More than 150 parent and community volunteers from across Spring ISD gathered for the first time in two years on April 21 for a special celebration thanking them for their time and dedication to students and schools.
“It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been together,” Tranita Carroll, the district’s executive director of family and community engagement, told attendees. “We are back this year and excited we’re able to celebrate you — our volunteers. We appreciate all that you do because we know we cannot increase student achievement without our partnerships with our families and community members.”
District leaders were on hand, including Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, and board trustees Dr. Deborah Jensen and Rhonda Newhouse, to take part in the recognition ceremony.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we want you to know how proud and appreciative we are of all of our volunteers,” Newhouse told the attendees. “Spring ISD is a family, and we could not make it without the support of each one of you.”
Volunteers who turned out for the reception were treated to a dinner from Jason’s Deli and took home a special gift from Family and Community Engagement.
Superintendent Hinojosa shared her excitement for reuniting after the COVID-19 pandemic and thanked volunteers for their continued support of the district.
“I want us to reconnect as a family and come back to our schools, volunteer, mentor and tutor,” Hinojosa said. “You as parents, volunteers and community partners are empowered. This is not my district or the Spring district, but this is our district. Together, we will go far for our children, students and ultimately for our community in Spring ISD.”
Sarah Welsh, a parent volunteer at Burchett Elementary School and recipient of this year’s Outstanding Family and Community Engagement award, said she has volunteered in the district for the last several years at multiple campuses attended by her children.
“Volunteering to me means being involved with not just your kids’ lives, but in other kids’ lives,” said Welsh. “It truly makes a difference and I’ve seen it. I ran into a former mentee of mine that is in high school now, and she was so happy to see me. That kind of impact on kids’ lives — you may not think that you’re doing something, but they’re going to remember you.”
Burchett special education (SPED) teacher and volunteer Yolanda Merritt says she is grateful for the work and effort of every volunteer on her campus, regardless of what classroom their children are in.
“Our volunteers at Burchett come in and go above and beyond what needs to be done,” Merritt said. “They assist us and don’t forget about our SPED babies, and that’s what really touched my heart. Our volunteers are always on campus, feeding us or doing something with the kids, and as a teacher, with them getting us supplies, I appreciate the work and effort.”
Merritt expressed appreciation for the level of volunteer commitment at her campus, sharing how the most simple things matter the most — such as walking by classrooms to ask teachers if they need anything.
“We’re always hand-in-hand with our volunteers because our main mission is the kids,” said Merritt.
Outstanding Volunteers 2022
Outstanding Parent Volunteers
- Shervette Landheart – Thompson Elementary School
- Betsy Juarez – Clark Intermediate
- Jennifer Hayes – Roberson Middle School
- Armin Caratao – Dekaney High School
Outstanding Parent Organization
- Reynolds Elementary School PTO
Outstanding Family and Community Engagement Award
- Elementary School: Burchett Elementary School
- Middle School: Roberson Middle School
- High School: Westfield High School
Outstanding Community Partner Award
- Most Worshipful H.B. Turner Grand Lodge of Texas
Outstanding Faith-Based Partner Award
- North Central Church
Outstanding Mentor Award
- Kyra Smith – The Vine Mentor Program
Outstanding Adult Class Participants
- Maria Magdalena Hernandez Ortiz
- Clyde McCray