For Edwanda M. Larkin, the glare of the spotlight tomorrow at Anne Arundel Community College may be a bit too much.
That's where the South River High English teacher will be presented with the county Human Relations Commission's Dallas G. Pace Humanitarian Award for her academic and volunteer efforts.
The award, presented annually at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, recognizes the achievements and contributions of an individual who has significantly enhanced the lives of county residents.
It is named after the former commission chairman, who was a teacher and well-known community leader.
While appreciative of the award, Larkin, 45, said she didn't expect the attention.
"If I say I'm going to do something for you, that's between me and you," she said. "I quietly go out and do what I do."
What the Prince George's County resident won't brag about is how she started the Get Caught Reading Club at her Edgewater high school, where she has taught for 18 years, to motivate students to improve their reading skills.
She also probably won't mention how, as a 10-year adviser to the school's Unity Club, she has brought together ethnic groups, or how she volunteers as a suicide prevention counselor in Washington, or how she ministers to a nursing home, or that she coordinates her Landover church's tutoring program. "There are so many others that are deserving," she said.
But fellow South River teachers and those who nominated her say she is well-deserving.
`Few dents in her armor'
"She is one of the best English teachers we have. And she is well-respected," said William Snowden Keyes, a South River teacher. "She has very few dents in her armor."
Larkin, who resides in Largo, said she is simply emulating the actions of the teachers who inspired her. Ever since she graduated from St. Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Va., she knew she wanted to teach.
Those who work with Larkin said they have been most impressed with her Unity Club involvement. The club, which promotes cross-cultural exchange between students, does community service projects such as Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for needy children in Annapolis.
`Everybody has worth'
"We try to do things that are inclusive, not making people feel different, but making them feel part of whole," she said.
She added: "Everybody has worth, and the club tries to emphasize that point."
Other humanitarian award winners to be honored at the breakfast include: Sharon Barlow-Hughley, Anne Arundel Community College adviser; the Rev. Leroy Bowman, First Baptist Church of Annapolis; Vaughn T. Phillips, member of the Annapolis Minority Business Enterprise Committee; and Clemon H. Wesley, telecommunications firm president and CEO.
Tickets for the breakfast are $15. Reservations: 410-626-1932. For accommodations for the disabled: 410-541-2307.