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Release Date: 5/15/2019
Contact: Brandon Oland, 443.809.5908

Volunteers from Milford Mill Academy and Riverview Elementary named BCPS Volunteers of the Year

TOWSON, MD — Gary Green of Milford Mill Academy and Lilian Pascual and Claudia Melara of Riverview Elementary School were named 2019 John and Marilyn Ryan Volunteers of the Year during a gala breakfast held this morning.

The award was renamed this year in honor of John and Marilyn Ryan, two education activists who have volunteered their time and talents to BCPS and its schools since the late 1960s.

In her remarks, Interim Superintendent Verletta White spoke of how volunteers teach students and learn from them. For example, she said, volunteers teach students about the value of giving back to the community.

BCPS honored 59 outstanding school volunteers during the breakfast, all of whom were nominated by their schools for exemplary work in support of students and staff.

Green, who won the Volunteer of the Year Award for middle and high schools, volunteers at Milford Mill Academy as an academic advisor for student athletes. Under his leadership and direct assistance, grade point averages for more than 130 student-athletes have improved. Green, a former Marine, also serves as unofficial historian for the school’s athletic department and volunteers with the school’s Marine Corps JROTC program as a leader and mentor. And this year, due to his positive attitude and focus on academic achievement, Green was able to help nurture 15 seniors who are receiving athletic scholarships because they met the academic criteria to participate in intercollegiate athletics.

At the elementary school level, Pascual and Melara were named Volunteers of the Year for the innovative and personal approach they took to serving many families in the Riverview Elementary School community. While both had served for several years as translators for parent workshops, they began noticing that more parents were hesitant to go to school events as the national debate over immigration intensified. The pair devised a way to reduce the fear many parents felt by opening the doors of their own homes to school parents who would feel uneasy going to the school. Dubbing their effort “Familias,” they duplicated the programs or information available at school events and created a website to provide resources and to extend invitations to families who were traditionally underserved in the community.

In addition, three other finalists were recognized during the ceremony:

  • Lee Densky – A volunteer at Fort Garrison Elementary School, Densky spearheaded weekly instruction of the Stock Market Game at the school, bringing his business acumen and wisdom to the task of introducing high-level financial literacy to youngsters. His teams of students in Grades 3, 4, and 5 compiled two stock portfolios this year, one of which performed so well that it ranked in the top 20 nationally. Densky plans and creates his own lessons, going so far as to rewrite pre-supplied lessons to ensure that students understand the market and the financial forces that affect it.
  • Erik Earley – A volunteer at Carroll Manor Elementary School, Earley has turned the school’s robotics team into a regional and state competitor, culminating with a third-place finish in the state championships. He volunteers his time and expertise with summer meetings and live web discussions with NASA astronauts and others.
  • Charles Gummer – A longtime volunteer at Hawthorne Elementary School, retired special education teacher, and former Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation employee, Gummer leads monthly hands-on lessons in science and farm-to-table philosophies. Gummer’s activities with students range from planting flowers and vegetables to creating homemade snow globes each winter.
Since 2014, BCPS has recognized its outstanding volunteers through an annual gala breakfast. This year’s breakfast, held at Martin’s Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, was emceed by Ruben Amaya, a Franklin High School senior, and the 2018-2019 president of Baltimore County Student Councils.

The gala featured performances by students from Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts -- the Jazz Combo, led by Willis Spencer; the Chamber Choir, under the direction of Jeffrey Beyers; and the Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Claire Sweet.

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Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
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443-809-4554

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Verletta White
Interim Superintendent

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