Due to the COVID 19 pandemic our 17th Annual Recognition Breakfast fundraiser was first postponed from March 2020 to September 2020, and then became our first VIRTUAL fundraising event on September 26, 2020. Originally scheduled to be held at the Holiday Inn Liverpool as in-person celebration event that actually included breakfast, we reimagined and reinvented our program. We addressed the challenges of our times and focused on keeping everyone safe. And we gratefully welcomed WCNY as our partner in presenting our newly minted on-air preview and streaming OVEE event. WCNY President and CEO, Mitch Gelman, and his incredibly talented team of professionals were invaluable in presenting the program. The actual preview event and the on-air event can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/Kga5z03QcGo
2020 RECOGNITION AWARD WINNERS
Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG)
Our first Recognition Award recipient for 2020 is Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG). Founded in 2001, BHG has provided more than $5 billion in financial solutions to thousands of customers nationwide. BHG is recognized regionally and nationally for innovation, continued growth, and being a “best place to work.” More than 200 people work at BHG’s downtown Syracuse financial headquarters.
At Dr. Weeks Elementary School, and for Principal Diane Vitello, they are so much more than that. BHG and Dr. Weeks have been partners since 2017. The first year, BHG donated turkeys to help families have a proper Thanksgiving dinner. After meeting the staff and students, they wanted to do more.
The following year, when Diane Vitello had just started as Principal at Dr. Weeks, she was told that BHG would visit in December and bring every one of her 800 students a gift to take home over the holidays. It seemed too good to be true! As it turns out, it wasn’t an adequate representation of the generosity BHG would ultimately show toward the Dr. Weeks families. The first time Diane was able to meet the employees in their identical blue shirts, she immediately understood that this company had an incredible level of dedication to the Syracuse community. They also showed up with boxes and boxes of toys for the smiling excited children! They inquired about doing more.
Diane explained how food insecurity affected many of the school’s families over long breaks from school. Within hours, bags and bags of food were brought into Dr. Weeks to send home with families. Then BHG set up their next visit to equip the students with summer games to increase physical activity and outside play time over the summer break. And the generosity and commitment to the families and children at Dr. Weeks has continued.
Diane says she has never had the opportunity to work with a company like Bankers Healthcare Group before. Their level of generosity has been overwhelming! In fact, the Banker’s Healthcare Group never feels as though they’ve helped enough!
For this dedication, corporate giving, and overwhelming generosity, the SCSD Educational Foundation was proud to present Bankers Healthcare Group with its 2020 Recognition Award.
Amanda Murphy is a parent, a building substitute teacher, and a volunteer at Salem-Hyde Elementary School. She was nominated by Salem-Hyde Principal Rebecca Groat, and a parent…Tanya Eastman, whose daughter was a student at Salem- Hyde. Amanda has provided long-standing support to the students, families, staff, and administration of the Syracuse City School District for almost a decade since her eldest daughter, who recently graduated from Henninger High School, began her academic journey at Salem-Hyde many years ago.
She started decorating bulletin boards for the school one summer and ended up decorating nearly every bulletin board in the school. She offered ideas, a creative and positive vision for the school, and the energy and work ethic to put behind those ideas. She volunteers to help run school events both during the day and outside the school day. She also enlists the help of her family, her husband and children and her mother, all who share that same servant’s heart and passion that she possesses.
She has an annual Valentine’s Day Tea party where students get “dressed-up” and learn about etiquette, have tea and cookies (all donated through her hard work and fundraising), and go home with a special tea cup to commemorate the experience. She works with several of the grades to provide “wish list” activities ranging from crafts to grade wide projects directly tied to curriculum.
Amanda solicits donations for the Salem-Hyde clothing closet and single-handedly gets donations throughout the year for Halloween Parade, Thanksgiving and Christmas. She collected dozens of costumes for students so they would all be dressed for Halloween and given out coats to almost 50 students during the winter. She also organizes a Holiday Fair that has local crafters come in to sell affordable Christmas gifts students can purchase for their families. She has collected over $6,000 worth of donations for our families for Christmas. She has purchased, organized, and wrapped presents for 120 children. She even weeds the gardens in front of the school!
She is a true giving “rock star”, also known as a selfless servant who is called to give and does so abundantly. For that reason, the SCSD Educational Foundation was proud to present Amanda Murphy with its 2020 Recognition Award.
2020 EDUCATORS OF THE YEAR