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NECSD Virtual Pink Day 2020

For the last several years, NECSD has recognized Pink Day to honor those who have lost their battle with cancer. The first “Pink” Day was established by faculty and staff at Heritage Middle School and has continued throughout the district to recognize all faculty, staff, and students who are currently battling or have lost their battles to cancer. This year, the Virtual Pink Day is scheduled for today Friday, October 16, 2020. We’ve asked that our NECSD community wear pink or any color that represents a tribute to fighting cancer. Photos can be shared with Communications@necsd.net. 

Pink Day was established by Ms. Jonelle Format-Santo, who currently teaches at NFA Main Campus. "Pink Day was established at Heritage about 10 years ago in support of a colleague that was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. During her fight we would all wear pink. When I moved to SMS I continued the tradition of Pink Day along with Heritage as a way to honor our colleague who ended up losing her battle with cancer. Since coming to NFA I have made it a district event knowing that many of our faculty, staff, and students have been affected by not only Breast Cancer, but ALL Cancers." Ms. Jonelle Formato-Santo, teacher at NFA Main Campus

Each year, the event recognizes members of our Goldback family who have lost their battle with any cancer. This year, the virtual event will honor JC Gaspard (NFA alumnus, teacher, and coach), Hillary Wright (Food Services Manager), and Mary Larson-Strothenke (teacher at Gidney Avenue (GAMS) and South Middle School).  

More about JC Gaspard:

JC was a lifelong resident of Newburgh, New York. He attended Newburgh Free Academy (NFA), under the watchful eye of his Vice Principal father and teacher mother. JC earned his Bachelors of Arts degree from St. Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania and his Masters degree from SUNY New Paltz in Education and Administration. He followed in his parents footsteps, becoming a Business Teacher at NFA, where he taught for 27 years touching the lives of so many as a teacher, class advisor, soccer and tennis coach. JC also owned and operated Special Tees Plus and later partnered in Mixture Prints, with one of his former students and soccer player.


JC had a love for sports; the competition, the joy and the friendships it brought to his life. After his retirement from teaching, he was a regular on the tennis courts of The Powelton Club, where he was a member. He was on the staff of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Boys Tennis Championship. He won a Silver Medal in tennis during the New York State Senior Empire Games.


Last fall, the NFA Tennis Club donated a bench near the Cronomer Hill Park tennis courts in JC's honor. Friends, family, and former players gathered to celebrate JC's memory at the event. 

JC's children, Joseph Charles Gaspard III, Corinne Gaspard Kelly and Jacqueline Gaspard Henderson are also graduates of Newburgh Free Academy. 


More photos of JC that highlight is love and commitment to the Goldback Nation can be found here. 


More about Hillary Wright:

Hillary lived a thoughtful and caring life. She spent many years working as a Lunch Lady in the Newburgh Enlarged City School district. In addition, she worked and volunteered in numerous other positions feeding the youth in the City of Newburgh. Hillary's children James and Jordan Wright are graduates of Newburgh Free Academy.  


Hillary held many issues close to her heart, from child hunger to animal rescues. After the loss of her husband, The Lustgarten Foundation became an organization she volunteered and advocated for.   

More about Mary Larson-Strothenke:

Mary received a teaching certificate and Master of Science and Teaching from SUNY New Paltz in 1995 and 1999 respectively. She did her student teaching practicum in the Newburgh City School District and was offered a full-time teaching position when she graduated college. She taught at Gidney Avenue Magnet School and South Middle School, until her medical treatment forced her to retire from teaching in July 2020.


During her 32 years living in New Paltz, Mary was extremely involved in many events which were centered around her three children (Daniel, Luke, and Mark). She was Co-Chairperson of the Playground Project at Hasbrouck Park, which was the first public playground in New Paltz (1995). In 2019, Mayor Tim Rogers asked Mary to consult on the refurbishment of the playground which was recently completed.


Mary worked with the New Paltz Seahawks as a board member and then President for 13 tremendously successful years at Moriello Swimming Pool. She was a co-founder of the Dolphins Swim Club, which helped young swimmers learn the fundamentals of the sport. She and her husband Paul also later formed the Early Morning Swim Program at Moriello Pool. She also served on the committee to build the New Paltz Field of Dreams Baseball Complex at the Ulster County Fairgrounds.  

In Memoriam:

Danielle Clarino Cotton-Heritage teacher (alumni)

Marlene Shafer-South & NFA teacher (alumni)

Marilyn Halperin-South teacher

Debbie Nucifore-District secretary (alumni)

Sonya Dixon-Grants Development Specialist 

Barbara Hatch Butrick-Teaching Assistant

Tony Favino-NFA teacher

Ernie McDonald-NFA teacher

Maritza Ramos-Fostertown Principal

JC Gaspard-NFA teacher (alumni)

Hillary Wright-Food Services

Mary Larson Strothenke-Gidney Avenue & SMS Teacher

Xavier Torres (student)

Johnny Sileno (student)

ATTENTION: Are your scholars or colleagues doing something great? Please contact the district Communications Team at communications@necsd.net. We’d love to visit your class or event and/or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district!

Date: 2020-10-16 03:02:38 AM


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