On Tuesday, June 11th, Boston Partners in Education recognized this year’s class of volunteer mentors and school partners at AMP!, our annual celebration of the community members who make our work a reality in Boston Public Schools (BPS) classrooms.

It takes a special commitment to become an academic mentor, and this year we were reminded just how dedicated our volunteers and supporters are. Over 80 partners joined us at AMP! to celebrate their peers, despite the widespread MBTA delays cutting off access to downtown Boston that morning. It was another testament to the selflessness of all those who offer their time to BPS students throughout the year.

Boston Partners Board Chairman Mike McKenna and Executive Director Erin McGrath kicked off the celebration by reiterating the immeasurable impact that mentors make in the classroom each year.

“Of the many events we do, this is one of the most special to me, because it’s a chance to uplift and showcase the hard work our volunteer academic mentors, teacher partners, and supporters do every week,” said Erin. “That hard work and collaboration, in turn, helps hundreds of Boston Public Schools students achieve their goals and realize their dreams.”

Awards were presented to the following individuals and partners, who have demonstrated an exemplary dedication to improving the lives and education of the BPS students:

Nicholas A. Lopardo Corporate Partner Award – Landmark Partners
Ira Shaw accepted the Nicholas A. Lopardo Corporate Partner Award on behalf of Landmark Partners, a global investment firm whose Boston office has continued to make mentoring a company-wide priority since 2013. This year, one-third of Landmark’s Boston-based team volunteered as academic mentors through Boston Partners. 

Isabel G. Besecker Award – Lauren Basler
Lauren Basler, the Enriched Life Director at the Standish Village Assisted Living & Compass Memory Support Community, received the Isabel G. Besecker Award. Lauren was recognized for her work connecting Standish Village clients to Power Lunch students at the Mildred Avenue K-8 School, while also combating negative stereotypes around seniors citizens.

Joyna Bozzotto Award – Jean McGeary
Jean McGeary received the Joyna Bozzotto Award in recognition of eight years of service to students in the Power Lunch program, and for her growing dedication to Boston Partners in Education. This year, Jean took on a new role as the Power Lunch Site Coordinator at the Gardner Pilot Academy, while continuing to make time to mentor students at Quincy Elementary.

Pamela Civins Rookie of the Year Award – Mohammed Al-Noor
First-year mentor Mohammed Al-Noor received the inaugural Pamela Civins Rookie of the Year Award for his outstanding commitment to students at the Haynes Early Education Center and to the Boston Partners mentor community. An aspiring educator, Mohammed has used his mentoring to better envision his role in the classroom and strengthen his ties to the communities he serves. 

Pamela L. Trefler School Partner Award – Fenway High School
Fenway High School received the Pamela L. Trefler School Partner Award in recognition of their growing partnership with Boston Partners, which continues to provide their students with more mentors every year.

Betsy A. Nelson Educator of the Year Award – Kelly Lewis
Kelly Lewis, an eighth-grade teacher at the Jackson/Mann K-8 School, was awarded the Betsy A. Nelson Educator of the Year Award for her exceptional use of volunteers in the classroom. “Ms. Lewis is an inspiration and a role model,” said Brad Hoekzema, an academic mentor in her classroom who credits his positive volunteering experience to her partnership and welcoming spirit. “She invests all that she’s got into her students’ well-being, both academically and personally. She is truly leading by example and gives me hope that her students have a bright future ahead of them.”

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Lewis reminded us why she feels mentors are so important to her classroom:

“Being recognized for putting forth my best effort is such a nice feeling, and it does make me feel proud. And I can’t help but think that THIS is how my students feel when they work with you, their academic mentors. You give this to them every week, this feeling of pride and accomplishment. So, I get it. I know why they get so excited when you come in.”

John C. Rennie Mentor of the Year Award – Kathy Weld
Finally, the John C. Rennie Mentor of the Year Award was presented to Kathy Weld for her work in David Russell’s classroom at the McKinley South End Academy. Mentoring at the McKinley is different than the typical Boston Partners volunteer experience — the school focuses on the emotional, behavioral, and learning needs of its students. Kathy wanted to make a difference in the lives of these students in her neighborhood, and she has put in hundreds of hours of volunteer time to understand how best to serve them. She volunteers two or more days per week for three or more hours each day.

Mr. Russell graciously joined us at AMP! to present Kathy with the award:

“Kathy Weld is in a category of her own. She doesn’t just put in time — she’s exemplary in her willingness to do anything, and for her flexibility, her insight, her compassion, and good humor.”

As always, we wish to thank all of our volunteers for another year of incredible effort and achievement in the classroom with Boston’s public school students. We know that, a year from now, we’ll be marveling at your work with students once more.