When it comes to public schools, volunteers make things happen
The British leader Winston Churchill once said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
By that standard, the volunteers who work within the San Marcos CISD schools should have a rich life, for they give much and they give often on behalf of our community’s children.
National Public School Volunteers Week was celebrated recently, and SMCISD is counting our blessings.
All campuses report strong networks of parent and community volunteers who work in the schools on a routine basis.
Add to that businesses, churches, and organizations that donate supplies and mentor students — and you have examples being set for our students every day of citizenship in action.
Bowie Elementary School’s volunteers contribute an enormous amount of time helping students and staff. They help prepare learning materials for students, help in the library during book fairs, the Storyville Literacy Festival and Read Across America as well as shelving and library circulation.
They help with Six Flags Over Bowie, with materials and costumes for school plays, and are a vital part of school projects. Bowie has about 20 active volunteers, who they will be honoring with a special breakfast later this month.
The volunteers with the most hours are Mary Helen Reyes, Melissa Marmolejo, Laura Luna, Heather Underwood and Rhonda Flores. Bowie Principal Pam Thomas says, “We are so appreciative of our volunteers. On any given day, you will find them preparing materials, running Market Day events, reading with students, or doing whatever it takes to make Bowie students successful.”
Crockett Elementary volunteers were treated to a pot luck lunch on Monday, April 22. Volunteer Chandra Franks leads with 171 donated hours, and she just started in January. She is followed by Erica Juarez with 152 volunteer hours, and Maria Guadalupe Cruz-Molina with 93 hours.
All these busy ladies have small children, some not yet in school, but they always find time to help at Crockett. Volunteer couple Patrick and Virginia Venglar are the parents of a teacher who help in her classroom on Fridays.
Crockett also thanks weekly volunteers from Read Across America, including Victoria Nicks, Ann Mortin, and Bob Sudela. Principal Dr. Rick LaBuhn says, “School volunteers are invaluable assets to our campus. They work so hard for our teachers and our students, and they give the most precious resource they have: their time. We love our school volunteers at Crockett.”
De Zavala Elementary principal Dolores Cruz says they have about 50 volunteers who routinely help at their campus. About 17 come frequently. “It is great to have the extra help for the teachers,” she says.
“It’s nice when parents and community members are involved in education, and it gives our students positive role models.”
Top volunteer at De Zavala is Ida Miller, who is on campus often working with students in different grade levels, either reading or listening to them read. She is a master gardener, and has taught students valuable skills they can use as they get older.
Other top volunteers are Cindy Robinson and Meyli Campuzano. De Zavala is hosting a breakfast for the volunteers in May, and they will get small gift bags from the kids. “We would not be able to do the things we do without the help of our volunteers,” Cruz adds.
Hernandez Elementary is honoring all their volunteers, including top parent-volunteer Melissa Graves, along with Marilyn Banta, Beverly Marek, and Bridgett Phillips, among others. All volunteers will be treated to a breakfast on May 1 in their Parent Center.
“We appreciate our school volunteers much more than words can express. We acknowledge their selfless commitment and efforts on behalf of our students,” Hernandez Principal Rosemary Garza said. “They not only provide support and assistance, but they reinforce the partnerships we want to develop with our school community.
“When a parent is a volunteer, the child gets the message that school is important.”
On any given day at Mendez Elementary, a visitor will notice volunteers busily going about making copies, laminating, cutting, preparing materials for teachers and students, helping in the classrooms and with after school activities, and doing cafeteria monitoring.
Top volunteers include Rose Michelle Gonzales, Christine Schmidt, and Benjamin Williams. About 25 volunteers were treated to a special lunch on Monday, April 22, and invited to stay to join the second grade students who released butterflies they hatched from caterpillars.
Principal Karen McGowan said, “Our volunteers play a vital role in developing the whole child. Not only do they provide academic support and encouragement, but they help develop positive character and study habits. The support our volunteers provide for teachers allows them to spend more time providing a quality education for all students.”
Travis Elementary principal Niki Konecki says, “Volunteers are the backbone of a successful public school. Our volunteers make a difference in our school daily with their gifts of time and service.”
Travis' top volunteer is Anna McFarland, and she’s joined by Vanessa Garcia and Hannah White. The Travis volunteers will get student appreciation gifts at a special luncheon on May 30.
Goodnight Middle School principal Steve Dow recognizes the efforts of top parent volunteer Jeanne Davis and all the booster club leaders. “Some volunteers are involved in more than one booster club! They put in countless hours behind the scenes taking care of all the details regarding everything from pep rallies to running concession stands and more. Simply put: we could not have the school without them,” Dow said.
Goodnight booster parent leaders include Melissa Gonzales, Mark Deleon, Debra Rodriguez, Rebecca Rounds, Raquel Gomez, Christine Gonzalez, and Stacie McGee.
Miller Middle School recognizes their outstanding Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) that meets monthly to provide services to Miller staff and students. They give goody bags to featured departments, make sandwiches for students in athletics, work concession stands on Champs Day, make copies for teachers, work in the annual book fair, health screenings, and school dances. Top Volunteer is Ellen Ault with 72 hours, known for “going above and beyond.”
Also in the top hours are Melissa Lesikar, Ann Frugoni, Marion Bonner, and Rita McGuire. Miller hosted a Pot Luck lunch for volunteers on May 2. “We are extremely blessed to have such caring, dedicated volunteers. At the middle school level, many schools see volunteerism dropping off, but not at Miller. We are so fortunate to have a group of parents that are always there for the students and the teachers,” says principal Doug Wozniak.
At the high school level, parent volunteerism is best demonstrated by all those who step up to the challenge of being booster club officers, and San Marcos High School has some of the best.
Among the booster parents, the high school recognizes the following leaders: Carl Contreras, Doris Contreras, Debra McBryde, Ellen Ault, Rita DelaRosa, Stacie McGee, Jeanne Davis, Raquel Gomez, Maria and Larry Swinney, Valerie and Gary Schweers, Melissa and Richard Gonzalez, Pete and Kathy Ybarra, Scott and Gwen Burton, David and Melinda Hall, Kathy Schauer, Laura and James Longoria, Lisa Livingston, Jessica Meischern, Ramona Ibarra, Rebecca Espinoza-Hernandez, Carlos and Donna Villalpando.
The SMHS also honored other top volunteers, such as Rita De La Rosa.
“Rita is an outstanding member of the football booster club, as well as San Marcos High School, and has worked countless hours making sure everyone has all they need, and that things are running smoothly,” Nan Arredondo of the SMHS athletic department said.“She is always willing and ready to help, and will be anywhere anyone needs her to be at any time.”
Speech and Debate Coach C.J. Odam recognized four volunteers who were instrumental in starting the new SMHS Speech & Debate Booster Club this year: Angela Rowe, David and Cindy von Miller, and Mimi Govea.
“They ran a successful fundraising drive that helped send 12 students to the Stanford University tournament,” Odam said.
SMHS volunteers were given gift bags that said, “Volunteers Build a Better World” on the front.
And they do.