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Dianne Frelot is a full-time volunteer at Westwood Elementary School. (Nichole Osinski / American Press)

Dianne Frelot is a full-time volunteer at Westwood Elementary School. (Nichole Osinski / American Press)

School volunteer puts students first at Westwood Elementary

Last Modified: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 1:14 PM

By Nichole Osinski / American Press

Dianne Frelot may not have a car, but that doesn’t stop her from volunteering at Westwood Elementary School.

Instead of staying at home, she catches a ride from one of her eight children — arriving at the school at about 7:30 a.m. and leaving at about 6 p.m.

From the time Frelot arrives, she helps teachers with paperwork, watches students and lends a hand in any area where there is a need. At about 3 p.m. she starts her paid job supervising students for the school’s extended-day program.

If there is any extra work, she takes it home to finish it before starting again the next day. She has been volunteering at the school for eight years.

“My goal is that if I can help one teacher to pass their kid to go to the next the grade, I have accomplished something,” Frelot said. “Education nowadays is most important. It’s important for all kids to get an education. I did not get that education.”

Frelot started as a volunteer at Western Heights Elementary School in about 1992 when her daughter was a student there. After she heard several complaints about teachers not having enough time in the classroom she decided to step in to assist with any duties that would give the teacher more time with students.

When her grandson started school at Westwood she decided to become a volunteer at the school, where she has become a fixture — even earning her own desk and workspace.

Much of Frelot’s time is spent copying papers, and she has been known to sub for teachers if there is an emergency. Additionally, she watches students during recess and lunch.

“She started out gradually getting into this. Then all of a sudden she starts showing up every day,” said Principal Gerald Treme. “You can see in her eyes and in her work ethic that education is No. 1 in her family, and I was very impressed.”

Frelot was recently acknowledged for her efforts with a plaque at a Calcasieu Parish School Board meeting, where the entire staff from Westwood Elementary showed their support.

“It’s just phenomenal that she spends her time doing this,” Treme said. “The teachers appreciate her very much, and they know that she is a big success in our school.”

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