CAYCE, SC (WIS) - It's a first in our Community Builder series!
Two teachers, at the same school, nominated as Community Builders for different reasons and months apart. But students and staff at Airport High School (AHS) put together an assembly for our cameras, so we could surprise the deserving duo.
Back in early March, AHS students held their annual 10-day Charity Drive for Camp Kemo. In the past, they've held a reveal to share just how much money was raised. So they invited us to see the big news - $54,319 raised and counting.
While the total was a surprise for us and for Camp Kemo, what we knew before learning the amount is that teacher and activities director Daniel Bailey helps orchestrate it all.
"There's no one who was more excited or a bigger cheerleader for Airport High School than Daniel Bailey," said teacher Vicki Stillwell, who nominated Bailey.
Stillwell says Bailey, who is an AHS alum and the school and Lexington School District Two's current Teacher of the Year has spent countless hours planning, coaching and leading the drive over the last two years. The planning starts in September "has grown by about $5,000 or $6,000," said Stillwell, referencing the growth in the short time Bailey has been helping to coordinate.
"We've had so many new events and the excitement for some of the events is just so much fun," Bailey said.
Bailey, who spoke during the assembly had no idea we were there to also surprise him and another unsuspecting colleague who was in the audience, Mallory Deaver.
"Mallory is the epitome of that smiling person, that Christian soul, that wonderful woman that would give you the shirt off her back," said teacher Anne Reamer.
Deaver is the registrar at AHS. She oversees a school food pantry that she advocated for, and she organizes a yearly holiday food drive so families don't go without.
"Mallory was like a one-woman freight train running around here to get this whole thing planned," added Reamer about the Elite Food Drive held in the Fall.
In all, 6,280 items were collected for those families in need and the school's food pantry during the drive alone.
Because Deaver and Bailey are known to give of themselves, it made it even more fun to turn the tables on them at the Charity Drive assembly. Interim Principal Frank Jovanelly introduced WIS' Mary King for the special surprise. King and Mungo Homes' Matt Mungo made their way to the stage for the big surprise.
King shared about the uniqueness of receiving two nominations for the Community Builder award that was completely unrelated but for people at the same organization.
She then, said, "I'd like to ask that Daniel Bailey and Mallory Deaver come up to the stage."
Emotional, the pair couldn't believe it.
Matt Mungo took over the honors sharing the news.
"You'll both get a $1,000 check to the charity of your choice from the Michael J. Mungo Foundation. These are yours," Mungo said as he handed Bailey and Deaver a hard hat. "Thank you very, very much for all you've done!"
It was news that was met with loud applause. While honored for different reasons, it turns out the reason these Community Builders continue to give back is nearly identical.
"This community is home to me," said Deaver. "I live here, I worship here, my kids go to school here… Airport [High School] is my family so for me to give that small piece back, it truly means the world to me."
"It means everything," Bailey said. "We had a tough year here at Airport, but we have come through on the winning end, and I'm very proud to be here at the school, and it means a lot to me because this is my home."