School secretaries have many responsibilities. But for Mona Gonzalez, the job will always be about relationships.
“The relationships and memories will last a lifetime,” she said after accepting the Annette Carlucci Celebration of Life Award at the 32nd annual School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon on June 2.
The event will be the last for Gonzalez as chapter leader of the functional chapter, a role she took on nearly 10 years ago, although she will continue working in her current job as school secretary at Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical Education HS on Staten Island at least for the next few months.
“Mona was the right person at the right time to become chapter leader,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew told a full house of school secretaries and well-wishers in the UFT’s Shanker Hall in Manhattan. “She did a tremendous job solidifying this chapter.”
Fittingly, UFT Secretary Howard Schoor served as the event’s master of ceremonies. It was Schoor who encouraged Gonzalez to go for her school secretary license when she worked as a secretary in the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office.
“He took me to the hiring hall, and I got my first school secretary job,” she said.
Receiving the award named for Carlucci, a former school secretary and UFT Bronx high school representative who died from breast cancer in 2011, was a bittersweet honor for Gonzalez.
“Today, I am thinking of you, my dear friend and colleague Annette, and feel honored to receive this award named for your accomplishments,” Gonzalez said in her acceptance speech. “She was so proud that she was the first secretary to become a district representative.”
Gonzalez also called Carlucci “a true activist” whose example UFT members should follow as they prepare to deal with the ramifications of the Janus v. AFSCME case. And although she is stepping down, “I will be there to support my colleagues through thick and thin,” she vowed.
Paula Morrison of PS 46 in Brooklyn was the recipient of the Goldie Colodny Award, named for another union activist whose work helped bring school secretaries into the UFT with strong union representation and a self-governing chapter.
“I am honored to accept this award and thank those who felt I embody the spirit of Goldie Colodny,” Morrison said.
The chapter also named six School Secretaries of the Year Award winners. Melissa Carey of PS 31 was the honoree from the Bronx, and Irene Konstantinou of PS 115 was the Brooklyn awardee. The Manhattan award went to Beverly Bagley-McLaughlin of PS 19. Alison Kearney of PS 62 was the Queens recipient, and Doreen Schafer of PS 48 got the nod for Staten Island. The District 75 award went to Patricia Royall of PS 169 in Manhattan.