2022-23 Friends of Education Award

Diane & Ellis McConnell presented with 2022-23 Aspen View Public Schools Friends of Education Award
Posted on 04/11/2023

In a ceremony held April 5, 2023 at Vilna School, Diane and Ellis McConnell were presented with the 2022-23 Aspen View Public Schools Friends of Education Award by Ward 6 (Southeast) Trustee Donna Cherniwchan, on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees of Aspen View Public Schools established the Friends of Education Award in 2022, to recognize organizations or individuals who have made a special contribution to education within the division. The McConnells were nominated for the Friends of Education Award by Vilna School.

“During the nearly four decades of their notable service to the community, the McConnells have demonstrated a significant contribution to education through outstanding leadership, citizenship, connectivity and collaboration,” Vilna School principal Joe Harrington and former principal Diane Padlesky wrote in the nomination submission. “They have gave, supported, assisted, spearheaded and rallied behind Vilna School and the school community selflessly and without thought of reward or acknowledgement for nearly 40 years.”

As both community members and proprietors of D&E Family Grocer in Vilna, the McConnells have been champions for the improvement of education and the betterment of the community. At the school level, they have strongly supported Vilna School’s breakfast and lunch programs, and the annual Christmas feast; sponsored school sports teams, travel clubs and graduating classes; and provided work experience opportunities.

“Diane and Ellis are model citizens who know the meaning of working together and sharing like-minded goals,” Mr. Harrington and Mrs. Padlesky wrote. “They have taken their responsibility as contributing community members to heart.


“The McConnells have given of their time, service and remarkable generosity time and time again. They are well known as people who always go out of their way to support others, and their belief in the value of helping others in incomparable.”

“A sense of caring, to me, revolves around two components which are equally important: respect, and a concern for the dignity of others,” said Vilna Off-Campus Achievement Academy teacher Nav Atwal. “Thank you sincerely for all that you’ve done for our school, particularly our students, and of course, for the community of Vilna.”

Trustee Cherniwchan said the McConnells were selected to receive the Friends of Education Award “just so you know how much you mean to our community, and the work that you’ve done has never gone unnoticed.”

“We got involved in the community and we wanted to make things better, and that’s what we always tried to do,” Diane McConnell commented.

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