To celebrate the efforts of volunteers going above and beyond in their service to South Pasadena High School (SPHS), the school’s Parent-Teacher-Student-Association (PTSA) saluted them with six different awards during the annual Honorary Service Awards luncheon in the SPHS gymnasium May 8.
SPHS senior Sarah Uriarte was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by English teacher and activities director Casey Shotwell and science teacher Krista Gail. Uriarte was recognized for her “leadership and commitment” to educating “hundreds” of students and many staff members on healthcare options, according to Shotwell. She organized the school’s first-ever Health Fair March 23, 2018, after seeing a need to address stress within the student body and continued to build a leadership structure that will be maintained beyond her graduation.
For his commitment to supporting Tiger Bingo, David Zeiger, who joined 12 years ago and currently serves as president, was presented with an Honorary Service Award by Social Science Department co-chair Maryann Nielsen. She noted that “it’s a full-time job to keep the fundraising arm of our school going” and noted his coordination work with parents, volunteers and committees.
“David has done an incredible job leading us and keeping Tiger Bingo afloat even though he’s not a member of our staff,” said Nielsen.
Zeiger accepted an additional Honorary Service Award on behalf of the Booster Club by SPHS Principal Janet Anderson, who said she’s “always rejuvenated” when she hears of the efforts of club members as they’re “just trying to do the best thing they can do for our kids.”
“They will fight…[for] every nickel and dime to make sure it goes directly to the kids in the current year so they can enhance what we do,” said Anderson. “The Booster Club brings in upward of $200,000 a year, providing things we could not do if they did not exist.”
Courtland Blake, treasurer of the SPHS PTSA, was recognized with an Honorary Service Award for his service and readily sharing his “accounting skills” with the elementary schools’ Fun Fair, middle school and now with the high school. SPHS PTSA historian Kathleen Michel presented the award.
“He’s always served with humor and is always ready with a compliment,” said Michel.
“It’s been a pleasure,” Blake shared. “Nineteen years I think I’ve been doing this. It’s been an honor to help and serve and a pleasure to work with these women.”
Counselor Maria Long was awarded with an Honorary Service Award for her decade of commitment to students by SPHS PTSA auditor Dean Serwin and recording secretary Lynn Serwin. They noted her work in arranging counselor breakfasts, traveling to college tours outside California and being “instrumental in bringing” Naviance, a comprehensive K-12 college and career readiness platform, to parents.
“She’s been very patient and kind and supportive to all the students, including to our own, and she’s able to help which is important,” said Dean Serwin.
SPHS Music Boosters coordinator Helena Yee was presented with an Honorary Service Award by band and orchestra director Howard Crawford. He noted her efforts in coordinating volunteers, chaperones, trips, meals and numerous details during football game performances.
“I really, really am delighted to give her this award and honor her because she’s been my right-hand person for the past five years and hopefully it will continue on,” shared Crawford.
Christina Holmes, executive vice president of the SPHS PTSA, said the awards were a tradition and truly show that “we’re all one community.”
“It has shown me how many people are doing so much work and what we don’t see,” Holmes told The Review.