Democratic Women to honor teachers at dinner

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— Orange County Democratic Women will host a gala dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. on April 26 at the Meadowbrook Lodge in New Windsor to honor local educators, a few days before Teacher Appreciation Week.

The gala will bring parents, students, educators, and legislators together. Speakers will enlighten people about the work being done in different ways to improve quality education in New York. The aim of the event is to reinforce the common goals that advocates share.

“The Gala will create an opportunity for people to see how quality education is influenced by factors both inside and outside the classroom,” said Willa Freiband, president of OCDW.

Featured speakers include NYS Assembly Members Aileen Gunther, Frank Skartados and James Skoufis. They will address the public policy side of education.

The keynote speaker will be Paul Ellis-Graham, President HVALF, and Director, NYSUT ED 14. He will talk about the challenges that students, teachers, and working families face in both Orange County and New York State and what can be done about them.

The Geraldine Ferraro Public Service Award, established in 2011 by Orange County Democratic Women, will be presented to David Jolly, former Commissioner of Orange County Social Services. Once a teacher himself, Mr. Jolly gained experienced in the needs of children. While Commission of Social Services he developed services which responded to the needs of a changing community, which provided a safety net for children so they could maintain normalcy in their lives, and which provided the tools to create an economically stable, healthy and safe environment for those in need.

County Legislators Myrna Kemnitz, Roseanne Sullivan and Chris Eachus will receive the Spotlight Award. Each has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to education. Ms. Kemnitz was School District Director of State and Federally Funded Programs in NYC; Ms. Sullivan is President of the Orange County School Board Association; Mr. Eachus, a physics teacher in Newburgh, will be attending the 2014 Shell Ecomarathon Americas high school and college challenge with the Solar Car Team. His mentorship has helped the team win national awards.

The Madrigal singers from NFA will entertain.

The event is open to the public. Tickets to the event are available at www.orangecountydemocraticwomen.org.

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