Lenape Regional district presents volunteer awards

Four students, five parents honored for their support of schools.

Student Volunteers: Elizabeth Maschke, Christina Ackerman, Alyssa Miles, Samantha Schultheis.
(Elanie Kurtz/ Special to The Sun)

Before celebrating volunteer work from four senior students and five teachers in the Lenape Regional High School District at the May 12 board of education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Carol L. Birnbohm announced two achievements from the past month.

“After canceling a Kiki golf outing last summer, I’m happy to announce the annual Kiki golf tournament is on July 19 at the Medford Lakes Country Club,” Birnbohm said. “Proceeds from this scholarship if you’re not aware, go to our students in the form of a scholarship at graduation.” 

On top of that, students and staff have selected summer reading books for the year. All four high schools will have the same books to choose from, which Birnbohm believes will build a sense of community within the district.

The theme for selection is Your Voice, Your Choice, which allows students to choose from four books: “The House in the Cerulean Sea,” “A Thousand Beginnings and Endings,” “Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” and “The Inheritance Games.” 

The board then sat with the crowd in Seneca’s auditorium to watch four students be recognized for their commitment to service.   

“We have been doing this for 10 years; I really encourage all of our students to volunteer,” said Assistant Superintendent of Schools Matthew D. Webb. “These students tonight really stand out.” 

Seneca’s Samantha Schultheis was honored for her dedication to the nonprofit Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, offered through the school’s Spanish club.

Christina Ackerman, from Shawnee High School, has helped organize a Perform-A-Thon fundraiser with both The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and The Ronald McDonald House.

Elizabeth Maschke, from Lenape High School, made masks for first responders and health-care workers in her community. Her inspiration came from the hardship of her father’s cancer treatment.

Alyssa Miles, from Cherokee High School, is a part of the International Foundation for Gastric Disorders’ patient advisory board, which plans fundraisers and creates informational pamphlets. She also works with children suffering from traumatic head injuries through the Holton’s Heroes program. 

The four students received a personal thank you from Gov. Phil Murphy and will receive a $250 scholarship sponsored through the Regional Education Foundation. 

The parent volunteers recognized for their service were Tom Besser from Seneca, Marlene Bollar from Lenape, Mark McKenna from Cherokee, and Beth Heine and Cindy Kelly from Shawnee. Each of them volunteered for after-school activities, despite students not attending in person for the whole year.

Besser held monthly Zoom meetings to make sure student athletes would have similar experiences in meeting friends. Bollar led the Lenape Parent Teacher Organization through the pandemic. McKenna provided a livestream for students and parents to watch Cherokee football games. Heine and Kelly both worked with 100 Shawnee parents to create a series of celebrations for the seniors, such as field day, a  senior walk, and the beach towel social. 

Each student and parent volunteer from the schools received a plaque with his or her name engraved on it and a goodie bag of refreshments.

The next meeting of the Lenape Regional High School District Board of Education will take place on June 23 at 7:30 p.m., at Seneca.