The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. They began in 1972 to create a Nobel Prize for public service. Today, their primary purpose is to serve as a “Call to Action for Volunteers” in local communities.

On Thursday, February 9, 2012, the students and faculty of Shortridge High School recognized Butler’s Writing in the Schools program with this award.

Yesterday started out as a cloudy Thursday. By noon, Doug Manuel, one of our graduate student assistants, and I were power shopping for bologna and cheese, the after-school program snack, at the Safeway. Next, the ultimate surprise. An hour and a half later, we were on the auditorium stage at Shortridge in front of a crowd of more than 900 students and faculty members to accept the Jefferson Award for Public Service on behalf of Butler Writers.

We are so grateful for this validation that we are making a difference, so grateful for each of our students and volunteers sharing their talents and energy to forge such strong relationships with these amazing kids in such a short time. I am in awe of each of you. Bravo.

Susan Sutherlin, faculty, Writing in the Schools