Congratulations to Mary Cafarelli on her retirement, a wonderful career spanning 25 years, and the most recent nod to the outstanding work that she does, the 2013 SCARC Teacher of the Year Award.  As a special education teacher, Mary has seen her share of joys and challenges and she has met them all with an unflappable attitude.  Mary is no-nonsense when it comes to her students and her expectations.  She wants all of her children to learn to the best of their ability and with her driving persistence and obvious fondness for her students as well as her passion for her profession, how can they not succeed?  Also in Mary’s world there is light and color in the forms of literature and poetry and when she shares those loves with the children in her charge, they too see and feel that kaleidoscope potential of the written word.  They become fledgling poets and hesitant writers; they envision other-worlds and experience times and situations foreign to those who don’t know story; they attempt to touch, in their own struggling way, the life of the characters they read about or create. There is patience needed to cull that desire out of a special education student, and Mary, sometimes gentle, sometimes gruff, has that patience and brings it to her students every day.  Hard work is what this profession demands, and Mary puts us all to shame with time invested.  Come to school early to set up plans for a sick day and Mary’s car is here (and probably already cold!).  Stay late to finish grading essays or get a jump on the following day, but don’t be surprised if you are not the last person in the building as you might have thought. Mary’s car is still in the lot! Those who have shared a classroom with Mary know that she is strong and determined, willing to lead or follow, and able to go with the flow no matter what is presented to her.  She has been a most dependable colleague, a champion for the child with special needs, a wonderful role model, and a good and true friend.  Congratulations again, Mary!  The honor of SCARC Teacher of the Year could not have gone to a more deserving recipient.

Sincerely,

Janice Schmidt