Dundalk High volunteer honored for service to county school system
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:55
 by Nicole Rodman

    Deja Lewter spends much of her time — more than 800 hours last year alone — volunteering in Dundalk High School’s music department.
    Last month, Lewter’s contribution to the Baltimore County Public Schools  (BCPS) system was acknowledged as she became the first Team BCPS Volunteer of the Year.
    Lewter received the honor during an awards breakfast at Valley Mansion in Cockeysville on June 19.
    According to BCPS communications officer Diana Spencer, the award was created as a way “to elevate our recognition of volunteers and to recognize that we value our volunteers not just for the number of hours they give but also for the very meaningful and varied ways they give to us.”
    There were 80 volunteers nominated by staff at schools across the county.
    At Dundalk High, Lewter was nominated by principal Tom Shouldice and volunteer coordinator Debra Blimline.
    Spencer said Lewter was chosen “because of the very specific and objective ways she helps the music program of Dundalk High meet its goals and operate more efficiently and because she makes such a positive impression on individual students and the overall school culture.”
    A graduate of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Lewter is already busy as a part-time college student, yet she dedicates much of her time to Dundalk High.
    Lewter first became a BCPS volunteer through her mother, Sonya Tapley. Tapley is chair of Dundalk High’s music department.
    A volunteer vocal coach, Lewter co-directed and choreographed Dundalk High’s first musical production in more than 20 years.
She also helped Dundalk High earn an excellent rating at the High Notes Music Festival and helped the music department meet countywide assessment goals for the first time in years.
     “It’s a great experience,” Lewter said of her work at Dundalk High. “I love working with the students.”
    Lewter noted that she was “shocked” when her name was announced as the winner during the award ceremony.
    “I was crying, overwhelmed, shocked,” she explained.
    Not content to rest on her laurels, Lewter will return to Dundalk High as a volunteer this fall.
    In addition to Lewter, General John Stricker Middle School volunteer Theodore Ziolkowski was named as a finalist for the Volunteer of the Year award.