We celebrated our many wonderful parent and alumni parent volunteers, including this year’s Thomas Malcolm Volunteer Award winners, at our annual volunteer appreciation dinner May 6.
This year’s award winners were: Thomas Dryjanski, Mark O’Neill, Sharon Eichinger, and Masheba Gailey Harris. Here is Mrs. Sheppard’s full speech:
The first recipient of the Tom Malcolm award is Tom Dryjanski.
Tom has served MPA with distinction for more than 15 years in various capacities, but mostly as the President of the Fathers Club. He is the proud dad of four MPA graduates. Over the years. Thomson, Gilly, Emma and Elliot could be seen, tagging along with their dad as he oversaw one of the million activities he was organizing. During Tom’s long tenure with the Fathers Club, he and his group coordinated so many school functions: the back to school picnic, the pancake breakfast and homecoming, the annual civics essay class, the sports banquet, weekend family outings such as White Sox games, skating parties, fall and spring campouts and the list goes on. And let’s face it, getting dads to dedicate their free time to school events is no small task. He did it with passion and dedication to the benefit of all our students.
The second recipient of the Tom Malcolm award is Mark O’Neill.
Mark is a little bit of an unusual choice for the Tom Malcolm award. Unlike the other recipients tonight, Mark has not been involved with the Parents Association. The reason he is receiving the award tonight is because of his incredible dedication to our student athletes as a coach. Mark is not just about winning championship, but about making sure each student is growing as an athlete and an individual. He is about making sure MPA has the best athletics program.
Coach Drahozal also noted that Mark is a pleasure to work with and students enjoys learning from him.
So Mark, thank you for your leadership in advancing our sports program and for your passion. Your love for athletics is contagious. You have been an outstanding role model for our students. Mark O’Neill
The next recipient of the Tom Malcolm Award is Sharon Eichinger.
Sharon has been a tireless contributor to the MPA community, donating time and treasure for more than 16 years while being the mom of two wonderful MPA lifers: Sarah and Jeffrey, who are now both attending Washington University in St Louis.
She started volunteering at the Academy as part of the Mothers Club and supporting her husband Bob, who at the time was leading the Development Office. She knows a thing or two about auctions, Galas and Salute to Excellence!
No one, and I mean no one can make a deep dark chocolate dessert like this volunteer.
Sharon has done it all and seen it all at MPA.
Thank you for your time and dedication. You are a part of the MPA history. Thank you for your unwavering dedication spending hours cooking, grilling, sowing, and sorting through mountains of documents. Sharon might come across as a quiet person, but her work and dedication speak volume.
It was 9 years ago that Samaria started Kindergarten followed by Sheridan. They are now in 8th and 5th grade respectively. Time flies!
The Mothers Club at the time did not waste any time in recruiting her to join the Executive Committee where she started as a Public Relation chair. These past years, Masheba has embodied volunteerism at the Academy. She has had MPA tattooed on her heart. Her love for MPA is felt in so many ways. She has held so many posts, chair or help at pretty much all the Parents Association events. She is now the current Parents Association President and will be co-president next year.
Three years ago, she was the first mom to chair the Gala since Salute to Excellence. She trail blazed and transformed the Gala into the fun community event that it is today. She brought fun back into fundraising!
Everyone appreciates her kind leadership. As Shaleein Lopez noted, she always embraces new and returning parent volunteers making them feel welcomed and appreciated.
If someone who knows Masheba were asked to give one word that epitomizes her, it would likely be kindness or work. Her genuine kindness is unmistakable. So is her reputation as a hard worker.
Masheba Gailey Harris, President of the Parents Association, also recognized all the volunteers who made this year so successful. Here is her speech:
I would like to take the time to acknowledge all the event chairs, who helped make the Parents Association events possible.
I’d like to thank Chuck Lay and all the cooks and volunteers who helped make the Picnic and Homecoming a huge success. To see the entire student body participating, whether they were decorating and riding their bikes around Jones Bowl, or cheering on our warriors, this Homecoming was truly special.
