Background jazz music by the CRLS “Delivery Boys”; savory hors d’oeuvres provided by Harvard University’s Public Affairs Office – CSV’s host for the event; the snapping of photos by thrilled family members; hugs and congratulations to so many, from so many; a rotating slide show of this year’s school volunteers; a dance performance by the CRLS Ethiopian Club – all of it reflected the festive air at the 25th annual Mack I. Davis II Awards and Volunteer Recognition Event on May 13, 2015.
More than 175 guests attended this year’s event that celebrated CSV’s 900+ volunteers for the 2014-2015 academic year. After greetings by Cambridge mayor David Maher, as well as school superintendent Dr. Jeffrey M. Young, the audience was mesmerized by the words of student speaker Betelhem Tesfaye, a CRLS senior who chronicled her journey from Ethiopia to Cambridge, and the challenges she endured along the way. (Betelhem is pictured above with CSV College Ready tutor Ken Shulman.) Her courage and passion to overcome each challenge were an inspiration to every CSV tutor who befriended and guided her when she arrived here at age 16. Many at the event were moved to tears as she spoke.
Another highlight of the program was the presentation of Mack I. Davis II awards to four outstanding volunteers for their contributions to the public school students of Cambridge. This year’s honorees included: Corinne Johnson (Tutoring Center tutor, Science Olympiad advisor – CRLS); Margaret (Maggie) Pancost (Novartis NetPal – CSUS); Sam Seidel (Early Literacy, Intergenerational Math, and Learning Center tutor, CSUS); and David Smith (Tutoring Center tutor – CRLS). In addition, the Kenneth S. Neal award honoring the collaborative role of a CPSD teacher/administrator with CSV was given to Jay Mahoney, 7th grade science teacher, RAUS.
CSV also saluted its 15 corporate partners, the local companies and public service/government/university agencies whose employees provide academic and mentoring support as either Reading Buddies or NetPals/KeyPals. Reading Buddies pairs adult volunteers with first, second or third graders to read aloud once a week, usually during the adult’s lunch hour. NetPals/KeyPals partners adult volunteers with middle school students who share assignments, science projects and career awareness through weekly e-mails. This year, CSV celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Novartis providing STEM mentors through NetPals, first at the Cambridgeport School, and now at Cambridge Street Upper School.
And not to be missed were the many volunteers receiving longevity awards – 5, 10, 15 years and even more – who keep returning year after year to give back to Cambridge students. This year, retired librarian Charlotte Ng reached the 25-year milestone of volunteering!
Congratulations to all who made this day so special, and particularly to the hundreds of volunteers whose dedication and spirit enable CSV to continue to do its important work.