The Achieve Foundation Thanks Its Volunteer Tutors At An Awards Ceremony

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

From The Achieve Foundation of South Orange & Maplewood:

On Tuesday, June 7th, 2022 the Achieve Foundation gathered to celebrate our amazing volunteers at the Achieve Volunteer Tutor Appreciation Reception. “It was truly a gift to be able to hold the reception in person at the Columbia High School Library for the first time since 2019. There was so much good energy in the room.” said Executive Director, Eileen Collins Neri.

Board of Education member and Achieve Liaison, Arun Vadlamani, welcomed the attendees and spoke of how beneficial the program was in supporting the students during this especially challenging year as they returned to in-person learning. Assemblywoman Mila Jasey was unable to attend the event, but shared Senate and General Assembly Joint Legislative Resolutions with each award winner recognizing their commitment to the Achieve Volunteer Tutor Program. Unaccompanied Minors, the Columbia High School a capella group, entertained the group as an added treat.

This year, over 300 volunteer tutors worked with K-12 SOMSD students by supporting them both academically and socially during weekly sessions. They reinforced class lessons, helped with assignments and homework, supported organizational and time management skills and more. “Our deepest gratitude goes out to all of our Achieve volunteer tutors who have shown great commitment, flexibility, maturity and patience during this challenging school year. This program could not be possible without you!” said Program Manager, Shannon Kirk.

While the goal of the evening was to celebrate all program volunteers, the event also included some special recognitions. Award recipients included tutors who were nominated by Achieve site supervisors and selected by an awards committee.

The Kohl Angelo Award, established in memory of the MMS student who passed away ten years ago, is given to an outstanding middle school tutor. Kohl’s parents were on hand to help present this year’s awards to Santos Garner (SOMS), Gracie Klein (MMS), and Harper Anderson (Rising Star – 5th Grade).

Kohl Angelo Award recipients flanked by Eileen Collins Neri, Executive Director of Achieve, Kelly Angelo, Kohl Angelo’s mother and Shannon Kirk, Achieve Volunteer Tutor Program Director

The Dubrow Awards are named for the late David Dubrow, a longtime champion of the Achieve Volunteer Tutor Program. This year’s winners include: Silas Epstein, Gianna Forrester, Isabel Hahr, Eli Hakim, Lauren Kasdan, Sierra Mannion, Malachy Meyer, Susan Pendleton, Holden Reeves, and Maia Romanowsky. We were grateful to have Fran Dubrow in attendance to help honor these ten outstanding tutors.

Dubrow Award winners flanked by Shannon Kirk and Fran Dubrow

The following 29 students received Super Seniors Awards – for graduating tutors who volunteered with Achieve for 3 or more years: Emma Booker-Dodd, Layla Brisset, Marina Chernin, Zoe Ferguson, Ben Fuhrman, Dylan Gill, Isioma Grant, Jackson Kondak, Emily Lopez, Sydney Mannion, Violet McEwan, Priya Pai, Nina Panzer, Jadyn Park, Lucy Parry, Seth Peiris, Lila Promisel, Cassandra Ratkevich, Calliope Reeves, Elodie Reeves, Ashakiran Rochette, Kate Rohan, Sarah Schneider, Tyler Stephan, Ryan Thomas, Katie Trzaska, Oren Van Allen, Addie Wiener, and Alex Yang.

Finally, seven students were recognized as Distinguished Super Seniors. They are graduating tutors with 3+ years of service who were also nominated for Dubrow Awards: Ava Byrd, Ella Cervi, Aidan Cunningham, Brianna Lucas, Courtney Bailie Plaza, and Kaia Thewell.

Distinguished Super Seniors, Eileen Collins Neri, and Shannon Kirk


The Achieve Foundation of South Orange & Maplewood is a registered 501(c)3 organization that promotes high-quality education that prepares South Orange-Maplewood School District students for the future. We support our students, families and educators by addressing inequities, inspiring innovation and fostering community. Since 1999, Achieve has raised over $4.5 million for programs that support public education in our two towns. To learn more or donate, please visit

Related Articles