Four students and four parents were honored at the meeting on May 9.
Four students and four parents of the Lenape Regional High School District were awarded for their selfless acts of volunteerism at last week’s school board meeting.
The student honorees of the Volunteer Service Awards were Ryan McLaughlin from Seneca High School, Jacqueline Wenzel from Cherokee High School, Caroline O’Rorke from Shawnee High School and Samantha Sorid from Lenape High School.
“This award was implemented across the district in an effort to instill in our students civic responsibility and a willingness to service their communities throughout their lives,” said Matt Webb, director of programs and planning.
McLaughlin has been a part of the Buddies Club at Seneca since his freshman year, and has taken leadership positions as vice president and president of the club. He is a part of the Tabernacle Rescue Squad and went on to become an EMT. He is also passionate about finding a cure for multiple sclerosis, since his mother was diagnosed, and he participates in the MS walk each year in Ocean City. He feels his involvement in community service has been a great influence on his life.
Wenzel used her participation in Girl Scouts to make a positive impact on others in the community. After attending the Miss America “Show Us Your Shoes” parade in Atlantic City, she was shocked at the difference in footwear at the parade and the homeless living nearby without proper footwear. She was compelled to make a change by collecting about 800 pairs of shoes and 400 pairs of socks to donate to the community, which resulted in her being awarded the Gold Award, which is the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. She trained a small group of volunteers on proper foot care, which allowed them to spread their education with more than 500 people, and Wenzel handed out “blessings bags” containing foot wipes, socks, lotion and more.
O’Rorke is a member of the Shawnee dance team, National Honor Society and Italian Club. She followed in her siblings’ footsteps by continuing to lead the Medford schools March Against Hunger Food Drive, which was started by her brother and was led by her sister before O’Rorke. She organized a pom-pom donation drive where she and other dance team members made pom-poms and delivered them to Give Kids the World Village.
Sorid has made a difference in the community through the National Honor Society and the ability Sorid had to overcome previous struggles with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with the support of those around her. She wanted to provide others struggling with mental illness with support, and has done this through raising funds with the MOVE for Mental Health race she organized. This bike ride attracted more than 200 riders and raised about $12,000, which allowed people to feel more open about talking about mental illness, and plans to pursue a career in psychology.
“I would like to congratulate our students and thank them for their awesome examples of how incredible teenagers are,” LRHSD Superintendent Carol Birnbohm said. “I really want to thank their parents for teaching them how to be good service community leaders.”
Upon receiving their awards, each student also received a scholarship presented by Goodwill.
The four parents honored for their volunteerism were Tracey Lajoie, Karin Wetterau, Kim Manchio and Deidre Woodard.
Lajoie was awarded from Lenape for her dedication in assisting the football and boys lacrosse programs during her children’s athletic careers. She has helped at the Pride Club and raised funds for projects, never turning away an opportunity to get involved.
Wetterau has been involved in the Shawnee Football and Wrestling Booster Clubs, where she was president of the Wrestling Club for four years, as well as being director of the Senior Cheerleading/Football Athlete Scholarship Program, and secretary of the End Zone Club.
Woodard has been involved in the Cherokee Field Hockey Booster Club, the girls and boys Basketball Booster Clubs, Football’s Fifth Quarter Club where she was president for four years, the Football Cheerleading Spirit Club president, and girls and boys Track and Field Booster president for nine years.
Manchio started volunteering with the Seneca High School wrestling program since her son started Seneca junior wrestling about 15 years ago. At the youth level, she has helped run clothing orders, concession stands, the distribution and collection of uniforms and the head table at home matches. When her son started at Seneca, she took over as president of the Wrestling Parents Association. She has also helped with banquets, fundraisers and other activities.
In other news:
● One Book committee chose the theme “windows and mirrors” for summer reading. The five reading options are “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, “Wonder” by R.J. Ralacio, “The Running Dream” by Wendelin Van Draanen, “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green, and “The Prisoner of Cell 25” by Michael Vey.
● The 26th Annual Kiki Open Scholarship Golf Tournament returns on July 24 at the Medford Lakes Country Club. The foundation donated checks totaling $32,000 in scholarships to the district at the May 9 meeting. More information on the foundation can be found at www.kikiopen.org
● Investors Bank donated a check to the district for the Defy the Issue program, which encourages students to stay drug- and alcohol-free.
The next LRHSD board meeting will be held on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lenape District Administration Building.