2020 MSAAC Awards

 

The Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) presented its five major annual awards at its Wednesday, May 27, meeting.

 

The award winners are:

 

Delegate Award: Kellee Jenkins (Freedom High School Cluster)

 

Kellee’s husband, David Jenkins, an MSAAC member, wrote this about her in his nomination remarks:

 

“Kellee has worked tirelessly to improve opportunities and outcomes for minority students in Loudoun County. She first served as an MSAAC delegate in 2014, representing Little River Elementary School, where she began learning about LCPS's resources for minority students and sharing this information with other families. She has since served as a delegate for J. Michael Lunsford Middle School and Freedom High School. Last year, she planned and executed the inaugural MSAAC Awards Gala. This year, she has created the MSAAC Student Representative initiative to bring student voices to the table.

 

“In 2016, she joined the Board of Directors of Excellent Options Inc., a parent-led school partnership program providing programming to minority students. Through personal community outreach, she more than tripled parent and student engagement in the program.

 

“Kellee was so inspired by her work at J. Michael Lunsford that she became the school’s eighth-grade resource teacher. Despite a 500-student class load, she continued her equity advocacy by sponsoring the new Asian Appreciation Club. She also led a twice-weekly advisory session, presenting curriculum and facilitating discussion on character, anti-bullying, study techniques and digital citizenship.

 

In 2019, she was nominated to the LCPS School Board's Ad-Hoc Committee on Equity, where she continues the work of setting policies based upon the feedback of partners like MSAAC.

 

“Aside from these official titles and duties, Kellee is a community-builder. She proactively develops relationships from all corners of the LCPS community and brings people together. She is seen as a leader and is constantly sought out by others for support.”

 

MSAAC Middle School Recipient: Mahsa Riar (Seventh-Grader at Belmont Ridge Middle School)

 

Nominator KC Tregoning wrote this about Mahsa:

 

“Mahsa is way beyond her years. Mahsa, in the short time she has been on this earth, has created her own business and created an event called ‘Create for a Cause.’ She is a dynamic young woman with a bright future ahead of her.”

 

MSAAC High School Recipient: Christian Yohannes (Junior at Riverside High School)

 

Christian was nominated by five people: Rebecca Kiernan, special education teacher Belmont Ridge Middle School; Bridget Raburn, science teacher, Belmont Ridge Middle School; Lori Vosburgh, special education teacher, Belmont Ridge Middle School; Kim Hrynyk, music teacher, Seldens Landing Elementary; and Chelsea Northman, assistant principal Riverside High School.

 

Northman wrote:

 

“Christian Yohannes is an excellent example of what strong student leadership looks like. Not only is Christian a conscientious scholar who is dedicated to top academic performances in his Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment courses, he is focused on speaking his truth as an African-American youth in America. Christian regularly attends MSAAC meetings to hear about the steps LCPS is taking toward equity and to engage in meaningful dialogues with community members about his experiences. Christian demonstrates a passion and commitment to making Riverside High School and LCPS a better place for all students. He is vice president of Riverside’s African-American student affinity group, Rising Rams. Christian collaborated with other students and administrators to bring relevant topics to the agenda and to engage his peers in tough conversations about race and equity. Through his participation in MSAAC and Rising Rams, Christian is raising awareness.”

 

Two staff members were presented the Wendall T. Fisher Staff Award. This award honors Fisher, a former At-Large member of the School Board and LCPS outreach supervisor.

 

Fisher Award for Teacher/Licensed Staff: Darlene Adu-Gyamfi (School Counselor at Freedom High School)

 

Kenneth Christopher, the school counseling director at Freedom High School, nominated Adu-Gyami:

 

“Ms. Adu-Gyamfi, or ‘Ms. D’ as the students call her, has the natural ability to connect on a personal level with students and parents; and the unique vision that leads to systemic change.

 

“At Freedom High School, in addition to her role as school counselor, Ms. D serves as the counselor rep for our CAMPUS class, one of the largest CAMPUS programs in Loudoun County. Ms. D also is the advisory teacher for Excellent Option, the largest Excellent Options program in Loudoun County. She played an important role in planning Freedom’s Black History Month Assembly and celebrations. Her passion and presence in these programs, and countless others, have proven her a trusted ally for many of our student groups.

 

“At the county level, Ms. D is leaving her mark. She was part of a small group that rewrote the LCPS CAMPUS curriculum, updating and aligning the class standards to increase student achievement in high school, and well beyond high school graduation.

 

“Ms. D, Darlene Adu-Gyamfi, is an asset to Freedom High School and Loudoun County Public Schools. I enthusiastically recommend her for this honor and award.”

 

Fisher award for principals/administrators: Solomon Wright (Assistant Principal at John Champe High School)

 

Calinda Wright, a special education teacher at Frederick Douglass Elementary, and John Champe Principal Kevin Tyson nominated Solomon Wright:

 

“Mr. Wright has gone above and beyond all expectations related to equity. He is the pure embodiment of everything this award stands for. Words cannot express the impact he has had on our minority students and overall school environment. He has created many programs and led several initiatives within, and outside, the building. He accomplished all of this during this shortened school year, which happens to be his first year as an assistant principal. He also is the MSAAC rep for Champe and serves as the equity and inclusion school supervisor and Black Student Union advisor. These are just a few of his accomplishments worthy of highlighting. It’s impressive to say the least.”