13 ‘Unsung Heroes’ honored for contributions to schools
13 ‘Unsung Heroes’ honored for contributions to schools
Posted on 04/30/2014
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WEST HAVEN, April 15, 2014 — The West Haven PTA Council recently honored 13 “Unsung Heroes” of the city school system, highlighting their contributions and thanking them for working tirelessly to help students and schools.

The honorees were recognized at the council’s April 9 Founder’s Day Dinner, which drew a crowd of around 300 people to the Westwoods Ballroom and also raised thousands of dollars for scholarships for West Haven High School graduating seniors.

The Unsung Heroes, chosen each year by school PTAs, may be West Haven school teachers, nurses, custodians, other staff members, parent and community volunteers, or Board of Education members and are guests of honor at the annual dinner. The PTA Council also selects an Unsung Hero.

Some have gone above and beyond in the classroom, while others have helped out at countless school functions. There are those who have ensured that needy families in the district have enough food and clothing, and those who have donated to student activities over the years from their businesses.

Those honored this year as Unsung Heroes are: M. Toni Paine, Carrigan Intermediate School; Mary Zwack, Forest Elementary School; Darcee Lopresti and Hilary Brentson, Haley Elementary School; Dina Robinson, Pagels Elementary School; Jean Vitale, Savin Rock Community School; Stacy Sutton, Mackrille Elementary School; Amy Warren, Washington Elementary School; Laura Mongillo and Bob Nugent, Bailey Middle School; Dana Martinez, West Haven High School; and Garrett Owen Grant, PTA Council.

“It’s for things people have done that have gone unnoticed, and it’s the time to recognize them and say, ‘You did a great job,’” said Tracy Morrissey, PTA Council president who received the Marisa Matrisciano Friends of Education Award as part of the celebration.

Schools typically choose one Unsung Hero, while some this year chose two. The schools thanked the honorees in different ways at the dinner, with some offering skits, photo slideshows and songs. The West Haven High School Theatre Workshop also performed scenes from its recent production of “Willy Wonka.”

Each honoree also received a citation from Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and an engraved key chain from the PTA Council. Additionally, the Board of Education donated a book to each school’s library in the name of each Unsung Hero.

Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro said the recipients are people who are always willing to pitch in whenever something is asked of them and never look for anything in return.

“We need to acknowledge how fortunate our schools are to reap the benefits of their enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to education,” Cavallaro said. “The honorees have worked hard to help shape our schools, and they’ve shown our students what it means to be a role model.”

O’Brien added that this year’s group of Unsung Heroes is a great representation of the hardworking staff members and volunteers making a difference every day in the school community.

“Each of these spirited Unsung Heroes has displayed a selfless commitment to community service,” O’Brien said. “By giving back to their schools, they have made inspiring contributions to our local identity and have made our city a more hopeful place.”


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