Each May, Parish Episcopal School presents the Bondy-Lee award to the most outstanding parent volunteer in Lower School. This year, the award was given to two dedicated parents: Alyson Jackson and Kerry Crombie. It's a tradition to keep the announcement a complete surprise, so Jackson and Crombie had no idea they would be honored during Lower School chapel on May 1. Their respective families came up with some clever stories to get them to the event.
"The kids kept a very good secret," said Crombie. "They told me they were going to be speaking about their teachers, so yes, I was very surprised."
Jackson's parents made a surprise visit to Dallas to see their daughter receive the award. She didn't know they were sitting in a pew a few rows behind her until she spotted them clapping during the award ceremony.
"It was so special to have all of my family there, especially my mom who taught me the importance of service," said Jackson.
Although these two dedicated volunteers were genuinely surprised by the honor, it wasn't unexpected to their friends in the Parish community. They're both known for the work ethic and professionalism they bring to all of their volunteer efforts.
Alyson Jackson currently sits on the Board of Trustees; she also has served through the Buddy Family program, Fellowship Committee, The Arts People (TAP) and the Gala Committee where she took on the time-consuming task of the program layout and chaired silent auctions. The mother of three Parish students brings her engineering and organizational skills to any project and is always a reliable and energetic volunteer. The Parents' Association (PA) describes her as a "treasure" that has touched just about every aspect of the PA. TAP calls her an invaluable part of the PARISHarts department and touts her service on everything from providing marketing materials to serving as treasurer for TAP. Everyone that knows Jackson calls her "dependable," a valued characteristic in any volunteer.
Kerry Crombie has been a constant source of support as a volunteer at Parish as well. She and her husband, Brent, have chaired the Athletic Booster Cub Club for the past two years. Additionally, she has served on the Gala Committee; given tours to prospective parents as a Parent Ambassador; held the position of 2nd Grade Captain for Parish Fund; donated her time and talents to her kids' classrooms and pitched-in during other Parish events. Those who work with Crombie describe her as a "rock star" and "hard worker," just someone that "everyone loves to work with at Parish." She was recently featured in the Volunteer Spotlight in the Pantherbeat publication for her dedication. (Read More on pg. 8)
The Bondy-Lee Award is named in honor of Andrea Lee and Gabriella Bondy, the first two chairwomen of the Parish Day School (PDS) Mothers' Club. Bondy and Lee embodied the spirit of volunteerism at PDS. They pitched in wherever and whenever it was necessary- providing snacks, making costumes and banners, helping in the classrooms and organizing fundraisers. They even spent time at the electric typewriter and made copies on the old hand-cracked copy machine. In recognition of their support, the distinguished Bondy-Lee award was established during the 1985-86 school year at PDS.
"It tells me how long I've been here," joked Lee who attended the award ceremony in May. "Just watching all of this and the other campus is amazing. Goodness, how far we've come!"
Both women put their children through PDS and have a long history with the "little church school on the corner." They couldn't imagine not taking part in Parish's growth.
"It means very much for me to come here for these events and to see the joy that is here," added Bondy. "The warmth, the generosity, the caring has meant so much."
Jackson and Crombie now join the long list of other Bondy-Lee winners who often meet each year when the new award winner is announced. Ask any of these longtime supporters of Parish and they'll tell you that they've made lasting friendships through their volunteer work. For them, the work is an honor and a pure joy.
"It's an amazing and supportive community," remarked Jackson. "I'm thankful for what Parish does to educate our children. We chose it because we wanted them to be well rounded; to have great role models; build strong character; and just be good people. Parish does that."
"It's just so special," added Crombie "I love volunteering for the School. It's such an inclusive and loving community. Whenever we're here I enjoy seeing that my kids are happy and love learning and going to school every day. I love being a part of their enthusiasm."