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Golden Acorns grow excellence

KINGSTON — Behind the scenes of great education are extraordinary people who volunteer without hesitation or reservation in the best interest of the kids. They are, in many cases, a huge part of what makes a school tick.

Though their services may go unrecognized most of the time, the North Kitsap PTA Council throws an annual bash to honor these individuals with the Golden Acorn and Outstanding Educator Awards.

“Our school, as I’m sure is the same at all of yours, couldn’t have the things that we have if it wasn’t for the PTSA,” Suquamish Elementary principal Joe Davalos said while presenting Suquamish PTA member Dan Zimmerman his award.

Zimmerman was one of two volunteers honored by the Suquamish PTA and one of 10 PTA volunteers to receive accolades Feb. 23 at the Kingston Junior High School commons.

The Acorn Awards program — which began in 1930 — annually recognizes PTA volunteers for their dedication and service to children.

Volunteer’s awards were presented in conjunction with the Outstanding Educator Awards, which recognize teachers who have provided opportunities for their students beyond the normal scope of their jobs. Eight were honored.

“It’s incredible when we think of the number of kids he has touched through his various roles,” said KJH assistant principal Bill Breakey of teacher Bob Good. Breakey added that many students see him as a “second dad” or an “uncle” because of the acceptance he bestows upon all kids.

Making students feel welcome while offering as many educational enhancements as possible are only a few of the traits which last Thursday’s award winners have displayed.

“In addition to being an exceptional educator, she is a tremendous member of our PTA,” Gordon Elementary PTA president Debbie Griffin said of their Golden Acorn winner Beth Lahaie. “The volunteer time she puts in going above and beyond is just incredible.”

The words “incredible,” “outstanding,” “amazing” and “exceptional” and the phrase “above and beyond” were repeated numerous times during the ceremony as principals and PTA councils presented the awards to their colleagues.

Each recipient had surpassed their individual call of duty to provide students — and the school — with what whatever has been needed.

From executing the rigorous duties of school-wide organization to putting in extra evenings and time to ensure that school happenings run smoothly, NK’s award winners have gone the extra mile, school officials agreed.

An example was, Lori Camp — one of Poulsbo Junior High’s outstanding educators — who took on the task of providing perks along with the necessary means for the school’s recent production “The Wizard of Oz.”

“You allow our students to bloom,” said PJH assistant principal Diane Otterby as she handed Camp a bouquet of flowers in recognition.

Each of the award winners were presented with flowers and kind words at the ceremony and will soon be receiving an honorary pin and certificate through the Washington State PTA.

In addition, each school’s PTA unit will make a contribution in the name of their recipient(s) to the WSPTA financial grant program. Through those contributions, the WSPTA is able to provide grants to Washington’s students entering post-secondary education as freshmen.

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