Chris Steele was a 1982 graduate of Charles Wright. As a student, he threw himself into what Charles Wright had to offer. He played soccer, took an active part in Donn Laughlin’s drama productions, both backstage and onstage, and was a talented art student. He had a particular love for the outdoors, and those who went on trips with Chris recall his passionate enthusiasm for hiking and climbing. After a long fight with cancer, Chris passed away in 2002. In his memory, his family and friends have established an award to honor a Charles Wright staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the school and its students and faculty.
There isn’t one person on this campus who hasn’t benefitted from the talents and generosity of this year’s Chris Steele Award recipient. Even visitors to our campus have experienced her creativity, passion, and caring. The lure of her meals has often been a selling point in many job interviews, and we weren’t undersold—our school lunches are truly legendary! But it’s her tireless commitment to “everything CWA” that stands out the most. From our Headmaster’s Picnic feast to our bountiful Founders’ Day breakfast to and our holiday gala dinner, she nurtures us body and soul, always going above and beyond our expectations. Coworkers have used the phrases “commitment to excellence,” “awe-inspiring work ethic,” “tireless energy,” “flexibility,” “patience,” “unselfishness,” “warmth,” “kindness,” and “dedication” when describing her. With each and every meeting, event, and party in between, her care for us is abundant. She takes pride in serving us beautiful, delicious food and does so with such quiet humility. We are constantly wowed with not only the quality of her food, but also with the superb presentation. And it’s at these moments when her heart shows.
A valued member of CWA’s staff since 2001, this year’s recipient of the Chris Steele Award for outstanding service by a staff member is Sheila Clemans.