Loyola Names 2020 Marcus S. Ryu '91 Employee Recognition Award Recipients

Congratulations to Mr. Barney Cohen, Mrs. Kelly Williams, & Mr. Joseph LaBella who were named the 2020 Marcus S. Ryu ’91 Employee Recognition Award recipients during our End-of-Year Faculty & Staff Meeting this morning! Read what some of their colleagues had to say about them in why they are each so deserving of this special award.

Mr. Barney Cohen

"There is no teacher or staff member at Loyola who has been more helpful, professional, and knowledgeable about how to best serve our Dons during this quarantine period than Barney. He has humbly and without complaint provided hundreds of hours of his time working with teachers individually or during professional development sessions to assist them in preparing lessons, working with new software, or troubleshooting technology. Even before this whole thing started, Barney was the face of the tech team on our campus. Kids adored him and knew they could ask him to help with anything, even if the problem was their own fault. Let us not forget the standing ovation Barney got during an assembly last year when there was an issue with the projector being used! He also does far more than work on technology. He leads the trip to Belize, he has a homeroom, he has even volunteered to proctor classes when needed. He never complains, always has a positive attitude, and has a great sense of humor. He is one of the most important and influential members of our campus community and has worked harder to earn this award than any other person I can think of."

"Over the past few years, I have seen the dedication that Barney brings to Loyola. He truly enjoys his job and the interaction he has with our faculty and students. He always goes the extra mile to help a student or teacher in the classroom. He ensures that they have the best experience possible using technology as a tool in the classroom. Over the past couple months, I have seen that amount of effort Barney and Mike Lackner have put into training for faculty. We are going through some difficulty and different times. I think that they have done a amazing job implementing technology for distance learning."

"Since arriving at Loyola, Barney has been the epitome of 'Open to Growth' and 'cura personalis.' He is patient, kind, and tenacious when assisting teachers, staff, and students with technology glitches. He has been willing to stand out in the cold at the Sheridan parking lot to make sure that everyone has their proper parking spot in the morning. He has shared sweat, toil, laughs, and especially care to our Dons as they built homes in the sweltering sun of Belize. Not to mention, the multiple times that Barney has used his medical training to keep the members of this trip healthy when they were far away from home. He has been so devoted to this trip that he has stepped up to be its leader this year. Finally, our recent successful distance learning experiences on Microsoft Teams are very much due to the patient and caring way in which Barney has trained our faculty, been there to answer all of our questions, worked hard in the background to make sure our Teams were created and worked smoothly, and answer all of our questions many times over. Personally, I have been energized by his humor, his great taste in music (he is an afficionado of covers), his willingness to help with any job big or small, and most importantly his friendship. Barney's attitude, example, and professionalism teach us everyday what it means to be a 'man for others.' I think my colleagues would be in agreement that the body of servant-leadership work that Barney has given to our school is the caliber that Marcus Ryu's award is designed to recognize."

Mrs. Kelly Williams

"For the past six years, Kelly has demonstrated what it truly means to be a Woman for Others! Day after day, Kelly welcomes our boys in the morning, helps them find their misplaced belongings, delivers messages from their parents, and is the voice of calming when a parent is stressed for one reason or another. Kelly always has the best interest of all of her coworkers even if it means going out of her way to bring in treats, finding last minute proctors or just giving her time for them to vent! Kelly is the driving force behind our Middle School Advisory Program. She has organized monthly service projects to various non-profits. This past year and a half, Kelly has worked with Brendan O'Kane on our Sustaining Agreement—hours upon hours of gathering survey results, following up with various groups, editing the documents, planning the itinerary—all for the good of Loyola. There is no one else on campus that is more deserving of this award."
"Kelly is the captain who drives our middle school. Most of the daily responsibilities fall on Kelly's shoulders. She never falters, is extremely reliable, and always prepared to tackle even the most difficult problem. She is the first person the boys run to if they need help and the first person parents encounter on the phone. Teachers depend on Kelly for various, sometimes ridiculous, reasons as well. In addition to the continual daily operations in Sheridan, she worked tirelessly on Loyola's sustaining agreement this year. She's also a proud mom of three Dons and outwardly communicates her love of our school. I would personally be lost without her support, advice, and friendship. No one works harder than Kelly and she is more than deserving of the Marcus Ryu Award."

"Kelly is a friendly face for students, parents, and teachers in the middle school. She deals with parent questions with an understanding demeanor, student issues with compassion, and teacher requests without blinking. She is a total team player at Loyola and has her hands in so many parts of the middle school operation."

Mr. Joseph LaBella

"Joe is an educator who displays care for others in every interaction. He is kind, supportive, and respectful toward all. He listens carefully. He challenges lovingly. He is the first to offer a word of encouragement. His efforts in creating the Loyola Antiracist Group have mobilized a group of faculty to combat longstanding issues. His work in Peer Education and Kairos have helped to empower students on our campus. Joe is an amazing example of an Ignatian educator, and his words and actions both inspire me with hope and challenge me to be better."

"Joe is an excellent addition to the Loyola community. He is active in sports, he participates in professional development activities, he attends conferences, he took the lead on the Loyola Antiracist Group, the students love him, his classes are engaging, and he has a heart for others. Joe exemplifies the mission of Loyola in every way."

"Joe has always been an excellent teacher, but his work this year in promoting racial equality and awareness along with his piloting of the Microsoft Teams app from the beginning of the year make him an excellent choice for this award."

The Marcus S. Ryu ’91 Employee Recognition Award was created in June 2014 through the generosity of Mr. Marcus Ryu and his wife Cyrena “Torrey” Simon, M.D. to reward and recognize the highest talent within the faculty and staff of Loyola Blakefield. This annual award is provided to two (or more) employees who demonstrate accomplishments beyond the regular scope and assigned duties as employees, with at least half of the awards to go to instructional employees. These awards would be performance-based and be awarded to those who most improved the classroom or campus experience to further Loyola’s success.

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