You Make a Difference Award
The You Make a Difference Award is presented to staff members whose exemplary actions support students, colleagues and the mission of Salina Public Schools. Recipients of these awards receive a lapel pin and a handwritten note personally delivered by a board of education member.
Shawna Vakadewatabua, Kindergarten Teacher
Oakdale Elementary School
Shawna’s teaching style prompted a parent to nominate her to receive this recognition. Some of Shawna’s qualities that positively affect everyone include her hard work, wonderful communication skills and her warm and open heart. Her extra efforts included providing gifts to families in need at the holidays and attending school and student activities outside of the work day. Thank you, Shawna, for making a difference at Oakdale!
Cathy Cash, Music Teacher
Heusner Elementary School
Cathy brought an exciting idea to Heusner: High Five Fridays. Her vision involves community members ‘high-five-ing’ students as they enter on Friday mornings as acknowledgement of students’ hard work, pride and grit. Participants have included Kansas State Polytechnic, the USD 305 board office and the Salina Police Department. Cathy’s initiative and coordination have made a difference at Heusner, thank you!
Sara Goldsby, 1st Grade Teacher; McKenzie Weishaar, 2nd Grade Teacher; Linda Rohrer, Music Teacher
Sunset Elementary School
Sara, McKenzie and Linda formed a committee to run a community project for Sunset students named “Give-Cember.” The Sunset family brought gloves, mittens and hats that were used at Sunset and shared with other community agencies. Students proudly watched as the collection of items grew to a final number of 234 donations. Thank you Sara, McKenzie and Linda for making a difference at Sunset!
Molly Cherry, ESL Instructor
Cottonwood Elementary School
Molly’s influence is appreciated by students and staff alike, notably, her ability to promote a feeling of calm throughout the building as students wait patiently and quietly for their buses. Colleagues credit her creativity for improving their experiences with bus duty. Thank you Molly for positively impacting students and staff at Cottonwood!
Michelle Augustine and Michelle Chora, Night Custodians
Heusner Elementary School
Heusner’s evening custodians have become an integral part of the school family. Their enthusiasm to support a positive school culture was evident when they used their own time during weekends to decorate classroom doors for super hero and grinch themes. Thank you, Michelle Augustine and Michelle Chora for making a difference!
Michelle Post, Secretary
Always positive, attentive, on-task and grounded in serving students, Michelle wears many hats at Opportunity Now. She works with alternative placement and homebound efforts, serves as health delegate, coordinates multi-agency involvement and shares her technical expertise with staff. Thank you Michelle for making a positive difference at Opportunity Now!
Pat Schrader, Para
Grace E. Stewart Elementary School
Pat has a reputation with her colleagues as being quick to respond when help is needed. When a request for assistance goes out over the Walkie Talkies, Pat always seems to appear. If it is possible to have limitless patience, Pat would qualify based on her work with students who are struggling. Thank you Pat for making a difference!
Eric Boyle, Network Technician and Holly Wentz, Network Engineer
When Heusner staff discovered one of their students had a real passion for technology, they arranged a special incentive. Holly and Eric enthusiastically agreed to share their insights and visit with the youth. After the student worked hard for the privilege, all three met to talk about technology. Thank you Eric and Holly for making a difference!