Maryville City Schools Foundation calls for Starlight Award nominations

Randy Burleson, Judge D. Kelly Thomas, Ted “Gunner” Ousley, Penny Ferguson and Don Story all have something in common - they’re past recipients of the Maryville City Schools Foundation Starlight Awards.

This is the seventh year for the awards to be given to deserving individuals and businesses in the community. The deadline for submitting nominations is Oct. 12.

The Starlight Award winners are honored in a gala evening on Feb. 20 at the Capitol Theatre. Awards are given in four categories.

Foundation executive director Barbara Hatley Jenkins said the Distinguished Alumni Award is given to a Maryville High School graduate who has made outstanding or distinguished contributions to their profession or chosen fields of endeavor or it can be for distinguished human service to the community, state or nation.

The first recipient was Sen. Lamar Alexander and other recipients have included Richard Leatherwood, Mary Crawford, Steve West, Anne Ridings Patrick, John C. Thornton, Penny Blackwood Ferguson, Kelly Thomas, Ted “Gunner” Ousley and Sherrod Blankner. “We’ve been awarding two Distinguished Alumni each year,” Jenkins said.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award goes to a Maryville High School graduate who is age 35 or younger when nominated. This is given to an individual who has made outstanding or distinguished contributions to their profession or chosen fields of endeavor, or it can be for distinguished human service to the community, state or nation. The first recipient was Alisha Waldroop Stanley and other individuals who have received the honor include Carly Pearson Waugh, Brian Cowan, Shane Claiborne and Amanda Myers, Jenkins said.

The Community Partnership Award is given to a business that serves as a sustaining partner through financial support of the Maryville City Schools and helps provide programs for the youth within the city. The first winner was Denso. “Denso actually helped get all three education foundations off the ground when they moved here, and they continue to support the foundations,” Jenkins said. Other past winners include First Tennessee Bank, American Fidelity Bank (now Green Bank), Joe Black and Appalachian Therapy and last year’s recipient was Randy Burleson and Aubrey’s Restaurants.

The Family Partnership Award is awarded to a family or individual who exemplifies dedication to education in every aspect of their lives. They are distinguished for their spirit of giving not only financially but through their involvement with students or Maryville City Schools. Marceil Peery was the first recipient. Other recipients include Kumiko Franklin who started the Japanese school in Blount County, Ken and Patty Bell for their work with athletics and with Young Life, Craig Jarvis, a founding member of the Maryville City School Foundation and Judge J.N. Badgett Jr. and his wife, Blanche Badgett.

Jenkins said the Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni awards are an opportunity for citizens in the City of Maryville to recognize those who have benefitted from our school system or given to our school system. “Our board takes great pride in honoring Starlight recipients,” Jenkins said. “It’s exciting to learn about these individuals giving back to community.”

The foundation executive director said the award winners are always humble and very deserving.

“The awards are given by the foundation but we depend on the community to make nominations,” she said. “There are so many deserving individuals and businesses. Often the foundation may not be aware of how people are contributing or what they’ve gone on to do with their lives beyond Maryville High School. We just want to encourage individuals to go to our website for nominations or come by our office.”

For more information, call 865-982-7121 or go to www.maryvillecityschoolsfoundation.org for information. Nomination forms also are available at the Maryville City Schools Foundation at the Maryville City Schools Central Office at 833 Lawrence Ave., Maryville.

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