B. Marie Byers honored

February 15, 2001

B. Marie Byers honored

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

B. Marie ByersFormer Washington County School Board member B. Marie Byers received two surprise awards at Thursday night's Annual PTA Founder's Day Dinner.

More than 100 people attended the event at the Four Points Hotel.

Caroline Brooks, who presented Byers with a Character Counts award, said the award was appropriate for Byers's many years of service to the children of Washington County. Brooks is the Character Counts Coalition Coordinator for Washington County.

Byers served 30 years on the School Board and has been a member of a list of community groups and education-based organizations.


She retired from the School Board in November.

Byers later received an honorary National Lifetime PTA Membership, the most prestigious award given by the organization.

"It's the greatest award that we can give to one of our members," said Jenny Belliotti, president of the Washington County Council of PTAs.

The local PTA usually gives state honorary lifetime memberships annually, but Belliotti said Byers deserved the national award.

Byers said she was surprised and honored.

"The National Honorary Membership does mean quite a lot to me. They really make a difference in the lives of children," Byers said of the PTA. "It's quite a surprise."

Byers, summarizing the history of the local PTA, said Washington County was a pioneer in implementing several school-based programs.

In the 1940s the county was the first in the state to offer lunch to children, through the efforts of parents. It was also among the first to provide cartons of milk at lunchtime, hold clothes drives, support student transportation, hold visual screenings and sponsor live plays.

Byers became a member of the PTA as a 20-year-old teacher at the former Broadway School, she said. She's stayed a member ever since.

"If I visit a school, the first thing I do is join their PTA," she said. "People who are committed make a difference."

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