This year we have three outstanding nominees for Mira Mesa Volunteer of the Year: Mike Gapasin, Sarah Spear-Barrett and Jeanne Christensen. The Volunteer of the Year will be selected by a vote of the membership at the December 3 MMTC meeting.
Mike Gapasin – Mike Gapasin moved to Mira Mesa at the age of 8, graduating from Mira Mesa High School in 1986. Coach Gapasin played both football (defensive linemen) and baseball (catcher) for the Marauders. He was a member of the 1986 Eastern League Championship team that made it to the CIF semi-finals. Since then, he has been extraordinarily active as a coach and mentor for the youth of Mira Mesa. Mike Gapasin is entering his 11th season with the Mira Mesa Marauders Baseball program. This will be his 5th year on the Varsity staff. Coach Gapasin has 18 years of coaching experience which includes little league baseball, youth baseball (both rec and all-stars) and travel baseball (San Diego Stallions, Mira Mesa Bruins and Scripps Ranch Falcons). He was a Coach and Board member for Mira Mesa Youth Baseball from 2000-2005; a Coach for AYSO, Region 285 from 2002-2004; a Coach and Board member for Mira Mesa Youth Football from 2007-2012; and a Coach for Mira Mesa Girls Softball from 2008-2012. He has also been a participant in a variety of Mira Mesa High School volunteer activities from 2008 through today.
Sarah Spear-Barrett – There are some people who spend a lifetime striving to improve the lives of others. Sarah Spear-Barrett is that type of person. Sarah earned a Bachelors degree in Sociology from UCSD, studying social relationships, social interaction and culture. With an interest in helping people, she earned a Masters in Counseling from SDSU. Currently, as the Dean of Academic Advising at UCSD, she has made a career of assisting students pursue their academic endeavors. But Sarah’s effort to improve the lives of others goes beyond her education and professional life. She has spent years committed to working with our local schools and organizations. While her three sons attended Sandburg Elementary and Challenger Middle School, she took on the roles of PTA President, Fall Carnival Chair and served on the SSC and SGT boards. In addition, Sarah often chaired the Sandburg Holiday Fair and Reading Night. To support Mira Mesa High School, Sarah has volunteered as a parent member of the High School Site Governance Team and been active in the PBO for 2015 and 2017 and currently serves as VP for the Class of 2020. In addition, she served as the team parent and uniform coordinator for the MMHS little league. Over several years, she has served as the Fundraising Chair for the Mira Mesa Instrumental Music Boosters, the 2015 MMMIB Vice President and as the 2016 & 2017 MMIMB President, which involved coordinating the high school band’s participation in the Rose Parade in 2016. In addition, Sarah had volunteered as the MMHS Invitational Band Review and Field Tournament Chair for 2017 and 2018. She has not only offered her time and effort to these various groups, but has performed every task with grace and humor, inspiring others to volunteer their time as well. Through her tireless effort and dedication to improve the lives of so many, Sarah Spear-Barrett is without question a top candidate for Volunteer of the Year 2018.
Jeanne Christensen – Jeanne Christensen is the Mira Mesa High School Sapphire Sound band director. Jeanne is paid for her work as a teacher at MMHS but, those of us who know her know that there is no possible way for the district to pay her for the entirety of the hours she spends with the band. This is her life project and the students are her children. Many of her past students can be seen helping her continue on her search for excellence, from coaches to mentors to those living outside the area but still coming back to help with the tournament or just to visit with Mrs. C. Her students truly love her and are proud of the band she has created and the accolades that come Mira Mesa’s way because of Sapphire Sound. They are proud to be part of the Sapphire Sound history. She has grown the band from 80+ musicians and color guard to over 200 students who make the well-oiled machine that is the Sapphire Sound. In her 25 years at the helm she has made MMHS and Mira Mesa well known as a community that supports the arts and has an outstanding music program in our schools. She has helped to set up a program that supports young musicians from the onset by providing them with opportunities to play with the big kids at the high school. Her perseverance in making Sapphire Sound the best in the district encourages students in elementary and middle school to excellence so that they too can be a part of Sapphire Sound. Jeanne has taken Sapphire Sound to see, and be seen, by the world… The Olympics in 2000, Australia, Hawaii, New York City, Breckenridge, Washington D.C., and many other amazing places.