By Jeff Gallatin
A retired math teacher who made her contributions count for Bay band students is being honored for her efforts.
Andrea Sheppa has been named the 2013 Bay Village citizen of the year and the Village Food Project has been named 2013 project of the year by the Bay Village Community Council.
Sheppa, who is a retired math teacher from the Lakewood school system, was honored for her years of service to Bay Village schools, most recently for her work to raise money for new marching band uniforms.
Bay Village schools Superintendent Clint Keener said Sheppa was the driving force in getting the new uniforms.
“Andrea was laser-focused on getting those new uniforms,” Keener said. “She really was committed to getting them for band. There were a lot of people who worked hard to get those uniforms, but there’s no question Andrea was the leader in those efforts.”
Keener said there was a definite need for the new uniforms.
“The old ones were more than 20 years old,” he said. ‘There were a lot of patches and repairs, so it was time to get new ones.”
Others cited Sheppa’s campaign work.
“The high school band uniforms were very old and in need of replacement,” one award nominator wrote. “For many years the Bay Band Boosters talked about replacement. After Andrea took over the leadership role, a lively campaign to raise the needed funds started. Andrea remained committed to the project, and the group was successful a year earlier than expected.”
“With her leadership and vision, the Bay Band Boosters completed a $100,000 fundraising effort in time for the 2012 football/marching band season,” another wrote. “She worked tirelessly with the Bay Band Boosters board, music directors, school administrators, band-member moms and vendors on the design, purchase and delivery.”
The project Sheppa headed also raised money to purchase new Rockette uniforms; raincoats for band members and Rockettes; Rockette flags and poles; Rockette pompoms; marching band and orchestra polo shirts; hat and plume storage boxes; and dresses for female orchestra members.
“I am very honored,” Sheppa said, “and very much in shock. It was so unexpected. I did this out of love for kids and the schools. I have devoted my life to schools. Now that I am retired, I had a chance to help. The students really needed this; the old uniforms were falling apart. They work so hard, and represent the schools so well, that I thought they should look the part.”
Sheppa thanked the dozens of school administrators, music directors and parents who gave of their time to make this project a success. “I owe so much to all those who helped,” she said.
The Village Food Project (VFP), headed by 2012 Bay Village citizen of the year Barb Harrell, was named 2013 project of the year for its continuing support of Bay Village and Avon Lake neighbors who are battling cancer.
Marshalling a staff of more than 400 volunteers, many of them high school students, Harrell has provided thousands of nutritious meals, at no charge, to neighbors undergoing treatment for cancer.
“One of the unique qualities of this project is the amazing way the many generations in our community have collaborated to help those in need,” a nominator wrote. “The project brings together students from Bay High preparing meals in the kitchen, testing recipes, planting and caring for the VFP plot in the community garden, and planning fundraising initiatives.”
“In addition to our many hard-working volunteers, I want to thank Bay Presbyterian Church for its generosity in offering the VFP exclusive use of its kitchen,” Harrell said. “Special thanks to Senior Pastor Garnett Slatton for encouraging the development of the VFP and allowing me, as a staff person, to focus a great deal of my time and energy on the project. I also extend special thanks to co-founder and kitchen director, Michelle Slatton, for the endless amount of hours and energy she has put into the development and operation of the VFP. Without you, the VFP would be nothing more than a dream.”
A reception honoring Sheppa and the VFP will be held Sunday, Feb. 24, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Bay Presbyterian Church on Lake Road in Bay Village.