Armand Pires, Superintendent
45 Holliston St.
Medway, MA 02053
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Two Medway Community Members Honored with First Ever Light the Spark Award
MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires and Director of Student Services Kathleen Bernklow are pleased to announce that two members of the Medway community were recently honored for their efforts working with children with disabilities.
Nancy Kramer and Dale Freeman were presented with Light the Spark award at the Thursday, Dec. 12 Medway School Committee meeting.
“Nancy and Dale are truly special members of the Medway community,” Bernklow said. “They are deserving recipients who each embody the spirit of what the Light the Spark award is all about.”
The Light the Spark award honors community members who make a difference in the life of a student with a disability. Winners can include bus drivers, support services staff, neighbors, and others who, through their actions and interactions, find and celebrate a special spark in children or families in the Medway community.
The Light the Spark award, given out for the first time this year, is sponsored by the Danielewski-Thomsen family, whose children have been well supported at the Medway Public Schools. In particular, one of their sons had several challenges and staff, working with the family, made the student’s middle school years manageable.
For this reason, of the two awards the family plans to give out each year, one will always be associated with middle school-aged students.
Members of the Danielewski-Thomsen family approached Superintendent Pires last year and it was decided that nominees would be accepted in June 2019. Winners (selected by the family) would be honored at a School Committee meeting in the late fall.
“We were prompted by our own treasured experiences in Medway by those librarians, scout leaders and bus drivers who went the extra mile to benefit one of our children, and in doing so, our entire family,” the Danielewski-Thomsen family wrote in the award notification.
The award is named in honor of Kathleen B. Thomsen, the late grandmother of three Medway students, who never failed to recognize and “celebrate the spark in those around her,” and who — with what seemed the smallest of gestures — helped the spark shine more brightly for all to see.
About the Recipients:
One aspect of school that often challenges students with exceptional needs is the school bus. Nancy Kramer, nominated by two Medway parents, goes above and beyond each day. She encourages students to see the bus as a safe space, and always makes sure students feel secure and welcome.
She regularly interacts with students as they leave the bus with a high-five or a kind word. When one child refused to take the bus to school, Kramer continued to stop at the student’s house daily and ask if that day would be the day she felt comfortable enough to take the bus. Her warm smile and genuine concern for the child eventually won her over.
Kramer even attended the child’s First Communion. Nominators felt she created a bond with children that went beyond the duties and expectations of her job.
Dale Freeman, a piano teacher in the Medway community and former teaching assistant in the Medway Public Schools, was nominated by a parent whose son struggles with coordination. Freeman has taught him the piano for two years. The parent reflects that her son is on an Individualized Education Program and exhibits idiosyncratic interests and preferences.
Freeman has created a special bond that makes the child feel special, where he loves his lessons and always leaves laughing. Freeman brings this joy to so many students in Medway. He makes each child feel like they, and they alone, are the most special student.
According to the parent, “he completes our lives in amazing ways.”