During this year's Annual Fun Run, St. Benedict's Episcopal School Board celebrated Kirsten and PJ Protos as the recipients of its 2022 Board of Trustees Award. The annual award recognizes an individual, family, or community partner who demonstrates a solid commitment to the school through service, support, or financial contributions. Past honorees include Caryn Lamphier (2019), Stephanie Eaddy (2020), and Scott Offen (2021).
With a history of service expanding from the enrollment of their children, Ellie and Duncan, at St. Benedict's in 2011, both Kirsten and PJ Protos have positively impacted the St. Benedict's community. They have been constant contributors and supporters of the school's vision, mission, and Episcopal values. The Proto's family support for the community includes but isn't limited to event support, active and in-person volunteerism, the support of its in-kind donations, and financial contributions, among many things.
"The Board of Trustees is honored to recognize Kirsten and PJ for their amazing efforts," said Board of Trustees Vice-Chairperson Tim Gould. "The Protos’ work shines a spotlight on St B's culture of service and community engagement. The entrepreneurial spirit of St B's is evident in their willingness to serve, helping ensure our students thrive and our teachers are supported."
The Protos family began supporting St. Benedicts in 2011, starting with the school's Annual Fun Run. The Annual Fun Run is one of the school's Parent Association's most celebrated and highly-attended community and fundraising events. Kirsten began volunteering for the event in 2015 and served as Event Race Director from 2021 to 2022. PJ has helped with the race course setup for the last two races.
In 2019, Kirsten and her daughter Ellie's passion for the environment moved them to join forces with Riess and Jackie Estep to start the Helping Hands Club, a student-led service and environmental outreach club. Kirsten worked with middle school students each week to educate other students and implement a recycling program at the middle school and other environmental and service projects throughout the school year. She helped students successfully implement recycling and composting at school events that year. Their commitment to the project, the school and its students culminated in a generous donation of a water filter in the middle school to reduce plastic water bottle use which PJ successfully installed.
PJ's love of running led him to the Cross Country Team, where he began coaching in 2019. Duncan was on the team from 2018-2022; Ellie from 2019-2021. Kirsten officially joined the coaching staff in 2020.
According to Kirsten and PJ Protos, "The volunteer activities that have involved direct long-term interactions with the students have been the most meaningful to us. To have used our time and skill sets to help students achieve their potential in these areas and shared experiences have brought us a lot of joy and purpose. Volunteering in longer-term positions served to deepen our overall connection with the school. We also feel it helped enhance and enrich our children's experience at St B's."
Ellie Protos is a 2021 graduate of St. Benedict's and currently attends Campbell HS in the IB program. Duncan Protos is presently in 8th Grade at St. Benedict's and graduates this May. As their time with St. Benedict's comes to an end, the Protos consider themselves extremely grateful for the opportunities to have such wonderful memories to take along with them when their time at the school concludes this Spring.
Kirsten and PJ Protos exemplify generosity and advocacy, and the St. Benedict's community is forever grateful for their support. The Board of Trustee Award winners are selected annually and nominated by members of the St. Benedict's community. Learn more on how to get involved and support the St. Benedict's community by visiting www.stbs.org