Volunteers in Public Schools honored many heroes Thursday during its annual appreciation luncheon for volunteers in the Pine Bluff School District.

Volunteers in Public Schools honored many heroes Thursday during its annual appreciation luncheon for volunteers in the Pine Bluff School District.


"Boom! Bam! Shazam! To the volunteers. We are so excited to be among so many heroes today," said Monica O’Briant, coordinator for VIPS. "I want to thank each of you for the work you’ve done this year in the Pine Bluff School District."


In keeping with the Super Hero theme, the Super Sonic Secretary award was presented to Carnie Handley, Pine Bluff High School Media Center secretary. She was recognized for her efforts of monitoring the volunteer sign in book, getting the sheets turned in and recruiting parents as volunteers. Other secretarial nominees were Jacqueline Thomas, W.T. Cheney; Nortoria Thomas, Jack Robey; Viola Smith, First Ward; and Pasha Jackson, Greenville/Forrest Park Preschool.


The top volunteer award went to the Super Hero who had the most volunteer hours in the school district. Shirley Jacobs was the recipient, with 1,142 volunteer hours. Other volunteers recognized were: Curtis Savage, with 1,138 hours; Charlie Cannon, with 963 hours; Eugene Fletcher Jr., with 841 hours; and Patricia Reese, with 554 hours.


A special hero recognition award was presented to the family of Agnita Ballenger. Ballenger had served as a volunteer cutter for more than 30 years, cutting and making numerous learning games for the elementary schools. Representing the Ballenger family were husband, John; daughters Linda Schumaker, Ann Maurus and Melanie Ruhl; and granddaughter Ashley Garrett.


"You all are like Mighty Mouse, you came to save the day and you saved us. You shared your time, knowledge and expertise with the staff and students in the Pine Bluff School District," O’Briant said as she praised the volunteers. "Like Spiderman you, our volunteers, form the web that holds our district together, you have made a difference in the life of a child and we are so happy that you came to our rescue."