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Press release

May 4, 2001

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May, 2001 | Supporting Education | Northern California

Robin Sortman Receives "Hero in Education" Award


SACRAMENTO - Actress Marla Gibbs presented Robin Sortman, from Sacramento, with California Lottery's "Hero In Education" award on the "Big Spin®" show that airs May 5, 2001.

Robin Sortman has been volunteering at Jefferson Elementary School in Sacramento for over 5 years, two years as a PTA president where he was honored by the area PTA with a Certificate of Excellence.

Jefferson Elementary has an annual reading incentive program that encourages children to challenge themselves to read over a six-week period. Having worked professionally at a theater in San Francisco, Sortman uses his creative talent to motivate children to read. Sortman goes to the school at least once a week, in character, to deliver messages regarding the reading incentive program's weekly theme. The first year he made a covered wagon for the "Western Reading Round-up" and came dressed as "Tex", a sure-shootin' cowboy, delivering prizes for accomplished reading goals. The next year he dressed as Elvis. He had the whole school 'all shook up' over the "Read Around the Clock" reading program. For his third whimsical character, Robin was costumed as Merlin, beckoning children to "The Magic of Reading". Finally, this year Robin became Zandoor, an Extraterrestrial intent on learning how and why earthlings read. The theme was "Take Me to Your Reader". For his volunteer contribution to education, Sortman was awarded California Lottery's "Hero In Education" award.

Actress Marla Gibbs, who is best known for her portrayal of "Florence" on the hit television series The Jeffersons, presented Sortman with the "Hero in Education" award. Gibbs spoke of a hero who had inspired her while she was in school, Ester Taylor, who would stay after school and tutor children until their parents were able to pick them up. "We need to recognize those who have gone above and beyond for education," said Gibbs.

California Lottery's "Heroes in Education" Program recognizes outstanding volunteers in the community. Through their dedication and efforts, California's students receive enrichment opportunities that may not have been available without these volunteers. The "Heroes in Education" Program demonstrates that support for California's schools comes in many different and innovative ways. Since 1985, the Lottery has raised more than $12 billion for public schools.

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See More Press Releases: May, 2001 | Supporting Education | Northern California