Barb Bossu Volunteer Awards

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About Barb Bossu Volunteer Spirit Awards

Barb Bossu was as enthusiastic parent volunteer and the Union Elementary PTA president at the time of her death. The Volunteer Spirit Award was established in 1990 to commemorate her very special dedication to public education by honoring annually a volunteer at the district level and then one from every Lakota school.

Based on nominations, each school selects its own award recipient, and all of these special volunteers are honored at a district-wide ceremony at the end of the school year. The district honoree is selected by the DPC.

Anyone in the school community is invited to nominate a school or district volunteer for the Barb Bossu Award. Everyone is encouraged to take a moment to consider nominating a volunteer who is making positive things happen in their building or in the district. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your appreciation for the volunteers that truly make Lakota a special place to educate children.

Nomination Criteria

  • The nominee must be currently involved as a volunteer with a Lakota school or at the district level, but does not need to be a PTA, PTO, or PTSO member.

  • The nominee may be a highly-visible, well-known leader or a behind-the-scenes volunteer. Regardless, he or she should dedicate a lot of time and energy to children at the school or at the district level.

  • Staff members may be nominated based on what they do for children outside the realm of their daily job responsibilities.

The Nomination Process and District Nomination Form

The nomination process for volunteers at both the building and district levels will take place near the end of the third quarter each school year. The selection of each school's recipient from the nomination process will be made by a committee. The parent organization in each building will share information about the nomination process (including a nomination form) through school emails. Information will also be distributed via district-wide communications.

Click here for this year's district nomination form. Use this nomination form to recognize a volunteer who is making a positive impact in our district where students are impacted, and who gives their time unselfishly to the Lakota district. Please email completed nominations to by March 24, 2021.

Barb Bossu Winners

End-of-the-year recognitions are looking a little different this year, including the annual Barb Bossu Volunteer Spirit Awards sponsored by Lakota’s District Parent Council (DPC). The annual ceremony honors a special volunteer from each school, as well as a volunteer that has made a big impact across the district. The ceremony was originally planned to take place in April.

Since 1990, the Lakota district has honored volunteers in memory of a dedicated Lakota parent, Barb Bossu, whose untimely passing in 1989 was mourned by all in our school community. The Barb Bossu Volunteer Spirit Award is given to volunteers in recognition of their positive spirit, dedication to students and generosity of time and talent.

DPC still hopes to hold the ceremony this fall (pending guidelines issued by the state), but the group wanted to share the winners with the Lakota community as this school year comes to a close.

DPC is proud to announce Shantelle Oyako as the 2019-2020 District Barb Bossu winner. From starting a food pantry in her car (which inspired pantries throughout the district) to creating Woodland Elementary’s “Get to School Club” (an all-inclusive organization where students are motivated by their peers and teachers to go to school and get an education), Shantelle works selflessly and inspires others. 

Below are all of the Barb Bossu winners; see below to read bios about each individual and the contributions they have made.

District Winner
Nominee:  Shantelle Oyako

DPC is proud to announce Shantelle Oyako as the 2019-2020 District Barb Bossu winner.  Many who nominated Shantelle emphasized her spirit and inspiration to serve, especially the neediest.  Shantelle has impacted the entire Lakota community by her commitment to making sure every student’s basic needs are met.  While many of her ideas and programs started at Woodland Elementary she has opened the eyes of many to the inequity in our community.  Starting a food pantry in her car and delivering to families in need inspired the community to act.  Her idea is modeled and implemented throughout the district.  Shantelle also started Woodland’s “Get to School Club” in 2014 which is an all-inclusive organization where students are motivated by their peers and teachers to go to school and get an education.  The club has grown to over 100 students who meet once a month, attend parties, receive meals and donated gifts.  Members have a place to feel safe, welcomed and respected.  Shantelles gift of identifying a need, working selflessly and inspiring others to do good fully embodies the spirit of the Barb Bossu Award.  DPC recognizes Shantelle and thanks her for all she gives to the Lakota Community.          

Endeavor Elementary
Nominee: Julie Gryder
Presenter: Theresa Brock, Principal

Julie is a huge part of our school and our district community. She puts her heart and soul into our school and is always trying to find ways to support our students, and staff alike. While Julie does hold title of co- president, she is so much more than that! From organizing big school events to organizing our staff work room to working on our school grounds you can always find her here and always giving someone else the credit! Her love for our school is a gift to all of us at Endeavor!

