04/24/08 — School district honors volunteers and partners

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School district honors volunteers and partners

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 24, 2008 1:59 PM

An Army captain based in Kinston was named Volunteer of the Year for Wayne County Public Schools for efforts by soldiers in his unit at North Drive Elementary School.

The school system recognized outstanding volunteers at each of the public schools, as well as its top three business partners during a reception Wednesday at North Drive.

Capt. Gregory McCray, along with several from his unit, worked one-on-one twice a week with students, as part of a mentoring effort introduced by Charlenna Bennett-Carter, assistant principal at the school.

"When he learned of our students' challenges brought about by the poverty in which many of them live, he wanted to help," Ms. Bennett-Carter said. "He created a program that provides consistent mentoring for male students."

The MAN Program, which stands for Military Assistance Now, was targeted to those with the highest number of discipline referrals. But it was having strong role models in place that really made a difference, Ms. Bennett-Carter said.

"Captain McCray is a blessing in the lives of these boys," said Colleen Walthall, a teacher at North Drive. "His visits are the highlight of their week. He has truly made an impact on their behaviors, attitudes, self-esteem and their sense of what they can make of themselves."

Accepting the recognition -- which included a plaque, $75 gift card to Wal-Mart and a hanging plant from Eastern Wayne High School greenhouse -- said he could not take all the credit.

"There's no way that I could accept this without giving thanks to the soldiers who stand beside me," he said, acknowledging those who accompanied him on the classroom visits.

The district also recognized three Partners in Education for outstanding support of the schools. Since 1995, the program has allowed businesses and organizations to donate time, expertise, materials and funds.

Awards were given in three categories -- small (1-15 members or employees), medium (15-50) and large (more than 50).

Smart Choices for Youth Inc., nominated by School Street Elementary, received the award in the small partner category. Pizza Inn on Ash Street, nominated by Meadow Lane Elementary, was selected in the medium partner category. Goldsboro Civitan Club, nominated by Edgewood Community Developmental School, was named in the large partner category.

"We are so grateful for the many volunteers and Partners in Education who contribute countless hours and resources to help better our schools," said Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of schools. "With literally hundreds of volunteers and educational partners across the district who share their time and their care on a daily basis, it is exciting to honor those who go above and beyond."

The list of 2007-08 volunteers of the year from each of the schools includes: Callie Grady, Brogden Middle; Jorge Gracia, Brogden Primary; Marcia Whitley, Carver Elementary; Tammy Croom, Carver Heights Elementary; Gail Pittman, Charles B. Aycock High; Darren Young, Dillard Middle; Glenda Faye Carraway, Eastern Wayne Elementary; Ann Ham, Eastern Wayne High; Charles Wilkins, Eastern Wayne Middle; Phillip Hill, Edgewood; Veronica Holmes, Fremont STARS; James Smith, Goldsboro High; Jimmy Cooper, Goldsboro Intermediate; Evelyn Small, Grantham; Linda Harper, Greenwood Middle; Pearl Grady, Meadow Lane Elementary; Jerome Moore, Mount Olive Middle; Deborah Howell, Northeast Elementary; Wayne Taylor, Northwest Elementary; Peggy Wheeler, Norwayne Middle; Jamie Gurley, Rosewood Elementary; Byron Ash, Rosewood High; Katie Cottle, Rosewood Middle; April McNair, School Street Elementary; Daryl Lee Farrow, Southern Academy; Rita Hood, Southern Wayne High; DiAnna Barber, Spring Creek Elementary; Susan Howell, Spring Creek High; Nancy Black, Tommy's Road Elementary; and Maria Price, Wayne School of Engineering.