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May 10, 2018
Polk County Public Schools honored its Outstanding School Volunteers of the Year during a ceremony in Bartow today.
The annual event, held at Bartow Civic Center, highlights the crucial role volunteers play in students’ lives, and how they enrich our schools with their dedication. Winners were selected from among more than 90 people named Volunteers of the Year at their respective schools.
The Outstanding School Volunteer of the Year Awards Program is sponsored by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union. Today’s ceremony was attended by approximately 350 people.
Awards were bestowed at the elementary and secondary level for youth, adult and senior volunteers.
Below you will find a description of the winners:
Alicia Filiace, Highland City Elementary, Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year
Alicia Filiace helped organize the school carnival at Highland City Elementary, collaborating with teachers to ensure the event was safe and fun for all students. She also works in kindergarten classrooms, reading to children and helping them learn their sight words.
Debbie Benjamin, Chain of Lakes Elementary, Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year
Debbie Benjamin is PTO treasurer at Chain of Lakes Elementary. In this role, she’s helped raise thousands of dollars to benefit the school. In addition, she’s always willing to help out in the classroom and chaperone field trips.
Melodee Herndon, Philip O’Brien Elementary, Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year
Melodee Herndon is comfortable wearing many different hats as a volunteer at Philip O'Brien Elementary. She tackles lots of clerical tasks, builds caring relationships with students, reads aloud at lunchtime, and helps improve their reading and math skills.
Yamileth Loyola, Shelley S. Boone Middle, Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year
Yamileth Loyola demonstrates tireless dedication to Shelley S. Boone Middle, where she’s always willing to provide clerical support, oversee updates to the school’s marquee messages, catalogue books in the media center, or pitch in wherever she sees she can help.
Brenda Searles, Traviss Technical College, Outstanding Adult Volunteer of the Year
Brenda Searles is quick to notice tasks that need to be accomplished at Traviss Technical College, and often takes charge to complete them — freeing up the teachers to focus on classroom instruction and management. She serves as a chaperone for off-campus activities and handles important tasks associated with the free dental care services provided in the onsite clinic, as well as satellite locations.
Alfie Benjamin Speight, Fort Meade Middle-Senior High, Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year
Alfie Speight contributes in many ways to Fort Meade Middle-Senior High School. He helps students prepare for Future Farmers of America competitions, works in the land lab, and provides one-on-one instruction on tools and machinery within the school’s agricultural department. He also instills leadership skills in students.