The 29th annual Woman of Achievement awards will take place Sunday, March 13, 2 p.m., in the Dr. Wayne L. Rodehorst Performing Arts Center at Lakeland Community College. The program is sponsored by the Lakeland Community College Women’s Center; it is free and open to the public. Danita Harris, WEWS news anchor, will be the keynote speaker.
Ten local women will be honored for the way their lives exemplify the theme, “Leading With Light.” The theme recognizes women who have led/are leading the community through one of the darkest times in history, the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Each woman was nominated by colleagues, students or friends who recognized that their internal light and resilience was an example to others. Among the award recipients are four health care professionals, three teachers, a pastor, a business owner and a community volunteer. They are:
Carol A. Cunningham, M.D., is a board-certified and fellow emergency medicine physician whose life is dedicated to helping those in crisis. During Covid-19, she worked nationally and internationally to end the pandemic. Locally, she was the medical director for the vaccination site at the Wolstein Center.
Anna Day, local entrepreneur and philanthropist, founded The 24 in 24, a fundraising event where challengers attempt to run 1 mile, every hour, on the hour, for 24 consecutive hours. Donations grant wishes to terminally ill children through A Special Wish – Cleveland.
Tina Green, pastor of Fairport Harbor Congregational Church, led her congregation through the transition from in-person to online church while continuing to care for her community of members. Reverend Green also led the “Hate Has No Home Here” initiative in Fairport Harbor.
Patricia Halerz, third grade teacher at Grant Elementary School of Willoughby, led the way with adjustments to online school, realizing that this gave her a new way to understand her students’ needs. She was creative and generous in meeting those needs, reaching out with practical help for families.
Susan Huber, community volunteer, dedicates her time and talents to serving seniors in need. She volunteers at the Lake County Council on Aging Meals on Wheels, Lake Metroparks, Lake County General Health District Covid-19 Help Line, and serves as a volunteer guardian through Lifeline, Inc.
Christine Margalis, population health coordinator at Lake County General Health District, worked to provide information and guidelines to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic, offering clarity and preventing the spread of false information. She was on the front lines coordinating and operating vaccination clinics.
Alicia Martin, intervention specialist at Kirtland High School, doubled her work efforts during the pandemic so that none of her students would fall behind and experience lasting effects from this chaotic time. She is recognized for relentless support, kindness and compassion when working with students and staff.
Michelle Mullee, RN, has been on the front line dealing with Covid-19 as an emergency room nurse at the Cleveland Clinic Euclid Hospital. She has experienced firsthand the difficulties and chaos of the pandemic, yet she shines as an example of commitment to the job she loves.
Allison Pachono, a registered respiratory therapist for nearly 25 years, has worked at TriPoint Medical Center on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic, offering care and support to those patients whose illness was most severe. She acts as a pillar of strength to patients and colleagues alike.
Kate Schindler, French teacher at Mentor High School, was nominated by a student who valued her care for the mental health impact of the pandemic. She went above and beyond, offering ways for students to stay in touch with her and encouraged them in many ways to care for themselves.
Lakeland’s Women’s Center commissions a local female artist to create a piece of art that serves as the award for each recipient. This year, Painesville artist Sandy Miller has created ceramic pieces which demonstrate the sharing of light.
The reception, which follows the ceremony, is co-sponsored by the Gallery at Lakeland which currently features the exhibit, “From WOMAN XIV… Created by women, of women and about women,” in honor of Women’s History Month. Many of the artists whose work is on display will be present.