ue Ganser Levinson (second from left) presented awards to Diane Lequar (second from right) and Jenni Suvari (right). Submitted photo

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Jenni Suvari and Diane Lequar were honored as the 2015 Phyllis Ganser Outstanding PTA Volunteers of the Year at the May 18 District 65 School Board meeting.Jenni Suvari and Diane Lequar were honored as the 2015 Phyllis Ganser Outstanding PTA Volunteers of the Year at the May 18 District 65 School Board meeting.

The honor is given to those who exhibit a commitment to the PTA goal of promoting the welfare of all school children, a willingness to work in any capacity (even behind the scenes), a spirit and enthusiasm for volunteer work and an ability to engage and involve other volunteers.

The awards were presented by Sue Ganser Levinson, the sister of Phyllis Ganser. She said Ms. Suvari, a Washington and Nichols parent, created a building and grounds committee at Washington that transformed the grounds of the school. She included every student and numerous parents in creating the edible and artistic gardens, and obtained grants for tree planting and landscaping, including creation of a butterfly garden.

She has also served as Nichols PTA president. There she helped raise funds to upgrade the library. She worked on school communication and feeder-school welcome events.

Ms. Suvari is called a “jack-of-all trades” by her nominator. She “puts her can-do attitude to excellent use in everything she takes on, and certainly has demonstrated her willingness time and time again to jump in when a need arises,” the nomination said.

Ms. Lequar’s children attend Dewey and Evanston Township High School. She has served in numerous capacities at Dewey and Nichols schools, including as a room parent for eight years, PTA treasurer and co-president, Books and Breakfast volunteer, and Everybody Reads fluency volunteer.

As a room parent in a TWI program school, Ms. Lequar never let language become a barrier. She finds people to make phone calls in Spanish when necessary and arranges rides for families who might otherwise not be able to attend events.

Ms. Lequar, said the presenter, “embodies a spirit of service that is demonstrated not just in the many ways in which she serves the Evanston community, but in her willingness to pitch in to help others succeed.”

The Ganser award was established to honor the memory of Phyllis Ganser, an outstanding PTA volunteer who set a high standard through her dedication to the community of children. At the time of her death in January 2000, Ms. Ganser had children at Walker School, Chute School and ETHS.