Release Date: 6/11/2018
Contact: Office of Communications, 443.809.5908

Volunteers from Seventh District and Sandalwood tie for BCPS Volunteer of the Year award

JoAnn Amorin with students
TOWSON, MD — JoAnn Amorin of Sandalwood Elementary School and Sarah Martin of Seventh District Elementary School were named 2017-2018 BCPS Volunteers of the Year during a gala breakfast held this morning.

The breakfast began with greetings from Board Chair Edward Gilliss, Esq., and Superintendent Verletta White. In her remarks to the volunteers, White said, “It is no secret that you are the heart of every school. You take on a vast range of responsibilities from mentoring students and working with small groups, to taking care of administrative tasks, fundraising, and leading PTA committees… We would not be where we are without you. We value you, and we appreciate you."

Volunteer of the Year Amorin has volunteered at Sandalwood for four years, working mostly with Kelly Burns’ English language arts class. Amorin works with small groups of students to provide support in grammar and writing, reading comprehension, and fluency. She reads with struggling students and uses questioning strategies to help promote in-depth, critical thinking skills. To better understand how she can help, she meets regularly with the Grade 5 teachers and often takes home materials to read and study. In addition, Amorin has assisted the school’s mural club, participates in Sandalwood’s peer mentoring program, and often gives up her lunch time to talk with children in the cafeteria. She’s even used her own money to help replenish school supplies or purchase materials for a child in need.

Sarah Martin
The other winner, Martin, worked with Seventh District’s math teachers to design and implement a schoolwide math initiative, modeled after a grade-level Volunteer Math Support program she successfully implemented last school year. This year, she and another parent, Nicole Smith, worked first with administrators and then with teachers from each grade level to survey the need for math support and then to design and develop the program, which provides weekly volunteers for each grade to support students in math. In addition, Martin coordinated two book fairs and many other events this school year as an active member of the school’s PTA.

In total, this morning’s breakfast gala honored 48 BCPS volunteers, including two other finalists. The other two finalists are:

  • Cathy Aitken – a volunteer at Hereford High School for more than 15 years; co-founder and co-sponsor of Hereford’s For Our Troops Club; and board member of the My Neighbor’s Foundation.
  • Robert Dey – a volunteer at Pinewood Elementary School for more than a decade through the Baltimore County Department of Aging’s RSVP Program, he works mostly with kindergarten students on their literacy skills.

Since 2014, BCPS has recognized its outstanding volunteers through annual gala breakfasts. This year’s breakfast, held at Martin’s Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, was emceed by Josie Shaffer, a 2018 Pikesville High School graduate and the 2017-2018 student member of the Board of Education of Baltimore County, and Jake Turner, a Grade 11 student at Hereford High School and the 2017-2018 president of Baltimore County Student Councils. It featured performances by Pikesville Middle School’s Jazz Ensemble (led by Andrew Auffarth) and Dance Ensemble (directed by Stephanie Crockett).

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