2012 Ralph "Cy" Seifert National Volunteer of the Year

Kathy Wright, Greater Riverside Dollars for Scholars (California)

Congratulations to Kathy Wright, winner of the 2012 Ralph "Cy" Seifert National Volunteer of the Year Award! In addition to its regional prize money, Kathy's chapter in California received an additional $2,000 to award to students, and she will be honored at Scholarship America's Annual Meeting in October.

More about Kathy, from her award nomination:

"Kathy is the the ultimate advocate for education. She is the former Superintendent of Alvord Unified School District, one of the districts that our organization serves. As Superintendent, she always kept continuing education as the forefront of her focus, which is probably part of what brought her to serve as a founding board member for our chapter.

Since the organization's inception, Kathy has been a tireless advocate for Dollars for Scholars as a Board Member, and has used her involvement both professionally and philanthropically to help expand our scholarship opportunities and act as an advocate for post-secondary education among our youth. She has been the organization's key visionary, dedicated board member, and cheerleader. She has sacrificed an insurmountable amount of her time, and skill to contribute to the community as a board member for Greater Riverside DFS."

2012 Regional Volunteers of the Year

In addition to the National Volunteer of the Year, these regional winners were all honored based on the award criteria; each one received a monetary award from their region, plus a recognition plaque from the national office. After you've read the highlights from their nominations, check out the Chapters of the Year for more inspiring stories!

Barb Dalton, T-C Dollars for Scholars (Iowa)

"Mrs. Barb Dalton represents the very meaning of the word 'volunteer.' Her role with Dollars for Scholars is proof of her ongoing commitment to be a service provider for the past, present and future graduates of Tri-Center Community Schools. Barb has often commented that her father always stressed to her that one of the most important things in life was to get a good education. As the mother of five Tri-Center graduates, and through working in the office, she knew ... that one of the greatest hurdles for a majority of students would be cost.

Barb was one of the charter members of [our chapter]. She has remained a loyal and hardworking member long after her own kids have graduated and moved on. In part, it is through the efforts of Barb that our chapter has continued to flourish and, in fact, has motivated other area schools to establish a chapter of their own. ... We definitely need more people like Barb Dalton."

Becky Cartwright, Princeton Scholarship Foundation (Minnesota)

"Becky was part of the planning committee for an All-Class Reunion in 1995. They had $21,000 in surplus funds and Becky suggested that it be donated it the Princeton Scholarship Foundation which had been discontinued for several years. With that donation, our chapter was rejuvenated and Becky became an active member of our board.

As a faculty member of Princeton High School, Becky is a mentor to many students. She encourages students to further their education through the use of available scholarship opportunities. She uses the school's newsletters and daily announcements to keep the students informed of our local scholarships. Becky attended ChapterNet Training in October and because of her work on the website, we were the first chapter to have our website go live."

Joel Putnam, Ellkhart Central High School Dollars for Scholars (Indiana)

"Joel has been a huge advocate for education in our community. He has spent a large amount of his time and energy to maintain the database for our Corporate Campaign, prints out letters/information to be mailed out to businesses on 3 separate occasions, sends personal thank you notes, and makes personal telephone calls to our Named Scholarship donors. Joel doesn't hesitate to contact Scholarship America for support and guidance. He utilizes the vast amount of information that is easily accessible and shares his knowledge with the board.

Although Joel and his family made the decision to relocate to Indianapolis in the Fall of 2011, he continued to be the chairperson for the Corporate Campaign while training another board member to take his place. With the process of selling his home, relocating, and finding a new place to live, he could have easily walked away. But this is Joel we are talking about, one of the most selfless people I have ever known, someone who always puts the needs of others first."

Joyce Gay, South Colonie Dollars for Scholars (New York)

"Joyce was one of the founding members of the Board of Directors of South Colonie Dollars for Scholars which began in 2002. She actively recruited volunteers to build our board and worked with the board members to attain our charter in 2003. Since our beginning, Joyce has headed our Scholarship Committee. Joyce participated in the ChapterNet pilot during the initial setup and is currently involved in the setup of our upcoming 2012 on-line scholarship offerings; ChapterNet for South Colonie Dollars for Scholars was one of the first in the country to go live.

Joyce believes that every student will succeed in achieving their academic, personal & career goals. [She] is an advocate in the availability of resources for all students with success as the outcome."

Linda Sorenson, Bright Future Dollars for Scholars (Washington)

"The title of secretary does not begin to reflect how much work Linda has done for our Chapter and for the at-risk students who are helped. In addition to performing all the duties of Secretary and Executive Committee member, she has been actively involved in recruiting members and volunteers, and is always looking for new and improved ways for our Chapter to function. ... All of this is done with great good humor and an abiding interest in the people we serve.

Our Chapter has gone through tremendous change in recent years. Linda has been at the forefront of efforts to continue to have a viable organization supporting the local community. When the Chapter realized that the school that was the main focus of our support was going to close, Linda spent much time and effort working with the Board to come up with alternatives. Her ability to respond to change helped enable our Chapter to prosper and to grow."

Patricia Mooney, Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of Wakefield (Massachusetts - Northeast)

"For nearly four decades, Pat Mooney has been an extremely active member of CSF of Wakefield. She is a past president [and ] has served as Executive Secretary for over thirty years. She is currently an active member of the Executive Board. Pat is the face to Wakefield's very successful endowment program -- the chapter currently has over 500 permanent funds valued at $8 million, [and ] during the 50th anniversary celebration (that Pat chaired) we estimated that she had sent out over 25,000 thank-you notes to all the donors to endowment funds.

"She knows not only the funds, but the donors. If you need something done, Pat is always saying yes, from organizing birthday parties for our founder Dr. Irving Fradkin to serving as a mentor to Wakefield's very successful and award winning Wakefield Adult Mentoring (WAM) program. "

The Dream Award

Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

Success By Degrees

Scholarship America's blog, Success By Degrees, covers items of interest to parents, volunteers, educators and anyone interested in the big issues surrounding education, financial aid and postsecondary success. You'll find policy announcements, news releases and more, every week!

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