Story last updated at 11/25/2008 - 4:35 pm
JUNEAU - Vocational Service awards to local individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations capped a month-long Rotary Club of Juneau focus on business ethics.
Corporate recognition went to Alaska Electric Light and Power Company for the Herculean effort by management, employees and contractors to restore the transmission line to Juneau following the April 16, 2008, avalanche that knocked out hydroelectric power from Snettisham. Through ingenuity, astute planning and implementation, and a measure of good luck, the company restored power lines by June 1, despite an initial estimate of ninety days. AEL&P president Tim McLeod, Transmission Engineer Eric Eriksen, Generation Engineer Scott Willis, CFO Connie Hulbert, and Director of Consumer Affairs Gayle Wood accepted the award.
This year's nonprofit Vocational Service recipient, REACH, is an organization that works with the community's developmentally disabled. REACH provides early childhood growth and development programs, short-term respite care, and support and vocational services to promote the independence and well-being of persons with disabilities. Now in its thirtieth year, the organization serves 400 individuals in several Southeast communities. Representing REACH were Executive Director Richard Fagundes and CFO Peggy Schick.
Individual recognition went to Rebecca Parks, Education Specialist for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program sponsored by the Juneau Economic and Development Council and funded by the National Defense Education Program. Rebecca helped develop Juneau's first LEGO League, a global program that challenges students and their mentors to research, design, and build an autonomous robot that completes pre-designed missions. Parks also manages Juneau's Knowledge Industry Network, a networking opportunity for young professionals designed to foster "a cauldron of interaction, innovation and entrepreneurship."
Rotary's Vocational Service award to a governmental organization went to the Juneau Douglas High School Secondary Planning Team. For two years, the team has worked to create innovative educational programs to challenge students, improve attendance, increase graduation rates, cut drug and alcohol abuse, and improve school safety. The group designed Thunder Mountain High School with small learning communities and themed academies that, according to research, positively affect grades, test scores, and overall student success.
At Juneau Douglas High School, graduation rates climbed from 64 to 74 percent this past year, as listed on the school's web site. Annualized dropout rates declined in recent years by nearly 20 percent.
Those recognized included Superintendent Peggy Cowan, former Assistant Superintendent Charla Wright, current Assistant Superintendent Laury Scandling, JDHS Principal Bernie Sorenson, and TMHS Principal Patti Bippus.