Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and brighten someone's day. Richelle E. Goodrich, Author, Novelist & Poet
Longtime Episcopal volunteer Mary Burris has dedicated thousands of hours to the school’s students and staff. Since 1998, she has served in roles including room mom, cafeteria server and library assistant. In the library, she shelves 800 Lower School books a week and has placed 100,000 stickers on Lower School reading materials. On any given day in the Upper School library, Mary can be found covering books before they enter circulation. As a former cafeteria volunteer, she could be counted on to serve student meals with a bright smile and a friendly greeting. She has done this faithfully for more than 20 years, and in doing so, she has left her mark on the community she loves.
Mary’s time as an Episcopal volunteer began when she and her family moved to Baton Rouge from New Orleans. “I just love this school,” she says. She points to the curriculum and the access to sports as just two examples of everything Episcopal offers. “If I had gone to a school like this,” Mary ponders. As a young woman, Mary earned a degree in political science from UNO. As a mother, she dedicated herself to her children. Volunteering at Episcopal provided Mary the perfect opportunity to be involved with her children’s education and to be an active participant in their lives. She was that proud mom in the school cafeteria line. As her children passed through, Mary would loudly proclaim to everyone in earshot, “Look at my daughter. Look how pretty she is.” While such proclamations may have embarrassed the children then, Mary says they appreciate her now.
Although her children are now adults, Mary remains a library volunteer. “I love books,” says Mary, who doesn’t read fiction and enjoys a good true crime story or a popular biography. Mary’s natural talents have made her an ideal volunteer library assistant. “I have a keen eye for numbers,” she says. Such a skill proves beneficial when shelving hundreds of books according to a Dewey decimal number.
Mary is a dynamic, larger-than-life storyteller. As she tells of her adventures, the listener cannot help but be drawn into the stories of her passion for tennis and particularly Roger Federer. There is even the story of the time that she was actually the answer to a trivia question on the radio program “Walton and Johnson.” Mary is also an animal lover and enjoys sharing tales of her furry friends. At one point in her life her family included turtles, horses, sheep, ducks, goats, cats and dogs – all within the Baton Rouge city limits. No matter the day or the time, it seems Mary always has a story to share and those who know her are eager to listen.