Volunteer Committed to Service
The Volunteer Committed to Service award was created by Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association as a way to pay tribute to those special men and women who give of their time and talents to VCS, whether through one major event or years of service to a group of students or a building.
- Cindy Riley – 2020
- Kelly Danks – 2019
- Susan Chapman – 2018
- Eleanor Barry – 2017
- Carol Prescott – 2016
- Brenda Landry – 2015
- Patricia Hall – 2014
- Nancy Dontzin – 2013
- Mike Colyer – 2012
- Jim Exton – 2011
- Barbara McFadden – 2010
Victor resident, Cindy Riley, was named the 2020 Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient earlier this year.
Victor Primary School Principal and nominator, Jennifer Check said, Riley’s work, both as the PTSA President and at the building level has been immeasurable. “She has helped foster positive collaboration between students, staff, parents and community members throughout the District. Cindy rallies around families in our community and is always thinking about ways PTSA can support District initiatives and create opportunities for families to connect. She can be seen in our schools and at events around campus regularly and is always offering to help and support our collective work for our children. Cindy brings a positive, collaborative spirit to all that she does,” Check said.
Building-by building, Riley has been lauded for her commitment to students. At the Early Childhood School she is known for masterminding field trips that connect children to what they’re learning in the classroom. At the Primary School, Cindy has been an incredible partner in creating safe, fun Field Days. The Intermediate School has benefited from Cindy’s support through a Community Read Night, book fair, teacher appreciation events, and unique nutrition experiences, to name a few. Among Cindy’s work in the Junior High was the introduction of the Jewish Community Center’s Survivor program, a tour group that re-enacts the experiences of local Holocaust survivors. Riley’s work has also been instrumental in the Senior High School where she has helped implement that building “Books at Breakfast,” a program that promotes literacy. She has also been incredibly supportive of parent education programs that tackle tough topics like vaping, drug use and mental health awareness.
Riley said her work at Victor schools began six years ago when her family moved here from out of state and she went to a PTSA meeting to meet people and learn about the District. It was there that she said she was introduced to a caring group of people, that she calls her friends today, and to the important collaborations going on between the community, parents, students and VCS staff. “I knew right then that I wanted to help further the decades of supportive work from past PTSA members. I wanted to volunteer because I knew firsthand that when everyone works together a district is stronger, the students have a better schooling experience and it’s a win-win for the community and its future. I am blessed to receive this award, but I couldn’t have done it without all the help from my supportive family and fellow PTSA/PIE/VOICE colleagues. We are Victor!” Riley said.
Farmington resident Kelly Danks was honored with VCS’ 2019 Volunteer Committed to Service award at a special recognition ceremony in the JH/SH arts center on March 15th during the District’s Superintendent’s conference day assembly.
Her nominator, Victor Intermediate School (VIS) Principal, Kevin Swartz said Danks is not only an active member of the VIS Building Council, but she has also been a regular volunteer and supporter of his building’s book fairs for the past several years. In addition, she has been a driving force in planning the school’s Family Literacy Nights, an event which Swartz said has been extremely well attended in recent years. “Like many parents, Kelly is busy managing the many aspects of family life. Despite having children who are engaged in many activities of their own, Kelly takes pride in giving back to our building and its initiatives,” Swartz said.
Although Danks was nominated for her work at the Intermediate School, her volunteerism is far-reaching. She has been a member of all but one of VCS’ Building Councils, a PTSA Building Representative at three schools, and a committee member on numerous PTSA initiatives, including the Harlem Wizards event, half-day enrichment days, the Holiday Shoppe, ice cream socials and staff appreciation days, to name a few. Outside of school, Danks is also an active team parent for the Victor Youth Travel Basketball and Baseball organizations and a leader for the Victor Community Church’s Vacation Bible School and JAM children’s programs.
“I volunteer for several different reasons,” Danks said. “First I feel that volunteering is more of an exchange between people. Most people in their lives find themselves in need of help at some point. So today I might have the ability to help others, but tomorrow I may be the recipient of someone else’s volunteer effort. Adding my effort with the work of others makes everyone’s lives better.
