Mary Wright, Edge ES, Named Okaloosa County School District’s Senior Volunteer of the Year
Mary Wright, Edge Elementary School, has been named the Okaloosa County School District’s Senior Volunteer of the Year.
“We are so grateful for all Mrs. Wright has poured into our students and school over the last ten years,” said Principal, Dr. Samantha Dawson. “She leads a group of tutors from First Baptist Church who work with our students twice a week to practice reading and math skills. She says she is humbled by this honor and enjoys working with the children. We love you, Mrs. Wright!”
Wright has been actively involved in volunteering for the last 10 years. Beginning with an idea to provide benevolence through her church to school aged children of single mothers, she initiated a tutoring program which benefits students in the primary grades. The program has since expanded to include any student in need of the service, no questions asked. The program is for students in Kindergarten, first grade and second grade encompassing tutoring in the area of Math and English Language Arts. They work on building core competencies, phonetic awareness, comprehension, vocabulary and sight word recognition. Helping students to achieve the required grade level standards and maintain pace with the current curriculum.
“Mrs. Wright single-handedly organizes, maintains, and facilitates the program insuring sufficient tutors for each child,” said Dr. Dawson. “Tutors are recruited by her through the church congregation making sure there is a ‘just right’ fit between tutor and student. Mrs. Wright will burden herself by taking on more students before allowing any student to go without service.”
Additionally, Wright’s program improves social skills, manners and promotes a positive connection with the student’s teacher and parents. Her idea spans an inter-generational relationship benefiting not only the students but also the tutors.
“The work being done with these students has had an outstanding impact on both the students and the school overall,” stated Dr. Dawson. “Currently, the program she manages is helping 30 students with additional students on a waiting list. Mrs. Wright is very deserving of the Outstanding Senior Volunteer award. She exemplifies the perfect example of what a volunteer should be. We are blessed beyond measure to have her as a member of our Edge Family.”
Wright averages approximately 15 hours per week minimum in her dedication to the tutoring program at Edge Elementary. The program itself occurs after school hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school year. However, Mrs. Wright dedicates numerous hours above and beyond just these particular days of the week. This program consists of about 40 tutors and approximately 30 students with additional students on a waiting list.
“Through the tutoring program which is tailored to kindergarten, first, and second grade students, Mrs. Wright has impacted student achievement in the areas of Math and English Language Arts by working on building core competencies, phonetic awareness, comprehension, vocabulary and sight word recognition,” said Assistant Principal, Kathy Anderson. “Student attendance has increased and behavior has improved because the students are excited about getting to work with their tutors each week.”
Wright recruits the tutors from her church congregation, she assures they complete the mandatory district security checks and training, and assures they are assigned to a student who is an appropriate match. She monitors these relationships throughout the entire school year, and she will burden herself by taking on more students so that no student goes without assistance. She affects even more students indirectly because of the relationships she builds with the families. She supplies them with all needs that she is aware of such as food, clothing, and even providing Christmas presents. Even after the tutoring program ends, Wright continues to follow up with these families to assure they have all they need.