Skip to main content

News & Events

Starfish Awards

Special Education Foundation's Starfish Awards

Thank You for an AMAZING Evening Celebration and to Our Wonderful Sponsors & Supporters

Award Sponsors

See the 2024 Starfish Awards recipients here and view the photos from the event on June 13 at CITYPARK! 

The Starfish Award is reserved for individuals who have brought about significant change through seemingly small yet deeply meaningful actions. Ideal candidates for this honor exhibit the following qualities:

  • Consistently demonstrates unwavering compassion and kindness.
  • Leaves a remarkable imprint on the lives of students and families within the Special School District and the 22 partner districts in St. Louis County
  • Offers vital support during challenging circumstances.
  • Their actions generate a ripple effect of positivity, creating a nurturing environment for all.

The Inspiration Behind the Starfish Award

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean. Approaching the boy he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?”

"Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die,” the boy replied.

The man laughed to himself and said, “Do you realize there are miles of miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference." After listening politely, the boy bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the surf. Then, he smiled at the man and said,

“I made a difference to that one.”  See the video here.

Valedictorian Sponsors

Honor Roll Sponsors

BJC Healthcare

Mike & Carol Corry

John & Kathryn Dubuque

Tim & Kathi Eby

Englehardt Family Foundation

Lumaghi Law, LLC

McKelvey Homes


Allen & Jill Palmquist

St. Luke’s Hospital

Doug & Lynn Yaeger

Powered by the Women Leaders

The Special Education Foundation's Women Leaders is an active women’s group committed to helping children and youth with disabilities. More specifically, to fund special projects that support students with disabilities served by the Special School District of St. Louis County. It was established in 2009 based on guests’ interests at a friend-raiser in how they could help.

The Special Education Foundation's Starfish Award recognizes the unsung heroes who may not seek the spotlight but, through their daily efforts, embody the belief that every small action can create waves of positive change in the world around us.