Around the UFT

District 11 Scholarship Dinner Dance

‘One big family’

Smiling is contagious for members from PS 106 as they surround Cahill (fifth froJonathan FickiesSmiling is contagious for members from PS 106 as they surround Cahill (fifth from left, back row).

Posing with Agostini are (from left) PS 41 teachers Joanne Calabrese and Sonia GJonathan FickiesPosing with Agostini are (from left) PS 41 teachers Joanne Calabrese and Sonia Guerrero, Principal Erika Tobia and teacher Beverly Plaskett. “I’m so excited to be a part of District 11 — it’s like one big family,” said Jasmin Hunt, a 2nd- and 3rd-grade teacher at PS 153 in the Bronx. Big is right. Nearly 550 members of that family turned out at Villa Barone Manor in the Throggs Neck section on April 25 for the second annual UFT District 11 Scholarship Dinner Dance. “People definitely did not want to miss out,” said Hunt. The event provided a way to “recognize members of the District 11 community,” said Alice Cooper-Jackson, the UFT’s District 11 representative who headed up the organizing committee. Honored were teachers Maureen Cahill of PS 106 and Tamika Tolliver of PS 78; school secretary Vicki Brancazio of PS 153; four students, who all received Chromebooks donated by McGraw Hill; assistant principals Zulma Valladares of PS/MS 194 and Robert Grant of MS 287; custodians Francisco Agostini of PS 41, Kieran Casey of PS 103, Matthew Nardo of PS 169 and Anthony Vega of the Rosa Parks Campus; and City Councilman Mark Gjonaj, a big supporter of the district when he represented it in the state Assembly. “Even though it’s a UFT event,” said PS 108 Chapter Leader Janine Garvin, “it brings together all the different parts of the school community. Every stakeholder comes out for a night to celebrate” the honorees. Garvin, the special education teacher in a 3rd-grade integrated co-teaching class, said the event may be a social gathering, “but in the end, it’s to benefit the students.” The highlight of the evening, said Cooper-Jackson, was a performance of musical selections from “Hairspray” by students from Baychester MS under the direction of teacher Collin Andrulonis. “You always hear all the negatives,” said Giovanna Colon, a school secretary at PS/MS 194. “This is a positive.”

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