On Tuesday, June 19th, Boston Partners in Education was honored to recognize 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.

This year’s event was hosted by our friends at TD Bank, who generously provided breakfast and a tour of the historic TD Garden arena after the program.

Over 75 volunteers, board members, school partners, and other friends joined us in the Legends Club at TD Garden, where awards were presented to seven of our most outstanding supporters who have gone above and beyond to serve BPS students this 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.

“The best hour of your week is not just a recruitment slogan,” said Erin. “It’s what we hear from you, our volunteers, every day. You told our students that they were capable of achieving, and you proved it to them every week. They believed you, and that belief will last beyond this year and follow them throughout their educational careers.”

Shakera Ford Walker accepts the John C. Rennie Volunteer of the Year Award from Executive Director Erin McGrath and Partnerships Manager Sue Li.

To view photos from AMP!, visit our Facebook album here.

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

Joyna Bozzotto Award – Brandt Brisson
Brandt Brisson of Brown Brothers Harriman received the Joyna Bozzotto Award in recognition of ten years of service to students in the Power Lunch program, and for the leadership he has shown to recruit other mentors from Brown Brother Harriman.

Nicholas A. Lopardo Corporate Partner Award – Abt Associates
Matt Malachowski and Courtney Long accepted the Nicholas A. Lopardo Corporate Partner Award on behalf of Abt Associates, one of our longest-running Power Lunch partners. Abt Associates demonstrates a top down commitment to mentoring, as company leaders continue to encourage employees to volunteer, and even funds cabs to make transportation easier.

Isabel G. Besecker Award – Will Osier
Will Osier, a City Connects Coordinator at the Chittick Elementary School, received the Isabel G. Besecker Award to recognize his invaluable assistance in growing a small partnership at the Chittick into a robust and thriving program featuring dozens of matches to support his students.

Boston Partners in Education Family Engagement Award – Phuongdai Nguyen
Phuongdai Nguyen, a volunteer at the Richard J. Murphy school, received the Boston Partners in Education Family Engagement Award for continuing to volunteer in her son’s former classroom after serving there for an internship the previous year. Phuongdai brings a strong sense of family and bilingual abilities to her mentoring approach, creating a nurturing environment for English Language Learners in the classroom.

Pamela L. Trefler School Partner Award – Boston Arts Academy
The Boston Arts Academy received the Pamela L. Trefler School Partner Award in recognition of their growing partnership with our organization, which continues to provide their students with more mentors every year.

Betsy A. Nelson Educator of the Year Award – David Russell
David Russell, a teacher at the McKinley South End Academy, was awarded the Betsy A. Nelson Educator of the Year Award for his exceptional use of volunteers in the classroom. David inspires both our volunteers and his students with the energy, humor, and compassion he brings to every classroom lesson. Check out this short video to see him in action. 

David’s impassioned acceptance speech provided AMP! guests with a glimpse of his teaching charisma and appreciation for mentoring:

“We have a lot of us at our school, but we never have enough. Thirteen volunteers came to our school this year and helped my students feel more valuable.”

John C. Rennie Volunteer of the Year Award – Shakera Ford Walker
Finally, the John C. Rennie Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Shakera Ford Walker, a Boston Public Schools employee and a kindergarten classroom mentor through our Motivate program. One of our most influential volunteers and inspiring voices, Shakera has done some incredible work helping students with sight words, which can be seen here.

At AMP!, Shakera also shared a few words about what mentorship has meant to her:

“On a weekly basis, they inspire me, challenge me, provoke and motivate me. And they always make me laugh! Just last week one student told me how great I looked to be 100 years old! I probably learn far more from them than they could ever imagine. Education is a two-way street in that we are all learning and growing together. They have taught me so much this year and for that I am grateful. This award is as much for them as it is for me.”

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.