Nearly 170 people attended the Janesville Area Council - Parent Teacher Association 30th Annual Awards Banquet. The celebration honored JAC-PTA’s outstanding volunteers, teachers, school support staff, businesses and students with a dinner and presentation at the historic Armory, downtown Janesville, on May 23, 2013.
Mary Orley, WI PTA Secretary and Edison PTA President, stepped to the podium to present the awards. A gift of $100 each was given to the PTAs of the year’s Unity, Volunteer, Support Staff Person, and Teacher of the Year Award winners. The $400 from the Janesville Education Foundation (JEF), presented by JEF President, Roberta Blazkowski, is a generous gesture to the PTAs to continue to “pay it forward.”
The Unity Award is given to businesses that work with the PTAs. Unity Award nominees included Jim and Ellen Purviance, owners of Dairy Queen on West Court Street; Edmund Halabi, owner of the Italian House, and Pete Drozdowicz of E & D Waterworks and Chris Brose, owner of El Ra Bowl.
Chris Brose was chosen as the winner of the 2012-2013 Unity Award for El Ra Bowl’s long standing commitment and encouragement to Janesville’s youth. Mr. Brose makes bowling accessible to all students throughout Janesville. Bowling is a healthy and safe sport and form of recreation with an emphasis in team building.
The Volunteer of Year was chosen from the following nominees:
Nancy Bennett, Adams Elementary School
Leslie Wente, Edison Middle School
Theresa Vellella, Jackson Elementary School
Tami Troeger, Jefferson Elementary School
Jim & Candy Nicholson, Lincoln Elementary School
Kyla Raupp, Madison Elementary School
Ann Walsh, Marshall Middle School
Denise Molidor, Monroe Elementary School
Jack & Sharon Torpy, Roosevelt Elementary School
Tami Carlson, Van Buren Elementary School
Roberta Blazkowski, Washington Elementary School
The 2012-2013 JAC-PTA Volunteer of the Year, Leslie Wente, was nominated for her tireless, “under the radar” volunteerism at Edison Middle School, JAC-PTA, Wilson Elementary School, her church, and so much more with compassion and unassuming generosity.
Support staff members are the “behind the scenes” reasons we succeed. The nominees for this honor include:
Beth Shepherd, Adams Elementary School
Teri Behm, Edison Middle School
Cathy Ryder, Franklin Middle School
Kelley Hansen, Jackson Elementary School
Tonya Richter, Jefferson Elementary School
Valerie Griffith, Madison Elementary School
Denise Rankin, Marshall Middle School
April Palmer, Monroe Elementary School
Lisa Ramirez, Roosevelt Elementary School
Guidance Office Secretary, Teri Behm, Edison Middle School PTA Support Staff Person of the Year, received the award for JAC-PTA Support Staff Person of the Year. Mrs. Behm is fondly thought of as the “triage go-to-person” when you need something or you’re just having a bad day at Edison. She also is a leader of the Edison Builder’s Club (a Kiwanis Service club). Teri stated, “That’s just what I do. I am there for the kids.”
The 2013 JAC-PTA Teacher of the Year winner was announced from the following nominees:
Dottie May, Adams Elementary School
Dan Murray, Edison Middle School
Michol Startup, Franklin Middle School
Jan Stark, Jackson Elementary School
Joan Jimenez, Jefferson Elementary School
Dana Simmons, Lincoln Elementary School
Lisa Plewa, Madison Elementary School
Deb O’Leary, Marshall Middle School
Lisa Haberli, Monroe Elementary School
Neal Boys, Parker High School
Chris Campbell, Roosevelt Elementary School
Amanda Mory, Van Buren Elementary School
Gee Gee Jannene, Washington Elementary School
The Teacher of the Year, Lisa Haberli, is extremely dedicated to the academic, fitness, health and overall well-being of the students at Monroe Elementary School and the success of their PTA.
State of Wisconsin PTA President, Heather Leckey, then spoke. “PTA members’ and supporters’ contributions are invaluable to our school programs and students. Thousands of students would suffer without those who selflessly sacrifice their time to help.” Heather has been involved with PTA for more than a decade and has held the positions of president, treasurer and secretary for elementary and middle schools in Janesville. She has served the Janesville Area Council PTA in the capacity of vice president and liaison from Wisconsin PTA. Additionally she has served on the Wisconsin PTA Board of Directors in the position of Region D Advisor and Vice President.
Among those celebrating at the dinner were Superintendent, Dr. Karen Schulte; Commissioners Kristin Hesselbacher, Cathy Myers, and Karl Dommershausen; and JAC-PTA secondary schools liaison, Edison Middle School Principal Jim LeMire.
Renae Henry, 2013-2015 JAC-PTA President closed the event, stating, “You volunteer not because you have more time or money, but because you care. Your heart is filled with compassion for our children and their education. Words cannot express how grateful we are to have you here. It is both a privilege and honor to reap the rewards of your tireless dedication and contributions to PTA.”
Mrs. Henry then read a personal letter written by National PTA President-Elect, Otha Thornton. He wrote, “I am proud of your accomplishments and look forward to greater achievements next year.” He encouraged us not to miss the opportunity to continue advocating for proper funding, arts, music, and foreign languages in our schools. In conclusion, as you prepare for the coming school year, please keep Mr. Thornton’s quote in mind, “Excellence is not an act, but rather a habit.”