In 1996, Doris Tucker’s granddaughter, Asha, was a student at Wilshire Crest Elementary School. Tucker, who was raising Asha by herself at the time, wanted to be involved in her granddaughter’s education, and decided to volunteer at Wilshire Crest. But while Asha grew up and moved on, Tucker stayed on at her local elementary school. Now 89 years old (she’ll be 90 in September), Tucker has been volunteering all day, every school day, for the last 20 years, in the school’s preschool and kindergarten classes, acting as a de facto “grandma” to what is now an entire generation of Wilshire Crest students.
Last night, Tucker received some rare recognition for her efforts, when the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council presented her with its Citizen Recognition Award at its monthly board meeting. In addition to a commemorative certificate, she received warm applause from both board members and a large contingent of family members and school friends in appreciation of her years of service.
For 19 of her 20 years at Wilshire Crest, Tucker has worked with Pre-K and kindergarten teacher Eileen Washington, a Sycamore Square resident, who was by Tucker’s side last night for her moment in the spotlight. Washington says she feels extremely lucky to have Tucker as the “Grandma” in her class.
“I can’t believe how dedicated she is, walking to Wilshire Crest every day…even when it rains,” said Washington earlier this week. “Not only is Ms. Tucker very nurturing to the children,” Washington continued, “but she challenges them to think at the highest levels, and always tells them to “kiss your brain” when they answer her thought-provoking questions. And every day she reminds them, before going to lunch, to “eat your food, to feed your…” And the children chime in, “…BRAIN!” Then she continues, “Never say ‘I can’t’…because YES, YOU CAN!””
If you ask Tucker why she continues to volunteer every day at the age of 89, she says, “I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than being (at school every day) with the kids. They are my passion.”
And it was clear last night that the feeling is mutual for all who know her.
If you know of an “unsung hero” who deserves to be recognized for his or her service to the Greater Wilshire community, the GWNC Outreach committee welcomes nominations for future Citizen Recognition awards. Nomination forms are available at http://www.greaterwilshire.org/site/files/GWNCNominatingform.pdf