Lakota honors top school volunteers

LIBERTY, WEST CHESTER TWPS. — Every school depends heavily on unpaid — and often unsung — volunteers and Lakota’s school system is no different.

But recently Lakota district officials remedied — as they have at the end of each school year for the last 34 years — the “unsung” part of that reality by recognizing the top volunteers at each of its nearly two dozen schools and also naming the best overall volunteer for Butler County’s largest school system.

The Lakota District Parent Council (DPC), in partnership with the district, celebrated this year’s winners of the Barb Bossu Volunteer Spirit Awards at a ceremony.

The annual program recognizes the volunteers who exemplify the legacy of Barb Bossu, an enthusiastic parent volunteer and the Union Elementary PTA president at the time of her death in 1989.

The award was established a year later to commemorate her dedication to public education by honoring annually a volunteer at the district level and one from every Lakota school.

“For 34 years, we’ve been honoring Lakota volunteers who represent Barb’s positive spirit and give up their time unselfishly to support our students and their schools,” said DPC President Lisa Phair.

“So many of us look forward to this day each year because it brings the board of education, school administrators and members of each school’s parent organization together in one room.”

According to Lakota officials the event saw each school principal share a tribute about their school’s honoree before the DPC presented this year’s district-wide award to school volunteer Leah Aguilar.

“When you ask someone to name an extraordinary volunteer in the community, Leah Aguilar’s name will surely be mentioned multiple times,” said Lakota School Board Vice President Kelley Casper during the event.

“The word ‘no’ does not seem to be part of her vocabulary. What she does outside of her job in Lakota is nothing less than miraculous,” said Casper.

Aguilar is co-area director for Neighborhood Bridges, an organization that connects members of the community with the immediate needs that students may have.

She also volunteers for Reach Out Lakota, the Boys and Girls Club of West Chester Liberty, Caring Community Collaborative (C3), Sleep in Heavenly Peace, St. John Church, the West Chester/Liberty Martin Luther King Jr. day program and many others.

This year’s school-level honorees for kindergarten through 6th grade were: Adena Elementary, Jenn Bogucki; Cherokee Elementary, Kelly Nowak; Creekside ECS, Amy Young; Endeavor Elementary, Trisha Dunkerly; Freedom Elementary, Sarah Engel; Heritage ECS, Kristin Hobbs; Hopewell ECS, Mo Whitacre; Independence Elementary, Dresden Soules-Peters; Liberty ECS, Laura Arand; Shawnee ECS, Sarah Ormbrek; Union Elementary, Sarah Holland; VanGorden Elementary, Vanessa Weiss; Woodland Elementary, Meaghan Jones; and Wyandot ECS, Erin Parks.

Honorees for 7-12 grade schools were: Hopewell Junior, Jennifer Kidd; Lakota East Freshman, Kara Woeller; Lakota East High School, Susanne Page; Lakota West Freshman, Yufang Vangaasbeek; Lakota West High School, Stacie Davis; Liberty Junior, Kristina Thurman; Plains Junior, Kristin Foley; and Ridge Junior, Angela Page.

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