Excellence in Service awards were presented to two elementary school volunteers at the February 18 meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education.
West Jackson Elementary School’s Phipps Philips was praised for his “willingness to ‘hunt and gather’ random lists of supplies, prepare materials, and help to see projects to fruition.”
His anonymous volunteer noted that “at WJES, we strive to provide a remarkable student experience, and we aim to provide experiences that engage learners in authentic and student-driven (activities). In this, we often transform classrooms for project-based learning days.
“These days would not be possible without Phipps.”
Philips also has partnered with WJES Assistant Principal John Canupp to implement the “Pro Dads” program, just one more example of his work “as an unsung hero (whose) efforts undeniably support the vision, mission, and guiding principles of the Jackson County School System.”
Philips is the husband of WJES’s Teacher of the Year Courtney Philips, and father of two WJES students, a first-grader and a fifth-grader.
Maysville Elementary School volunteer Frances Ely earned similar accolades and it was pointed out that she does not have — and has never had — children in the local schools.
Her anonymous nominator noted, “There is no limit to what this wonderful lady will do. Really, I mean no limit.”
Ely volunteered all summer to work with students who needed help academically and, during the 2018-19 school year, she has volunteered as a mentor, as a classroom helper and with cooking club, and has purchased bought coats and shoes for students in need.
“Three hundred words will simply not allow me to list all this sweet lady does,” the nominator wrote, a reference to the limit imposed for those who wish to honor deserving individuals or groups who support the schools.
Ely said she moved to Jackson County six years ago and wished she could get more older residents who have time to help understand “just how much these children give you without expecting anything from you.”
“It’s a blessing to me,” she told the board after accepting the certificate and gold star pin presented to each Excellence in Service winner.
The awards were presented by Dr. Selena Blankenship, JCSS human resources director. Honorees are chosen by a committee of personnel from across the district, and Blankenship said anyone can submit a nomination.
The award is intended to highlight the “unsung heroes who serve the students and staff of the school system,” often without recognition of any kind, Blankenship said.
The nomination form is available online at http://bit.ly/JCSS_18Excellence; nominators must provide their names and email addresses for verification purposes, but they may choose to remain anonymous when the winners are announced.
School system employees, volunteers, or community partners will be considered “for going above and beyond in service to our school community,” she said.
Nominations should range from 150-300 words and should be submitted by the 25th of each month. The award is presented monthly, and nominations remain active during the school year in which they were submitted.
JCSS serves approximately 8,000 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in 10 schools throughout Jackson County. Learn more online at jacksonschoolsga.org.