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Volunteer of Paramount importance to school

April 30, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Long after the students and teachers have left for the summer, Jane Pope will be at Paramount Elementary School.

It's the same every year for Pope, credited by school officials with being their most dedicated volunteer.

Pope unpacks shipments of textbooks, teaching supplies and other items that roll in throughout the down time and helps staff members with paperwork.

During the school year, Pope spends three to four days a week at Paramount, mostly helping struggling students with their reading.

All the work paid off earlier this month for Pope with a state volunteerism award from JC Penney Co.

The company honored Pope and five other Marylanders in the education category of the Golden Rule Award contest.

"I read it, and I thought, 'Jane Pope.' This is Jane Pope. She does so much for our school," said principal Joanne Hilton, who nominated Pope. "There was no doubt in my mind that Jane would win."

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Pope was not as sure: "There was in mine."

Pope received a framed certicificate, a crystal award and a $1,000 check for the school.

Hilton said the school will use the cash to buy books which which students can practice reading at home.

"We tried to think of something that would be lasting and something that Jane would approve of," she said.

Pope now will be considered for a national Golden Rule award, which would be worth $10,000 for Paramount Elementary. The winners will be announced in September.

Pope said she never considered awards and honors when she offered to volunteer at the school five years ago.

"I guess it was because of my little granddaughter who was going into first grade," she said.

The Washington County native was something of a veteran school volunteer. She had spent time in the 1960s and 1970s at her son's schools.

Pope, a former bank employee, talked to children about the financial industry. She said she also convinced her employer, First National Bank, to set up a children's savings program.

Pope, 72, said she is glad to be a school volunteer again. Her favorite part?

"All of it. I just love all of it," she said.

Hilton said Pope is the most active of all the parent and grandparent volunteers at the school.

"Many children do not have grandparents living in the same area. Jane is a great role model," she said. "The children ask about her when she misses days.

"There's hardly anything that's done in this school that Jane doesn't have her hand in."

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