Saying she had a “heart of gold,” Hopkinson Elementary Principal Evelyn Garcia named long time volunteer Lisa Pahl as it’s “Hero of the Heart” for 2020.
The ceremony was held online but during the meeting of the Los Alamitos Unified School District Board meeting Tuesday.
“Mrs. Lisa Paul is really a true hero of the heart,” said Garcia. “She works tirelessly to provide extraordinary experiences to all Huskies and is always willing to lend a helping hand with no expectation but for the sheer joy of giving,” said Garcia.
“She pours her heart into Hopkinson,” said Garcia, speaking of Pahl’s efforts at the Rossmoor Elementary School.
The award was bittersweet as Garcia said Pahl and her family were moving to Nashville, Tenn.
“We will miss Los Alamitos,” Pahl told the board via an online connection. “It’s hard to sit back and listen” to all the tributes, said Pahl, “when you feel unworthy of it.”
Garcia said Pahl has organized book fairs, carnivals, and many other events. Moreover, Pahl served in many capacities, including President of the Hopkinson Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for six years.
Garcia said honoring Pahl was “bittersweet” because Lisa and her family “are beginning a new journey together as they will be moving to Tennessee in the spring.
Nevertheless, “though she will no longer be physically active on campus, she leaves an important mark in the history of our school.”
Pahl, along with her husband, Mike, and two children, Logan and Allison, appeared on camera at their home to address Garcia and the board. (Because of the lockdown, the public is not allowed to be in the boardroom for meeting, so all external interaction is virtual).
First of all, Pahl confirmed the family is moving to Nashville and said “we will miss Los Alamitos.”
Pahl said “from the moment I was pregnant…I wanted to be involved in their school.” Pahl has been active at both Hopkinson and McAuliffe. She quit her consulting practice to begin her volunteer work.
“I just never realized (to) what extent that would be,” she said, adding “I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder than I do now.”
Nevertheless, she said “I don’t think I’ve been so fulfilled by being able to spend their most important elementary school years with them on campus and to see what it means to volunteer,” she said.
“Thank you so much for this award, thank you to the board and thank you everyone. I am truly honored.”
Supt. Dr. Andrew Pulver said while the board generally gives the recipient a standing ovation, “we are still trying to do that for you” as the board stood up and clapped towards the screen.
“We are so thrilled to have such amazing parents and members of the community,” he said. “We really are a village here to provide extraordinary opportunities for our students.”
“We could not do that without you and certainly want to thank you for all those years of service,” said Pulver. “Your legacy will outlive your presence in Rossmoor,” he added.
“You’re going to be deeply missed,” said Board President Marlys Davidson, adding, “I just know that it is parents like you that provide support and leadership with the creativity and ability to bring people together.”
“You’ve made a mark in Los Alamitos; we will not forget you,” said Board member Meg Cutuli.