Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Janet Root Volunteer Service Award Winner

by Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
Each spring, the Shorecrest Community Association selects a recipient of the Janet Root Volunteer Service Award. The prestigious award is presented by past winners to a volunteer who has made an impact on campus for many years. On April 30, 2022, the 2021-2022 Janet Root Volunteer Service Award recipient was revealed at a Volunteer Thank-You Brunch attended by many past winners and current volunteers.

Nancy Spencer, Head of School, thanked all 2021-2022 campus volunteers. “Volunteers are at the heart of the Shorecrest community,” she began. “Volunteering, organizing events, working on campus, being present at so many activities, all of this is tangible evidence of your commitment to this school and to this community. It speaks volumes about how much you care about Shorecrest. It means the world to your children too, even if some of them roll their eyes at you… 

“We actually cannot thank you enough, but we are certainly going to try. I would like to take a moment to formally, and with great appreciation, thank all of the volunteers who have helped Shorecrest in so many different ways this year – whether it has been in the classrooms, the library, with an event, or through Helping Hands; your support is so much appreciated and we really could not do it without you!”

Nancy also thanked the SCA board, the Advancement Committee, the Alumni Board, the Board of Trustees, and the members of the Janet Root Volunteer Service Award committee. She then introduced Sydney Legakis, the 2021 recipient of the Janet Root Volunteer Service Award and mother of Julia Legakis ‘21. 

“Volunteering at Shorecrest is a partnership between parents and faculty and staff,” Sydney shared. “It allows you to interact with Shorecrest employees as PEOPLE and them to see YOU as people. They become Dottie or Jeff instead of Mrs. Smay or Coach Raab, and you become Sydney and not Mrs. Legakis, because you know THEIR kids’ names just like they know your kids’ names. … If you continue to volunteer at Shorecrest, you too will make those connections. This year’s recipient definitely did.

“Volunteering at Shorecrest allows you to meet parents who can become lifelong friends. I met one of my very best friends one day cutting out little apples for Mrs. Minke in the Helping Hands room. I met this year’s recipient sitting at that same table. And I never would have crossed paths with another friend of mine, as our children are 7 years apart, but we both volunteered in the library, and gosh we have a lot in common. … You may find yourself backstage at the Middle School play one day fixing some young lady’s wardrobe malfunction, and then see her shine as she receives a standing ovation moments later. You may be the one who’s there at the finish line at a cross country meet, handing cold towels to teenagers who just ran 5 kilometers in 90-degree heat. I assure you THAT gets you a smile! You might help a child discover the joy of 'Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus' when you help them check out books in the library. Or you may be standing there at noon on Halloween wondering how you are EVER going to make it to trick or treat after a long morning running the craft table at Fall Festival, when an alpha student goes skipping by with his parents and you hear him say, ‘This was the best day EVER!’

“All those moments will warm your heart, but only if you take the time to show up and get your hands dirty as a volunteer. I promise, you won’t regret it.”

The Janet Root Volunteer of the Year Award was established by the Shorecrest Parent Association (now SCA) in 1984, as a commemoration of Janet’s expansive volunteer efforts and as a means of recognizing other outstanding Shorecrest volunteers. We continue Janet’s legacy by honoring those who have volunteered with the same sense of generosity. 

The criteria that are considered for the award are:
  • Length of service to the Shorecrest community
  • Service in a variety of areas across campus
  • Positions held as a committee chairperson and committees served
  • Positive moral character
“Everyone can aspire to be like Janet Root in some capacity or another. They just need the opportunity to come on campus and see how fun it is to volunteer here,” Sydney said. 

“This year’s Janet Root recipient was a regular classroom volunteer. She’s helped with Book Buddies. She worked for years as a weekly Helping Hands volunteer. She’s helped with the Holiday Gift Drive and the Teacher Appreciation lunch. She chaired the Book Fair. She’s helped welcome many of you at the New Parent Dinner and stuck it out to the end of the night at Relay For Life. She served on every committee of the Booster Club. She has been the baseball team parent twice and was the golf team parent starting in Middle School all the way through high school. She showed her artsy side as well and served as a Picture Lady. And a few years ago she agreed to serve as the Parent Ambassador for all the incoming families with boys in the sophomore class.

“Many of us have called her LONG after dinner, at least once (or in my case, monthly), to say, 'Hey. I know it’s last minute. I need one more person tomorrow morning after drop off to help me. Any chance it can be you?' And she always says yes. Doesn’t matter that you’re calling for help with the girls’ track team and she has a son that plays baseball. Doesn’t matter that she’s already committed to volunteering all afternoon for someone else. She’ll say yes. That’s the thing people admire about her. Her willingness to find a way to say YES.

"This year’s recipient was nominated by coaches, administrators, faculty, and parents from 3 different divisions. All had similar stories to tell of her commitment to the children of this school, her willingness to come and help whenever asked. And then she quietly walks away, content in knowing she made a difference in someone else’s experience and not needing an additional thank you. Well, today, we get the pleasure of giving her that thank you that she never wanted.

“This year’s recipient of the Janet Root Award is Jackie Bircher.”

Congratulations Jackie! Thank you so much for your years of dedication and help making Shorecrest an amazing place for so many smiling students!

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.