Wyandot ECS
Nominee: Shannon Hemsink
Presenter: Liz Gruber, Principal

Shannon has been our PTO President for the past 2 years at Wyandot. She has worked hard to streamline and organize all of the PTO roles needed at Wyandot. This work has made it very easy for parent volunteers to understand each role of the PTO and for them to be able to volunteer any time they have to make our events wonderful, without feeling overwhelmed! Shannon has communicated closely and effectively with PTO members and myself. She worked to make all of our events strong and collected feedback afterwards so we can always keep improving. Shannons work happens behind the scenes and she has served our school without a need to ever be in the spotlight. Shannon does all of this tirelessly and selflessly while working full time and raising 3 children. Shannon has dedicated a lot of time making sure Wyandot is a great place to be for families and staff over the past 2 years. It has been a pleasure to work with Shannon and I will miss her as our President next year!

Adena Elementary

Nominee: Linda Swiatek
Presenter: John Mattingly, Principal

Linda has selflessly given her time and talents to Adena for the past 4 years. She has reinvented our yearbook and they have been truly amazing thanks to her designs and creativity. She tries to attend every single event  to be sure we have great photos and then painstakingly puts everything together into a phenomenal memory for each of our kids. She has used her skills as a designer to create memorable items for staff celebrations and events. She has been a regular volunteer and supporter of the recess running club and movies nights, bringing Grandma Stella along to cheer on the kids. She and her 101-year old sidekick are beloved by the Adena family. A lot of times when you see Linda, you see Grandma Stella right beside her. Linda is also one of our dedicated copy room volunteers for which we are so grateful! She’s willing to help in a minute’s notice and always has a smile on her face. If you attend a PTO event, chances She is there (with Grandma Stella!), and there is an even better chance that she is volunteering. Congratulations to this year’s Barb Bossu Award winner, Linda Swiatek!

Hopewell ECS
Nominee: Amanda Wilson
Presenter: Mary Brophy, Principal

Welcoming, thoughtful, always smiling, and an amazing attitude are all words used to describe Amanda Wilson! She helped Hopewell make the transition from an elementary school to an early childhood school and got our PTO up and running by serving as PTO President for the past two years. Amanda works tirelessly for our students and staff by coordinating student enrichment, teacher appreciation, very successful Walk-a-Thons, and all PTO functions. She works on the yearbooks, as March Madness Coordinator for two schools, and is a wealth of information for anyone that needs help. Hopewell ECS is lucky to have Amanda on our team!

Shawnee ECS
Nominee: Amy Meyer
PresenterKevin Thomas, Principal

Amy Meyer is known by many throughout the district and most importantly Shawnee ECS. She is compassionate and always thinking of the kids first. It is because of her that we have been able to serve these children so well, as well as give them a sense of school pride! Amy has put her heart and soul into making Shawnee an amazing place for both staff and students. She takes so much time out of her already busy career and life to raise money (which she makes look easy!) and school spirit, all with grace and the most infectious positive attitude. Everyone at Shawnee knows her and loves her and we are a better place because of her!

Liberty Junior
Nominee: Katie Kunz
Presenter: Eric Bauman, Principal

Katie Kunz is a selfless and generous parent volunteer at Liberty Junior School. She goes above and beyond her time and resources to make sure that our school events run smoothly. Katie organizes and runs the LJS staff conference meals, student birthday pizza lunches, volunteered with the Color Run, volunteers at the socials, helped paint the staff lounge, attends the bi-monthly PTO meetings, and is always ready to lend a hand with a warm smile and a great attitude. Katie has made a lasting impact on the staff and students at Liberty Junior!

Liberty ECS
Nominee: Kayti Kennard
Presenter: Carrie Montgomery, Principal

It has been said that volunteers are love in motion. No statement more accurately describes Kayti Kennard with regards to the work she does every week at Liberty ECS. Within cozy classroom 236, Kayti can be found giving spelling and reading assessments, making copies and helping to run classroom parties. Outside the classroom, Kayti helps with Literacy backpack, she helps in the art room and supports the many activities of the active Liberty ECS PTO. Kayti embodies the spirit of volunteering and her love for the community of Liberty ECS and Mrs. Mac’s class shows through each and every day!

Freedom Elementary

Nominee: Jane Jones
Presenter: Lance Green, Principal

Jane Jones is the definition of service. Jane had a huge part in turning Freedom Elementary into the special place it is today, as she was a teacher here when the building opened, until she retired in 2002-03. Jane has not stopped showing up since. I dont think a week has gone by since the day she retired that someone has not seen Jane at Freedom. Jane is dedicated to helping any student or staff member who needs it, whether she is asked to do it or not. She seems to just a have a knack for knowing who needs it.

