If, as the saying goes, teachers plant seeds of knowledge, then the seeds planted by Betty Silverman have grown into a thriving family tree.
Silverman’s husband, daughter and granddaughter — who are all former or current New York City public school teachers — celebrated the 20th anniversary of the scholarship named for her at the District 24 Scholarship Dinner Dance on May 21.
Silverman, who was herself the daughter of two New York City teachers, was a teacher in District 24, an education adviser to Queens Borough President Claire Shulman and a member of the Queens Public Library Board of Trustees until her death in 1999.
“Having a way to honor her every year brings us back to thinking about her and everything she was able to do in a really positive way,” said Hannah Fenton, Silverman’s granddaughter and a first-year teacher at PS 133 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. “Now that I’m part of the UFT, I saw everyone who was honored in a different light. I’m realizing how important this work is.”
The $1,000 Betty Silverman Scholarship is now awarded annually to two students in District 24. This year, the award went to David Jachero Tito, a student at PS 89 in Elmhurst, and Lesly Larrea, a student at IS 311 in Corona.
Attendees at the dance, which was held at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, also honored fellow educators and a PTA president. In a special addition to the festivities, each of the nine honorees was introduced in a video.
“It was really nice to allow people to get to know the honorees through the videos,” said UFT District 24 Representative John Harrington, who chaired the event.
“It’s a privilege for me to work alongside an extraordinary group of related service team members at my school, and it felt really nice to accept the award alongside my team,” said Jamie Mandel, who was honored for her work as an occupational therapist at PS 307 in Corona.
“I love my job, and I do my job with all my heart,” said Martha Moncada, a school counselor at PS 19 in Corona and one of the evening’s honorees. “We all do our jobs with such love that it’s nice when other people see it.”