Parent volunteers vital to education |

Parent volunteers vital to education

Editor’s note: This is the third of a five-part series.

Volunteer work is praiseworthy from any angle. But what’s more admirable than someone offering their services to the children of the community?

That’s just what Douglas County School District parent volunteers do.

At an April 10th appreciation ceremony held for parents and community members volunteering at Zephyr Cove Elementary School, Kingsbury Middle School and Whittell High School, DCSD administrators expressed their gratitude to a crowd of selfless helpers.

“This appreciation event is so insignificant compared to what the parents do for our schools,” DCSD Communications Liaison Maggie Allen said. “The truth is, their presence makes all the difference.”

Julie Pope, one of many modest volunteers at the event, is in charge of this year’s Field Day at Zephyr Cove Elementary School, which is quite a large task.

“I’m in charge of Field Day,” said Pope, who also works in her daughter’s third-grade classroom and with her son’s kindergarten class. “I help in Morgan’s class and I help out in Taylor’s class.”

Most parents said volunteering keeps them on top of what is going on at school.

“I volunteer because I learn more about what’s going on in the school every day and find out where I can help,” KMS volunteer Kathy Pavich said. “The school can’t do everything, so we’re there to help.”

Sally O’Brien, who also volunteers at KMS, shared Pavich’s point of view.

“I’ve always felt that it is a community effort to be involved with what’s going on in our schools,” O’Brien said. “It’s not solely the teachers and the administrators who are responsible for rounding out the students. It’s everybody.”

Roberta Benvenuto said volunteering at WHS is a good way to get involved.

“It’s a small school and it’s more hands-on and personal, so I think (help from parents) is appreciated,” Benvenuto said. “And it gets me involved in the community also.”

According to DCSD Superintendent Pendery Clark, a parent’s involvement in their child’s education increases that child’s chances for success.

“You are really our partners,” Clark said to the crowd. “We hope you get a lot of thanks and a lot of recognition at the school where you work, but we think it’s important that the district recognizes you, too.”

WHS Principal Howard Bennett stressed the importance of parental involvement at the high school level, even though some kids may worry about mom and dad cramping their style.

“As children get older, their desire to have their parents at school decreases,” joked Bennett, who said he was truly thankful for each and every volunteer at WHS.

Dr. William Robison, principal at ZCES, KMS Interim Principal Patty Fore and Bennett each took turns handing out certificates of appreciation to their volunteers.

DCSD Board of Education member George Echan also helped out at the event and took the opportunity to address the volunteers, as well.

“I am so appreciative of you and I want to encourage you any time, if you have a question, to talk with your principals and if they’re not available, I’m happy to talk with you,” Echan said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And on behalf of the whole board, I really, really thank you.”

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