Medtronic volunteer honored for 20 year commitment at Annual Luncheon

Over 500 BestPrep supporters — teachers, students, volunteers and donors — came together on May 22 to celebrate the accomplishments of our educators and volunteers at the Annual Luncheon. Jim Owens, President and CEO of H.B. Fuller Company, gave a lively keynote presentation on how a strong innovation agenda can connect people and products around the world.

Each year, the top volunteer and educator who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to our programs are honored with special awards. Of the over 3,800 volunteers that worked with BestPrep this school year, Tim Mercil of Medtronic was selected as the 2014 Bunzel Volunteer of the Year Award winner. Tim has had an outstanding impact on BestPrep, through a story that spans nearly twenty years and a number of roles.

Tim began with BestPrep as a student at South St. Paul High School in 1994 when he attended Minnesota Business Venture (MBV). He returned in the student leadership role a handful of times, and now, for 11 years straight, he has been returning to Minnesota Business Venture as a Resident Business Leader. During his week at MBV, Tim coaches, facilitates and manages a group of 10-14 high school students. His supportive leadership skills were apparent when he eagerly agreed to have two hearing impaired students place in his company last year. Tim has been an active member of the MBV Advisory Committee which works to improve the MBV experience and curriculum. Not only does he volunteer to give back to students, he does so to learn new hands-on skills in leadership to bring back to use as an IT Manager at Medtronic. It was an honor to recognize Tim for all he has done for BestPrep and for students across Minnesota.

Educators play an important role in connecting volunteers with students, and this year we honored Brenda Diekman of Buffalo High School with the Carpenter Achievement Teacher of the Year Award. A longtime supporter of BestPrep, Diekman utilizes all six of our programs for not only her students but also for her professional development. Diekman attends the Technology Integration Workshop as a Specialist during the summer to teach others and learn about new technologies that can enhance her classroom. To see a complete list of all the volunteers and educators that were honored, please visit our website.

Prior to the Luncheon, The Stock Market Game (The SMG) student winners from the Yearlong and Spring Sessions were recognized. Wayne Dickie of Pine Island Middle School is a frequent guest at The SMG awards ceremony, as his students are routinely ranked at the top of their age group in the state. For more than 17 years, all 7th graders at Pine Island Middle School have improved their financial literacy skills thanks to his involvement with The SMG. BestPrep was excited to honor Dickie with the Larson Financial Literacy Award.

We would like to thank all who attended our 38th Annual Luncheon and we invite you to visit BestPrep’s Facebook page to see photos from the event. We continue to be grateful for all those who participate in our programs and graciously choose to donate or share their time and talents with the young people of our communities.