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Let’s Honor Those who Make a Difference This June!

St. Louis gateway arch with a starfish on top

Get ready to witness a constellation of compassion, resilience, and dedication as the Special Education Foundation proudly unveils its inaugural Starfish Awards! Join us as we shine a spotlight on 10 extraordinary individuals who embody the essence of the starfish parable, each making a profound impact on students with disabilities supported by the Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD).

SEF will recognize and honor eight outstanding individuals with the prestigious Starfish Awards, seven of whom hail from the partner districts of the Special School District of St. Louis County and one from the SSD schools and Central Office.

Through a meticulous selection process, these individuals have been identified by the Women Leaders of SEF as shining examples of dedication, compassion, and advocacy within their respective communities. From educators who go above and beyond to ensure the success of every student to community members who tirelessly champion inclusivity and support, each award recipient embodies the ethos of the Starfish Awards - making a profound difference in the lives of special education students, one act of kindness at a time.

In addition to these, the Special Education Foundation is proud to present two additional awards– the Community Starfish Award and the Special Education Foundation’s Spirit of SEF Award during the celebration.

The Community Starfish Award will be bestowed upon an exceptional individual from the Special Education Foundation community who has demonstrated unwavering dedication and made a significant difference in the lives of students with disabilities. Whether through volunteering, advocacy, or innovative initiatives, this individual has exemplified the spirit of compassion and inclusion, embodying the core values of the Special Education Foundation. Their tireless efforts have not only enriched the lives of students but have also inspired others to join in creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals with disabilities. The Community Starfish Award serves as a symbol of gratitude and admiration for their remarkable contributions to the special education community.

As the Special Education Foundation celebrates its 40th Anniversary this April, it is with great honor and gratitude that we introduce the Spirit of SEF Award. The Spirit of SEF Award is designed to recognize an individual who has demonstrated unwavering commitment, dedication, and passion for the Special Education Foundation since its inception. Through unceasing dedication, this individual has played an instrumental role in shaping the foundation's mission and vision, and their contributions have left an indelible mark on the organization's legacy. Whether through fundraising initiatives, advocacy efforts, or volunteerism, they have embodied the spirit of SEF, championing inclusivity, empowerment, and excellence in special education. The Spirit of SEF Award serves as a tribute to their outstanding leadership, selflessness, and enduring impact on the foundation and the communities it serves.

If you are unfamiliar with the Starfish Story, click here for a brief, yet powerful explanation.

But here's the beauty of the Starfish Awards: our honorees aren't just educators. They are anyone and everyone who has left an indelible mark on a special education student's journey. Whether it's a mentor who offered guidance, a peer who extended friendship, or a volunteer who dedicated time and resources, each recipient embodies the ethos of the starfish parable - making a difference, one life at a time.

With anticipation soaring and excitement mounting, tickets to this exclusive event will disappear fast. Don't miss your chance to be a part of history in the making. Secure your registration today and reserve your seat at the table of inspiration and admiration.

Tickets Available Now!

Yet, perhaps you're looking to elevate your involvement beyond attendance. That's where our sponsorship opportunities come in. By becoming a sponsor of the Starfish Awards, you not only align your brand with a noble cause but also gain unparalleled exposure to a diverse audience passionate about making a difference.

As the countdown to June 13th begins, let's come together to celebrate the stars among us. Let's honor their unwavering commitment, their boundless compassion, and their tireless efforts to create a more inclusive world for special education students. Join us at the Special Education Foundation's Starfish Awards, where every ticket sold and every sponsorship pledged fuels the flames of positive change. Together, let's illuminate the path towards a brighter, more inclusive future.

SEF’s Starfish Awards will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at CITYPARK Stadium, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Register here or contact SEF Events Manager Jill Salinas,, for further details and questions.