40 years ago, the City of Sunnyvale began the tradition of honoring local community members with a single award—the Distinguished Resident Award. The awards program has grown since its inception in 1981. This year, the city handed out eight awards to community members all working to make a difference within the city.
As is tradition, Sunnyvale announced the awardees ahead of time except for the Mayor’s Awards of Excellence.
Former Sunnyvale Mayor and city councilmember Dianne McKenna received this year’s individual Award of Excellence. Though McKenna retired from public service several years ago, she still stays involved in the Sunnyvale community.
“Thank you, Dianne, for your years of service to Sunnyvale and the entire Bay Area as an advocate for the environment, better transportation and a healthier community,” wrote Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein on the city’s Facebook page.
The recipient of this year’s group Mayor’s Award of Excellence was the city’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The city recognized the group “…for their leadership, flexibility, and commitment to assisting Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety and our entire community during the pandemic.”
Residents Dorit and Dave Chapman received this year’s Environmental Achievement award for their neighborhood litter cleanups. The Chapmans say it’s amazing how something as simple as a stroll during COVID through their Sunnyvale Neighbors of Arbor, Including LaLinda, (SNAIL) community turned into so much more.
“[The neighbors’] appreciation and enthusiasm for what we are doing has touched our hearts, and we are blessed to be a part of such a wonderful group of people,” said Dorit and Dave in an email. “It is very exciting to be the inspiration for the first SNAIL Earth Day event last April, and our second neighborhood cleanup, that just happened on October 16th and was so well attended. We are also very blessed to be able to make a difference with all the recycling we collect, as 100% of the funds collected are donated to Breast Cancer Awareness.”
The Sunnyvale School District received this year’s business of the year award for its work in retooling operations during the pandemic while maintaining equity among the students.
Murali Srinivasan received the city’s Distinguished Resident of the Year award. Srinivasan is a member of the Leadership Sunnyvale Board and the Sunnyvale Sustainability Commission. He is also involved with Sunnyvale Community Services.
Julio Delgado of Vargas Elementary School and Marissa Kacmarsky of Stocklmeir Elementary School shared the city’s Educator of the Year Award.
Homestead High School junior Radhika Agarwal won this year’s High School Student of the Year Award. Agarwal is a member of Sunnyvale Youth Climate Action.
Chitra Venkatramani received the Contribution to the Arts award. Venkatramani is a local dance teacher, who, according to the City of Sunnyvale, “…enriches the community by supporting social causes and maintaining cultural traditions.”
The community awards are handed out annually. The nominees are recommended to the mayor by a committee of previous Community Award winners. Sunnyvale accepts nominations year-round through a form on the city’s website.