They call her "Miss Pat" and she rarely misses a day at J. Colin English Elementary School in North Fort Myers, inspiring staff and students alike.
North Fort Myers resident Patricia Breeding was named one of the three top volunteers by the Lee County School District for 2011/2012 year - as the No. 1 Senior Volunteer in the county.
Of "Miss Pat" you cannot hear enough praise.
North Fort Myers resident Patricia Breeding was named one of the three top volunteers by the Lee County School District for 2011/2012 year.
"Miss Pat is probably one of the most dedicated volunteers that we've had the privilege of working with," said J. Colin English Assistant Principal Toni Walker.
"She's here every day. She shows these children how to read and she embraces learning. She's extremely committed, and we are very proud of her and this honor."
Breeding has been volunteering at the school for the last six years. What is her favorite thing about volunteering?
"I love coming every day. That's because I love the students, who I call my babies. I also really enjoy working with staff including Toni and Jody (volunteer coordinator Jody Callahan).
"I think my favorite thing is to convince the children that they are smart enough to read and do. I always tell them they can do anything they want if they can read."
These individuals work tirelessly, said school spokesperson, to make sure local students have the best educational experience possible.
Other honorees include top Youth Volunteer Gabriella Setaro of Skyline Elementary and Troy Miller of Spring Creek Elementary as top Adult Volunteer.
"These individuals help teachers and students in classrooms at all grade levels and on the athletic fields and they work on projects at home," said Linda Montgomery, district volunteer coordinator for Lee County schools. "They assist in the front office, the Media Center, the lunchroom - wherever there is a need, you'll find a volunteer.
"These volunteers are giving up their time, and touch the lives of our students. They truly make a difference in our schools and our community."
That is especially true of the top three, including Breeding, she said.
"Each year, the Florida Department of Education invites districts to nominate outstanding school volunteers in the categories of seniors 62-plus, adults 21 to 61, and youths 20 and under. Selections are made from a large group of volunteers."
Sometime this month, a regional top volunteer will be chosen, Montgomery said.
And if you ask anyone at J. Colin English Elementary School, that would be "Miss Pat."