B 98.5 Educational Support Professional School Spirit Award – April 2017

Why does this person deserve the NJEA School Spirit Award?

Maria is truly the most caring, loving, and most genuine woman I have ever met. She is not only our school’s custodian, she is the school’s loving “grandmother” – like figure to all the students and staff. Maria is always asking students about their day, their family, their interests, or dabbing to bring a smile to a child’s face.

She is truly the epitome of a loving individual. She loves each and every child in the school as though they were her very own. Whether caught in the hallways doing the whip and nae nae for kids, bringing a smile to the students’ faces, or just simply interacting with those around her, Maria can always be counted on for anything. Without hesitation, she comes to work each day to make others happy.

She is originally from Italy and isn’t currently living in her native country, therefore, she misses her family, however, she considers the students and staff at Mill Pond her familia. She is the loving grandmother type to all the students and staff. She never hesitates to help someone in need even if it means she has to stop what she is doing, or even if it is outside her job description. Whether it be cleaning bathrooms, attending to a broken locker, cleaning up a spill, or responding to having to clean up after someone who is sick, amongst other things, Maria never complains. She is extremely proud of the ability to make others happy which is something she claims she lives for. She truly is a unique individual. If you have a chance to meet her, you will instantaneously fall in love with her which is easy to do.

To Maria, working in the school isn’t just a job, and it’s her life and she wouldn’t change a thing. She rarely takes a day off because she says she would “miss the kids too much”. As she talks about retiring in a few years, she often cries and says she doesn’t want to go because she would “miss the kids too much”. She has honestly become a staple at Mill Pond which wouldn’t be the same without her.

There isn’t a day that goes by that the kids don’t anticipate Maria’s presence. She can be seen in the hallways surrounded by admirers on a daily basis. No matter what someone’s disability, Maria loves them all the same. She can see the best in everyone no matter what! I can think of no one more deserving of this award than our friend, Maria DeStefano. Thank you so very much!

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