Around the UFT

Passion and Promise celebration for paraprofessionals in District 75 on Staten Island

Proud moment

Honorees, with UFT District 75 Representative Analia Gerard (standing, left), ge Jonathan Fickies Honorees, with UFT District 75 Representative Analia Gerard (standing, left), get together for a group shot.
Honoree Esther Maldonado-Smith (left) is congratulated by PS 373 colleagues Pame Jonathan Fickies Honoree Esther Maldonado-Smith (left) is congratulated by PS 373 colleagues Pamela Payton-Grant (center), a special education teacher, and paraprofessional Lianne Simo.

Lisa Rosenfeld has worked as a paraprofessional with severely disabled students at PS 37 on Staten Island for 27 years. “The children I work with don’t ask for much. They just want you to smile at them and talk to them like you would to your own children,” she said. So it was “humbling” for Rosenfeld to attend the UFT’s District 75 Passion and Promise event on March 9, where 28 Staten Island paraprofessionals from four District 75 schools were honored for their many years of service. “It makes me feel proud. It makes anybody feel good to know that they’re wanted,” she said. Jean Kelly, who has 28 years of service as a paraprofessional at the Hungerford School, attended with nine fellow paraprofessionals from her school. “I work with a great bunch of people, and it was quite an honor,” she said. Kelly, whose son and daughter also work as paraprofessionals, noted with pride that she and her fellow educators at Hungerford work hard to provide opportunities for their students with disabilities. “It makes them feel really good about themselves, and it makes us feel really good, too. I’m very proud of myself.”

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