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Bovina volunteer wins statewide honor

Karla Cook spent Friday afternoon handing out ice cream to students on the playground at Bovina Elementary.

The class was the weekly winner of the award for best attendance and it is Cook’s job to calculate the percentages, select the winning class and then distribute the prizes.

Cook wears many hats at Bovina including parent, vice-president of the Parent Teacher Organization and volunteer.

Cook estimates she spends between six and seven hours a week at the school doing “A little bit of this, a little bit of that. If they need help with anything I am usually volunteering and say I can help do it.”

Cook’s hours spent at the school, and specifically those spent working with the gifted class, have earned her recognition as the winner of the 2017 Sherrye C. Thompson Parent Advocacy Award presented by the Mississippi Association for Gifted Children.

“I was in shock and speechless,” Cook said. “I was very surprised, because I didn’t even know I was nominated. Mrs. (Zelda) Cole did it and contacted my husband and got information from my husband so she got him in on it. I was just totally shocked and overwhelmed.”

Cook will be presented with the award at the annual MAGC Conference in Flowood Friday.

“Our program, a lot of people hear about gifted children, but they don’t really know what it is that we do. For that reason, she completely understands how important it is and supporting me,” Cole, the gifted teacher at Bovina and the one who nominated Cook for the award, said. “She is pushing and telling the kids, because they are always saying they can’t do it, but she is telling them ‘you can do it. I believe in you. Let’s get this done.’”

Cook has been a member of the PTO at Bovina for four years and began volunteering with the gifted program because her daughter, now a seventh grader at St. Aloysius, was a part of the program. Her son is a third grader at the school and she has remained involved in various different ways.

“I love it here,” Cook said. “The teachers here are great. I love being around the kids, I love seeing my kids here and helping with my kids’ classrooms. I like what we are doing in the schools and trying to better the kids’ education.”

With the gifted program, Cook serves as a volunteer on field trips, organizes the silent auction, helps the students to plan and run their yearly store to raise money for charity and more.

“For our gifted open house this year, when we did that, this year she made sure that they had all the prizes, the kids knew they were valued and they feel important,” Cole said. “She does it because it is truly in her heart. I could see her genuine love for it. I thought that she would be the perfect person to nominate.”

The Sherrye C. Thompson award has been given out annually since 2009 “to recognize and encourage outstanding parent advocacy on behalf of gifted students in our state.” Cook is the first recipient from Warren County.