By Katharine Pike, Parent Association President

EPS presents the Alice Strong Award each year to one or more members of our community in appreciation for their exceptional contribution to the people and programs of our school. This year’s award winners are dedicated volunteers who have worked closely as a team for the past two years on the EPS Parent Association Faculty & Staff Appreciation Team (FSA Team). Joumana Hoballah, Dianne Melling, and Dorian Bell have spent hours planning and executing many appreciation events for the wonderful faculty and staff at EPS. During the height of the pandemic with everyone working remotely, they had to re-invent the “normal” appreciation events and create COVID-safe ways to express gratitude to the faculty and staff. Dianne, Dorian, and Joumana pivoted their approach again in the 2021-2022 school year as faculty, staff and students returned to campus with strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Throughout the year, each gift or event this tight-knit team planned was done with care and a personal touch. Dianne, Dorian, and Joumana put together thoughtful, stunning gift baskets, making even the simplest treats feel special with their beautiful presentation. They know exactly how many of the 120+ staff are vegetarian, gluten intolerant or  have nut allergies and always ensure there are safe, delicious treats for those community members as well. In addition to showing appreciation for the faculty and staff, these three women make the gift assembly a fun community-building event for the other parent volunteers as well.

Over the last two very difficult years, the EPS faculty and staff has put in hard work and long hours on camera and in-person (masked and physically distanced) to educate and care for our students. Dianne, Dorian, and Joumana have provided some relief during this period and made sure the faculty and staff knew the entire parent community  supported them and was grateful for all their efforts.

This award is a wonderful way to express our gratitude to Dianne, Dorian, and Joumana for going the extra mile to care for the EPS faculty and staff.