Front row (left to right): Fouse Principal Robb Stranges; Service to Youth winner Gina Meyer and her husband, Todd; and Sunrise Rotarians Cindy Hale, Kristin Mossmiller, Gretchen Kiehl, and Jamie North. Back row: Sunrise Rotarians Tom Schmitt and Paul Kulik, with Lucy Rader-Brown, ESL Coordinator, Westerville City Schools.
Gina Meyer, a bilingual, Spanish-speaking ESL Paraprofessional, was surprised on October 21when a group of Sunrise Rotarians showed up at Fouse Elementary School to present her with the Diane J. Conley Rotary Club of Westerville Sunrise Service to Youth award. She received a plaque from the club, along with a cake and a gift card donated by the Walmart Supercenter on Schrock Road. In addition, an American flag will be flown in her honor during Westerville’s Field of Heroes display. Meyer and other Service to Youth award winners will be honored at a breakfast in May.
The Sunrise Rotarians said Meyer contributes to the growth and development of Fouse youth through her insight, compassion and sensitivity. They said she is empathetic and understands the breadth and depth of the challenges her students face, helping them to realize that being bilingual is a gift to themselves and the world. Meyer is kind, patient, determined and persistent, helping pupils to overcome academic and personal hurdles, and communicating with their parents as well. “Due to her fluency in Spanish and her ability to build relationships, ESL parents have become more active in the PTO and volunteering efforts,” the Sunrise Rotarians added.
Rotary Sunrise instituted Service to Youth awards five years ago to recognize exceptional school employees who have made a special contribution to youth; have served as a positive role model for young people; and have demonstrated service above and beyond the call of duty in performing their job responsibilities. The award is named in honor of Sunrise Rotarian Diane Conley, retired Chief of Academic Affairs for Westerville City Schools.