April 29, 2022

Radiating Light

David Weeks

People volunteering and donating money and items  to a charitable cause


Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Edith Wharton proclaimed in her writing that “there are two ways to spreading light, to be a candle or the mirror that reflects it.” This quote resonates considering the remarkable parents who’ve volunteered on community projects or programs. Whether the Upper School’s fashion shows in the early 2000s, the International Holiday Bazaar, or the Middle School’s Maryland Youth Partners in Change (MYPIC) program, each person has impressively modeled generosity, commitment, and service to the welfare of others. 


As “candles,” these parents have demonstrated community engagement to their children, other students, parents, faculty, and staff. And as “mirrors,” they’ve empowered students—and especially their children—by recognizing and praising their accomplishments promoting community welfare. 


Of the many parents who volunteer their time, Marsha Cooper, mother to Faythe ’20, Grayce ’22, and Isaiah ’25, remains a stellar service champion for all she does for Glenelg Country School (GCS). 


Cooper first volunteered to coordinate refreshments for the fifth cohort of MYPIC, a middle school service-learning and leadership development program that partners with Booker T. Washington (BTW) Middle School in Baltimore City. While daughter Grayce participated, Cooper not only coordinated refreshments but also helped to supervise each monthly session. While distributing refreshments, she established a personal relationship with both GCS and BTW students. 


Her supportive and generous demeanor was complemented by being firm, fair, and consistent in her student conduct expectations, especially in the equitable sharing of refreshments. Students from both schools responded positively to her reminders of appropriate conduct in community engagement. 


When Cooper’s son, Isaiah, entered the sixth grade, she wanted him to have a similar experience. She once again volunteered her time to coordinate refreshments and attended all the sessions from 2018 to 2021. With a unique perspective overseeing student interactions, Cooper’s supervisory support and feedback remain invaluable. 


In addition to her engagement with the MYPIC program, Cooper supports her children’s interest in community service. Her commitment to service has rubbed off on her children, as both daughters have led the Upper School’s service club. 


In recent years, Cooper has served on the International Holiday Bazaar’s planning committee and committed time in preparing for and serving food at the popular buffet of this grand celebration of our school’s diversity. She is often found assisting with the annual clothing exchange and wherever else she can be of service to Glenelg Country School.


Juggling the schedules and interests of her children and ways she can assist GCS, Marsha Cooper is, indeed, an unsung heroine, leading by example. She is an inspiring beacon to others and empowers others with support and words of encouragement.


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