2014 Award Winners

Our 2014 finalists have broken barriers and add great value to our community. Following are small samples of their accomplishments.

Artist Awards

Eric Whitten1st Place Eric Whitten has a passion for computers, learning and music. He sings in the Northshore Performing Arts Society community choir and welcomes the challenges of learning even difficult music. Spending time with Eric,
one quickly learn he sees in ways others cannot.

Runner-up: Morgan Brownlee cannot see well and relies heavily on listening to learn music. She excels in violin and drum, performs on both locally and competes and wins regionally on the drum.

Runner-up: Rachel Dement overcomes challenges of Autism through drawing and singing. Her art-work is exceptional and she sings at Special Olympic events.

Employee Awards

Shannon ORourke1st Place: Shannon O’Rourke is a Physical Therapist Tech with Innovative Suit Therapy where patients requested her. Although challenged by a brain injury she makes patients feel important. She is attentive, compassionate and
aware of environment conditions for each patient.

Runner-up: Marsha Bourgeois inspires her students with her positive attitude about the challenges from her disability. She is committed to preparing them for college and employment.

Runner-up: Christine Lagarde’s example of work at St. Timothy Preschool is opening doors for involvement in the community for people with disabilities. Her positive work ethic is inspiring.

Spirit Awards

Richard Harris1st Place: Richard Harris brings enthusiasm and passion to even mundane tasks. As manager of the swim and wrestling team at Fontainebleau High School, he in an inspiration to team members. He searches for after school activities, working tirelessly for nonprofits.

Runner-up: Katie Brewster has to take one day at a time and lives with pain and other physical and physiological challenges, yet she is involved in the community for herself and others.

Runner-up Jennifer Spinks disabilities will not allow her to hold a regular job. But still she is cheerful and motivational as she volunteers in the community and cares for her son with autism.

Caregiver Awards

Vicki Hutchinson1st Place: Vicki Hutchinson searches diligently for activities in the community to help her clients grow socially and developmentally. She
keeps them involved in community activities and organizations and provides opportunities for others to learn from them.

Runner-up: Patrick Corredine is a caregiver with STARC and other people with disabilities. He provides support, guidance and opportunities for them to become as independent as they can.

Runner-up: Karray Cox fosters students to achieve their potential in the special education school system. She also volunteers with and advocates for people with disabilities.

Educator Awards

Wendy Thornton1st Place: Wendy Thornton teaches her special ed classes in ways that the students have an opportunity to succeed. They learn tasks
of operating a school-based business and are involved with typical peers in school activities. Her classroom is a teaching model.

Runner-up: Sharon Amie, a special education teacher, instills confidence and self-esteem in her students, challenging them academically. On her own time, she supports students and colleagues.

Runner-up: Carol Fucci assures people with disabilities are not treated differently at Dance with Carol studio. And she meets every student at their own level with encouragement.

Employer Awards

Culinary Kids1st Place: Culinary Kids’ founder and owner, Sherri Hanson, has found that students with disabilities who take her classes can become good employees. In speaking to other businesses she encourages them that there are great rewards
in working alongside people with disabilities.

Runner-up: St. Timothy Preschool opened doors for the community to learn involvement with and acceptance of people who have a disability. Students learn to look beyond differences.

Runner-up: Winn Dixie, Hwy 59 Mandeville, has supported the Parish Public School program to provide jobs for people with disabilities. Other employees mentor them and teach job skills.