MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires and Director of Student Services Ryan Place are pleased to announce that two members of the Medway community were recently honored with the Light the Spark Award.
The award acknowledges community members who are not professional educators or school staff but who see and celebrate the spark in children and families and help it to shine more brightly, benefiting the child, their family, their peers and the Medway community. The nominators are families with students with exceptional needs, on an IEP or 504, to recognize those individuals (non-educators) who have made a difference.
The award is 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 it shine more brightly for all to see.
It was first given out in 2019 and is sponsored by the Danielewski-Thomsen family whose children have been 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.
On Dec. 15, Jay Golden and Todd Johnson were presented with the Light the Spark Award. Nominees Aileen Keaney, Chris McKnerney and Stacey Ward were also recognized.
“Our community members have an important and lasting impact on our students of all ages, and we are pleased to celebrate those who make a remarkable difference with the Light the Spark Award,” Superintendent Pires said. “These community members show kindness, selflessness and generosity, and their actions benefit many students directly and indirectly.”
About the Recipients:
Golden works at Hopkinton High School. He is the Medway Challenger League baseball and basketball coach. According to his nominator, Golden has done a lot for the special needs community in Medway and has given special needs children a chance to play sports. Playing sports allows the children to be a part of the community and make friends, as well as learn to play and be the best they can be.
Johnson works at Mass Elite Carpentry and is a Scout leader. According to his nominator, Johnson was very welcoming to her son when he decided to join the Boy Scouts. His nominator went on to say that Johnson helps families in Boy Scouts feel welcomed and aids them with meetings, badges and the camping process. He is always willing to lend a helping hand and is a great role model for the community.
About the Nominees:
Keaney runs the St. Joseph’s Middle School Youth Group and is said to balance schedules, activities and leading the youth group with a warm smile. She is very giving of her time volunteering with the children, organizing volunteer opportunities and acting as a role model for the community.
McKnerney is Scoutmaster of Troop 748. His nominator explained that McKnerney spends a great deal of time and energy making Medway Scouts a wonderful experience for all of the kids involved and will often take extra time to work with individuals to make sure they get all of the help they need.
Ward is a school psychologist at McGovern Elementary and was described as often going above and beyond to help parents and students with their needs.