Crystal Apples honor school volunteers


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@aimmediamidwest.com



Jeff Rakar and Scott Douglass pose with Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro and their Crystal Apple Awards.

Jeff Rakar and Scott Douglass pose with Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro and their Crystal Apple Awards.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Award winners Jim Hickman and Joe Houghtland smile with Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Ann Jones and Kathleen Mount celebrate with an award.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Beth Novak (center) celebrates with Jennifer Werner and Colene Walker.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

If you want to learn about the spirit of giving, look to Debbie Dixon, Scott Douglass, Jim Hickman, Joe Houghtland, Ann Jones, Beth Novak, and Jeff Rakar as examples.

The seven were celebrated Monday with Crystal Apple Awards from the Amherst board of education as tokens of thanks for outstanding volunteerism.

Four were nominated by Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro because of their work on behalf of the band.

Rakar and Douglass, both members of the band boosters, took on the job of raising money to buy new hats for the band.

The Marching Comets went through a uniform change in 2008 but were still wearing hats from 1996. The older gear didn’t match and was starting to fall apart.

Contacting alumni, running an online campaign, and dressing up at concerts to ask for donations, the duo raised enough to pay for not just hats but another $10,000 for band raincoats as well.

Hickman and Houghtland took on another big project, refitting the band’s trailer purchased in 2004.

At 14 years old, it had surpassed its decade life expectancy and Barbaro was eyeing a $12,000 or more price tag for a replacement trailer. Instead, Hickman and Houghtland took it home for the summer.

With the help of a crew, “the trailer gods,” as Barbaro called them, stripped the trailer, bought new parts, and installed new lights, extending its usefulness by five or six years.

Jones was praised by Powers Elementary School media aide Kathleen Mount. She volunteered to help inventory the school library.

Together, the pair has been reorganizing and cleaning off shelves. “We get covered in dust and dirt pulling books out that haven’t seen the light of day in a long, long time,” Mount said — the oldest found so far dates to 1916.

Novak and Dixon were nominated by Steele High intervention specialist Colene Walker and teacher aide Jennifer Werner.

Novak has taken the reins of the Cleveland Clinic work-study program for students with special needs. Walker called her “the most patient person” and said her high expectations for students help them to thrive.

Dixon, owner of Your Deli on Park Avenue, also hosts a work-study student each week.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Jeff Rakar and Scott Douglass pose with Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro and their Crystal Apple Awards.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/05/web1_DSC_1424.jpgJeff Rakar and Scott Douglass pose with Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro and their Crystal Apple Awards.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Award winners Jim Hickman and Joe Houghtland smile with Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/05/web1_DSC_1429.jpgAward winners Jim Hickman and Joe Houghtland smile with Amherst Marching Comets director Chris Barbaro.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Ann Jones and Kathleen Mount celebrate with an award.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/05/web1_DSC_1436.jpgAnn Jones and Kathleen Mount celebrate with an award.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Beth Novak (center) celebrates with Jennifer Werner and Colene Walker.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/05/web1_DSC_1421.jpgBeth Novak (center) celebrates with Jennifer Werner and Colene Walker.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@aimmediamidwest.com

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