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Announcing the 2020 Newmyer Award Honorees

April is National Volunteer Month, and as in many Aprils past, Sidwell Friends had been gearing up to honor some of the School’s most dedicated volunteers at the annual Newmyer Awards Dinner. While the event has been postponed, the School and the Newmyers could not wait to welcome the newest members of what Bryan Garman calls the “Sidwell Friends Hall of Fame.”

In 1975, ten couples who were friends of Ginger and Jimmie Newmyer ’37 chose to honor their 25th wedding anniversary with a very special gift to the School. This thoughtful tribute recognized the couple’s years of extraordinary volunteerism and thus established the annual Newmyer Awards. Recipients of this award “have made the greatest contribution over a sustained period of time to the values of Sidwell Friends and the life of the School community.”

Since first introduced, over 250 individuals have been honored by this celebration of the spirit of volunteerism and commitment to service within the Sidwell Friends community. And more than 40 years later, in 2018, Ginger and Jimmie’s daughter, Elsa Newmyer ’72, established the Newmyer Young Alumni Service Award to recognize a new generation of young alumni for their exceptional commitment to volunteer service.

While Sidwell Friends was looking forward to honoring the 2020 Newmyer Award and 2020 Newmyer Young Alumni Service Award recipients on Thursday, April 30, we are delighted to announce the recipients of the Awards and patiently await the opportunity to celebrate together. 

2020 Newmyer Award Recipients

Elida Bessalel (GP ’14,’17)
Next-to-New volunteer (2010-present);
Lower School volunteer (2000-2010);
Grandparents Steering Committee (2015-2017)

May Liang (P ’17,’20)
Campaign Leadership Steering Committee member (current)
Strategic Planning Steering Committee clerk (2016-2018)
Trustee (2012-2019)

Ali Mohamadi ’94 (P ’23,’26)
Alumni and Parents of Alumni Campaign Committee (current)
Alumni Association Executive Board (member 2012-2017; clerk 2017-2020)

Margarita Prieto (P ’14, ’16, ’20)
Parents Association (2002-present; co-clerk 2018-19)
Next-to-New Sale (2002-present; Leadership Team 2018-20)
A Night For Scholars (2002-present; co-chair 2013)


J. Lawrence Robinson ’60
Annual Fund volunteer
Alumni Association Executive Board member (2011-2016)

2020 Newmyer Young Alumni Service Award Recipient

 Sanam Aghdaey ’10
Volunteer fundraiser for Soccer Without Borders;
Volunteer coach at a refugee youth soccer camp through L.A.C.E.S

These individuals represent the spirit of volunteerism that motivates and gives hope to many members of the Sidwell Friends community throughout these challenging times. Their collective work inspires the larger Sidwell Friends community to build connections and serve their communities in new and unexpected ways.

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