More than 100 senior ‘Ticktocker’ girls honored for thousands of hours of volunteer work
By Joy Donovan
Northeast Tarrant County senior high school girls, with resumes touting years of volunteer work, were honored recently with their time in the spotlight. Each year, the National Charity League, Inc., a mother-daughter organization known for its volunteer endeavors, celebrates its graduating seniors with chapterwide special events.
Those members, known as “Ticktockers,” were recognized for their six years as members. Open to mothers of girls in seventh through 12th grade, each chapter holds its own Senior Recognition event to congratulate the young women on going beyond the usual requirements.
Ticktockers are required to work in philanthropic endeavors, often alongside their mothers, participating in everything from canned food drives to meal deliveries to shut-ins to volunteer efforts at nonprofit fundraisers.
As the all-female philanthropic and civic organization nears its centennial anniversary, its popularity is growing in Northeast Tarrant County.
The organization focuses on leadership development, community involvement, volunteer commitment and cultural experiences with mothers and daughters in partnership.
The first local chapter, the Colleyville Area Chapter, was founded by Lee Skeats Koch some 30 years ago, after she and her family had recently moved to North Texas from the Houston area.
Today, Northeast Tarrant County has four additional chapters: DFW Metroport, Keller, Southlake and, its newest, Trophy Club. All are part of 295 chapters nationwide with 200,000 members and alumnae. Find out more at NationalCharityLeague.org.
“Senior Recognition is a time-honored tradition in the National Charity League,” said Samantha Conner, Colleyville chapter president. “It allows us to celebrate the graduating Class of 2023 and their mothers for the commitment they have made over the past six years to the NCL experience.”
The chapter honored 26 girls and their mothers on April 2 at the Westin Dallas Southlake. Wearing black evening gowns and carrying a single white rose, the honorees, accompanied by their parents, were presented to the chapter and guests. Co-chairs were Diana Ames and Kara Tibor.
Theme for the formal dinner was ”Let Your Dreams Be Your Wings, and Your Heart Be Your Guide.” Whimsical decor echoed the wing motif with natural, neutral elements, birds and hand-tied feathers for the napkins. The young women’s chairs were decorated with a blush waterfall sash and a delicate wooden nameplate.
Community service hours totaled 7,950 for their six years of membership. The girls and their mothers logged an additional 7,425 hours in committee work and leadership roles. Participants included students from Colleyville Heritage High, Fort Worth Christian, Grapevine schools and Westlake Academy.
The DFW Metroport honored 25 Ticktockers and their mothers at a seated dinner April 16 at The Bowden Events & Weddings in Keller.
The Ticktockers wore formal gowns in various colors and were introduced with their mothers as they entered the ballroom. A classmate read each young woman’s biography to the guests. The seniors were seated at a long table in the center of the room, flanked by tables of family members on either side.
With the theme “Free to Grow,” the event featured wildflowers decorating the tables, including one arrangement almost 20 feet long to honor the seniors. The honorees sat in chairs adorned with a sash of yellow chiffon and fresh flowers at the event, co-chaired by Monica Benzmiller and Amy Johnson.
In the past year, the seniors and their mothers logged 768 volunteer hours, and their philanthropic hours totaled 2,766 during their six-year membership.
Among those in the Class of 2023 are a homecoming queen, state champion athletes, National Honor Society members, yearbook editors and athletic team captains. The seniors attend L.D. Bell, Carroll Senior, Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine, Nolan Catholic and Trinity high schools.
“Senior recognition is a yearlong planning process, and it is the biggest event we do,” Johnson said. “It is a beautiful event with several beautiful traditions that our chapter has incorporated over the years.”
With the theme “Walking on Sunshine,” the Keller Chapter presented 22 graduating seniors April 2 at the Hurst Convention Center.
The young women, all wearing black evening gowns and carrying a red rose, were escorted through the ballroom to their fathers onstage. Patty Steeley and Stephanie Olhauser, the event co-chairs, arranged for decorations that included a balloon arch and floral centerpieces.
The chapter’s tradition involves individual tributes to the young women in the ballroom lobby, where hobbies, extracurricular activities and college plans are highlighted for members to view.
Founded in 2008, the chapter honored seniors who will be graduating from Keller, Oakridge and Liberty Christian schools. Among the honorees in the Class of 202 are AP scholars, club presidents, athletic team captains and UIL-honored musicians. The graduates’ philanthropic hours were 742.5 this year and 5,768.75 over six years.
“I am so proud of all these girls have accomplished,” said Carolyn Guillot, chapter president. “It’s a very impressive group.”
For its 26th senior recognition ceremony, held Jan. 29 at The Bowden Events & Weddings in Keller, the Southlake Chapter chose the theme “Pretty in Pink.”
Co-chairs Janie Arriaza and Kristi Tew honored 33 mothers and 33 graduating seniors at the dinner event. The young women tallied 445 philanthropic hours in the past year and 4,694 hours in their six years as Ticktockers.
With members from Carroll Senior High and Faith Christian, the group includes three National Merit Scholars, 24 National Honor Society members and two top-10 students at Carroll. Dressed in white gowns, the seniors carried nosegays of pink and white flowers as their siblings escorted them to the stage, where they were greeted by their parents.
For dinner, each honoree’s place was marked by a specially decorated chair, china table setting, pink glassware and chair festooned with pink bows.
“When you start looking at all they accomplished, you think, ‘Wow, this is really something,’” Tew said after the event. “It is a nice way to recognize the girls.”
Chartered in 2019, the Trophy Club chapter barely launched before COVID-19. The group still managed to celebrate its first graduating class of four-year members.
The three seniors, all from Byron Nelson High School, were honored April 14 with a sit-down dinner at The Marq Southlake.
The seniors wore white evening gowns, while the remaining chapter members in attendance wore black. For the celebration, the event chair, Letta Burger, decorated the ballroom and stage with shades of pink and white.
The trio carried bouquets of hydrangeas and roses, and they sat at family tables featuring centerpieces of pink, white and purple. The highlight of the evening was a father-daughter dance to the song When God Made You My Father.
Together, the three seniors put in 89 hours of volunteer work in the past year. Their achievements include athletics, National Honor Society membership and top 10 percent in the class.
“It was absolutely amazing,” Lynn Brizzi, chapter president, said of the evening. “It was the culmination of all our hard work of pulling this chapter together, especially when we started. It’s been a journey, and I feel like it was special for the girls and the rest of the chapter as well.”