I also volunteer because I want to get to know my community better, to learn something new, to have a positive impact, and to be a part of a team,” she said.
On Friday, March 16th Victor resident Susan Chapman was honored with the 2018 Volunteer Committed to Service award at a special recognition ceremony in the JH/SH arts during Victor Central Schools’ spring staff conference day. Her nominator, Senior High School Library Media Specialist Danyelle Westbrook said Chapman is an invaluable asset in her Media Center volunteering approximately ten hours a week of her time, two to three days a week.
“Sue has been volunteering for us since January of 2016. She knows the computer system and has helped to genrefy the library. She is also very creative and helps with displays. To top it off, her organizational skills are stellar!” Westbrook said.
Prior to volunteering at the Senior High library Chapman worked as a travel agent for thirteen years before becoming a stay at home mom. “While raising my kids, I became an unofficial genealogist and spent a lot of time in libraries! Once my kids were of high school age, I decided it was time for me to actually spend more time in a library. I am grateful that Danyelle welcomed me into the Media Center at the Senior High School. I love the library, and wish I was 20 again so I could become a librarian or a teacher!” Chapman said.
She might not have the title “teacher” or “librarian” but Westbrook said Chapman is more than qualified. “As a parent of VCS students Sue has an instant rapport with a lot of the students. The library is a very busy place, serving roughly 200 students a day and we rely on her support to pick up the duties we are not able to accomplish. She covers lunch breaks, puts books away, takes attendance, and so much more.”
Victor resident Eleanor Barry was honored with the 2017 Volunteer Committed to Service award at a special recognition ceremony in the JH/SH arts center on March 24th during Victor Central Schools’ spring staff conference day.
Her nominator, Victor Central Schools’ District Clerk Maureen Goodberlet said Barry’s tireless commitment to the VCS voting process which includes an annual vote, Board of Education elections, capital project votes, voter registration and Victor-Farmington library votes is simply astounding. “Eleanor has been the Chairperson of the Annual Vote and Election, Victor-Farmington Library vote (which is also run by VCS) and various capital project votes for well over twenty years. Sometimes there can be as many as three votes in a year. Eleanor is also an instrumental part of voter registration for every vote that takes place. These are paid positions and Eleanor has always volunteered her time, not taking a penny,” Goodberlet said.
Goodberlet attributes Barry’s wealth of knowledge in an age of ever changing State and Education Law voting procedures and her attention to detail to the success of Victor Central Schools’ votes. “On the day of the vote Eleanor doesn’t think twice about working a 16 hour day, even at her current age of 92. She comes in around 5:00 a.m. to make sure voting machines are up and running and supplies are set up appropriately. She works all day troubleshooting situations that arise with voter registration and voting machines and then closes the polls at 9:00 p.m. After the polls are closed she helps to verify the final numbers and presents results to those in attendance.” Goodberlet said.
Goodberlet, who has been managing school votes for ten years, said she continues to be amazed at how the efforts of one person can make a difference in how smoothly a vote runs, impacting tens of thousands of voters through the years. “Eleanor has earned the respect and gratitude of not only those of us who have the great privilege or working with her, but our entire Victor Central Schools’ community,” she said.
Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association have named Farmington resident Carol Prescott, the 2016 Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient.
Numerous teachers and administrators nominated Prescott for her work as not only the president of the parent group, PIE, but also for her work with the PTSA and VIS Building Council.
Nominators from the Primary School said that Carol has been a quiet force in the background, always figuring out a way to make something happen. “As a VPS parent representative for both PTSA and PIE, Carol was a voice of support in our efforts to maximize the Primary School experience for children. During our regular meetings, for years, she maintained a ‘big picture’ perspective of where we are going in respect to creating a kind and caring atmosphere for learning as well as an environment that was rich with quality instruction. Although her own children have moved into the Intermediate School, she continues to support elements of the school experience for ALL children at Victor Central Schools,” supporters said.
