Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM Many times, the people who give the most are the ones who do so because they truly enjoy what they do. They don't need recognition for their time and effort because the thrill of giving back is enough for them.
Minnechaug Regional High School decided to honor those people anyway because of what they provide to the community.
During the graduation ceremony of the class of 2008, Phyllis Ervin, of the class of 1973, was inducted into the Minnechaug Alumni Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was created in 1989 to honor residents who have made outstanding contributions to the school and/or communities and serves as an example and inspirational message for graduating seniors each year.
"We saw those traits in Phyllis with her commitment to the school, to education...She's someone who understands civic responsibility," M. Martin O'Shea, principal of Minnechaug, said. "[Inducting her into the Hall of Fame was] a great way to recognize an individual who has given back to the community and almost as important, [her induction] shows grads what we expect of them when they leave Minnechaug."
A library paraprofessional, Ervin was a founding member of the Peach Festival who runs reading programs, works with the Reader to Reader Project (which offers books free of charge to libraries in need), served as a PTO president, has been teaching sewing lessons in her home for 17 years and volunteers with St. Cecilia's Church.
"It was quite an honor to be inducted," Ervin told Reminder Publications. "I was surprised. My first reaction was, 'Really?'" She said her husband David was inducted in 1991 and that he seemed more excited she was the chosen inductee this year than she was.
"It's very important to give back," Ervin stated. "This was a wonderful town to grow up in and it's a great school system. I love helping children and being part of the community is very important."
Although she's already given much to the schools and her town, Ervin has no intention of stopping any time soon. She said teaching her sewing lessons are her "greatest pleasure" and that she's thought about possibly joining a town committee.
She also expressed a desire to become part of a host family for foreign exchange students.
"I'd like to do more with the town library," Ervin added. "That's a public service in town that gives to every age group."
"Phyllis represents a lot of time and talent given," O'Shea said. "She devoted her time to programs that are the backbone of the Wilbraham schools and libraries. She's a very impressive individual."
In addition to having a plaque placed in Minnechaug's Alumni Hall of Fame, Ervin received a plaque of her own for her accomplishments.
To be selected as an inductee to the Hall of Fame, a person must meet these requirements: he or she must be a graduate of Minnechaug from the classes of 1961 through 2008 (for next year's induction), must currently reside in Hampden or Wilbraham, must demonstrate service to the school and/or community and must possess personal traits which exemplify the spirit of Minnechaug.
Nomination papers are available at the high school from January through April.