Forest View High School teacher Raylene Sommerville has received the 2012 Galatti Award for AFS.
The award is the most prestigious award granted by the AFS cultural exchange organisation, which celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding volunteers.
Over her AFS career, Mrs Sommerville has been a locally based volunteer, spent 10 years as a chairwoman of AFS New Zealand and 10 years as a vicechairwoman.
The award was made recently, but Mrs Sommerville said the news was broken to her by an Italian trustee before New Zea- land officials informed her.
‘‘He thought that I knew and he wrote me an email and all it said was ‘congratulations from Italy and Europe’, but I didn’t know what I was being congratulated for,’’ she said.
‘‘I didn’t know anything ( of the nomination). Every country nominates who they consider to be their top volunteer and then the international board of trustees will make a decision.’’
Mrs Sommerville said volunteering for AFS has at times felt like a second career.
However, she is thrilled with
had the recognition.
‘‘ It has to be over everything not just for the last year’s work. It is for outstanding volunteer service to the organisation.’’
The Galatti Award was established in 1983 to recognise these contributions, and it is presented each year to community volunteers who have provided long-term support.
Mrs Sommerville will receive an engraved plate and a certificate, presented in person by the president of AFS International or a member of the international board of trustees, and a partial scholarship in her name.