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Volunteers make a world of difference in Peoria Unified


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  • Erin Dunsey/Peoria Unified School District

Sammy Chagolla And Bonnie RichardsonHP

More than 50 volunteers from the Peoria Unified School District’s elementary and high schools were honored at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration on Wednesday, April 23 at Oasis Elementary School.

There are more than 3,700 volunteers in the district who generously contributed more than 60,000 hours to assist staff in our schools. The annual celebration allows Peoria Unified Governing Board members and staff to give thanks to those who are kind enough to donate their time and skills to support the district.

Volunteers make a world of difference in Peoria Unified Sammy-Chagolla-and-Bonnie-Richardson-598x1024

Back row: Governing Board members Kathy Knecht and James Kistner. Front row: Marshall Ranch Elementary School Assistant Principal Sammy Chagolla and Volunteer of the Year Award recipient Bonnie Richardson. Photo courtesy Peoria Unified School District

Volunteers, their family members and district staff enjoyed a student performance of a scene from “Aladdin” by the after-school drama club at Oasis Elementary School. The evening was capped with delectable dessert refreshments including Rita’s Ice-Custard Happiness and Nothing Bundt Cakes. Chick-Fil-A provided free sandwich coupons to all volunteers.

As part of the event, the district gave the highest tribute to volunteers for outstanding contributions: Bonnie Richardson from Marshall Ranch Elementary School was presented with the district’s Volunteer of the Year Award, ‘Volunteers Make A Difference.’ Mike Woodard of Ariz. Public Service (APS) was honored by the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department and David Evans was recognized as the Peoria Education Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year.

In addition, select volunteers from each school received special recognition which included a Certificate of Appreciation and a gift presented by the Governing Board. These volunteers are dependable, dedicated, and cooperative and have an overall passion for public education. It is because of the strong support of volunteers that Peoria Unified students receive the highest level of personalized attention.

The 2013-2014 Volunteers of the Year are:

Kris Scalaro, Alta Loma; Tressa Rappold, Apache; Jon Jennings, Cactus High; Andrea Starr, Canyon; Kitty Williams, Cheyenne; Janet Sharkey, Copperwood;  Melody Webb, Cotton Boll; Henry Seletstewa, Country Meadows; Cindy Ostler,  Coyote Hills; Ryan Bailey, Desert Harbor; Juana Chavez,  Desert Palms; Nicole Payne, Desert Valley; Corinne Bustillos, Foothills; Ana Czoka, Frontier; Tammy Beeson, Heritage; Betsy Allen, Ira A. Murphy; Sharon Williams, Ironwood; JoAnn Bodway, Kachina; Melanie Daugherty, Lake Pleasant; Jim Decker,  Liberty High; Sandy Black, Marshall Ranch; Gail Gibbs, Oakwood; Nancy Thiele, Oasis; Cynthia Heiser, Parkridge; Summer Gipson, Paseo Verde; Mary Lou Reisenbigler, Peoria Elementary; Kelly Binggeli, Peoria High; Renee Palmeri, Peoria Traditional; Sheila Slezak, Pioneer; Desiray Ayo, Raymond S. Kellis High; Pauline Barrett, Sahuaro Ranch; Rori Corrales, Santa Fe; Shelly Hatfield, Sky View; Becky Robinson, Sun Valley; Gloria Puffer, Sundance; Traci Kincaid, Vistancia; and Karah Brown, Zuni Hills.         

Several senior volunteers will also be recognized including: Joan Simpson, Apache; Kay Stark, Copperwood; Lois Anderson, Desert Harbor; Dorothy McAlister, Desert Palms; Kathleen Duffy, Heritage; Katie Carlson, Lake Pleasant; Bonnie Richardson, Marshall Ranch; Ruby Torres-Valenzuela, Oakwood; Kathleen Milbauer, Parkridge; Patricia Flanagan, Peoria Elementary; Darleen Champion, Raymond S. Kellis High; Huguette Givront, Santa Fe; Ann Wright, Sun Valley; and Gigi Guglielmo, Sundance.

The Peoria Unified School District, located in the West Valley, serves more than 36,000 students in 32 elementary schools, seven high schools and non-traditional high school. With ongoing open enrollment and alternative educational opportunities, the district boasts a 94 percent high school graduation rate. Peoria Unified prides itself on excelling schools, award-winning teachers, high AIMS test scores, specialized signature programs and championship sports programs. The Vision of the Peoria Unified School District is, “Every student, every day, prepared to shape tomorrow.” For more information, visit www.peoriaud.k12.az.us.