Volunteers of the Year Recognized

School Board Recognizes Division Volunteers of the Year
Posted on 07/19/2016

The Shenandoah County School Board recognized the division level Volunteers of the Year at their July 14, 2016, School Board meeting.  

 " Volunteers are very important in Shenandoah County Public Schools,"  said Dr. Mark Johnston, Superintendent of Shenandoah County Public Schools.  "Many times, they  are mistaken for employees because they are seen working in our schools so much."

"Volunteers contribute in a real way to the success and often the happiness of our students," commented Susan Smith, SCPS Coordinator of Public Relations and organizer  of the volunteer recognition.   While recognizing four exemplary volunteers, the division benefits from the talent, energy, and expertise of all who volunteer throughout the year, Ms. Smith explained.


Tyler Hinkle -  Student Volunteer of the Year

Tyler Hinkle (right)
Tyler Hinkle,  2015-16 Student Volunteer of the Year, accepts plaque and congratulations 
from Assistant Principal Scott Schlentner. Because he was at  the University of VA orientation,  
Tyler was not able to attend the School Board meeting.  He accepted his award
at Stonewall Jackson high School. 


Tyler Hinkle, Stonewall Jackson High School graduate, was named the Student Volunteer of the Year.

"When you talk to his teachers," said Mr. Schlentner, "they all say the same thing:  a good student who follows through on what he says he is going to do.  Mrs. Dunstan describes him as quietly creative.  He is a  student who does not work for the accolades or to show off.  He works because it is the right thing to do. 

Because of all of these positive teacher comments about Tyler and "for what he has done for the students on the southern campus, we wanted to recognize him.  Tyler is  the student we would go to when we needed a mentor at Ashby Lee Elementary School or North Fork Middle School.   Last May, Tyler went to Mr. Dorman and expressed the need for a program like Big Brothers & Big Sisters.  He said the need was  too great for just him to do."

When they talked, Mr. Dorman asked  Tyler  to find other students with the same  interest [in helping younger students] and with the same commitment  to doing well in school.  Tyler did not just pick seniors because he wanted the program to continue.  They chose two sophomores, five  juniors, and four seniors.

Tyler will attend the University of Virginia with a major  in History and Spanish and a minor in Global Commerce. "We would like to wish him well in all of his endeavors," said Mr. Schlentner. 

Elementary Level Volunteer of the Year - Cheryl Felts

Cheryl Felts (2nd from left)
From left:  Dr. Mark Johnston (Superintendent), 
Cheryl Felts 
Frutoso Ortiz (Assistant Principal, WW Robinson Elementary),
and Debbie Raines (Teacher, WW Robinson)


Debbie Raines, who is a teacher at W.W. Robinson Elementary School, nominated Cheryl for the elementary award.  "Cheryl is a retired Special Education teacher that volunteers in my classroom two days a week," wrote Ms. Raines.  " She works with small groups of students, one on one with students, and whole group to provide additional support to struggling students. Cheryl worked as my SPED inclusion teacher in my classroom before she retired, and she is very knowledgeable in the way I teach so she remediates students with the same language and style that I use."  Cheryl has volunteered for Ms. Raines for the last five years.

"With the additional help of Mrs. Felts and my inclusion teacher Mrs. Happ,"  Ms. Raines continued, " we had some of the highest math SOL pass rates at W.W. Robinson this year."

Middle Level Volunteer of the Year - Karen Whetzel

Karen Whetzel (center)
From left:  Dr. Johnston, Karen Whetzel, and Susan Smith

Susan Smith, who has been the librarian at NFMS for four years, nominated Karen Whetzel, retired educator and current Chairman of the Shenandoah County School Board, for the middle level award.  She wrote in the nomination form, "From the beginning, Karen Whetzel has come, with rare exceptions, every month during the school year to put up bulletin boards in the library and in the hallway near the library. Throughout the years, Karen has sent me print materials to add to the bulletin board storage boxes. Karen also arranges the volunteer schedule for the two book fairs we have each year --not an easy task.  Finally, Karen has brought me sunshine on cloudy days. She has provided encouragement and humor and even very healthy, crunchy snacks."

"Karen’s volunteer services," wrote Ms. Smith, "gave me additional, precious TIME!  When I offered just to take down a bulletin board, her response was typically, “No, you work on something you need to do.”   

"I have often said to folks,'If you know where time goes when it flies, please go there and bring me back some.'  Thank you, Karen Whetzel, for the gift of time."

Secondary Level Volunteer of the Year - Milinda Sypolt

Melinda Sybolt (second from left0
From left:  Dr. Johnston, Milinda Sypolt, Melissa Hensley (Principal, Central High School),
 and Linda Hull


Linda Hull, Guidance Secretary, and Noeline Bowen, Principal's Secretary,  nominated Melinda Sypolt for the secondary award. For the last three years, Ms. Sypolt has spent a minimum of seven hours per  week helping in the Guidance office filing, sorting, and organizing documents to ensure they are filed correctly. She assists in the preparation of the Senior and Underclassmen Award Ceremonies and has participated in our annual Falcon Final Four event helping to prepare for the scavenger hunt event.  During the summer, she is invaluable as she helps with making up the First Day Student packets. She has a system in place and gets the job done in a matter of a couple of days.   

On the nomination form, Ms. Bowen wrote, "Milinda’s efforts make a huge impact in the day to day running of the Guidance Office. She comes in and handles the filing without any direction allowing the Guidance Secretary the freedom to handle the phones, direct students and visitors, and take care of other administrative tasks.  Her assistance in the summer allows the secretary time to handle the phones, direct visitors, and take care of other administrative tasks to prepare for the upcoming year. The collating of first day packets would take a week or more to do with the constant interruptions.  Milinda dedicates every minute of her time getting the job done exactly as requested in record time.

Congratulations, Volunteers of the Year 2015-2016

Thank you to ALL Volunteers!