VanGorden Elementary
Nominee: Kelly Hoffma
Presenter: Gail Allshouse, Principal

Committed, organized, worker bee, behind the scenes worker, focused, planner, and leader are just a few adjectives that describe Kelly Hoffman, VanGorden’s 2019-2020 Barb Bossu award winner. Kelly has been on our Executive Board for the last three years serving as Vice President and Treasurer.  She has been our Treasurer for the last two years. Kelly is known for her quiet leadership style and her ability to juggle her family life, work as a Pharmacist, Treasurer of the PTA, as well as attending all PTA evening and school functions. Her dedication and passion to ensuring our students, families, and staff are cared for goes above and beyond words! Kelly makes decisions for the good of all while maintaining a positive outlook as she encourages others to work with high standards. Kelly is a great problem solver and provides commitment to all she does. There is no job too big or too small for Kelly to tackle. She is always a joy to work with. Kelly leads with a quiet demeanor but truly inspires all! We are grateful for Kelly and all that she does to make our VanGorden community the best it can be. Thank you, Kelly!

West Freshman
Nominee: Lesley Ferguson
Presenter: Jason Jackson, Associate Principal

Lesley has been an amazing addition to the Lakota West PTSO and has greatly impacted West Freshman. She has been the key coordinator (and sometimes sole volunteer) for the quarterly VIP breakfast and the Staff Conference Meals at the Freshman building. Always positive and looking for opportunities, Lesley pulled on her experiences at other schools to bring MASH (Make All Staff Happy) to Lakota West. She worked with the Lakota West Main Campus PTSO president to provide the well-received mini-appreciation day to teachers and staff at both schools. Thank you to Lesley for always being a willing volunteer and for her many ideas. We look forward to her continued enthusiasm and support of Lakota West, its students and staff.

West Main
Nominee: Scott Vonderhaar
Presenter: Elgin Card, Principal

Scott spends an incredible amount of hours assisting West. He has been a constant at events and Julie's (PTSO co-president) side kick when shopping and setting up MASH (Make All Staff Happy), the Craft Show and the Train Show at West. Not only does Scott support the PTSO, he attends booster meetings and spends time promoting West to local businesses. He can often be seen selling tickets for dances, speaking to students or supporting games. Scott fills in to cover the gate at home football games, dresses up as a mascot to fire the student section up and grills at many student events. He quietly gives of his time, talent and support year- round. We are so grateful for Scott and all he does to support and encourage the students, teachers and staff at Lakota West.

Ridge Junior
Nominee: Melissa St. Clair
Presenter: Ben Brown, Principal

Congratulations to Melissa St. Clair, the Barb Bossu Recipient for Lakota Ridge Jr. Melissa has faithfully served Lakota schools as a volunteer for the past 9 years. Melissa has volunteered at Creekside, Freedom and Ridge. Over the years, Melissa is known for her hospitality. She brought the Making All Staff Happy” (MASH) to  Ridge, where the staff receives monthly treats. She organizes and prepares conferences dinners for staff, teacher appreciation week, and helped with the Color Run. Melissa serves on the DPC and clearly leads  through acts of service. It is with pleasure we recognize Melissa St. Clair as the 2020 Barb Bossu Recipient from Lakota Ridge Jr.

Creekside ECS
Nominee: Heather Davis
Presenter: Linda Pavlinac, Principal

Heather Davis brightens up Creekside with her generous volunteer spirit! She regularly volunteers in the cafeteria, media center, and Innovation Hub and students recognize and greet her by name every time she is in the building. Heather was critical to making sure our new Innovation Hub was ready to open during the school year as she spent countless hours moving and organizing books and other materials. Heather makes Creekside great and we are so grateful for her!

Nominee: Stephanie Patterson
Presenter: Valerie Montgomery

Stephanie is Cherokee’s own ‘Swiss Army Knife! Her preparation, organization, dedication, and commitment to the entire Cherokee community is evident in all she does. From serving as PTA’s President, organizing events and dunk tanks, to volunteering her time at nearly every Cherokee function, her passion for our school is second to none. This is all in addition to her day job as a Cherokee parent and secretary in the front office! We are very grateful for all Stephanie does daily and congratulate her on her award.

Heritage ECS
Nominee: Jessica Carter
Presenter: Missy Alexander, Principal

Jessica has gone above and beyond this school year to help with many events that have directly impacted our students and families. She was instrumental to making walk-a-thon a success this year. She even suffered the heat to wear a Clifford costume that delighted all of the students (and staff too!). She was also a key member of this year’s carnival committee, helping to make sure the night ran smoothly. Behind the scenes she has worked tirelessly on the PTO social media, building our website and Facebook page to help make sure all of our parents are informed of upcoming events at school. She has truly been a wonderful part of our school and our PTO this year, and I am thankful for her service and volunteerism!

