Bob Canepa has been spearheading the annual Celebration of Service awards at the Redwoods since its inception 19 years ago, expanding it over time and handing out nearly 300 awards in the process.
But to hear the retired president of tell it, he’s the biggest beneficiary of the annual event, which was held last Friday at the Redwoods.
“When I leave the event each year, I just have the best feeling,” Canepa said. “I see some of these kids and what they have accomplished at such a young age and it’s amazing. That’s what I want to be when I grow up some day.”
Canepa created the awards along with then-Redwoods Executive Director Mel Matsumoto in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the Redwoods and the greater Mill Valley community. They started by honoring one teacher and one student for their dedication to the community and service.
Canepa, who retired in 2006 after 32 years at the helm of Mill Valley Market, used the DisneyHand Teacher Awards as a model and has since expanded upon it to include a teacher and a student from each of the seven public schools in Mill Valley. A public safety officer is also honored each year for outstanding service.
This year’s event honored retiring Superintendent Ken Benny, Redwoods residents and Seniors for Peace members Warren and Laverne Uhte, longtime Redwoods supporter Joyce Johnston, Capt. Tom Welch and one teacher and one student from each of the seven Mill Valley public schools.
The teachers honored were Molly Bass (Old Mill), Evelyn Dorsett (Tam High), Andrea Dunn (Park), Elena Garton (Tam Valley), Dan Guliasi (Strawberry Point), Jay Schulman (Mill Valley Middle) and Nandita Stachon (Edna Maguire).
The students honored were Hanna Sophie Berman (daughter of Mill Valley City Councilman Andy Berman and Tam High senior), Claire Byrne (5th grade, Strawberry Point), Bianca Capretta (8th grade, Mill Valley Middle School), Isabelle Khoo Miller (5th grade, Old Mill), Alana Reiss (5th grade, Edna Maguire), Eli Rosenthal (5th grade, Park School) and Raven Twilling (5th grade, Tam Valley.
Mayor Ken Wachtel served as MC of the event, while music teacher Lori Adessa led a second grade class from Tam Valley Elementary in a musical performance about the merits of choosing healthy food over junk food.