Elementary School, lends a hand in the lunchroom, hallways, classrooms, and during school events. He even makes time to support the school when his work as a tugboat captain takes him away from shore. He takes Campbell’s Soup labels with him to count and prepare for submission to gain valuable school resources. Strawbridge Elementary’s PTA president says, “Rusty is a loving father who is setting the best example for his children. He shows them the importance of giving one’s self in volunteering.

Stephanie Gruning is known as a “champion of the arts” at Kemps Landing Magnet School. She works closely with the choral program at the school, handling tasks ranging from designing sets to managing paperwork. In addition she is the vice-president of PTA programs, chairperson of the beautification, and organizer of an Internet safety campaign. “Amazingly, Mrs. Gruning achieves all of this while working a full-time job,” says Choral Director DeLena Poe. “She often comes straight to school from work. In my thirty plus years of teaching, I have never had a volunteer who is as helpful, diligent, creative and hardworking.”

George Sauer has served as a volunteer at Princess Anne High School for 15 years. He serves as a mentor and tutor, and occasionally as a substitute math teacher. But his first love is the choral program, and his work with that department has included keeping financial records, building sets, fundraising, and equipment operation and maintenance. The chair of the school’s fine arts department, David Prescott, points to Mr. Sauer as a role model for both students and staff: “Mr. Sauer is a man of great integrity and dependability. He is true to his word and instills these characteristics in the students with whom he works.”

Watch this Volunteers of the Year video to hear from several of the school’s honorees about why they have made the choice to devote their time and talents to our public schools.

Volunteers support schools throughout the division

The Adult Learning Center’s Talk-a-Latte/Read-a-Latte events were designed to enhance the instructional lessons being taught to English Speakers of Other Languages and to encourage conversation between different cultures and among different levels of learning. This year’s theme was “Life in the Chesapeake Bay” and adult learners heard from volunteers such as Courtney Sova from the Virginia Aquarium. Students read related materials and discussed marine life and problems caused by water pollution. Photo: Annunziata Scafuri, Xiao Qing Zhang, Yun Hwang, Giuseppina Ranieri and Mamour Diop review materials.

Alanton Elementary School recognized its valuable volunteers during a school celebration. At the event, long-time volunteer Barbara Wiley (right) was recognized for her service. Ms. Wiley started volunteering in the library when her grandson attended Alanton, and he is now finishing his second year at Virginia Wesleyan College.

The Bayside Tri-Campus held a recognition event this Spring to thank their valuable volunteers.

Military personnel from the Training Support Center at Dam Neck volunteer their time to help at Birdneck Elementary School. Among the many ways they assist throughout the year, volunteers help students practice their reading, writing, and research skills.

In honor of Library Week, Corporate Landing Middle School invited author and First Colonial High School graduate Rob Fanney to talk with students and aspiring authors about what it takes to write and publish a book. Fanney read excerpts from his first book, Luthiel’s Song: Dreams of the Ringed Vale, and even treated students to a little “elfish” singing.

Police officer Jeff Meador visited Creeds Elementary School to read stories to students and to speak with third graders about the effects of bullying.

Amy Wilson was recognized as Fairfield Elementary School’s Volunteer of the Month for April.  She helped organize the school’s Book Fair and spent countless hours working at the library. In addition, she could be counted on to assist in classrooms and at special events such as Multicultural Night and Fall Festival.
Glenwood Elementary School students received a special visit from Kellam High School's state championship winning gymnastics team. The Kellam gymnasts visited physical education classes to assist Glenwood staff in teaching the students about tumbling and gymnastics. Photo: Kindergarteners Jasmine C., Abigail Q., and Draven F. learn tumbling skills from Jackie W.
Holland Elementary School hosted a breakfast for its volunteers during National Volunteer Month in April. Photo: Assistant Principal Dr. Joanne Pereira speaks with Holland volunteers Barbara Rogers and Sandra King.
Community members are serving as volunteers in John B. Dey Elementary School’s new C.A.M.P mentoring program, which stands for Community Advocates Mentoring Program. The program is for students across all grade levels, and mentors meet individually with students each week to help with reading, writing, math, and organization. Photo: VBPD Officer Ryan Webb reads to kindergarteners Domonic V. and Jason F.
Luxford Elementary School was honored to have the Norfolk NATO Festival Ambassador visit their school for an assembly. French Air Force Captain Geraldine Ribereau was greeted by Principal Joanne D'Agostino, the school's NATO students, and the SCA officers and representatives. Captain Ribereau explained her role as a festival ambassador and entertained many questions from the SCA students.
Chesapeake Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge Eileen Olds visited Lynnhaven Elementary School to read to students and talk about the importance of education.
Volunteers from the Jamestown Outreach program visited with New Castle Elementary School fourth grade students in May. Photo: Liam O., Jacob B., Uriel W., and Christian B. had the opportunity to dress as Jamestown colonists during the presentation.
At their volunteer recognition breakfast, Providence Elementary School staff members thanked volunteers from the NATO Communication and Information Systems Services Agency (NCSA) for serving as mentors to students throughout the school year.

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