Back in August, you, the readers of The Commercial Appeal and the public, at large, were invited to participate in the nomination process for our annual televised awards show, The SPARK Awards. With this being our fourth year, we received a record number of nominations in each of the 13 different categories, which serve to honor and celebrate organizations and individuals who are leading by example and making a difference here in the Mid-South. The categories cover individuals of different ages (youth, college student and adult), nonprofits and corporations of various sizes, then education with a school, teacher, and education leader award. There also is a legacy award to honor a lifetime of work for the betterment of our community.
The fact that our honorees are publicly nominated allows us to find and celebrate hometown heroes, who are serving our community each and every day, yet don’t seek out attention and probably wouldn’t be noticed otherwise. So, I look at this awards show as an opportunity for us to work together, to show our appreciation and to inspire our city. For those of you who regularly read this column, you’ll remember that we featured snippets from quite a few of the nominations over the course of six weeks, to spotlight and thank those doing good and to encourage more individuals to become a SPARK by igniting positive change for our community.
When the nomination phase ended on August 31, 2017, all of the nominations were delivered to the Midtown Memphis Rotary Club, who served as the independent judges for the awards show. No preference or weighting was given to multiple nominations for the same individual or organization. The criteria for judging was based on the nominees leadership role in initiatives or efforts that better the Greater Memphis community, volunteerism, and impact.
Now, after both the public nominations and the judging process have been completed, it’s time to announce the 13 winners of The SPARK Awards 2017! The winners in each category will be announced and featured during a special televised broadcast tomorrow, Monday, December 18 from 8 to 9 PM on WKNO/Channel 10. You’ll have a chance to learn more about each of the honorees during short, three-minute interviews that highlight their community efforts and celebrate their service.
You’ll see the bright light of service that shines through a small family-owned business and an international corporation with its global headquarters here in Memphis; a teacher who works to develop the often overlooked potential of young people with intellectual disabilities; a school helping thousands of young women and men take their first confident steps into the world; a young man who is helping to bring his neighborhood together to grow a healthier future; and eight other stories that will lift your spirits and inspire you with the generosity that makes our city special. So, make it a point to grab your family and friends and encourage your co-workers, as well, to sit down and watch The SPARK Awards 2017!
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