Chris Holmes calls it “a community of giving,” the executive vice president for the South Pasadena High School Parent, Teacher, Student Association (PTSA) paying tribute Tuesday to those recognized during the organization’s annual awards luncheon.
“I appreciate your joining me in honoring the many individuals and organizations that have shown boundless commitment and service to all SPHS students,” Holmes told a large gathering inside the school’s gymnasium.
The program included the presentation of one certificate of appreciation and four honorary service awards.
Highlights and achievements featured:
- Casey Shotwell and Krista Gale presented a certificate of appreciation to Sarah Uriarte.
- Maryann Nielsen presented an honorary service award to her husband, David Zeiger, for his involvement in Satruday night bingo.
- Kathleen Michel honors Courtland Blake with honorary service award.
- Dean and Lynn Serwin recognized Maria Long, a SPHS counselor, with a honorary service award.
- Howard Crawford honored Helena Yee of the Music Boosters with an honorary service award.
- SPHS Principal Janet Anderson honored David Zeiger, representing the Booster Club, with an honorary service award.
Shotwell, representing the South Pasadena High School Associated Student Body (ASB), recognized Uriarte, a senior at SPHS, who started a health fair in her junior year. “After the great success of the first event, she then held the fair a second year and has built a leadership structure that is set to continue this work annually after she graduates from SPHS in June,” explained Holmes.
Uriarte received the PTSA certificate of appreciation in recognition of an individual or group’s service on a special project or activity.
PTSA honorary school service awards are presented to individuals or organizations in special recognition of outstanding service to the students at South Pasadena High School.
Zeiger, president of the school’s Bingo Committee, received an honorary service award from his wife, SPHS teacher Maryann Nielsen. Both are longtime volunteers of the highly popular Saturday night event on campus.
“Bingo is a big weekly event that involves many people and immense commitment,” explained Holmes. “The funds raised at bingo go toward just about every activity at SPHS, therefore positively affecting all students.”
Blake, a parent volunteer for PTA while his son grew up attending South Pasadena schools, received an honorary service award as a result of his committed service. “Courtland typically held financial positions such as treasurer and auditor and served at both the school PTA’s and South Pasadena Council PTA,” Holmes said. “He always brought humor and diligence to his work.”
Courtland, praised Holmes, “has been a reliable, trustworthy financial officer for PTA, performing an essential function of the organization.” Michel, the presenter, remembers meeting Courtland when he was the treasurer/money counter for PTA Fun Fair, a springtime event that is no longer held.
Maria Long, a counselor at SPHS, often goes beyond the call of duty for the school community. She runs the Naviance program for students and parents and, according to Holmes, travels to colleges and universities to assist students in their college search and applications. The South Pasadena High counseling department uses Naviance, a comprehensive K-12 college and career readiness platform, enabling “self-discovery, career exploration, academic planning, and college preparation for millions of students across all ages and around the globe,” as outlined on the school’s website. “Naviance is a tool that helps counselors, parents, and students become actively engaged in making educational decisions.”
The Serwin’s, parents of twin sophomores, made the presentation to Long.
Crawford, the director of the SPHS band, presented Yee, a South Pasadena High alumnus, a teacher at Arroyo Vista, and a South Pasadena parent who is now serving as the president of the Music Boosters, with an honorary service award. “The organization is run by parent volunteers and provides support to the SPHS music program,” Holmes said.
The final honorary service award, presented by Anderson, went to the South Pasadena Booster Club, under the leadership of president Ann VerKuilen and incoming president Dianne Parker. Neither could attend the luncheon so Zeiger, who was recognized earlier in the program, received the honor on their behalf.
“The Booster Club supports over 50 clubs, activities and teams at South Pasadena High School,” said Holmes. “Boosters are an essential organization for SPHS and run by dedicated volunteers and are united by their determination to provide the best possible experience for SPHS students.”