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Three extraordinary District 191 volunteers honored as Community Builders

Three members of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 community are now recipients of “Community Builder” awards from the city of Burnsville.

Olivia Brammer receives awardOlivia Brammer, a 2018 graduate of Burnsville High School (BHS), and Deb and Tom Shepley, long-time parent volunteers, received their awards at the Burnsville City Council meeting on Oct. 3.

Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and the Burnsville City Council use the "Community Builder Award" to recognize individuals, groups or businesses that have made a contribution that builds community, performed outstanding acts of bravery, or made a lasting impact on the quality of life in the City of Burnsville and significantly enhanced Burnsville's sense of community.

Brammer and the Shepleys were also recipients of 2018 John Coskran Volunteer Awards presented in May to honor extraordinary volunteers in District 191.

“We already know that Olivia, Deb and Tom are community strong,” said Superintendent Cindy Amoroso. “Now all of Burnsville knows they are community builders. Congratulations to them for this recognition and many thanks to them for their contributions to make our school district and city strong.”

While at BHS, Brammer volunteered over 1,386 hours of service from grade 10–12. Some examples of her volunteering include:

  • Bowls for BrainPower, which raises funds for weekend food for elementary students
  • BHS Giving Garden, which donates produce to the local food shelf
  • South of the River Pow Wow
  • Multicultural night, which celebrates diversity at the high school
  • BurnsvilleStrong, which builds a stronger school community

She also served as house manager for theater productions at BHS, and created a mentor program for special education students to become volunteer ushers during theater productions.

Brammer was the only student member of two community groups: the city of Burnsville’s Park and Natural Resources Commission and the city’s International Festival. She was also a leader in the YMCA’s Youth in Government program. She served as a class officer and was selected Homecoming Queen last year.

“It’s significant that almost all her volunteering has been in her school district or with the City of Burnsville,” said Amoroso. “We are fortunate to have had a student who is so passionate about her duty to her school and her city and so devoted to her hometown.”

Tom Shepley receives an awardDeb and Tom Shepley have been volunteering in the District 191 community since 2008 when the oldest of their four sons was in the 5th grade. In particular, they have been involved in supporting student-athletes, their families and athletics programs.

They’ve provided continued positive support to each and every player at various athletics events, including football, basketball, baseball, track and field, lacrosse and tennis.

They’ve spent many hours supporting, feeding and fundraising, not only for their boys, but for many student-athletes. They have run Booster Clubs, served on boards, organized tournaments, led fundraising events and managed concessions. They’ve also built community by hosting team meals and organizing team banquets.  

They were among parents who started homework tutoring sessions and provided students-athletes with academic support, a meal, a semi-quiet place to study and rides home if needed. They also reach out to the parents of the players to welcome them and support their involvement.

“Deb and Tom lead by example and are role models for other parents in the district on how to give back to their community and provide support to their children,” said Amoroso. “They truly are community builders.”

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 09:40