The Highland Local School District has named Sharon Township residents, Bernadette and Tony Yu, the Highland Pride Award winners for the 2021-2022 school year.
The couple was recognized for their contributions to the district at the May 16 Highland School Board meeting.
Their nominators agree that Bernadette and Tony are “Highland through and through and bleed ‘green and black.’ Their spirit of pride truly shines through in all that they do.”
Bernadette, who has been a third-grade teacher at Sharon Elementary for the past 25 years, and her husband Tony, a long-time community volunteer, were selected by a committee based on nominations received and in recognition of the unwavering commitment, enthusiasm and generosity they have shown to the students and the Highland community over the years. They now join an elite group of individuals who have been presented with this honor.
One of Bernadette’s nominators said she is like the school district in which she teaches: “exceptional.” She is credited for being an engaging and dynamic educator who often uses technology to inspire and instruct her students.
“She is tireless in her efforts to push students to reach their goals and go above and beyond. She sets a prime example of this through her commitment and dedication to volunteering,” another nominator said.
For the past several years, Bernadette has led the “hair team” for middle and high school musicals. She has also organized the uniform room for the Highland Marching Band, volunteered for the choir boosters and Added Attraction, assisted with the Highland gymnastics team, served on the Facilities Advisory Committee for the new elementary schools. She also has spearheaded several school-wide fundraisers, including collection drives for Feeding Medina County and St. Paul’s Sharing Center.
Those who know her well said Bernadette’s attention to detail, selfless nature and the amount of time she devotes to her extra volunteer efforts are what sets her apart. When she sees one of her former “star students” mentioned in area newspapers, for example, Bernadette cuts out the article and sends it to them at the high school.
When it comes to volunteering, Tony Yu is impressive in his own right, nominators say. Although the couple works in tandem at many events, Tony also offers countless hours to the band and choir programs in his spare time.
For the past five years, he has served as a band trailer volunteer, helping to load and unload the equipment at every away performance of the marching band. He is a band chaperone for trips and a driver on Tag Day.
As the President of the Highland Choir Boosters for the past three years, and its former treasurer, Tony understands what it takes to operate a successful committee. Much like his wife, he is involved with every high school and middle school musical production and volunteers at all state choir contests hosted at Highland High School.
Tony and Bernadette have helped sponsor and coordinate several fundraiser events, including a game night in their own home, literally raising thousands of dollars over the years to benefit the band and choir programs. They recently worked to partner with Highland’s Buck family of Buck Chevrolet, who agreed to donate a car to be raffled as a fundraiser, with all proceeds benefitting the band program.
Now a third-year member of The Highland Foundation Board of Trustees, Tony currently serves as the chair of the Projects Review Committee, which reviews teacher grants to help supplement learning opportunities for students and staff. Grant review meetings are held twice each school year in the fall and spring. As chair, Tony is responsible for bringing the committee’s grant recommendations to The Highland Foundation Board of Trustees, who then grant the final award decisions. ∞