Thank you to everyone who attended our First Annual Literacy Leadersʼ Luncheon. We were pleased to have the opportunity to honor Ann Mactier and Patti Clark who started the Phoenix Academy with one student and one teacher in 1990 and Dick Holland who has been deeply involved in education in the metro area for many years.
Mary Heng-Braun opened the luncheon by introducing the Phoenix Academy staff, Board of Trustees, and in attendance were Therese Palidino and Mark Allen, the first teacher and student. A new video detailing the Phoenix Academy was then shown, followed by Nancy Liebermann, Executive Director, who talked about “Phoenix in 2012”. Dianne Seeman Lozier, co-host of the luncheon with her husband Allan, spoke about the status of education in the United States and in the metro area and addressed “Why Phoenix Academy?”.
The luncheon hightlight was when Katie Weitz White, the chairperson of the award selection committee, honored our awardees. Dick Holland received the Literacy Advocate Award for his dedication to educating children in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. The Richard Holland Literacy Advocate Award will be given annually to an individual in the metro area who advocates and increases awareness for the promotion of literacy. David and Sam Clark received the Literacy Educator Award co-named for their mother, Patti Clark, who passed away in 2008 while still serving as the Phoenix Academy Executive Director. Ann Mactier received the Literacy Educator Award for her dedication and ﬁnancial contributions to the Phoenix Academy and for her 30 years on the state and local school boards. The Ann Mactier/Patti Clark Literacy Educator Award will be given annually to an individual in the metro area whose work directly advances literacy skills necessary to navigate and be successful in the world.
Mary Heng-Braun concluded the luncheon with a challenge and request to assistance the Phoenix Academy to continue to be a place of help and hope for students who struggle in reading. Thank you to all of our sponsors and donors. Thanks also to Chef Michael, father of two former Phoenix Academy students, for the delicious baked chicken and roasted vegetable meal and Amy at the Marriott for all her assistance. A special thanks to Blooms for donating all the beautiful ﬂowers.