Tania Owens, Wright ES, Named District's Senior Volunteer of the Year
Tania Owens, Wright Elementary School, has been named the District's Senior Volunteer of the Year. Owens’ passion is helping children learn and teachers teach. Her goal in volunteering at Wright Elementary School is to break down emotional barriers for children so they can focus on instruction and to alleviate tedious tasks from teachers so they can focus on teaching. She volunteers in the front office, Guidance, the Media Center, in first through fifth-grade classes (running copies, delivering mail, and being available to assist in all errands), but her true love is the Kindergarten building where she serves as an integral part of the teaching team at Wright Elementary School.
Frequently, Tania sees children in need of clothing, shoes, or supplies and immediately remedies it by a trip to the store purchasing more items than necessary for the children. She tutors, reads, and “listens” to students share their difficulties at home and in the classroom. Children who work directly with her have doubled their academic knowledge in letters, sight words, and reading passages.
Mrs. Owens chaperones field trips when parents are unable to attend because of work or other circumstances. The emotional support students feel because of her involvement shows in student attitudes and school performance. Many adults are also positively affected as she spends countless hours laminating, tutoring, copying, and preparing classroom activities. She completes and greatly diminishes multiple teachers’ time spent beyond the school day. During the summer, Mrs. Owens assists office staff and teachers by painting bookshelves and making our rooms clean and attractive. Her presence and contributions greatly increase the climate of our entire school.
"Tania is a dream volunteer; she is always seeking ways to serve our school," says Wright Elementary School Principal, Dr. Anita Choice.
The most unusual characteristic of Tania’s volunteer service is her inability to hear. At the age of three, a high fever rendered her completely deaf. Our students have adapted their usual means of communication to include direct eye contact and speech articulation as well as patience when talking to her. She chooses to read lips instead of signing to broaden the number of people she communicates with. Lip reading requires tremendous talent on her part, yet minimal effort from others. She states, “I chose this method of communication allowing those unable to sign to be able to communicate with me.”
Wright Elementary School’s young learners have significantly increased their communication for their beloved Mrs. Tania to understand them. Her accomplishments are the students’ accomplishments. When children smile, succeed at a task, or gain a new understanding because of her involvement, she is fulfilled.
Mrs. Owens has worked at Wright Elementary School five hours a day, each school day for four years. She takes off a week at a time to visit her own children and grandchildren, but only with an advanced notice on the Kindergarten community calendar to prepare us for her absence. During her service, 120 Kindergarten students each year directly benefit from her time and tutoring support with MAP related needs. She indirectly impacts 150 more students throughout the school. Although the true number of students she has impacted is truly countless, we can directly account for over 1,000 students who benefit from her dedication to volunteering and her endless love for helping others.
Congratulations and thank you for your service, Mrs. Owens!