Hilton BOE recognizes Friends of Education

Hilton Central School District celebrates its Friends of Education for 2021. Pictured on the front row, from left, are Chris Roach, Shelby Letta, Peggy Gilbert and Alberta Day, mother of Lakesha Day-Blake, who accepted her daughter’s award. Back row: Ben Turchin, Marijo Pearson and Pat O’Leary.

Every school year, the Hilton Board of Education honors individuals and organizations in the school community as Friends of Education for contributing to students’ education through volunteering or other efforts.

Jeffrey Green, principal of Hilton High School, honored professional photographer Chris Roach for photographing over 350 individual “walk the stage” graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and providing free photos for the school to use in its virtual ceremony. 

“The success of our Class of 2020 celebrations would not be possible without the support of Mr. Roach,” Green said.

The music department awarded Peggy Gilbert with the Leeroy Williams Friends of Education Award. Gilbert — the grandmother of an HHS choral student — volunteered to help with sewing and costuming for the fall 2019 musical. She also helped serve food during a chorus fundraiser that fall. 

“Peggy leads by example and our students take notice,” music teacher Kim Rudd said. 

Athletic director Michael Giruzzi recognized Ben Turchin and Varsity Media for helping to promote and livestream athletic events, and producing reopening videos during the pandemic.

“Their team has done this in the most professional manner and always makes our school look outstanding,” Giruzzi said.

Marc D’Amico, principal of Merton Williams Middle School, honored Shelby Letta, owner of Paradise Sugar Shoppe, for making the virtual National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony special for students by providing hand-decorated, individually wrapped cookies. 

“We appreciate Shelby’s efforts in making our unique ceremony the best that it could be,” NJHS co-adviser Anastasia Stamoulacatos said.

Kelley O’Connell-Byrne, interim principal of Northwood Elementary School, recognized Lakesha Day-Blake for donating puzzles, games, educational resources and toys to the school community. 

“This donation has allowed Northwood to bring joy and relief to many of our children and families, not only during the holiday season, but throughout the pandemic,” O’Connell-Byrne said. 

Parent Jill Warner received the Friends of Education Award for Quest Elementary School for leading the charge with Quest PTSO fundraising. 

“Jill’s motivation and constant planning is always done with family support and ease for teachers in mind,” Principal Derek Warren said. “She is innovative, forward-thinking and creative in her approaches, all of which are traits we value at Quest.”

Village Elementary School’s Friend of Education is retired Hilton teacher Pat O’Leary, who volunteers to read to classes and individual students. 

“In faithfully visiting kindergarten and first grade classrooms, Pat has helped to foster a love of reading by sharing some of her favorite books with our students,” Principal Ben Rudd said.

Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek presented parent Marijo Pearson with the districtwide Friends of Education Award. Pearson — as assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and professional development for Monroe 2 BOCES — serves on the district improvement team, providing resources and assistance along the way. 

“The commitment that Marijo has had, and continues to make, to this vital work and the Hilton Central School District is second to none,” Kosiorek said.