By TAYLOR HARTZ
As the season of award ceremonies and end-of-the-year banquets winds down, the Southington Board of Education held one last luncheon this week, to recognize the parent volunteers who have helped plan, organize, and promote the many events and activities held throughout the school year.
Nearly 100 parents, faculty members, administrators, and Board of Education members gathered at Hawk’s Landing Country Club on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate service to Southington Public Schools.
Terri Charmody, vice chairman of the board, began the ceremony by calling on each principal to announce the volunteers being honored from their school.
As the principals introduced the parent volunteers, they commended their support in the classroom and their service to after-school activities.
Members of the community joined administrators, speaking on behalf of their experience with the many volunteers.
Representatives from Southington Stop and Shop, who sponsored the luncheon, and the Hospital of Central Connecticut, praised their partnership with Southington schools and the parent volunteers they have encountered in their A+ Program and involvement with the Southington Education Foundation.
Throughout the ceremony, several administrators and faculty members expressed their gratitude for the volunteers’ constant reliability and time dedication.
“These parents are in my building—if not every day—every week,” said Patricia Mazzarella, principal of Flanders Elementary School, of the five volunteers seated at her table.
While the countless classroom and after school hours were recognized by all, many acknowledged the individuals who had continued to work in the schools long after the end of their teaching careers or children’s educations.
Robert Brown, retiring Southington High School teacher, recognized BettyAnn and Wally Bailey for more than twenty years of service at John F. Kennedy Middle School.
In more than forty years of teaching, Brown said he has seen teachers, parents, faculty and administrators work together to form “a positive sense of community” within the Southington school system.
“The glue that holds it all together is the wonderful people in this room who selflessly give their time to our schools,” said Brown.
In his retirement, Brown said he hopes to join the ranks of those who serve the students and schools “with no greater reward than knowing they have helped young people learn, grow and progress.”
Superintendent of Southington Public Schools Timothy Connellan, who spoke at the luncheon, agreed that the service of so many parents helps to shape the students they encounter.
While he recognized the many hours spent planning and supervising events, handing out awards, and supporting classrooms, Connellan said the gift of volunteering goes far beyond the time they donate, by providing students with a valuable life lesson.
“You provide an example of giving, of support and of service to our students” he said.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.