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Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

Two Medway community members receive 2023 ‘Light the Spark’ award

Top photo: From left, Matt Thomsen, Ryan Place, Liam McCarthy, Lt. Jeffrey Watson, Donna Danielewski and Kerry McCarthy during the Light the Spark Award ceremony in December.

Medway Public Schools Superintendent Armand Pires and Director of Student Services Ryan Place are pleased to recognize two members of the Medway community who received the Light the Spark Award in December. 

Matt Thomsen, Ryan Place, Luke Zawadzki, Annie Zawadzki, Sophia Zawadzki and Donna Danielewski during the Light the Spark Award ceremony in December. (Photos courtesy Medway Public Schools)


The award acknowledges community members who are not professional educators or school staff but who see and celebrate the spark in children and families and help it to shine more brightly, benefiting the child, their family, their peers and the Medway community. The nominators are families with students with exceptional needs, on an IEP or 504, to recognize those individuals (non-educators) who have made a difference. 
The award is in honor of Kathleen B. Thomsen, the late grandmother of three Medway students who never failed to recognize and celebrate the spark in those around her and who — with what seemed the smallest of gestures — helped it shine more brightly for all to see. 
It was first given out in 2019 and is sponsored by the Danielewski-Thomsen family whose children have been supported at Medway Public Schools. In particular, one of their sons had several challenges and staff, working with the family, made the student’s middle school years manageable. 
Lt. Jeffrey Watson of the Medway Police Department and bus driver Brenda Keiser were presented with the Light the Spark Award last month. 
“Congratulations to Lt. Jeffrey Watson and Brenda Keiser on being this year’s Light the Spark Award recipients,” said Superintendent Pires. “They demonstrate care for our students and a true dedication to our school community, and have made a lasting impact on the overall well-being of our educational environment. 
About the recipients 

Lt. Jeffrey Watson was nominated by the McCarthy family who noted that he took special care to ensure that their car seats were properly installed, offered home safety tips, and helped to familiarize the family’s young children with emergency vehicles so they would be less afraid in the event of an emergency. Lt. Watson helped organize a Trunk-or-Treat with Medway’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council in an effort to provide a safe Halloween for children. Lt. Watson is hoping to coordinate a community bike ride in the spring to help children learn bicycle safety. 

Brenda Keiser was nominated by the Zawadzki family and has been the bus driver since their son, Luke, joined the preschool in April 2022. In their nomination, the family noted that Keiser made their son’s first experience riding a bus safe, positive and inviting. The family’s nomination recognized her for going out of her way to brighten their son’s day and being a friendly face on early school mornings. While Keiser was unable to attend the ceremony on Dec. 7, the Zawadzki family accepted the award on her behalf and presented it to her at the bus stop the next morning.