Each year, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) recognizes one of its longtime members who has taken her League training and put it to the best use possible, serving the League and community at large through exemplary leadership and service to others.
Cynthia D. Terry is one such woman, and she has been selected by a committee of her peers to receive the League’s highest honor: The Helen D. Newcomb Award. She will be recognized at the JLLB’s Annual Dinner on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.
Terry, a retired educational leadership coach and Long Beach Unified school principal — known for her time at Naples and Bret Harte elementary schools, Hamilton Middle School and Cabrillo High School in a 38-year career with the district — will be the first to tell you that her time in the Junior League helped establish the foundation for her lifelong dedication to voluntarism.
“When I joined the Junior League, it was exactly what I was looking for,” she said. “It was a match made in heaven. I wanted an opportunity to volunteer in my community, and I had some friends who spoke so highly of Junior League. It met everything I wanted to do in terms of allowing me to support the community and grow my own leadership skills and, of course, I’ve made so many wonderful friends and met so many other like-minded women. I love everything about it.”
Outside of her work in education and beyond the Junior League, Terry is active in many organizations across the community, including: Assistance League of Long Beach, currently serving as chairwoman of that organization’s capital campaign; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Theta Alpha Omega Chapter, where she serves on the executive committee; the board for the Pearl Foundation, Inc.; the executive committee for the Harbor Area Chapter of The Links; St. Matthews Parish, as a lector; and Cal State Long Beach Alumni Association’s board, having received her undergraduate education there and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University.
Terry attributes her initial passion for community volunteerism to her late mother of seven, Ruby M. Terry, who exemplified the importance of uplifting all members of the community, especially those most in need of support.
Terry has already been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2013 Press Telegram Amazing Women Lifetime Achievement Award; the 2016 Assistance League of Long Beach President’s Award and the 2017 Make a Difference Award for exemplary leadership and service; the 2018 CCEJ Humanitarian Award; and in 2019, the Long Beach NAACP honored her as a Passing the Torch of Leadership recipient.
Terry said she’s surprised and delighted to be selected for the prestigious Helen D. Newcomb Award from the Junior League of Long Beach.
“This award is way beyond anything I ever fathomed, and I’m just overwhelmed and just so impressed with the previous recipients,” she said. “I find that those women are so inspiring, and I’m so inspired by them, and to be considered — yet alone selected — is just such an honor.”
The Helen D. Newcomb Award committee said Terry, who has long been a sustaining member of the League, truly deserves the award because she’s the embodiment of the organization’s mission to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women and improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
“Cynthia Terry demonstrates a lifelong dedication to the Long Beach community through her career and voluntarism,” Junior League of Long Beach President Paula Barrow said. “We are so proud to be able to count her among the many fantastic women volunteers who have helped shape the Junior League of Long Beach’s legacy in its nearly 90-year history.”
Respectfully submitted for your consideration by the Helen Newcomb Award Committee 2019-20: Kimberly Neipling, Janice Merriweather, Mary Lamo, Heather Brel and Ashleigh Ruhl.