AACPS Volunteer of the Month
Jacobsville Elementary School
While most of our 18,000 Anne Arundel County Public School volunteers dedicate their time and talents to support their own children’s schools, volunteers from the larger community are motivated by a wide variety of reasons, some very personal and touching.
The Board of Education is pleased to recognize one such community member, Mr. William Buck of Jacobsville Elementary School. He is our February Volunteer of the Month. Since 2008, Mr. Buck has volunteered to honor his late wife, Stacey Buck, who was a well-loved Jacobsville Elementary classroom teacher.
An avid gardener, Mr. Buck has volunteered his skills and experience to single-handedly transform the school’s neglected, overgrown courtyard gardens into beautiful, inviting outdoor spaces. He carefully designs and installs plantings, then weeds, waters and mulches the school’s garden beds year round. Students and staff alike love to tap Mr. Buck’s deep knowledge of the perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables he cultivates.
Above all, Mr. Buck volunteers at Jacobsville Elementary to expand students’ horizons. Media Specialist, Jennifer Richards says that Mr. Buck told her “he wants students to enjoy and appreciate gardening the way he does - to see and touch flowers of different colors and textures.” Mr. Buck purposefully planted butterfly-attracting flowers and shrubs to bring first graders’ butterfly science lessons to life. His regular status reports on the garden’s praying mantis population motivates students to research and gain appreciation for this fascinating insect.
Once forgotten, the courtyards are now natural extensions of the school building. Weather permitting, they are outdoor classrooms, special event venues, and even the studio for student’s school photographs! Students especially love to read in the courtyard just outside the library, known as “The Reading Circle.” It is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Buck and another former teacher, Mrs. Szczerba. (“Sher’ba”)
As a Lake Shore Rotary Club member, Mr. Buck coordinates the highly anticipated annual third grade rite of passage: a dictionary gift for each third grader. Reading Specialist, Tara Kohler writes, “Mr. Buck personally presents a dictionary to each student and ensures each knows how to use it. And he always has a good story to go with it.”
When not gardening or distributing dictionaries, Mr. Buck can be found shelving library books or chatting with students who love to tell him of their special events and accomplishments.
Principal Gwen Atkinson, writes, “I wonder if Mr. Buck realizes how much he has done for our school community. The children learn so much from him, and all who enter Jacobsville Elementary are greeted by Mr. Buck’s lovely, welcoming gardens. He is truly our unsung hero!”
With great appreciation, we present a Volunteer of the Month Certificate and Bell to you.