PERU - Those who have served the Peru Central School District are not forgotten.
The district honored the lives of the late Barbara Sullivan and Edna Hutchinson during the annual student academic awards banquet June 10, inducting them into the Peru Central School District Hall of Fame.
High school principal Christopher J. Mazzella credited both women for their combined service of more than 70 years to the district.
"Our hall of fame requires candidates to have made a significant impact on our school and to have made significant contributions to the betterment of our community," explained Mazzella. "Elected candidates simply need to live a full life, give your school, your students, your profession, your community the best you have to give every day and keep doing it every day with a smile on your face and passion in your heart while expecting nothing in return."
"Edna Hutchinson and Barbara Sullivan exceeded those expectations," he added.
Barbara Sullivan began teaching in 1939 and retired from the school district in 1975. Sullivan served as a social studies teacher who developed her two favorite courses, "Problems of Democracy" and "Consumer Education."
Sullivan challenged students to be "critical thinkers" and "self-aware, responsible citizens," said Mazzella.
"Barbara was ahead of her time as an educator," he said. "Barbara taught her students to analyze and to examine the world around them."
Upon her retirement, the school newspaper was quoted as saying, "Not only has she opened the eyes of her students she also helped her fellow teacher ... she taught us many things. Maybe the most important of which is the ability to empathize. It is the foundation from which we can solve local, national and personal problems."
Sullivan's son, Michael, and daughter, Susan, accepted the award on their mother's behalf, taken back by the recognition.
"It feels great [to accept the award]," said Michael Sullivan. "I think she really made a difference."
Susan Sullivan agreed.
"I think she would feel great, especially tonight because it's the academic awards banquet," she said. "She would want to honor all the kids who have worked so hard because her favorite things was learning."
Edna Hutchinson served as a school nurse teacher with the school district from 1945-1980, and remembered as "the true definition of a school nurse teacher" and "the ultimate professional," said Mazzella. During her tenure, administering booster shoots to elementary school children was a regular part of the job.
"Edna's caring gentle manner brought much comfort to many kindergarten children," Mazzella said of Hutchinson, whose husband Jim once served as superintendent of schools and is also a past Peru Central District Hall of Fame honoree.
It was her life outside of the school system that exemplified the reasons for her receiving her award, said Mazzella. Upon retirement, Hutchinson volunteered at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh and worked with the Retired New York State Teachers Association and Retired School Nurses Teachers Association. She was also very active in her church.
Never having met Hutchinson, Mazzella said he asked those who knew her about her life characteristics. Words like "graceful, poised, compassionate, caring and humble" were ones used to describe her, he said.
Hutchinson's husband and her daughter, Cindy, were unable to attend the ceremony. Family friend Dawn Irwin accepted the award on her behalf, with a few simple words about her friend.
"It's an honor to accept this award for Edna," said Irwin. "She was just a special person."