Two HCPS Employees Honored as Hopewell “Citizens of the Month”

Two HCPS Employees Honored as Hopewell “Citizens of the Month”

By R. M. Carkhuff

“The Chief wanted to recognize people [who] were [working] behind the scene and really never [getting] any credit out in the public,” Ms. Jackie Shornak, Chair of the Chief [Of Hopewell Police] Advisory Committee, explained of the newly minted Citizen of the Month Award. 

“The committee [nominates] those we [feel] deserve that recognition, where they are standing in the background and haven’t ever really been recognized. And so we have started that month-by-month,” said Ms. Shornak. She noted that to find Citizens of the month, the Committee is “going to the people in our neighborhoods, where people have lived a life here in Hopewell, and that have dedicated their lives to helping the community.” 

Two Hopewell City Public Schools (HCPS) employees have been named the Citizen of the Month since its inception. The first-ever award went to Mr. Malik Wheat, Data & Testing Specialist at Hopewell High School, in March of 2021. 

“Mr. Wheat is a lifelong resident of Hopewell and has been a teacher in the City of Hopewell Public School system since 2003,” reads the plaque given to Mr. Wheat to celebrate the award. “Mr. Wheat has been described as a positive mentor to his students and an all-around amazing person. He sends out a positive email to each of his students every day and is consistently a support for parents who are struggling and in need of advice. He is admired for his honesty, willingness to help, and for being very humble. Furthermore, Mr. Wheat will oftentimes donate his personal funds to the school system to help with many programs. He always goes above and beyond to ensure our youth are supported and well taken care of.” 


Mr. Malik Wheat, third from the left, holding both his plaque and a big check, stands with three members of VFW Post 637, Chief Kamran Afzal (fourth from the left) and Ms. Jackie Shornak (fifth from the left), Chair of the Chief Advisory Council. Image courtesy of M. Wheat.

In June of 2021, Ms. Linda Hyslop, former educator for Hopewell City Public Schools and current member of the School Board, was celebrated as the Citizen of the Month. 

Her plaque reads: “Ms. Hyslop has dedicated her life as an educational advocate for the City of Hopewell public school system. Even after her retirement, she is highly respected as a teacher, assistant school superintendent, and currently, she is a member of the City of Hopewell School Board. Ms. Hyslop has been a great influence to many children that have come through the school system and she is well known throughout the community for her generous spirit and loving heart. She has also served many years with the Hopewell/Prince George Crime Solvers program.” 

After receiving her award, Ms. Hyslop shared a few words. 

“We came here from Miami, Florida. I was a sophomore in high school,” she told the small crowd gathered around. “It meant so much for us to be here in this small community, which I call family, and like I tell people -- I chose to live here because I love it so much. It is a close community and we have so many people that do so much for our community.” 

Hopewell City Public Schools are incredibly proud of the HCPS community members who received these prestigious awards. 

As Ms. Shornak said, “It’s really neat to see people that are so deserving really get the recognition they deserve. We have great people here in Hopewell, and it’s just nice to say ‘thank you -- thank you for all the years that you’ve dedicated your life, no matter what you’ve done.”