Byline: Jacqueline Reis
WORCESTER - The auditorium at Worcester Technical High School was scented with bouquets last night as Worcester public school volunteers, staff members, teachers and administrators were recognized as part of the district's annual Evening of Celebration.
The versatile honorees included Police Officer Leonard Johnson, who teaches anti-bullying - and fixed a broken popcorn machine - at Burncoat Middle School; Laurel Blair, who runs a drive that gives hats and gloves to every student at City View School; Lourdes Warman, who is a crossing guard and self-described "wicked gardener" at Columbus Park Preparatory Academy; Dominic "Tucker" Brindisi, a volunteer at Flagg Street School who organizes activities, wipes tears and fixes doors; volunteer Theresa Davitt, who keeps the library organized at Norrback Avenue School; Patricia Lapointe, an English as a Second Language teacher at Quinsigamond School who regularly sends her students to the office to show off their progress; and Patricia Cronin, a secretary who has worked at four schools for 10 principals over 43 years, most recently at Wawecus Road School.
Superintendent Melinda J. Boone also announced the winner and finalists for Teacher of the Year.
Winner Michele F. Emond is the department head for allied health at Worcester Technical High School.
Students graduate from her department as certified nursing assistants.
Ms. Emond, who has also worked in a combat support hospital and in adolescent health, said, "The kids are why I'm here."
The other two finalists were Francis G. Gribbons of Francis J. McGrath Elementary School and Jeremy J. Woloski, a theater arts teacher at Burncoat Middle School.
The following educators, staff and volunteers received Thomas Jefferson Awards:
Kathleen Greaney, Belmont Street Community School; David Nolan, Burncoat High School; Leonard Johnson, Burncoat Middle School; Teresa Yesket, Burncoat Street Preparatory School; Linda Urbec and DeeDee-Anne Naughton, Canterbury Street Magnet Computer-Based School; Linda Tilleman, Dr. James A. Caradonio, New Citizen Center; June Johnston, Chandler Elementary Community School; Debra Rossmeisl, Chandler Magnet School; Laurel Blair, City View School; Ruth Mateo, Claremont Academy; Jacqueline Martinez, Clark Street Developmental Learning School; Lourdes Warman, Columbus Park Preparatory Academy; Robert Mahoney, Gerald Creamer Center; Elizabeth Tomaszewski, Doherty Memorial High School; Melanie...