Carolyn Kevelin, a teacher at Pleasant Lake Elementary (PLE) in West Bloomfield, is among four winners of the Walled Lake Consolidated School District Friend of Diversity Award.
Kevelin, Semaj Davis, Oten Iban, and Dr. Jay Marks were recognized at the District’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Jan. 20.“Walled Lake Schools has built a culture around celebrating diversity. I am proud that our 2014 Friend of Diversity Award recipients ... represent our key stakeholders -- students, staff and our community. Actions speak louder than words and the actions of these individuals are indeed thoughtful and impressive,” Superintendent Kenneth Gutman said.
Kevelin was nominated for her work as the lead staff member on PLE's Multicultural Committee. She organizes the school’s diversity week activities and is an advocate for the school’s ESL students and their families by making sure students are registered for appropriate summer programs and parents are notified of important events and activities. She also facilitated the creation of the PLE Cookbook which contained parent submitted recipes from all over the world.
Semaj Davis and Oten Iban, students at Walled Lake Northern High School, were nominated for their work in founding Walled Lake Northern’s first African American Awareness club (AAA). Through their partnership, they have created a group that addresses many important topics facing students. Issues raised include college-readiness and inter-racial relations. Their leadership abilities and time management skills were paramount in getting the AAA club started as each student is heavily involved in activities outside of the classroom.
Dr. Jay Marks, Walled Lake Schools community member, has worked with Walled Lake Schools to create an environment in which appreciation for and understandings of diversity are key parts of the day to day experience for students. He has impacted the professional development of countless educators throughout the District, Oakland County and the state of Michigan. He has also worked with administrators and parents to start a new African American Parent Network in Walled Lake Schools later this school year.