Polk County Public Schools honored its Outstanding School Volunteers of the Year during a ceremony in Bartow.
The annual event, held at Bartow Civic Center, highlights the crucial role volunteers play in students’ lives, and how they enrich our schools with their dedication. Winners were selected from among more than 110 people named Volunteers of the Year at their respective schools.
The Outstanding School Volunteer of the Year Awards Program is sponsored by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.
Awards were bestowed at the elementary and secondary level for youth, adult and senior volunteers. Below you will find a description of the winners:
Haley Albert, James E. Stephens Elementary, Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year. At only 17 years of age, Haley is already making a difference in her community by developing young girls’ self-esteem and encouraging students at all learning levels to read. Haley is an aspiring elementary teacher who is known for her mentorship and artistic contributions to Stephens Elementary. Students benefit from one-on-one attention she provides as an assistant in the classroom and media center.
Lori Morrison, Spessard L. Holland Elementary, Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year. Known as “Me-Maw,” Lori Morrison uses her training as a professional educator to help first graders master reading, math, and even weather lessons. She uses hands-on materials and elaborate visual aids to capture their attention and make each subject come to life. Outside of the classroom, Lori also mentors disadvantaged students and serves as a resource for parents on the weekends.
Carol Cramp, Alta Vista Elementary, Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year. Carol Cramp has a heart for students with language-based disabilities, and uses her years of experience as a reading specialist to support students at Alta Vista Elementary. Carol spends four days every week with first grade students, the majority of whom are considered ESOL. She works with small groups, practicing vocabulary and reading comprehension to improve their skills and self-confidence.
Aundrea Camp, Fort Meade Middle-Senior High, Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year. Aundrea Camp graduated from Fort Meade Middle-Senior High in 2015 and wasted no time finding ways to give back to her community. She frequently mentors a diverse group of ESE students, helping them stay on task and encouraging them to succeed. Aundrea also manages football equipment for the Fort Meade Fighting Miners and assists with other clerical needs around the school.
Val Walsh, Harrison School for the Arts, Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year. Val Walsh’s most significant contribution to Polk County Public Schools is her creation of the SHINE program, a mentor-based partnership between high school students and elementary students. Val’s dedication to this initiative has established a successful model of mentorship between schools. Val also serves as the President of Harrison School for the Arts’ parents’ association and routinely volunteers during Teacher Appreciation Week and school fundraisers.
Bonita Murphy, West Area Adult School, Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year. Bonita has been volunteering in Polk County Public Schools for 16 years. She is known for being soft-spoken, but as a former teacher also knows how to maintain discipline on campus. Bonnie has a heart for helping adult students succeed. Twice a week, she can be found tutoring students who struggle with reading and English abilities. Bonnie works with students one-on-one, motivating them to reach their goals at West Area Adult School.