Nominators from the Intermediate School were equally enthusiastic about Carol’s nomination. “Carol is a familiar face at Victor Central Schools because she volunteers all through the school year. She is now PIE President and the sole coordinator for the Square One Art project but she has volunteered for many years on a variety of other projects. Carol is cheerful, patient and kind everyday and shows consistent leadership and dedication to Victor Central Schools at all levels. We are fortunate to have a parent leader and friend like Carol in our school district.”
Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association have named Victor resident Brenda Landry, the 2015 Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient.
Victor Intermediate School teachers Susan Meskos and Carrie Becker nominated Landry for her work at not only their school store each week but for her active involvement with the VCS parent group, Partners in Education (PIE).
According to Meskos, Landry facilities Intermediate students running the school store with kindness and consistency. “Brenda incorporates all elements of learning into the work she does with students. She guides them into making decisions and running the store with careful, positive questioning. The students set up, market products, sell, take down, count money and discuss their roles cooperatively. Brenda takes advantage of each learning opportunity while empowering students to take pride in their store,” she said.
Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association have named Victor resident Patricia Hall, the 2014 Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient.
Victor Schools’ Director of Athletics and Physical Education, Ron Whitcomb said he nominated Hall, a pediatric nurse practitioner and parent of two, for sharing her commitment to healthy living. “As Chairperson of the PTSA Health and Wellness committee, Patty is dedicated to helping our students make healthy choices. In doing this she has worked closely with our physical education staff and principals to create fun ways for students to eat more fruit and vegetables.”
Victor Primary School Principal, Danielle Dehm, who supported Hall’s nomination, says she is a champion when it comes to supporting our schools and teaching children about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “Most recently she spent time in elementary classrooms teaching about the hidden sugar in foods that we all enjoy,” Dehm said.
Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association have named Victor resident Nancy Dontzin its 2013 Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient.
Victor Primary School teacher, Ryan Charno was instrumental in nominating Dontzin for this year’s honor. In his nomination, he said:
“Nancy, known as “Grandma Nancy” to the students, is a true asset to the Victor Primary School. Nancy, a retired teacher with a plethora of expertise, has volunteered in my classroom since her granddaughter was a student six years ago! Nancy’s commitment to providing this valuable classroom instructional support has been outstanding. For the past six years, she has volunteered during reader’s workshop, 3-4 days a week, for an hour and a half each day. Her expertise, patience and teaching skills are obvious as she works with a wide array of students. Her perceptive observations are extremely helpful to my instruction and provide me with valuable input. The real impact that Grandma Nancy has in the classroom can be seen by the motivation that she cultivates in students. Students are constantly asking to have the opportunity to work with Nancy each and every day.”
Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association have named local businessman and VCS Class of 1991 alumni, Mike Colyer as its 2012 Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient.
As the CEO of VWR conglomerate in Henrietta, which includes Ward’s Natural Science and School Specialty, Mr. Colyer has forged a special partnership with the Victor Senior High Leadership class through the years. After Hurricane Katrina, he helped VCS students and staff send a tractor trailer load of supplies to Pass Christian, Mississippi. Leadership class teacher, Beth Thomas said that Mike also flew down to the site, “rake in hand, to help us clean up.”
Mike and his wife, Lisa also founded the ClaireBear Foundation after the tragic death of their three-year old daughter due to a rare heart condition. The foundation raises money to help families with travel expenses when they have to seek care for their children away from home. In addition, Mike generously donates his time to speak to VSH Leadership classes each semester.
Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association have named Victor resident, Mr. Jim Exton, as its 2011 Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient.
The Volunteer Committed to Service award was created by Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association as a way to pay tribute to those special men and women who give of their time and talents to VCS, whether it is through one major event or years of service to a group of students and/or building. Mr. Exton is being honored for his 21 years of service as the treasurer of the Dollars for Scholars
Victor Central Schools and the Victor Teachers’ Association have named Victor resident, Mrs. Barbara McFadden as its first-ever Volunteer Committed to Service award recipient.
Mrs. McFadden’s volunteerism efforts at VCS span more than a decade as a parent representative to the Committee on Special Education.