04-03-12: Citizen of the Year awards presented to local student and educator
04-03-12: Citizen of the Year awards presented to local student and educator

A Puyallup High School senior and a physical education teacher at Edgerton and Brouillet elementary schools are this year’s recipients of the student and educator Citizen of the Year awards.

The annual awards, presented by Communities In Schools of Puyallup (CISP), recognize students and educators who have a passion for service to their community.

The winners received their awards March 28 during the seventh annual Friendraiser Breakfast and auction hosted by CISP at the Puyallup Fair & Events Center. More than $15,000 was raised during this year's event.

Student Citizen of the Year

Puyallup High senior Marissa Fraser is this year’s Student Citizen of the Year. She has been an active participant in the March Gladness community service program at the school and district level and is involved in numerous community service and leadership activities at Puyallup High.

In her role with March Gladness, Fraser has established relationships with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers, and parents and volunteer organizations to provide needed resources for the community.

She served the past two years as a student representative on the CISP Board of Directors and this past year as co-leader of the March Gladness Student Leadership Committee.

Fraser also volunteered to serve as a student representative last year on the school district’s Strategic Visioning Committee, which reviewed and updated the district’s mission, vision, beliefs, and goals.

She is an active Puyallup High Key Club member, helped create a Make a Difference Club that plans community service projects, and headed the school’s “Winter Wishes” leadership event that grants students’ holiday wishes through donations and other fundraisers.

As a student at Kalles Junior High, Fraser helped organize Loganfest, a fundraiser for a student who needed medical help due to cancer; helped organize, plan and host an annual Relay for Life cancer walk; and participated in the school’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. walk.

Fraser has served as the school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) president this year, vice president last year, and class president in her sophomore year. She also is a member of this year’s cheerleading team and the school’s Daffodil Court, and earned a varsity letter in golf.

“The term to describe Marissa is selfless service,” said Principal Jason Smith. “She has volunteered hundreds of hours to Puyallup High School as an ASB officer and a Viking Lady.”

Assistant Principal Char Krause said, “Marissa is a compassionate student who has a huge heart not only for her school but for her community. Marissa is an advocate for her fellow students and wants to ensure that students continue to have a meaningful voice in the decisions and collective efforts of our district.”

Assistant Principal Conchita Oliver-Moore added, “Marissa is very inspirational and is an excellent role model for students. She is highly respected by staff and students.”

The award is sponsored by the Puyallup Fair Foundation. The Foundation awards Fraser a $500 college scholarship, $500 to the charity of her choice, and $500 to her directly.

Educator Citizen of the Year

Greg Farias, a physical education teacher at Brouillet and Edgerton elementary schools, is this year’s Educator Citizen of the Year.

Farias is dedicated to community service, both in schools and in the community.

In her nomination letter, Edgerton Elementary Principal Liz Knox noted that Farias “is constantly working to help other people.”

He has spearheaded the annual food drive and diversity celebrations at Edgerton Elementary. He also facilitates the diversity team at Edgerton Elementary and co-facilitates the diversity team at Brouillet Elementary.

This year, he inspired seven district elementary schools to host a celebration of Native American cultures.

For many years, Knox said Farias has coordinated letter writing and cookie and candy drives for military personnel serving overseas. He has also been the adviser for the Brouillet Elementary Bobcat Service Club, organizes field day at Brouillet Elementary, and has helped for several years with the district’s annual Elementary Track Meet.

“At both Edgerton and Brouillet, he provides support for struggling students through his ability to make positive connections,” Knox wrote in her nomination letter. “He is always willing to help and constantly looks for ways to make others’ lives better. He genuinely spends all of his waking time in service to others.”

As Educator Citizen of the Year, CISP donates $250 to the charity of Farias’s choice.

Jerry Larson, president of the Western Washington Fairgrounds Association Board of Directors, presented the two award recipients with an engraved plaque before more than 200 community leaders, educators, and business representatives gathered at the event.

Student participation and guest speakers

March Gladness student representatives welcomed guests as they arrived for the annual breakfast.

The Rogers High School Color Guard presented the colors, followed by a Puyallup High School Jazz Combo performance of the national anthem. The Jazz Combo, led by Jim Kerl, also provided background music as guests had breakfast.

Master of Ceremonies Jamie Gregory, major gifts officer with the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, welcomed guests and led a live auction fundraiser. Breakfast attendees also bid on items donated by the community during a silent auction. Money raised supports CISP programs.

Gregory also introduced this year’s keynote speaker, national Communities In Schools (CIS) President Daniel Cardinali, who has led the non-profit organization since 2004.

CIS is in 25 states and the District of Columbia and has more than 50,000 volunteers.

Cardinali praised the CIS work in Puyallup and said the dedication is evident by the number of people who attended the breakfast and lent their support. “It is stunning to see this enthusiasm and your great intention,” he said.

CIS is about “unleashing extraordinary potential into the community,” he said.

CISP Board Chair Kim Lintott, CISP Past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Western Washington Fair Association Kent Hojem, and CISP Executive Director Jan Mauk also shared brief remarks.

Now in its tenth year, CISP shared a slideshow featuring activities and events over the past decade.

The organization partners with the Puyallup School District to provide services such as Wednesday after-school programs and tutoring for struggling readers. It also coordinates events such as back-to-school supply drives, March Gladness community service projects, and districtwide disaster relief collections.

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