2018 Outstanding School Volunteers

Photo of Mary Barry
Senior - Mary Barry - Flora Ridge Elementary

Mary Barry’s dedication and diligence has been a great asset to our education community for many, many years. She is not just a volunteer; she is practically a member of our faculty. Ms. Barry has been invaluable in servicing the media center, assuming a full range of responsibilities in managing the facility any time our media specialist was absent. Whether helping check out books or assisting students on a one-on-one basis, Ms. Barry’s demeanor has been consistently cheerful and friendly. Outside of her various responsibilities in the media center, Ms. Barry is always going out of her way to bring a smile to the staff and students. On numerous occasions, she has hand crocheted unique gifts for dozens of our faculty members, earning a reputation of generosity and selflessness throughout the school. Mary’s record of diligent service extends far beyond her current role as an assistant to our media specialists; she has also served as a SAC chairperson, regularly providing the committee with valuable insights and feedback based on her extensive experience as a volunteer. Her record of excellence speaks for itself and our school is thankful for her impact on our students and faculty.

Photo of Justin Funes
Youth - Justin Funes - Osceola High

Justin began volunteering during his Junior year at Osceola High and, even though he has graduated, he continues to volunteer twice a week. He is currently a full college student and has a full time job, yet he still finds the time to come help out in with our Advanced Culinary classes in running our two business operations – on Wednesdays with the Kowboy Kitchen and on Fridays with the Kowboy Heroes. The kitchen runs at a fast pace and Justin jumps in and keeps the momentum going! The students know that Justin will be there and his presence has improved absenteeism. The students love to work with Justin because he embodies the meaning of ‘TEAMWOK’. Justin works in the kitchen and also helps unload the food delivery trucks and, at times, has taken it upon himself to do a complete inventory. Justin was our Culinary Student of the Year when he was a senior. His positive attitude has encouraged the current students to want that award for themselves. His sense of humor is amazing, but when it comes to safety, he’s all business. Our culinary students know they have to adhere to the sanitation rules and keep the kitchen spotless or else Justin will take them to task. While Justin only volunteers 6 hours a week, he impacts 74 students every week. We are extremely lucky to have Justin Funes as an Osceola High volunteer and feel that he has a wonderful and fulfilling future ahead of him.

Photo of Kitty Choma
Adult - Kitty Choma - St. Cloud High

Ms. Kitty, as she is called, began volunteering with the SCHS Army ROTC in 2004. She became involved when her first son was a cadet and then a few years later her second son joined and even after her sons graduated, he remained with the program as an advisor, coordinator, benefactor and leader. Ms. Kitty provides our battalion with vital knowledge, skills and abilities. She spends most of her time organizing our vast amount of supplies and resources, she manages and oversees battalion administrative paperwork and provides countless hours of leadership by mentoring, supervising, and chaperoning our cadets in school, after school, and on school trips. Although Mr. Kitty is a volunteer, she is like a third instructor. Our program has ranged in size from 100 to 250 cadets. As our battalion increases in cadet size, so does the administrative and logistics support required to complete our mission. Ms. Kitty provides us with essential skills to help mitigate the load on our two Army instructors. On average, Ms. Kitty volunteers an average of 5 hours a week, between 150 and 200 hours a year, which over the last 15 years, translates into about 1,800 hours of direct contact and exposure to improving the lives of over 2,145 cadets. As a result, student achievement increases, pride and recognition increases, strong relationships are forged, discipline issues evaporate and cadet success drives school success. Ms. Kitty is the best person for our cadets and truly an outstanding OASIS school volunteer.

Volunteers of the Year Presentation at Board Meeting
Pictured above from left to right: (Back Row) School Board Chairman- Clarence Thacker, Principal of Flora Ridge Elementary- Peter Hodges, Principal of Kissimmee Elementary- David Noyes, Principal of St. Cloud, High School-Nate Fancher, Principal of Osceola High School- Nia Campbell, and Superintendent of Schools-Dr. Debra Pace. (Front Row) District Senior Volunteer of the Year- Mary Barry, District Adult Volunteer of the Year- Kitty Choma, and District Youth Volunteer of the Year- Justin Funes.

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