Anyone who has been in any part of Pasadena Elementary School over the last 15 years or so has almost certainly crossed paths with Richard Watts.
From running off copies to laminating materials to attending drownproofing and BizTown field trips, Watts has done it all. He began volunteering at the school when his grandson was in kindergarten. That same grandson graduated from high school two years ago.
For all his work, Watts was named the 2019 Anne Arundel County Public Schools Volunteer of the Year.
“Mr. Watts’ sense of belonging and support is unparalleled,” Pasadena Elementary Principal Jennifer Quirino said. “He often plans vacations around school activities, and ensures volunteer needs are satisfied ahead of his personal plans.”
Watts builds relationships with students and staff alike. When school events draw large crowds, he becomes a shuttle driver and takes teachers to their cars so that visitors can park closer to the school.
“He is a ray of sunshine even on the cloudiest of days,” said fifth-grade teacher Dana DiGiorgio.
Perhaps the biggest tribute has come from students, however. When asked to submit names of heroes who have made a difference at the school, Watts’ name came up so often that an annual award now bears his name.