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.


2024 Winner: Deb Butman-Perkins, pictured with nominator Deb Langher

Debra's act of unselfiness, sacrifice and focus on others to grow and healing of others. For example, a student came into Debra's office while I was there. I told him I would step-out while they talked and he said, "That would be great, but I want to till you something. I have been meeting with Debra since I was in elementary school, and she said she will be with me until I graduate from high school. I know that she will." This type of trust can only be built with this student and everyone else Debra associates with through long-term, unselfish focus towards the growth and healing of others.


 Deb Butman-Perkins is one of the most caring and compassionate individuals that I have ever met. Deb has organized and run conferences and learning workshops for mental health professionals on the east and west side of our state over the last twenty years. She runs and therapy private practice and is a wonderful advocate for her young clients attending IEP meetings and helping them get the services to help them succeed in their school environment. She is very passionate about helping her clients and goes above and beyond.

Past Award Winners