Mary W. Lark Humanitarian Award

The Mary W. Lark Humanitarian Award was established in 1982. Mary Lark came to Rapid City, SD in 1941 as the Dean of Girls at Rapid City High School. Miss Lark always worked as a counselor, but her role as a counselor was officially recognized in the mid 1950's. She epitomized everything that we are taught are the positive characteristics of the perfect counselor. She was a caring, kind, accepting person who had an enormous capacity  for hard work, long hours, no complaints, and had an exceptional ability to listen. Long after student had graduated from high school, they would return to visit with her. She was everybody's friend and provided comfort and assistance for a couple of generations of high school students. 

This award was established to recognize counselors who are true humanitarians-those who go above and beyond the ordinary. The recipient (if they are an ACA member) is then submitted as a candidate for the Gilbert Wrenn Award at the national level. To learn more about the Wrenn Award, click HERE

These award winners have shown concern about human beings in special ways through caring behavior, documented and generally recognized by peers. They have also been observed in unselfish involvement over a period of time in a cause of situation which benefits others, not self.

Nominate using the google form or Submit the nomination form found HERE. Nominations close on March 1, 2023!


2022 Winner: Rachael Anderson

To this day, she is one of the first people I turn to for consultation regarding students, bouncing ideas around, or even a trusted shoulder to lean on when I am stressed. Even more amazing than the support she has shown me, is the fact that she offers her support to any of our colleagues in the district. Rachael is seen as a leader and is frequently sought out for her knowledge and expertise as well as sound and ethical consultation. 

Beyond just her immediate colleagues, Rachael has continued her leadership and collaborative spirit into other areas. She has been a member of the SDCA board, SDSCA board, and has served as president of Sioux Chapter. Rachael has cultivated relationships to provide training and support for counselors of various disciplines and to bridge the gap which can unfortunately exist between school and mental health counselors. 

As if her work as a school counselor and member of professional organizations wasn’t enough, Rachael has served as an adjunct faculty member of both the University of South Dakota as well South Dakota State University. Through her instruction, she has helped prepare new counselors as they travel through the process of becoming the next generation of professional counselors and leaders in the field. 

To know Rachael is to know the passion she has for the world of counseling. She is frequently sought out for her professional opinion and insight and strives to help others become better counselors. Rachael recognizes that by working together with all counselors, helps to provide countless students and clients the best support possible. -Jeff Heavlin, Professional School Counselor


Past Award Winners

  • 2022- Rachael Anderson
  • 2021- Anna Eidem
  • 2018- Margie Neugebauer
  • 2017 - Valerie Horack
  • 2016 - Doug Hoisington
  • 2015 - Kelly Jones
  • 2014 - Brian Dannen
  • 2013 - Dianne Brendan
  • 2012 - Barb Ohleen
  • 2011 - Lois Walpole
  • 2010 - Lexi Seely
  • 2009 - Linda Johnson
  • 2008 - Penny Virchow
  • 2007 - Michelle Brandenberg
  • 2006 - Patricia Brady
  • 2005 - Debra Johnson
  • 2004 - Gloria Schulz
  • 2003 - Mike Cutler
  • 2002 - Jean Lakner
  • 2000 - Dana Sanderson