I also want to thank all who helped with the gala and the quilters who made the beautiful quilts that were auctioned off: Katie Nathwani, Marcia Thomas, Michelle Macey, Sharon Eichinger, Ana Kelly, Pat Egan and Meg Simmerling, Manjari Malkani, Emily Fitch, Mimi Johnson and Cynthia Bailey. Thank you.
Organizing the book fair is no small feat, and it went off without a hitch thanks to Antoinette Powell and Natasha Nicholes and many, many dedicated volunteers. They jumped in at the last minute and made it happen! Thank you both for chairing this event.
I want to thank Betty Callahan for organizing the Holiday Ornament decorating party and Michelle Macey, Sarah Cypher and Emily Drown for sowing all the stockings. We had a huge turnout at the decorating party and I know families appreciate receiving these unique pieces with their child’s photo on it. Thank you.
The International Day luncheon was no different; Led by Nicole Goss-Smith, Em Leonard, Mary Rosen and a host of volunteers, everyone made sure we piled our plates high with delicious cuisines from around the world. Thank you all for keeping this wonderful tradition alive.
I want to thank the staff at Southwest arena for helping me host another successful Skating Party. We all had a wonderful time.
I want to thank Kelli Low for organizing the SkyZone mother-son event. It was a wonderful event that got everyone moving!
Behind the piles of pies were a dedicated group of volunteers who sorted, cut and served these thousands of servings to make Pi Day a mathematical success. Special thanks to Kelli Low and Chaltrese Bazile and all the volunteers.
Academy’s Got Talent performances went so smoothly thanks to Brian Hensel who was manning the sound booth. I also want to thank all the parents who were helping backstage keeping all the performers quiet and ready to perform! Thank you for all your help.
I also want to thank Aaron Beals, Nicole Goss-Smith, Shelly Perez, Diana Kamin, Chaltrese Bazile and Iris Fullilove for helping me organize the Faculty and Staff appreciation luncheon. It was a wonderful event that I always enjoy organizing for our dedicated faculty.
We are looking forward to another successful Father Daughter Dance. I want to thank Sharon Bryant, who I think is decorating the room as I speak!
I know our seniors look forward to the Senior Picnic. Special thanks to all the senior moms for organizing this event.
I need not to forget to thank Marcia Thomas, Sharon Eichinger, and Linda Cuadros and all the other volunteers, whose archival expertise was greatly appreciated as our students and alumni researched our storied history. Thank you for all the work that you do. It doesn’t go unnoticed.
I want to thank Alicia Howell for taking on the School Kits and coordinating with teachers, so that I don’t have to scramble to buy school supplies at the very last minute.
And another thank you to Chaltrese Bazile for collecting the Box Tops.
Speaking of fundraising, we couldn’t have done so much if we weren’t eating so many cookies! Thanks to all who bought, sold and helped with the Cookie Dough Fundraiser.
Nicole Goss Smith and Sonja Brisard were also responsible for selling a lot of MPA merchandise this year. Thank you for helping us cheer on our Warriors wearing the Maroon and White!
In addition to after-school events, volunteers also make a tremendous impact in the classroom as Room Parents organizing the Halloween Party, Holiday Celebrations and the Valentine’s Day party I would like to acknowledge all the room parents:
Pre-K (3) – Ms. Goggin
Qiana Bradley and Moses Evans
Kirstie Dates and Charlene Metcalf
Zandra El Chisolm
Kay Tworek-Sanchez and Kenya Grooms
Julie Perry4th – Ms. Barnicle
Felicia D. Towns-Bell
Karen Norington- Reaves
Middle School coordinator, Vicki Beals
Masheba Gailey Harris, Kelli Low, Sonja Brisard, Chuck Lay, Ryan Bergin, and Deondre Bedgood. And for next year, we have three more members joining the board, please stand up as well: Brian Hensel, Vickie Beals and Antoinette Powell.
This was a long list of volunteers. I hope I did not forget anyone. We couldn’t do so much for our community if it weren’t for all of you who helped.
Thank you all for being a part of the MPA family and for having such a positive impact on our students!