West Haven PTA Council honors ‘Unsung Heroes’
West Haven PTA Council honors ‘Unsung Heroes’
Posted on 06/04/2015
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WEST HAVEN, May 26, 2015 —The PTA Council honored a group of parents, educators and community members as the West Haven Public School District’s “Unsung Heroes” earlier this month at its Founder’s Day dinner.

The awards are given out annually to those in the city who are deemed devoted volunteers and supporters of West Haven schools and who log countless hours behind the scenes working on fundraisers, family events, student enrichment programs, donation drives for students in need, and innovative ways to reach youngsters who may need extra help in class.

Each PTA chooses an Unsung Hero to represent its school, while the PTA Council chooses its own, as well as a recipient of the Marisa Matrisciano Friends of Education Award, which is named after a past PTA Council president who was known for her dedication to serving West Haven schools. All were recognized at the Founder’s Day dinner at Cielo by the PTA Council, Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro and Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, and the event also raised money for scholarships for West Haven High School students.

This year's recipients are: Dorinda Borer, Marisa Matrisciano Friends of Education Award; teacher Dina Jones, Bailey Middle School; parent Michelle Caprio, Carrigan Intermediate School; paraprofessional Marilyn Halligan, Forest Elementary School; teacher Debbie Weiss, Seth G. Haley Elementary School; math facilitator Jennifer Rosenberg, Edith E. Mackrille Elementary School; parent Pamela Gardner, Alma E. Pagels Elementary School; the Vertical Church, Savin Rock Community School; parent Christine Guest, Washington Elementary School; parent Michelle Rogers, WHHS; and Mike Raines, of Texas Roadhouse, PTA Council.

“This year’s theme was ‘Things are popping because you are our hero.’ Each PTA has its own criteria for choosing their heroes. I can say that our Unsung Heroes have all stepped up to the plate in many different ways and have done so much to help enrich our kids’ time in and out of school and make it more worthwhile and enjoyable,” said PTA Council President Ralph Eberle. “And they’ve done all of this without expecting anything in return.”

Cavallaro noted that they have West Haven students’ best interests at heart.

“You’ve given your personal time to help our kids have an educational experience that goes beyond homework, tests, grades and projects. It’s all of the little extras you provide that can make a student’s day go from bad to good, or that one of our graduates will remember when they reflect on their time as a student,” Cavallaro told this year’s honorees at the Founder’s Day dinner.

In choosing the Marisa Matrisciano Friends of Education Award recipient, the PTA Council looks for someone who goes above and beyond as a volunteer, according to Eberle. Borer said Matrisciano was “a shining example of what selfless service is all about,” and that she was humbled to be selected for the award and among this year’s Unsung Heroes.

“West Haven has an amazing spirit for pitching in and stepping up when it comes to supporting the youth in our community, and it’s particularly prevalent in the school system. All of the award recipients have impressive backgrounds and histories of accomplishments,” Borer said. “A large support network is exactly what makes for a great community." 

Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114; susan.misur@whschools.org