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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower, left, congratulates Brian Tomalavage, the Free Home Elementary School Volunteer of the Year, for earning the Cherokee County School District 2020 Volunteer of the Year award.

The Cherokee County School District is honoring the contributions of school volunteers through its Seventh Annual CCSD Volunteer of the Year awards, officials said Friday.

Through the annual program, every CCSD school selects a Volunteer of the Year to honor. From that pool of exceptional school volunteers, a committee made up of retired educators and community leaders selects an overall CCSD 2020 Volunteer of the Year. This year’s winner is Brian Tomalavage, the Free Home Elementary School Volunteer of the Year.

While the traditional recognition ceremony could not be held this year, plaques are being delivered to all of the school-level winners thanks to the continuing sponsorship of the Cherokee County Educational Foundation. Every week, a different school Volunteer of the Year will be featured on CCSD social media platforms. The Foundation also sponsors the CCSD Partner of the Year recognition program, and those winners will be announced soon.

“We are a better School District and a better community because of our willingness to work together for our children,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We could never repay our outstanding volunteers for their dedicated service, but these awards are a way to recognize them and thank them. They are making a positive difference in the lives of our students.”

Tomalavage formed a Watch DOGS program at Free Home Elementary School to encourage more dads, grandfathers and other male family members to become school volunteers. Through the program, which he chaired while also serving as President of the School Council, Tomalavage engaged these volunteers in car-rider duty, campus improvement projects, and manning the book fair and other events.

He personally volunteered in all these roles and more, but the one most important, according to former Free Home Principal Kim Hagood, who now serves at Carmel Elementary School, was role model.

“Many students enjoyed just spending time with him,” she said. “It is obvious to them that he is genuinely interested in what they have to say. This alone can change the course of a child’s day!”

2020 CCSD Volunteers of the Year are:

♦ Arnold Mill Elementary School, Dusty Elmore;

♦ Avery Elementary School, Linda Fulton;

♦ Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy, Linda Miller;

♦ Bascomb Elementary School, Michelle Helvey;

♦ Boston Elementary School, Michael Burton;

♦ Carmel Elementary School, Staci Powell;

♦ Cherokee High School, James Butler;

♦ CCSD Preschool Center – Johnston, Soleil Charity Committee;

♦ CCSD Preschool Center — Ralph Bunche, Laurel Canyon Optimist Club;

♦ Clark Creek ES STEM Academy, Kathy Sanders;

♦ Clayton Elementary School, Debbie Champion;

♦ Creekland Middle School, Tessa Craig;

♦ Creekview High School, Jeff Stokes;

♦ Dean Rusk Middle School, Mitzi Hamilton;

♦ E.T. Booth Middle School, Susan Honea;

♦ Etowah High School, Kimberle Crosby;

♦ Free Home Elementary School, Brian Tomalavage;

♦ Freedom Middle School, Di Graves;

♦ Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy, PTA Executive Board;

♦ Hickory Flat Elementary School, Jessica Falls;

♦ Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy, Sarah Reed;

♦ Indian Knoll Elementary School, Jeanette Smith;

♦ Johnston Elementary School, Emily Meyer;

♦ Knox Elementary School STEM Academy, Tiffany Bird;

♦ Liberty Elementary School, Charlie Thomas;

♦ Little River Elementary School, Natalia Jones;

♦ Macedonia Elementary School, Alyson Conley;

♦ Mill Creek Middle School, PTSA Executive Board;

♦ Mountain Road Elementary School, Chanda Schwab;

♦ Oak Grove Elementary School Fine Arts Academy, Lorna Westphal;

♦ R.M. Moore Elementary School STEM Academy, Alexandra Stark;

♦ River Ridge High School, Brenda Page;

♦ Sequoyah High School, Paula Cangemi;

♦ Sixes Elementary School, Melissa Meyer;

♦ Teasley Middle School, Renee Johnson;

♦ Tippens Education Center, Teddye Holloway;

♦ Woodstock Elementary School, PTA Executive Board;

Woodstock High School, Dacia Shackelford; and♦

♦ Woodstock Middle School, Jennifer Carpenter.

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