Photo left to right: Wakulla Middle Dean of Students Amy Bryan, WMS Principal Rick Myhre, Tom Dunaway, WMS teacher and family member Charlotte Hoover, and Superintendent Bobby Pearce
Tom Dunaway, selected as the Outstanding School Volunteer of the Year for Wakulla County, has now won the top honor of being selected by the Florida Department of Education as the Region 1 Outstanding School Volunteer of the Year.
Each of the seventy-two school districts in the state is allowed to choose their Outstanding Volunteers of the Year for the categories of Youth, Adult, and Senior. After being selected to represent Wakulla County School District in the Senior category, Mr. Dunaway’s application was sent in for the state competition.
Florida Department of Education then named regional winners from each of the categories. Wakulla is in Region 1, consisting of 36 North Florida school districts, including those as large as St. John’s County and Leon County. There are five regions in the state.
“This is a well-deserved honor,” stated Superintendent Bobby Pearce. “Tom won from the application submitted by Wakulla Middle School, and I can personally attest to his dedication as a tireless volunteer at Medart Elementary School when I was principal there. He is a true role model for being all about quietly helping students and teachers without looking for praise or thanks.”
Mr. Dunaway is retired, but averages over 30 hours per week in Wakulla County schools. He will do anything asked of him, from tutoring students to proctoring test administrations, to hanging up student work for display in the hallways. No task is too small for him, but it is the way he cheerfully engages with students and staff, plus humbly likes to work behind the scenes with no thought for his own recognition that make him a beloved figure in the schools.
For nine years Wakulla schools have benefitted from Mr. Dunaway’s volunteerism, including his superior photography skills. He has never refused a request to photograph school activities like Veteran’s Day assemblies, athletic events, or the swearing in of new School Board officers. Many times he just shows up on his own if he knows there is an important event, then quietly gives the school or district a disc with all the photos he shot, plus has hard copies printed out. All this is done at his own expense.
Regional Outstanding Volunteers of the Year are selected based on their number of hours of service, years of service, unusual type of contribution and/or unique characteristic of services performed.
Chief Instructional Officer Beth Mims acts as the Volunteer Coordinator for Wakulla County School District and spearheaded the application process.
Mr. Dunaway will be recognized for his award at the February 17, 2015 Wakulla County School Board Meeting at 5:45 p.m. in the Board Room (Rm. 106) at the District Office.