Hopewell Junior
Nominee: Susanne Page
Presenter: Jeff Rouff, Principal

Susanne Page is an exceptional member of our Hopewell PTSO and part of an outstanding team of two with another PTSO volunteer, Amy Macenski. As a team, these two women took on three roles at HJS- Fundraising, Hospitality and Staff Appreciation and made breakthrough changes in all three areas. In Fundraising, they  came up with the first ever Color Run last school year which was so wildly successful that the other Lakota Junior schools reached out to learn how to do one of their own. With Staff Appreciation, Susanne along with Amy have been masters of getting donations and sponsorships to fund things we have paid for in the past and saved enough money in their budgets to use their funds to renovate the staff lounge. It was a vast improvement and a great way to truly appreciate our staff. In addition to providing delicious staff meals on conference nights and other times, Amy and Susanne have added lots of little treats that they gift to the staff through the year. They have also added raffle baskets, which they create with items they get donated from local businesses and raffle off at each staff meal. They show up to help at every event, even if it is not one of their own. They are amazing volunteers who have contributed so much to Hopewell Jr over the last two years!

Lakota East Freshman

Nominee: Lisa Bohorfoush
Presenter: Rob Burnside, Associate Principal

Lisa serves as the Lakota East PTSO Treasurer. During her time as a Lakota parent she has served as President of Union Elementary School PTSO, Treasurer for Union PTSO, Chairman of Union Fall Festival and Chairman of Hopewell Junior Directory. Lisa’s organization skills, dedication and ability to analyze the needs of Lakota East PTSO have been a valuable asset to the organization. Lakota East appreciates the time Lisa gives to our students and community.

Lakota East

Nominee: Darla Higgins
Presenter: Suzanna Davis, Principal

Darla serves as both Staff Appreciation Chair and Membership/Directory Chair. In addition to her official roles, she also did the research to find the best option and set up our new Membership Toolkit website, for which  she continues to be our best go-to resource for help. Last year, Darla was both Secretary/Volunteer Coordinator and Staff Appreciation Chair and has filled in as secretary several times this year. Darla’s name appears on all of the LEHS volunteer signups - After-Prom, Senior Picnic, Craft Show, selling Homecoming and Prom tickets, selling Senior Parking spots and supervising parking spot painting. She is the person who can be counted on for sure in any situation.  She gives a lot of herself to East and is a gift to us all!

Woodland Elementary

Nominee: Carrie Lamping
Presenter: John Wise, Principal

Carrie has been an important part of both the Hopewell and Woodland community for many years, serving as  a trusted volunteer in many capacities. Carrie always steps in to help when needed and has spent many hours offering assistance wherever she can. At Woodland over the past 2 years, she has helped with 6th Grade activities as well as weekly copy room volunteer and Birthday Bash participant. She has served as Secretary for many of the years she has had children at both Woodland and Hopewell Elementaries, helping to make sure the PTO has accurate records of meeting notes, as well as stepping into a Vice President position to assist a very busy PTO President. Carrie was the Hopewell Movie Night Chair for several years, which required coordinating payments and volunteers, as well as keeping children in line for an entire movie! Carrie volunteered at Book Fairs and Field Day, 6th grade events and Grandpersons Day programs, as well as Staff Treat Carts and Conference Dinners. She’s also helped to coordinate concessions for our yearly Carnival for many years, as well as offering assistance whenever there’s a need for any project. Carrie’s last child will be moving on to Hopewell Junior next year, and along with him, we lose a wonderful, cheerful, kind and  dedicated volunteer who is always willing to be a part of the team. She will be missed dearly, and we know that she will continue to bring a great deal of light wherever she might go. Thank you to Carrie for the dedication you bring to making Woodland and our community a better place!

Plains Junior
Nominee: Jennifer Collier
Presenter: Kim Wade, Principal

This is Jennifer‘s third year as PTO president at Plains Junior. Jennifer treats her position like it’s a full-time job! She can always be found serving up teacher conference dinners, creating sign-up geniuses, volunteering her time at the concession stands for volleyball or basketball games, and among many other things, she also started a Color Run at Plains this year, which raised over $8,000. She is a positive and cheerful volunteer wherever she is needed. Her organizational skills, along with her sweet demeanor and patience are part of what make her so easy to work with. If you ever need to find Jennifer, look no further than the halls of Plains Jr.!

Independence Elementary
Nominee: Jennifer Smith
Presenter: Greg Finke, Principal

We are so proud to nominate Jenny as our Indy Barb Bossu Award winner for 2020. Jenny has organized our annual Walk-a-thon called the Masquerade March for the past five years. Her work has demonstrated a servant’s heart mentality. She puts in hours of time organizing, developing and implementing tremendous ideas for kids to be excited about walking around the bus lane. She is an absolute treasure!!

Union Elementary
Nominee: Alex Ince
Presenter: Kyle Lichey, Principal

As the Union PTSO President for 2 terms, she is constantly maintaining communication, organizing school fundraisers/events, and donating her time. Her volunteer work embodies the exact description, and spirit of this award.