PTA reveals its golden choices for recognition

Laurie Dunsmore, Debbie Hoch, Cindy Barnett and Vicky Denka watch as South Whidbey High School volunteer Ursula Shoudy thanks the school’s PTA for her Golden Acorn Thursday.  - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Laurie Dunsmore, Debbie Hoch, Cindy Barnett and Vicky Denka watch as South Whidbey High School volunteer Ursula Shoudy thanks the school’s PTA for her Golden Acorn Thursday.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

Each year, the South Whidbey Parent Teacher Association celebrates the key teachers and volunteers in the district who have done the most to further the educational process, each in his or her own special way.

The teachers get a "Golden Apple," the volunteers, a "Golden Acorn" pin. In addition, $65 in the name of the recipient is put into a special scholarship fund.

In the high school commons, one teacher and one volunteer from each of the district's four schools was honored for their service last Thursday.

Chris Harshman received a Golden Apple. The high school's renowned band director was recognized for his outstanding work over the years helping young people better appreciate the nuances of good music. He was introduced by three members of the school's jazz band: Ian Marsanyi, Sean Hough and Matt Idso.

"Music is a vehicle to help grow intelligent, warm-hearted people like these," Harshman said as he picked up his award.

Ursula Shoudy was named for her efforts as a high school volunteer. As co-president of the school's Booster Club, she has helped it achieve record participation this year.

School athletic secretary Laurie Dunsmore noted that Shoudy does things for the betterment of all kids, not just her own.

"She sets a positive tone and attitude reflects leadership," Dunsmore said.

At the middle school, English teacher Mary Bakeman was named for her efforts in supporting after-school activities, band concerts and cross country meets.

"She also helps tirelessly on the school’s Spirit Week and helped with the courtyard project," Janette Eveland said. "She still goes out and weeds on the weekends."

Johna Holt has volunteered for years at the school's annual science day, spearheaded the sack lunch program and coached basketball. "A very busy lady," Eveland noted.

Though not strictly a teacher, Intermediate School staff member Mary Buckman handles the school's playground chores, organizes games and makes sure the schools are stocked with supplies.

Volunteer Betty Tannura was recognized for helping the school’s art teacher. "And for random acts of kindness of the heart," said PTA organizer Michelle Durr.

At the Primary School, music teacher Leslie Woods was given a Golden Apple on the strength of the band concerts she organizes and conducts each year.

Finally, Primary School volunteer Donna Riley has run the PTA's job-a-thon, which raises funds for a variety of school projects. Not only that, Durr said, Riley is involved with soccer, Boy Scouts and is a foster mom.

"All these choices reflect the terrific teachers, staff and volunteers in our district and all of us are very proud of them," Durr said.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or

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