|Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) presents
The 2008 Joe Thomas Community Service Award for
On April 14, the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Board of Education
honored eight students with the Joe Thomas Community Service Award. The award
was initiated in 1995 to honor the memory of a highly respected minority services
coordinator at West High School.
The award recognizes high school seniors who have made a measurable impact
through community service, demonstrate commitment to high academic standards
and go above and beyond expectations.
The 2008 Joe Thomas Community Service Award winners are:
Marcus Thomas Chavous
What he’s accomplished is remarkable, but what he has overcome is simply
extraordinary. Marcus Thomas Chavous is a dedicated leader of the M.E.N.S.
Domestic Violence Prevention group at the Work and Learn Center, motivating
students to develop healthy relationships. His work with this group has made him a
revered role model at the school and now a valued employee of Domestic Abuse
Intervention Services. After nearly dropping out of high school, Marcus is now a very
busy high school graduate, working two part-time jobs, parenting his young child and
helping to shape his community in powerfully positive ways.
No one needs to motivate Tony Freiberg. This remarkable teenage and hardworking
student has put in more than 100 volunteer hours doing work that cause most adults to
procrastinate – pulling weeds, picking up garbage, planting, and mulching in order to
beautify LaFollette High School. Where others might take academic success for
granted, Tony works hard for his success, looks past his challenges and prides himself
on his achievements.
Service learning at Shabazz City High School provides fertile ground for young people
with minds and souls set on improving their world. One such soul has blossomed into
an effective change-agent in her community. Allison Freid has been an outstanding
leader in Project Green Team, a multidisciplinary service-learning course. She’s
worked with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Trout Unlimited,
Fishermen’s Federation and the North Central Regional Education Laboratory as they
restore Wisconsin River tributaries throughout the state. Going above and beyond is a
natural extension of Allison’s commitment. With her advanced technology skills,
Allison helped Shabazz partners and community groups by creating web pages and
producing videos. She has spent weekends serving community meals at the Farmer’s
Market. Whether working on environmental issues around the state or helping build
community in her own backyard, Allison is a critical thinker, enthusiastic learner and
listener. As a performer with Proud Theater and a Shabazz Ambassador she walks the
walk of acceptance, tolerance and inclusion. Peers look to her as a guide and she
challenges others to think deeply and act on their beliefs. In each of her roles; student,
Shabazz citizen and caretaker of the planet, Allison’s altruism is authentic.
Just a partial list says it all: East High President of Health Occupations Students of
America; active member of the KOJO Drill Team, Black Student Alliance, soccer
team, Student Ambassador; and 2007 Youth Leadership Conference representative.
This East High student has limitless drive, potential and community spirit. Amadou
Fofana is a bright leader and compassionate role model at East High.
In the halls and classrooms of James Madison Memorial high school, a young woman
stands tall as student council president and stellar scholar. Tiffany Jones takes to her
many leadership roles with grace, maturity and, when needed,…good humor. Tiffany
has been a member of the student council for four years. Serving her 3rd term as
student council president, she’s always been held in high esteem among peers. More
importantly, Tiffany strives to make Memorial High School a place for all students. She
elevates her entire school community working as a peer tutor and active member of
the Black Student Union. Teachers describe how Tiffany sets high standards for
performance in the classroom. Classmates respond to her positive influence, rising to a
new level. Her community-mindedness extends beyond school. She’s worked with
elementary students, served on a Literacy Advocacy committee, built homes through
Developer Community Industries and distributed backpacks and school supplies to
families in need at the 100 Black Men of Madison’s annual back-to-school picnic. As
captain of the Memorial track and Field team two years running, she’s a picture of
drive and achievement, a true winner and deserving recipient of the Joe Thomas
Community Service Award for students. Congratulations.
Dorothea “Dot” McDonald
One day, not long from now, we may all be reading about “the immensely talented
and charismatic Dot McDonald.” She is not destined for greatness, she’s already
achieved greatness. Her involvement in academic, social and cultural programs at
West High has had far-reaching impact in breaking the boundaries that typically divide
high school students. A gifted actor, Dot has performed in MULTICO, a multicultural
improvisation group and several of her school’s outstanding theater productions. She’s
been a cheerleader and drill team coach; a peer tutor, and is currently president of
West High’s Black Student Union. Her commitment to greatness is demonstrated in
academics. Since middle school Dot has capitalized on opportunities to grow and
learn though enrichments programs including WCATY and Project Excel. She has
shared her assets with peers in an African-American Women’s mentoring group and
with younger kids as coach for the South Side Raiders cheerleading team. Her talents
are well-known at Mt. Zion Church where she’s active in music and mentoring
programs. In her words, “Church has given me everything. I want to give back.” She
hopes the next stop on her journey will be Spelman College. There is no stopping a
determined Dot McDonald. Congratulations.
Namratta Sehgal’s commitment to the Memorial High School community far exceeds
expectations. She is a leader in Yearbook, Forensics and National Honor Society,
Rock Neighborhood, Distinguished Alumni Awards, and at least seven other high
school extracurricular programs. She has taken eight Advanced Placement courses
and is an outstanding student. But perhaps most telling is the more than 200 hours she
has put into volunteering at the Oakwood Village retirement community.
Darnell D. Small
Based on his athletic gifts, Darnell Small is an intimidating force on the field. But at
school, he is a humble, genuinely kind person who consistently influences others in a
positive way. Darnell is levelheaded, and has an easy-going manner that makes him a
natural team leader. Darnell is also a solid and driven student and an energetic
volunteer in the community.
Marcus Thomas Chavous
Darnell D. Small