Better because of their service

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2016


The days of room mothers bringing cupcakes to classrooms may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for parents and others who want to help in their children’s schools.

In fact, a celebration on Tuesday at King’s Fork High School gave educators a chance to thank the many volunteers that help make things go more smoothly every school day here in Suffolk. Across the city, 2,029 registered volunteers logged 10,900 volunteer hours in the school system’s VolunteerConnect program.

“They fill a big void for us,” said Tara Moore, principal of Northern Shores Elementary School. “I guess you’d call them superheroes — they swoop in and save the day.”

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During Tuesday’s event, there were games, free food, a photo booth, a disc jockey and an appearance by the mascot, Super Star. And there was plenty of gratitude for the men and women who give so freely of their time so educators can concentrate on educating the students in Suffolk Public Schools.

The school system has had volunteer recognition events in the past, but this year it went all out to ensure that the volunteers had a good time and went home knowing that the system appreciates their hard work.

School Superintendent Deran Whitney recognized the top five volunteers by the number of hours they had logged this school year: Regina England and Cynthia Morgan at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, Amber Vann at Pioneer Elementary School, Ruth Woods at Elephant’s Fork and Juliet Hill at Northern Shores Elementary School.

Everyone volunteers for different reasons. Some do it so they can fill free time, some do it because of a desire to give back and others to be able to spend more time with their children.

And everybody takes something different from the experience. Oakland Elementary School volunteer Holly Wulfekuhle said her work inside the school had inspired her to finish the work for her bachelor’s degree. She will earn that degree in December and then get her teaching license in July through Old Dominion University’s career switcher program. Perhaps when she is finally teaching, some volunteer will be on hand to make her job a bit easier.

Whatever the volunteers’ reasons for participating in the program and whatever they might have taken from the experience, Suffolk’s public schools are all the better for their service.