Tom Stidham, associate professor of music at Kansas University, sometimes can be found at West Junior High School lending his expertise to band students there.
For 12 years, Sherry Kay has been helping Pinckney School students get safely to class, working as a crossing guard at the busy intersection of Sixth and Mississippi.
Jenny Dienes has brightened up the Central Junior High School library by developing bulletin board displays and even donating works of art. And whenever her real job keeps her from volunteering at Central, she calls the school to say she'll make up her hours later.
The three local residents were among 22 who were honored with "Friends of Education" awards at an annual reception Tuesday. The reception is part of American Education Week.
Karen Warner, an organizer of the event, said that in a society where time is a precious commodity, "these volunteers found the time to share their talents with us."
THAT VOLUNTEER service has included serving on parent-teacher organizations, encouraging parents to get involved, helping raise money for playground equipment, campaigning for flashing crosswalk signals and lending a hand during student assemblies and field trips.
Many of the volunteers are parents, and one principal's description of volunteer Tom Stidham fit many of the other volunteers whose children have moved through the Lawrence school system.
"The amazing thing was that his kids left, but Tom just kept hanging around," said West Junior High School Principal Mick Lowe.
In addition to Stidham, Kay and Dienes, the "friends" honored were Harriet Shaffer, Barb Forbes, Nancy Smith, Margo Helms, Debbie Withers, Susan Wolfe-Shirk, Kathy Bruner, Kim Messer, Kala Patterson, Steve Brown, Myra Glover, Angie White, Sue Givens, Mary Stein, Nancy Yockey, Bob Moody, Diane Zinn, Virginia Harris and Ann Ailor.
MEANWHILE, THE Lawrence Schools Area Council has announced the establishment of a new Partner in Education Award in observance of American Education Week.
The $200 award is to be presented to a teacher or principal in Lawrence elementary schools who does an exemplary job of involving parents in working partnerships for their children's education.
Nominations may be made by any parent or Lawrence parent-teacher organization between now and Feb. 1. The award will be presented in May.
Information on the award is available in school offices and also is to be sent home with schoolchildren this week. For additional information, call Nancy Smith at 843-7642 during evenings.