Reyna Ngo takes Volunteer of Year honors

"At Lakeland Elementary School, they affectionately call Reyna Ngo Mrs. Know-It-All. Now Lakeland employees also can refer to her as Volunteer of the Year.Ngo, a 32-year-old Auburn resident, has volunteered at the school for about three years. Her son, Michael, now 9, was struggling in his classes, and Ngo wanted to get a first-hand look at his education. Her son no longer struggles, but she continues to volunteer. Her two other children, 10-year-old Michelle and 6-year-old Ashley, also attend Lakeland Elementary. In fact, she hopes to one day get a job at the school. Ngo helps the school's staff by copying reams of paper, supervising students at lunchtime and doing whatever else needs to be done. She copies so much material that employees in the officer call her the copy machine.I've got to rely on her so much, said office manager Gail Donohue. She knows what people need. It's like she's got a sixth sense. She knows ahead of time what kind of things are needed from the classroom to the office to the principal. She's got that ability.Lakeland para-educator Karen Lee echoes that praise. She considers Ngo an all-around good person.She's just a nice person willing to do everything and anything for people without asking anything in return, Lee said. She's there every day, all day, longer than a lot of us paid employees.In fact, Ngo expresses guilt if she must leave the school early for a doctor's appointment, Lee said.Ngo says she's continued to volunteer at Lakeland Elementary because of the friendly staff members - It's a good place to be. The staff gives her cards and gifts to celebrate her birthdays and leave little treats in her box, such as chocolates or notes that say Greetings or Good Morning.The staff makes me feel welcome, she said. They don't make me feel like I'm intruding.When Ngo learned someone at the school had nominated her for the Federal Way Mirror award, she displayed her customary modesty. She questioned the employees, but no one would confess to being the person who'd nominated her.They make me get all embarrassed, she said. 'Why you do that?' I asked. I do it because I like it. I'm not here to get an award.Parents would gain much from volunteering at their children's schools, Ngo says - namely the scoop on how their kids are doing in school. Ngo says she learns about the things teachers struggle with, among other things.It feels good to help, she said. I wouldn't trade it for anything. "

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