04/22/07 — Wayne Schools honor Stevens as Volunteer of the Year

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Wayne Schools honor Stevens as Volunteer of the Year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 22, 2007 2:00 AM

Kenneth Stevens lives with physical challenges as the result of a workplace accident that nearly claimed his life a few years ago. But instead of giving in to the daily pain, he can be found helping where he is needed at Northwest Elementary School.

Whether he is mowing the grass, tutoring children in reading and math or helping out school staff with safety and custodial needs, Northwest principal Alex Wingate says Stevens is the best volunteer he has had since becoming principal 11 years ago.

"Mr. Stevens has committed 700 volunteer hours this school year," Wingate said. "One can see him in the mornings and afternoons directing traffic, in the middle of the day cutting grass and any time in the office answering the phone and helping visitors."

Those who see him around campus would attest that his physical challenges have not limited his determination to help shape lives.

"Nothing stands in his way when it comes to working with the children," Wingate said. "Mr. Stevens is sometimes in a lot of pain. However, he believes that his disability pales in comparison to so many children who are struggling at home and at school."

Stevens was named recipient of the Terry Eugene Pilkington Volunteer of the Year by Wayne County Schools during a recent reception at Tommy's Road Elementary School.

Each school selected its own "Volunteer of the Year" and nominated business partners for recognition.

Accepting the honor, Stevens thanked Wingate for "letting me be there and help out with things.

"I love my kids at our school. They're my life," he said. "I'm disabled. You can't tell but I live in chronic pain every day. I get up every day ... help everybody out as much as I can do."

School officials also recognized three Partners in Education, a program begun in 1989 to support individual schools. More than 125 businesses and organizations volunteer in the 31 schools.

Awards are given in three categories -- small business/organization with 1-15 employees or members, medium with 15 to 50 members, and large with more than 50.

St. Luke Methodist Church, nominated by Goldsboro Intermediate, received the award in the small partner category. Goldsboro Continental Societies Inc., nominated by School Street Elementary, was selected in the medium partner category. Dillard-Goldsboro Alumni & Friends Inc., nominated by both Goldsboro High and Carver Heights Elementary, was recognized in the large partner category.

The countless hours and talents given by volunteers cannot be measured, said Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of schools.

"Throughout our school system, hundreds of volunteers share their time and their care on a daily basis. Volunteers have always played an important role in our schools and they deserve recognition for the priceless contributions they make to our students and staff members."

The school system's volunteer of the year award is given in memory of Pilkington, who worked in the school system for 20 years and coordinated the Volunteer of the Year program.

The list of 2007-08 Volunteers of the Year include: Daniel Weeks, Belfast Academy; Fred Shadding, Brogden Middle; Shera King, Brogden Primary; Chestley Taylor, Carver Elementary; James Williams, Carver Heights Elementary; William Howard, Charles B. Aycock High; Nina Chambers, Dillard Middle; Debbie Baker, Eastern Wayne Elementary;

Hillman Ray, Eastern Wayne High; Jennifer Chaney, Eastern Wayne Middle; Kevin Langston, Edgewood Community Developmental School; Marcia Mooring, Fremont STARS Elementary; Patricia House, Goldsboro High; Tonya Mumford, Goldsboro Intermediate; Evelyn Small, Grantham; Danny Coghill, Greenwood Middle; Angie Rose, Meadow Lane Elementary; Lisa McCullen, Mount Olive Middle; Estella Johnson, North Drive Elementary; DeAyn Hunnicutt, Northeast Elementary; Kenneth Stevens, Northwest Elementary; Shelley Radford, Norwayne Middle; Brenda Sullivan, Rosewood Elementary; Beth Leeming, Rosewood High; Paul Belden, Rosewood Middle; Don Edwards, School Street Elementary; Cindy Heath, Southern Academy; Devonya Massey, Southern Wayne High; Jan Jackson, Spring Creek Elementary; George Lancaster, Spring Creek High; and Tina Nix, Tommy's Road Elementary.