COCKEYSVILLE — When Campfield Early Learning Center staff asked Diane Knight if she would be interested in volunteering 20 years ago, she agreed to pitch in where she could.
Besides, she had a niece and a nephew that would attend Campfield. Why not help?
The temporary setup became a long-term relationship. Diane is still at Campfield two decades later, answering phones, making copies, planning fundraisers, and working with students.
“I love the school,” Knight said, “and I would do anything in the world for them.”
After completing more than 20,000 hours of service to Campfield, Knight was named the 2016-17 BCPS Volunteer of the Year at a Valley Mansion ceremony June 12. (Volunteer of the Year photo gallery).
When Knight’s name was announced, she placed a hand over her mouth, a look of total surprise on her face.
“Completely shocked,” she said. “I never expected this.”
She’s certainly not volunteering for the accolades. That’s not why she makes the 22-mile drive (one way) from her Westminster home to Campfield, located in Gwynn Oak. Campfield students and staff have become just like family.
Campfield serves children ages 3-5 in the Bedford, Milbrook, Randallstown, Scotts Branch, and Wellwood International communities. Knight enjoys working with the enthusiastic young learners in kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, and preschool classrooms. She has a soft spot for students there with Down’s syndrome. James Koors, her nephew, has Down’s syndrome, and she credits the Campfield staff for giving him a great start in his BCPS path. James will be a Grade 9 student at Pikesville High this fall.
Knight is popular with Campfield staff. Anne Galvin, the school’s guidance counselor, arrived at Campfield one year after Knight did. The two became fast friends. Galvin joined Knight at the Volunteer of the Year ceremony and quickly rushed up from her table to take photos of Knight accepting her trophy from BCPS Superintendent Dr. S Dallas Dance.
“We’re best friends,” Galvin said, a smile never leaving her face.
At a Campfield celebration Friday, Knight turned around and was immediately hugged by a young student. Those children are why she keeps coming back as one of the loyal Team BCPS volunteers who do so much to support learning.
Knight was one of five BCPS Volunteer of the Year finalists. Each found activities at the schools they enjoyed supporting and were devoted to making sure they were successful:
Ann Borsella, Berkshire Elementary: She has a granddaughter who attends Berkshire, but you would never know it because everything she does benefits the entire student population. She is an active member of the school’s Family Engagement Committee. She is the PTA Vice President. She runs the school store, volunteers at every family event, and helps with parent workshops.
Michael Beegan, Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet: For the last seven years, Beegan has served as the coach of the school’s chess team. Each week, from November to April, he coordinates weekly meetings of the club, which has blossomed to more than 50 members. When the club began, it was open to just Grade 4 and 5 students. Now? Any grade level with a desire to play can participate.
Debbie Jackson, Parkville Middle: Jackson was nominated by four staff members. She blends into the office effortlessly and is there with a positive attitude every day. She is willing to take on any job asked of her. She laminates, makes copies, and creates study materials. Additionally, she volunteered at the Spanish Club’s annual book fair. Her granddaughter attends Parkville Middle, which is what motivated her to help the school.
Aundre Smith, Shady Spring Elementary: Smith is a Baltimore County Police Department Officer who has served as a Shady Spring volunteer for nine years. School Counselor Wendy Carver asked him to participate in a mentorship program to benefit Grade 5 males who needed extra support. Each year, he works with a new group of students. He is firm, yet caring, and works hard to establish a positive relationship with each student. When Shady Spring needs a Career Day visitor? He’s always willing.
A sincere thank you to all our Team BCPS volunteers. We are so appreciative of your talents, your dedication, and your time. You make our schools a better place!
Interested in volunteering? Contact any of our schools for more details. You can find contact information for them all at BCPS.org.