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March 7, 2017
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart recognized James Watkins from Polk County as one of Florida’s “outstanding school volunteers.” The Florida Department of Education's annual awards honors those who demonstrate “exceptional commitment to quality education in Florida.”
Mr. Watkins spends time volunteering at Horizons Elementary. Horizon’s principal, Amy Heiser-Meyers, said she was “ecstatic” to hear the news. “Mr. Watkins is a role model for all of our students, and he exemplifies the very definition of perseverance,” she said.
Below is a brief summary of the great service that Mr. Watkins provides to Polk County’s youth:
“Peek into Horizons Elementary School any day of the week, and you will find James Watkins hard at work. Mr. Watkins volunteers with hearing impaired students throughout the day, every day. Hearing impaired himself, Mr. Watkins greets the students at the bus and escorts them through the breakfast line then helps them transition to the classroom. He works with students learning to sign and tutors those struggling with math. He is a constant fixture in the lives of these students, often working one-on-one with those struggling to adjust to a new school setting. His positive attitude, calm and patient demeanor, and the fact that he is at school every day provide a sense of safety and stability for these students. He also helps out in other ways, hanging art work, helping with projects for the Martin Luther King Day parade and assembling the walking float.”
Congratulations to James Watkins!