Maria Pankau and her husband, Don, have lived in Mira Mesa since 1980 and raised their sons, Don and Mark, here. At Hickman Elementary School, Maria was a classroom volunteer and taught an art class for 3 years.
In 1994 Maria began her involvement with music in the schools as a Challenger Middle School band chaperone. At a middle school band recital Maria was asked to work with the Mira Mesa Instrumental Music Boosters, the support group for the Sapphire Sound, Mira Mesa High School’s Band and Color Guard – one year before her older son started high school. Maria served as MMIMB president (6 years), treasurer (one year) and Vice President (2 years). Maria also served as chaperone for many of the band’s travels throughout the world, including 17 days in Sydney, Australia where many Mira Mesa High School band members played in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Band for the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. Maria continued volunteering with MMIMB long after her sons had graduated from high school. 2013 marked Maria’s 20th year working on the Mira Mesa Invitational Band Review and Field Tournament.
Maria was elected to the Mira Mesa Town Council Board in 2007, serving as MMTC newsletter editor from 2007-2009; second vice-president (membership) from 2010-2012; and as a Board member at large in 2013. She also serves on the Mira Mesa Maintenance Assessment District Committee. Maria became active with the Mira Mesa 4th of July Committee in 2008, working on Fun Day organization and then as 4th of July Parade chair the past 5 years. Maria is already making plans for the 2014 Mira Mesa 4th of July Parade, which will celebrate Mira Mesa’s history as a community as well as America’s birthday.
Maria’s energy, enthusiasm, and determined efforts led to the revived Miss Mira Mesa and first Miss Teen Mira Mesa Pageant in 2012, sponsored annually by the Mira Mesa Town Council. In 2014 the Pageant was expanded and renamed the Miss – Miss Teen San Diego Northeastern Communities Pageant, selecting title holders for Scripps Ranch as well as Mira Mesa. As Pageant coordinator Maria accompanies the title holders when they attend monthly Mira Mesa Town Council meetings and represent Mira Mesa at events such as the “Taste of Mira Mesa” to support local schools and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Pictures from the Volunteer of the Year Dinner held at Miramar Cafe on March 15, 2014: