Selfless service earns Acorn Awards

KINGSTON — Inspiration and admiration flooded the hearts of the approximately 100 Golden Acorn Awards ceremony attendees last Monday at Kingston High School.

More than 30 North Kitsap School District employees and volunteers were honored for their selfless service to the district’s students by the North Kitsap Parent Teacher Association Council.

“Many of us are always humbled and inspired after tonight because we get to be with those who do all the work,” said PTA council representative Carmen Gale to begin the celebration.

Three varieties of awards and numerous bouquets were given out. Among the awards, the Golden Acorn, which is presented by a local PTA chapter to a PTA volunteer; the Outstanding Educator Award, given to an educator of any classification; and the Outstanding Advocate Award, which is given to an individual whose life work is student advocacy.

The ceremonies began with a little twist, as Gale pulled out a hat.

“We’re going to change the presentations this year,” she said. “I have a hat with each school’s name in it and I’m going to literally draw your name out of the hat.”

Every NKSD school recognized a volunteer with a Golden Acorn Award, which was a slight variation.

“This is the first year in the six that I have been in the district that every school is participating,” Gale said. “Every school is giving out an award.”

One by one school PTA representatives and principals took the podium to honor those individuals who daily go above and beyond to help the students.

The honors went to:

Outstanding Educators: Debra Pavlich-Boaz and Cynthia Gilman from Breidablik Elementary; Pat Pearson from Gordon Elementary; Annika Jeffrey at Hilder Pearson Elementary; Gayle Collins at Poulsbo Elementary; Jan Jackson from Suquamish Elementary; Kathryn McNealy-Mobley at Wolfle Elementary; Leonie Kinyon and Susan Kuzminski at Kingston Middle School; Lisa Steger at Poulsbo Middle School; Kathleen Pavlich from Kingston High School; and Chris Franklin at North Kitsap High School.

Outstanding Advocates (which is the highest honor given out by the Washington State PTA): Karen Fick recognized by Gordon Elementary; Karene Grinsell honored by Poulsbo Elementary; and Dave Allen awarded by Suquamish Elementary.

The night’s events culminated with three special honors.

The North Kitsap PTA awarded NKSD Superintendent Gene Medina and NKSD Executive Director of Teaching and Learning MaryLou Murphy as outstanding educators. Former School Board Member and President Catherine Ahl received recognition as an outstanding advocate.

“They’ve dedicated their whole life to teaching the child,” Gale said. “We didn’t want them to leave the district without them knowing how much we truly appreciate what they have done for the kids in our district.”

Both Medina and Murphy retire at the end of the year. Medina served as the district’s superintendent for nine years. Murphy came to the district in 1982 as a teacher at Suquamish and Wolfle Elementary. She has served the district’s students for 25 years. Ahl was a school board member for eight years. During that time she also served as board president and just completed her term last fall.

While the crux of the evening was to honor the individuals who make education in North Kitsap a success, it was also a time to give back to the students.

A silent auction raised $1,000 for two $500 scholarships. One will be awarded to a student at North Kitsap High and one will be awarded to a student at Kingston High.

Golden Acorn


Since the program began in 1930 more than 42,000 Golden Acorn Awards have been presented to volunteers throughout Washington. This year’s Golden Acorn recipients are: Breidiablik Elementary, Andrea Tellinghuisen; Vinland Elementary, Denise Johnson and Jen Silvernale; Poulsbo Elementary, April Ellingsen, Diana Kelley and Kim Russell; Poulsbo Middle School, Jill Borek and Amanda Cheatham; North Kitsap High School Rick West; Gordon Elementary, Kristina Vernik; Hilder Pearson Elementary, Yvonne Harper; Suquamish Elementary, Kim Uyyek; Wolfle Elementary, Misty McClain and Libby O’Connor; Kingston Middle School, Yvonne and Curly Wilder.

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