Local PTA leaders given life achievement award

Two long-time parent-teacher association moms were recognized for their years of involvement this past week.

Both Karen Talley and Karen Peterson were surprised with Life Achievement Awards from the National PTA at different Williamsburg-James City County Schools PTA events.

"PTA promotes the collaboration of families, schools, and communities throughout the country and encourages everyone who cares about kids to speak up with a powerful voice on their behalf," National PTA president Laura Bay said in a news release. "Karen Talley possesses such a mighty voice, and I cannot thank her enough for the work she has done and undoubtedly will continue to do."

Talley started her PTA career at Matoaka Elementary School eight years ago when her oldest child, Sydney, started there.

She helped organize a public viewing of the documentary Screenagers at the Williamsburg Community Chapel May 17. After the film, Talley was surprised with the award.

"I didn't even realize how long I'd been helping out," Talley said. "It just makes it feel like what I'm doing, and others with the PTA, means something to others, to those teaching our kids in these schools."

Next year Talley will move up to Hornsby Middle School's PTA as president. At Matoaka, she took on many roles including president, vice president of programming and treasurer.

Her work at Matoaka isn't done, she said. Her son Nathaniel still has three years left with as a Matoaka cardinal.

Peterson has also split her time across the division in her 12 years with W-JCC Schools. W-JCC PTA Council president Laura Tripp surprised Peterson with the award Monday at Warhill's Parent-Teacher-Student Association meeting.

She helped form J. Blaine Blayton Elementary School's PTA when the school first opened in 2010 before going on to serve as vice president and president of Warhill High School's PTSA.

Her daughter Hannah is a fifth grader at J. Blaine Blayton and her daughter India is finishing her sophomore year at Warhill.

Tripp noted Peterson's focus on the organization's reflections program, a student art competition. After serving at individual schools, Peterson has spent the past four years as the Peninsula District Reflections Chair for the regional PTA.

"Karen is a tireless volunteer and an inspiration to all," Tripp said Tuesday.

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

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