Congratulations to our Golden Acorn Winners!
2023 Golden Acorn Award Recipients: Ellie Diaz & Mary Vickers
2023 Honorary Life Membership Award Recipient: Yvette Blauvelt
Ellie Diaz and her family moved to Newcastle during the pandemic. When her children started attending Newcastle Elementary, Ellie jumped right in to help! Most notably, Ellie stepped up to co-chair the bi-annual Newcastle PTSA auction, which just culminated on 3/10/2023. Being that this was the first in-person auction in four years, Ellie had very few resources. Volunteers were not as plentiful as they have been in the past. Ellie pioneered everything on her own, from managing a small procurement team, to soliciting sponsors, to working with only a few data entry volunteers, to coordinating the dessert dash. Her vision for the auction came true when she also led the decorating team and created an amazing venue for guests to be swept away. The auction was a true success, not only because of the money it raised for the PTSA (including an amazing, much-needed, recess program for our post-Covid social skills), but also because it brought the Newcastle community together for a night of fun after a long three years of social distancing. Aside from her dedication to the auction, Ellie still finds time to volunteer in her children’s classrooms, on the playground, and in the library. Thank you, Ellie, for ensuring that the beloved Newcastle auctions will live on!
Mary Vickers has served on the Newcastle PTSA board for four years, most notably as our fearless PTSA president for the past two years. Mary goes above and beyond in her dedication to the school. She is always willing to help and she brings an exceptional level of school spirit to all events. She advocates for both students and teachers. When school returned to full-time, in person learning, many PTSA programs needed to be refined. Mary worked tirelessly to increase membership, bring LionArt back to the classroom, return popcorn Fridays to the children, refine the harvest festival, and the list goes on and on. You may notice that her parking spot at the school is never vacant because she is always there! Do you see the PTSA’s cute social media posts? Guess who creates them? Mary! Do you see the room parent emails? Guess who writes those? Mary! Outside of the PTSA, Mary somehow finds time to volunteer in the library, be a VOICE mentor, lead a Girl Scout troop, attend district PTSA meetings, host a table at the ISF annual luncheon, and substitute teach. Mary, words will never adequately express our appreciation for all you have done for the school. You truly have a Lion heart!
Yvette Blauvelt is a previous Golden Acorn Winner; she won the award in 2016 when she had a child attending Newcastle Elementary. Even though her children are older now, Yvette returned to Newcastle last year to save the Lion Art program. Yvette originally developed the Lion Art program and spent countless hours in the school, creating art projects and training all art docents. When school returned to full-time, in person learning, Yvette volunteered to return and create a new art docent program designed to run on pure volunteer involvement. The new program has an emphasis on sustainable practices (lessons that don’t require expertise, scheduled training, or specific themes). Yvette spent countless hours at the school designing this year’s art program, ordering supplies, and scheduling the art classes with each teacher. Yvette’s passion for art extends outside of the classroom, as she has also graciously hosted several beautiful events at her home and prepared delicious, one-of-a-kind, brown bag lunches for the teachers and staff. Yvette, you are truly gifted, and we thank you for sharing your talents with our school.