CHRIS CATRAMADOS enjoyed a banner day last week. Not only did she celebrate her 41st birthday on Oct. 6, but also the county Board of Education honored her as Volunteer of the Month. Out of the thousands of volunteers in county schools, a dozen are chosen for the honor each year.
Catramados became an enthusiastic volunteer when her youngest child was in first grade at Marley Elementary. After several years of working with the PTA and in the classroom, she left her part-time job as a nurse. "I told a friend of mine that my job was getting in the way of my volunteering," she recalled.
Now in her second term as president of the Marley Elementary PTA, Catramados also is secretary of the county School Board Nominating Convention committee. Her newest role is chairwoman of the Reflections Program, an artistic competition available to students through the county PTA.
"Getting involved as a volunteer has helped me to know the whole system of education," she said.
During the summer, she attended the National PTA Convention in Portland, Ore., and heard keynote speaker Bill Cosby talk about education.
"We were busy from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.," she said. "I thought I'd have time to tour the city, but I didn't have time for anything. I attended a lot of workshops."
Catramados logged about 250 hours at Marley Elementary last year. She has been volunteering six hours a day since the beginning of the school year, helping to run the visitors' sign-in desk and completing work for teachers.
Marley Principal Nina Griffith said Catramados initiated the desk as a way to improve safety in the school. "She's at the school almost every day," Griffith said. "Whatever you need done, she's willing to do it. And now she's gotten involved at the county level. She's been going to conferences to find out how to make our PTA stronger."
Kudos for the volunteer poured in from students, on handmade cards featuring heartfelt sentiments, and with drawings and handprints.
"I have made so many little friends here," Catramados said. "I would challenge people to spend one hour of their lifetime in their child's school, and I'd bet they'd be back for more. I think they'd have more appreciation for educators, when they see how full the plate they're serving from is getting."
Catramados lives in Glen Burnie with her husband, Tony, and children Corinne, 18, and Nick, 10.
The last place most teen-agers want to be seen is an elementary school. But Marley Middle School eighth-grader Tomi Shipman has been dedicating her after-school time to working with students at her old school, Point Pleasant Elementary.
Tomi has put in more than 15 hours training fourth-grade students as peer mediators for the Peace Patrol, a program intended to resolve conflicts between students.
"They really related to her," said guidance counselor Gayle Cicero. "They were in awe of everything she said, and they bombarded her with really nice feedback."
Tomi knows what she's talking about; she has been a peer mediator throughout middle school.
Vendors sought for fair
Crafts people are needed for the Church of the Good Shepherd's annual Christmas Craft Fair, to be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 6.
Spaces, which include a table, rent for $20 for a single or $35 for a double. The annual event draws shoppers looking for decorative and gift items.
The church is at 1451 Furnace Ave. To reserve a space, call Angela Sloan at 410-761-4991.
Pub Date: 10/13/99