The Community Partnership for Egg Harbor Township Schools, Inc., will hold its annual fundraiser and honor the district's "MVPs" at the Hall of Fame Gala on Feb. 22.

The highlight of the event is the presentation of the Community Partnership Awards, given to those who have made a significant, positive impact in the Egg Harbor Township School District community in 2013.

A teacher, two students, a community group and a community business will be honored for their outstanding contributions, Community Partnership Executive Director Ellen Gregory said.

New this year is the presentation of the first annual George Wilkinson Outstanding Teaching Award, named in memory of Egg Harbor Township High School calculus teacher and coach George Wilkinson, who was a member of the Community Partnership foundation Board.

The recipient is Dawn Guerro, a first-grade teacher at C.J. Davenport Elementary School who has been employed in the district for more than 10 years.

Guerro received many nominations from her peers, according to Gregory.

"Dawn emulates George Wilkinson's positive attitude philosophy in a way that creates a sense of teamwork and collaboration unheard of in many professions," said colleague Melissa DeMari in her nomination letter. "It is not the event of one significant impact Dawn has done that makes her worthy; it is her work on a daily basis that continues to help make EHT the great school district it is."

Another colleague, Kate Taylor, wrote of Guerra's "innate sense of leadership and outstanding dedication to her students," as reasons she should win the award.

The two students to receive the Outstanding Student award are Patty Miraglilo and Rachael Roesch, both eighth-grade honor students at Alder Avenue Middle School. They have been described as "a dynamic duo" who volunteer countless hours to work on environmental education projects and to help spread environmental education awareness throughout the district and the community.

"It is without a doubt Alder Avenue Middle School has become a nationally recognized leader in environmental education because of the work of Patty and Rachel," said teacher John Jones, who submitted one of the nominating letters.

Their accomplishments include project leaders of the Disney Planet Challenge, which took third place nationally; project leaders of the planning and completion of the Catawba Project's Community Teaching Garden on the grounds of the EHT Historical Society; wrote, filmed and edited a documentary about the Community Teaching Garden; led the school's media campaign to encourage student to recycle by writing, filming, and editing several public service announcements; and helped coordinate two Project Wet Water Festivals and produced two documentaries about the festival.

The Men's Club of the Village Grande at English Mill will receive the Outstanding Community Member award. This small group of men from the adult housing community have been quietly presenting holiday gift cards to the district's low-income elementary school children at the Miller and Davenport elementary schools for the past five years. To date, they have donated more than $18,000 in gift cards to needy EHT families, Gregory said.

The Outstanding Community Business award will be presented to Ocean City Home Charitable Foundation for everything they do for the district, including providing grant funding to support district academic programs and to bring Chris Herren's anti-drug message to our middle and high school students, Gregory said. In addition, foundation members volunteer at school events, donate their time in classrooms to help high school students get a better understanding of money management, and have donated more than $400 in gift cards and toys to Fernwood Avenue Middle School's "Project EHT" to help low-income families celebrate the holidays.

The Hall of Fame Gala will be held at Atlantic City Country Club. The event begins at 6 p.m. and includes a two-hour open-bar (beer and wine) reception, buffet-style dinner with carving stations, dessert, silent auction and live entertainment by Egg Harbor Township resident Bobby Campanell, co-founder of The Shakes.

Tickets are still available and cost $75 per person.

Proceeds benefit the EHT School District. Funds raised from past events have allowed the district to purchase commercial kitchen equipment for the field house concession stand used by district booster clubs and other fundraising groups, the LED Marquee Sign at the corner of High School Drive and English Creek Avenue, a Steinway Grand Piano for the district's Performing Arts Center, and three new high-definition digital cameras and equipment upgrades for the EHT-TV/Channel 2 television studio at the high school.

The fundraising event is open to the public. To purchase tickets, for sponsorship information, or to donate an auction item, contact Ellen Gregory at 609-646-8441, ext. 1017, or email greg

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