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Bernadette & Tony Yu are Pride Award Recipients

Tony and Bernadette YuThe Highland Local School District is pleased to announce the selection of the 2022 Highland Pride Award winners: Bernadette and Tony Yu of Sharon Township.

They were recognized at the Highland Board of Education meeting on May 16 in the Highland High School Media Center. A reception followed for family and friends in attendance. 

Bernadette, a 3rd grade teacher at Sharon Elementary for the past 25 years, and her husband Tony, a long-time community volunteer, were chosen 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 community of the Highland Schools over the years. They now join an elite group of individuals who have been presented with this honor. 

According to one of Bernadette’s nominators, she is like the school district in which she teaches... “exceptional.” 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. For the past several years, she has led the “hair team” for middle school and high school musicals, organized the Uniform Room for the Highland Marching Band, volunteered for the Choir Boosters and Added Attraction, assisted with the Highland Gymnastics Team, and also served on the Facilities Advisory Committee for the new elementary schools. 

She has spearheaded school-wide fundraisers to benefit the district and community (too many to count) including collection drives for Feeding Medina County and St. Paul’s Sharing Center. 

The details and time involved in all her extra volunteer efforts are what sets her apart, in addition to her selfless nature. When Bernadette sees one of her former “star students” mentioned in area newspapers, she quickly cuts out the article and sends it to them at the high school – and several have stated how meaningful that was to them.  

There simply is not enough space to list all of Bernadette’s volunteer efforts, past and present, but one of her nominators sums it up best. “Bernadette does not take on these added responsibilities because she feels obligated or because a role needs to be filled. She does it because she genuinely takes pride in the Highland community. She wants to contribute to the highest standards possible for our community — in whatever way she can. When people see our musicals, our band and choirs perform or our gymnasts compete, they realize each has been built upon a foundation of pride, and Bernadette has played a large role in strengthening that pride for 
many years.”

When it comes to volunteering, Tony is impressive in his own right. 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-plus 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. He, much like his wife, 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 to 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 the Buck family of Buck Chevrolet (a Highland family-owned business) 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 (fall and spring) and are very time-consuming, as all proposals must meet certain guidelines and application procedures. 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. 

It’s not difficult to understand why the Yus are appreciated and respected by so many in the Highland community – and why they were nominated for the Highland Pride Award. 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.”

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