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November Volunteer of the Month

Reported by on 11/20/14

BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month

The beautiful artwork that greets visitors when they walk into Patterson Elementary School is the work of Sarah McGinnis, an artist and a volunteer at the school. The mural is titled, “Growing Together at Patterson,” and was completed over the summer with the help of parents and more than 50 students and teachers. For her dedication, she is being recognized as the District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month.

“I am truly grateful and honored to be recognized,” Sarah said. “My mother was always very involved when I was a child and I always thought of her as the role model I wanted to follow.”

A studio art major at the University of Arizona, Sarah volunteered at local children’s museums doing installations and painting murals. She then worked as a graphic designer and visual manager for Macy’s. After her children were born, she volunteered at their preschools and continued to paint. She and her husband, Duncan, moved from Texas to Naperville two-and-a-half years ago with their children, Madison, a fourth-grader, and Cooper, a second-grader, at Patterson, and Riley, a preschooler.

Her first art project at Patterson was a mural that she designed and painted in the Multipurpose Room. The walls are more than 10 feet tall and required scaffolding, but that didn’t stop her and she found ways to include the students in the massive project. Her daughter’s Brownie Troop helped with the mural and earned their painting badge. When another Brownie Troop wanted to earn their painting badge, they helped with the mural in the Patterson entryway.

Sarah brought her passion for art to her other volunteer roles at Patterson. She created signs for the school carnival and painted photo cutouts for the carnival photo opportunity. She recently coordinated a craft show for the neighborhood children and included kids of all ages, who wanted to express themselves through art.

“Volunteering has been wonderful to get involved with my kids’ schools and support the amazing staff,” she said. “I love being at school and feeling like I can make a difference in the lives of families and children.”

BMO Harris Bank is helping District 204 recognize one volunteer each month who has generously given his or her time to support District 204’s students and schools. To celebrate these outstanding volunteers, BMO Harris Bank is donating $1,000 to the volunteer's school. To nominate an outstanding volunteer, visit

Muralist Sarah McGinnis was named the District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month for November for her role in coordinating major art projects at Patterson Elementary.

Photo (l to r) Patterson Elementary Principal Michele Frost, Nicki McIntyre – Branch Manager, BMO Harris Bank, District 204 BMO Harris Bank Volunteer of the Month recipient Sarah McGinnis, and Chris Michalski – Market President, BMO Harris Bank-Naperville.

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