Farmington PTA honors students with first-ever Acorn awards

Farmington PTA Acorn Awards
Acorn Award winners Taja Carroll, left, and Shaliz Eboh, right, are pictured with Michigan PTA President, Sibyl Collins Wilson.  (contributed)

Farmington Area PTA members, guests and dignitaries on March 4 celebrated the annual Farmington Area PTA Founders’ Day Dinner.

The event marked the first-ever presentation of Acorn Awards, from Farmington High School PTSA to FHS students Taja Carroll and Shaliz Eboh. The Acorn Awards honor student service, advocacy and leadership.

Harrison High School student Anya Turner received a distinguished service award from the Harrison High School PTSA, for her leadership and service.

Retiring Superintendent Dr. George Heitsch received the Michigan PTA Honorary Life Membership award, recognizing his dedication to the welfare of children and youth.

Pauline Kim, a parent volunteer, was named Council Member of the Year for her work with the Farmington Area PTA Reflections art program. The award honors outstanding council level leadership, a commitment to children’s advocacy, and a genuine passion for the PTA.

House Democratic Leader Christine Greig, a former Farmington High School PTSA president and PTA council president, received both the Michigan PTA Super Advocate award and Michigan PTA Brian Whiston Advocate of the Year award, which was presented by Beth Whiston, wife of the late state superintendent.

Founders’ Day, an annual event, celebrates the legacy and work of PTA founders Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, and Selena Sloan Butler, to better the lives of every child in education, health and safety. Members reflect on and take pride in achievements, and renew their commitment to be a powerful voice for all children, relevant resource for parents, and strong advocate for public education.

Distinguished Service Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the welfare of children and youth, and were given by local PTA units to the following volunteers:

  • Susan Groenenboom -Farmington High School
  • Tim Hutton -Farmington High School
  • Beth Rodda -Warner Middle School
  • Cindi Dinkins –Warner Middle School
  • Lisa Goldstein –Warner Middle School
  • Michele Barker –Farmington STEAM Academy
  • David Beazley –Farmington STEAM Academy
  • Mary Beth Taylor -Alameda Early Childhood Center
  • Hugh Holstine –Longacre Elementary School
  • Francesca Holstine –Longacre Elementary School
  • Jennifer Hassell -Wood Creek Elementary School
  • Melissa Wiercinski -Wood Creek Elementary School
  • Kim Chenoweth –Hillside Elementary School
  • Lisa Brosnan –Hillside Elementary School
  • Catherine Cordle –East Middle School
  • Becky Lasecki -East Middle School
  • Ashleigh Jaleel -Gill Elementary School
  • Carrie Winters -Gill Elementary School
  • Meredith Swaine -Gill Elementary School
  • Pauline Kim -North Farmington High School
  • Elizabeth Gebs -Lanigan Elementary School
  • Jaime Manville -Lanigan Elementary School
  • Cheryl Newcomer -Power Middle School
  • Jennifer Crager -Power Middle School
  • Debbie Schurgin -Beechview Elementary School
  • Mrs. Defever -Beechview Elementary School
  • Noel Cimmino -Forest Elementary School
  • Ilyssa Cimmino -Forest Elementary School
  • Janice Sterling -Forest Elementary School
  • Natalie Lowenfeld -Harrison High School
  • Tammy Luty -Harrison High School

Special guests in attendance included:

  • Michigan PTA President, Sibyl Collins Wilson
  • Michigan PTA Past President, Mary DeYoung Smith
  • Superintendent Dr. George Heitsch
  • Director of School and Community Relations, Diane Bauman
  • House Democratic Leader, Christine Greig
  • State Senator, Jeremy Moss
  • Beth Whiston, Wife of the late Brian Whiston, State Superintendent
  • Farmington Board of Education members, Pam Green, Angie Smith, Zach Rich, and Terri Weems
  • Farmington Hills City Council members Theresa Rich, Samantha Steckloff, Michael Bridges and Randy Bruce

In addition to the awards ceremony, attendees enjoyed musical performances from Harrison High School IB student Elena Vargo, performing a duet with her mother, Power Middle School orchestra teacher Sandy Vargo; and a Reflections award winning dance piece by Warner Middle School student Alexis Harvey.

The Farmington Area PTA Council, consisting of 16 local PTA units, is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization affiliated with Michigan PTA and National PTA.

Press release