This Year’s Superstar Volunteers
Ileann Jimenez-Sepulveda, Washington, D.C.
Busy working mom Ilean Jimenez-Sepulveda tried to start with small involvement commitments but after just one school year became an impassioned leader of her school’s volunteer corps.
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Christine Platt, Naperville, Ill.
Retired physicist Christine Platt raised student interest in math and science with the help of robotics, Legos, and a whole lot of fun and games.
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Tom Lambert, Dunwoody, Ga.
Tom Lambert has a long volunteer resume, but his top accomplishment might be motivating other parents to do more for their child’s school.
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Nancy Webb, Lavalette, W.Va.
Nancy Webb does whatever it takes to keep a school library open, from raising money for new books to keeping handwritten logs when the computer crashes.
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Carol Caldwell, Polvadera, N.M.
When she first volunteered at Midway Elementary, Carol Caldwell was a mom. Now a grandmother, she’s still working to support the school’s students.
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Toni Huff, Milton, Ky.
Toni Huff isn’t one to back down from a challenge. This year she’s stepped up her school volunteer efforts, despite undergoing treatment for cancer.
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Anthony Noel, Monmouth, N.J.
For more than 10 years, Anthony Noel has volunteered as a boys’ basketball coach, sharing what he’s learned about the game and about life.
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Nydia Villafane, Waterbury, Ct.
In her first year as a school volunteer, Nydia Villafane painted dozens of faces, chaperoned a long-distance field trip, and wore a duck suit for a day.
Read more about Nydia
2011-12 School Year Superstar Volunteers
Katie Pierson, Minnetonka, Minn.
As a new PTO president, Katie Pierson celebrates all types of parent involvement, whether it’s joining kids for a cafeteria lunch or volunteering in a classroom.
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Liz Steventon, Rochester, Vt.
After Tropical Storm Irene flooded her hometown, Liz Steventon played a key role in getting things back to normal at the damaged school.
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Alvaro Rojas, Aurora, Colo.
When Alvaro Rojas sees something that needs to be done at school, he does it, whether it’s shoveling snow or chaperoning a field trip.
Read more about Alvaro
Cathy Boese, Andover, Mass.
Mom of four Cathy Boese initially hesitated to get involved at school. Now that she’s a PTO leader, her low-pressure approach is attracting new volunteers.
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Tina DeClue, Columbia, Mo.
From forming a support group to helping feed hungry kids, Tina DeClue does whatever she can to help out families at her son’s school.
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Rosita Gonzalez, Madison, Wis.
Rosita Gonzalez is a big believer in the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. As PTO president, that’s meant making it easier for all kinds of families to get involved.
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Sabina Ernst, Montclair, N.J.
As a veterinarian and a gardener, Sabina Ernst knows that one sure way to get students excited about learning is to get them outdoors.
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Xraka White, Houston
Xraka White prefers to stay behind the scenes, but when her son’s private school faced closure, she played a lead role in saving it.
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Shawna Crist, Niceville, Fla.
Whether she’s painting flowerpots or sorting recyclables, Shawna Crist has one goal: to leave Plew Elementary a better place for future students.
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Judith Wencel, Wichita, Kan.
Thanks to Judith Wencel, hundreds of struggling middle school students meet each week with community volunteers who help with homework and serve as mentors.
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Audrey Covello, Schererville, Ind.
Kids have a lot of energy. When Audrey Covello volunteers at school and sees students who are excited about learning, she can’t help but feel energized, too.
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Ed Bala, Fayetteville, N.C.
On most days, you can find Ed Bala at school. But while one day he might wear a crazy costume to greet students, another day he’ll be all business, teaching the chess club how to checkmate.
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Lynne Millar, Tracy, Calif.
Disappointed that her children’s school did not offer art education, Lynne Millar started teaching kids about Monet and the Mona Lisa, as well as helping them create their own works of art.
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Cathi Knickrehm, Oak Park, Ill.
Cathi Knickrehm had a simple idea: to improve the grounds of her children’s school. Before long that grew into a grand project, an organic garden that would double as an outdoor classroom.
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Gary Parkes, Woodstock, Ga.
When he’s not at work as a mortgage broker or an independent marketing consultant, Gary Parkes is likely to be volunteering at Carmel Elementary or working the phones on the school’s behalf.
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Jeanette Tanafranca, Troy, Mich.
Parents aren’t very likely to help at school if they don’t feel at home there. That’s why Jeanette Tanafranca helped launch school coffee klatches for parents who speak English as a second language.
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Joanna Bradshaw, Fort Meade, Md.
When Joanna Bradshaw sees a need, she does something about it. After learning about self-esteem problems among young girls, she created a mentoring program with local Air Force women. Now, she’s busy recruiting middle school parents to volunteer.
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Sunnie Robles-Schmidt, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Not long ago, Sunnie Robles-Schmidt’s schedule didn’t allow her to volunteer at school. Now she’s making up for lost time, volunteering every Wednesday in her daughter’s 2nd grade class and pitching in for the PTA.
Read more about Sunnie