Around the UFT

‘Pure joy’

District 75 #PublicSchoolProud event honors students and educators who helped them succeed

Students and educators gather to celebrate their awards. Erica Berger

Students and educators gather to celebrate their awards.

Para Kevin Owens, teacher Antoinette Carvey and Sourav, their student at P 9. Erica Berger

Para Kevin Owens, teacher Antoinette Carvey and Sourav, their student at P 9 at the Walter Reed School, bask in the limelight.

“When we first got Sourav, he was nonverbal, he wouldn’t socialize,” said teacher Antoinette Carvey, who has worked with her student at P 9 in Maspeth, Queens, for three years. “Now we can’t get him to stop talking. I’m very proud. That’s why I’m a public school teacher.”

Sourav was one of nine students honored alongside the educators who helped them become successful at a Queens District 75 #PublicSchoolProud celebration on April 27.

One student and his or her teacher or related service provider from each District 75 site in Queens were recognized. For many of the honorees and the students’ parents, it was a chance to reflect on how far the special-needs children had come.

Parent Nohora Gomez said her son Michael, a student at P 75 in Ridgewood, has “totally changed” since working with his teacher, Christy Gorman.

“She’s more than a teacher for him. She’s a mother to him,” Gomez said.

Larry Fitzpatrick, the chapter leader at P 255 in Kew Gardens, said honoree Chrys Mirbach’s “perfect guidance and gentleness” as a paraprofessional has helped her student Hugo to thrive. For Mirbach, the real reward is her relationship with Hugo.

“He’s pure joy to work with, and I love him,” Mirbach said.

Nancy Vigo, a paraprofessional at P 993 in Floral Park, expressed similar feelings about her student Bryan, now 10 years old, who has been with her since he was in kindergarten.

“I’m more excited for him. He’s a star,” said Vigo.

“Bryan performs his best with Miss Nancy,” said his mother, Latoya Short.

Vigo, who gave up a 23-year career in banking to become a paraprofessional in 2001, said she had “never looked back” after her first week in a District 75 school.

“When my students get off the bus, they know they’re in a safe place and they’re going to have a good day,” Vigo said. “It’s the best thing, for children to know they’re loved. I thank God every day for what I do.”

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