By Student Reporter: Emma Grace Benzing
Germantown, Tennessee—April 21st-- Each year the Tennessee School Boards Association recognizes school district volunteers from across the state who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating exceptional commitment to volunteerism in a local school district.
Kelly Yates has been described by several other parent volunteers, teachers, coaches, and administrators as down-to-earth, loyal, helpful, supportive, and giving. She is the founder and chairman of the Celebrate Our Seniors on the Houston School PTSO, the president of the Houston High School Basketball Booster Club, the leader of Houston Moms in Prayer Group, and a workhorse of regular school and PTSO functions. Over the winter holiday, she also organized a gift card drive for families and staff in need.
The Celebrate Our Seniors Committee on the PTSO is a special interest workgroup formed in response to the pandemic. The PTSO regularly runs teacher appreciation events but decided that this year they would run simultaneous events for the Class of 2021. The group collected additional funds from community members and hosted giveaways and treats for the seniors each month. They are also working to host an unofficial senior picnic leading up to Graduation in May.
Houston High School is coming off of its most successful basketball season-to-date. And, much thanks to that, according to Athletic Director Chad Becker is in part due to the excellent parent support of Kelly Yates. “She’s completely selfless,” he remarked when describing instances that she went above and beyond. As the president of a newly restructured booster club, Kelly oversaw communications and family relations on the team. Organizing travel and keeping parents in the loop could have been a full-time job on its own. The team traveled to Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Atlanta, South Dakota, and New Orleans to provide national exposure to the state championship team.
This is Kelly’s second year leading the HHS Moms in Prayer Group. They meet every week to pray for Houston staff and families. The group also writes and delivers notes to those who they have prayed for. Because she is always at the school working on PTSO or booster-related business, she is poised to hear of needs and relays them to the Moms in Prayer Group. Kelly has also developed a relationship with the school counselors and has worked with them to anonymously collect and deliver gift cards to families in need.
“In short,” said Principal Rob Taylor, “she does a little bit of everything and is all around awesome”. “I don’t know what we will do without her next year [her youngest graduates this year],” said PTSO President Sherrie Sands.