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It is very gratifying to learn how much your work is appreciated and to hear from others about the impact that something you have done has had on them or their children.

CRONE KNIPPLEIn January 2017, my friend Anja Bump and I were co-winners of a Service Above Self: Educational Excellence (SASEE) Award. The SASEE Award program — conceived, supported and implemented by the Lake Oswego Rotary Club — provides an opportunity to "recognize champions of education in our schools and community."

I would like to share the personal impact that receiving the SASEE Award made on me. By doing so, I hope each of you will be encouraged to nominate a deserving individual for the 2018 SASEE Awards.

Anja and I were nominated by friends, colleagues and staff at Oak Creek Elementary for our volunteer work in building a makerspace for the school, and for broadening the science enrichment activities available at Oak Creek. These initiatives include an ongoing series of Science Nights, promotion of the Hour of Code, an annual STEAM Fair and facilitation of two Robotics teams.

While I loved creating and supporting each of those pursuits, the SASEE Award infused me with renewed energy to continue and advance our efforts. It is very gratifying to learn how much your work is appreciated and to hear from others about the impact that something you have done has had on them or their children. The SASEE Awards remind each of us to take the time to acknowledge others who have made a difference in our lives and in education.

Through the SASEE Awards, I learned of and became deeply interested in the Lake Oswego Rotary Club. I had not belonged to a service organization since my college days, and I was thrilled to find a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to giving back to the local, regional and international community. I joined Lake Oswego Rotary in the spring.

My membership in Rotary has made an invaluable impact on my life. Through Rotary, I have forged new friendships and met respected members of the education and business communites. This experience allowed me to make some valuable connections. For example, I was able to include one of the student award winners as an exhibitor at the STEAM Fair. I met Gary Stein, editor of the Lake Oswego Review, and was given the opportunity to write an article for the newspaper last spring.

I believe the SASEE Award boosted my confidence and desire to seek out additional ways to get involved in the community. When the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation publicized that it was seeking new board members, I decided to apply and was invited to serve. When I learned of the chance to obtain grants through Rotary, I submitted an application. The funding received will further enhance coding, robotics and science days at Oak Creek Elementary School.

Finally, it is deeply important to me to model community service for my own four children. The SASEE Awards raised their awareness of the principle of "service above self," while my membership in Rotary provided opportunities for them to engage in volunteer work. Already, they have helped me and other Rotarians clean the art installations throughout Lake Oswego and raise funds for Meals on Wheels.

Each of these experiences represent one piece of the impact that the SASEE Awards program has made on me. Think of them as a web emanating outward from the award and continuing to connect and affect the Lake Oswego community.

I was just one of 16 SASEE finalists in 2017. Imagine how large the web of connections has already become and how much larger and more influential it can be with each new year.

Please take the time to nominate someone you know who deserves recognition for their tireless efforts and valuable impact on education in Lake Oswego. Join the Lake Oswego Rotary Club at the awards dinner on Feb. 28, and consider making a donation to support SASEE. All of the information you need can be found at www.rotarysasee.org.

Lake Oswego Rotary Club member Deanne Crone Knipple is an education consultant and SASEE Award winner.

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