Walnut Springs teacher, Hawthorne custodian recipients of Westerville Sunrise Rotary Club Service to Youth Award for October and November

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Jeffrey Holmes, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Walnut Springs Middle School, and Nikki Edwards, head custodian at Hawthorne Elementary, have been recognized by the Westerville Sunrise Rotary for going above and beyond to serve students.

Holmes received the Rotary Club’s Service to Youth Award for October while Edwards was recognized for the award for November. Representatives from Westerville Sunrise Rotary, including Ohio Rep. Mary Lightbody, as well as school administrators and staff surprised recipients on Wednesday.

Nominations for each recipient featured glowing praise: 

Holmes: He works to help students learn about character and encourages them to always do their best. Students rise to high expectations in his class because they know he believes in them. He advises many club, sports and school-wide trips and is more than willing to sub in the lunchroom during his planning period to build relationships with students. He always wants what’s best for students’ growth.

Edwards: She leads by example and makes it a priority to address problems and concerns. She leads with kindness and advocates for the school community. She is a positive, solutions-based individual who greets students with smiles. She works tirelessly to help teachers and students.

Holmes and Edwards received an award from the club, along with baked treats and a gift card donated by the Walmart Supercenter. In addition, an American flag will be flown in their honor at the Westerville’s Field of Heroes display during Memorial Day weekend. All of the Service to Youth award recipients honored from October to May will be recognized at a Rotary Sunrise breakfast in May.

Rotary Sunrise launched its Service to Youth awards in 2011 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, a retired WCSD administrator currently serving as the Westerville mayor.