04/27/06 — Schools name top volunteer of the year

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Schools name top volunteer of the year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 27, 2006 1:49 PM

A woman with a heart for Hispanic children was named volunteer of the year for Wayne County Public Schools.

Maruci Diaz, a parent volunteer at Spring Creek Elementary School, received the Terry Eugene Pilkington award during a reception for volunteers Wednesday afternoon at North Drive Elementary School.

Volunteer Of The Year

News-Argus/Phyllis Moore

Maruci Diaz, center, 2006 Wayne County Public Schools volunteer of the year, is pictured with Charles Ivey, left, principal of Spring Creek Elementary School, and Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor. Volunteers from all 31 public schools were recognized during a reception Wednesday afternoon at North Drive Elementary.

With the rapidly growing Hispanic population, her role at the school has expanded beyond that of a typical volunteer, Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said as he made the announcement.

"She is a tutor and mentor to English-as-a-second-language students who is concerned when her students struggle, and who celebrates when they succeed," he said.

"Her unselfish devotion to her ESL students has made a big difference in their success in school. She has helped them learn to speak and understand the English language, as well as learn letters and sounds to help them learn to read."

Each week, she works one-on-one with four Latino first-graders. She has also aided the school by translating school forms and letters, and has assisted teachers as a translator at parent-teacher conferences, Taylor said. On testing days, she has served as a proctor and has assisted Latino parents during kindergarten registration.

A volunteer of the year was chosen from each of the 31 public schools. Partners in education were also honored for efforts supporting the schools.

Don Neal, chairman of the Partners in Education steering committee, announced award recipients in three categories.

Super Cast Inc. received the PIE award for a business with up to 15 employees. Mark Helms, president of the company, has tutored a third-grade student at Carver Heights Elementary School all year, while employee Ilona Morrisey tutors another student each week. The company has also offered financial support to the school and sponsored students to attend events.

In the medium-size business category, the organization of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was recognized for its role mentoring young men at Brogden Middle School through the Boys to Men program begun almost three years ago. Providing male role models for young men considered at risk, the group has tutored and met regularly with students, found jobs for them and followed their progress into high school.

The large category business award went to Mount Olive College, where various departments have supported Carver Elementary School. College students have also provided activities for students and promoted relationships with them.

Individual volunteers of the year from each school included: Tomeshia Barnes, Belfast Academy; Sarah Frazier, Brogden Middle; Callie Grady, Brogden Primary; Mary Davis, Carver Elementary; James Hinnant, Carver Heights Elementary; Frank Davis, Charles B. Aycock High; Marsha McCoy, Dillard Middle; Janell Stowe, Eastern Wayne Elementary; Beverly Summers, Eastern Wayne High; Jennifer Chaney, Eastern Wayne Middle; Michele Pennington, Edgewood; Jenny Ballance, Fremont STARS Elementary; Pat House, Goldsboro High; Brenda Lucas, Goldsboro Middle; Cecil and Evelyn Small, Grantham; Connie Rouse, Greenwood Middle; Michelle Bailey, Meadow Lane Elementary; Ronald Viehwegar, Mount Olive Middle; National Association of University Women, North Drive Elementary; Shelley Radford, Northeast Elementary; Maria Means, Northwest Elementary; Merelo Watt, Norwayne Middle; Penny Bradley, Rosewood Elementary; Troy Schanck, Rosewood High; Stuart Kornegay, Rosewood Middle; Gloria Flowers, School Street Elementary; Danny King, Southern Academy; Gary Darden, Southern Wayne High; Helen Jernigan, Spring Creek High; and Terry Harris, Tommy's Road Elementary.