Anna Boyle has been described as a “once-in-a-lifetime” teacher, the “go to” person and a “life saver” by the families of students she has served.
On May 10, Anna, a Special Education Resource Teacher at St. Michael Catholic Elementary School, was recognized for her dedication to Special Education with the President’s Award to Teacher of the Year at the annual “Yes I Can” Awards Dinner hosted by the Council for Exceptional Children – Hamilton-Wentworth Chapter 289 on May 10.
The event, held annually at Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre, celebrates the achievements of students with exceptionalities and the adults who support and advocate for them. Thirty students from Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic schools were recognized in the various categories, as well as three outstanding Catholic educators who have worked closely at their side.
An active force at her school, Anna works with the student council to fundraise and organize food drives. She also helps with the school’s Christmas hamper program and is involved in numerous extra-curricular activities, from sports to academics. She has been part of the training team for Restorative Justice, and serves as Chairperson of the OECTA-sponsored public speaking event and as student council advisor. Outside of school, Anna has helped to organize charity fashion shows for children with Juvenile Diabetes and Autism. She also supports the Hamilton Cystic Fibrosis Princess Ball. Her summers are spent in the service of the Summer Success Program, a two-week remedial program aimed at improving the literacy and numeracy proficiency of low-performing students.
“She has shown that she goes way beyond the expectations of her job and should be recognized for all her hard work and dedication to Special Education,” said CEC Hamilton Awards Chair Marc Trotta at the award presentation.
Also recognized for her ‘can do’ attitude was Maria Trotta, Vice-Principal at St. Eugene Catholic Elementary School who received the President’s Award to a CEC Member. A dedicated and long-time member of the Council for Exceptional Children Chapter 289, Maria’s enthusiasm for the CEC led to an expansion of the council’s membership to allow colleagues, administrators, teachers and support professionals to benefit from the organization’s many services. As Awards Chair, she was responsible for the President’s “Yes I Can” Dinner.
As an educator, she has been equally effective. She has taught in several Equal Opportunity Schools where she worked with large populations of students with special needs and English Language Learners.
“Maria readily relates to the stresses felt by parents with empathy and care,” wrote her nominators. “She has been a liaison and advocate between parents and students and community support systems.”
“We have nothing but praise for her positive impact on students with special needs and service to inclusion.”
This year’s recipient of the President’s Award to an Educational Leader of the Year was Karen Moyer, Principal of St. Luke Catholic Elementary School where she has been responsible for cultivating a school environment rich in learning opportunities.
Throughout her 30-year teaching career, Karen has been guided by the belief that, with the right elements in place, all students can learn. She works tirelessly to ensure the success of each student and makes certain that there are no barriers, social, physical or financial, to obstruct a child’s ability to learn.
“Students know her as their biggest cheerleader,” wrote her nominators. “Droves of students seek her out for hugs, stickers and to share their achievements.”
Her impact is realized in the many initiatives in place at her school: the Food for Kids nutrition program, the transformation of the playground into an interactive space, Y on Wheels, LEAD recess, and support programs like RCTech Outreach and the Snoezelen Room.
Outside of school, Karen serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Community Living Hamilton and has partnered with the CYO in building a fully accessible cottage at the organization’s summer camp.
“Karen exemplifies the HWCDSB’s philosophy for inclusion. She goes above and beyond to benefit not only students with learning exceptionalities, but her staff, the Board and the wider community,” said Trotta in presentation remarks.
In addition to the adult awards, students JK to age 21 with special needs were recognized by the local CEC with “Yes I Can” Awards.
Student award recipients from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, included:Academic Awards
Titus Brown, Cathedral High School
Adriana Costa, St. Brigid CES
Owen Disabatino, St. Joachim CES
Cayllum McLelland, Cardinal Newman CSS
Robert Mowatt, St. Marguerite d’Youville CES
Domenic Tassone-Joe, St. Ann CES (Hamilton)
Kira Wilby, Guardian Angels CES
Sophia Yorulmaz, St. Patrick CESEmployment Awards
Alyssa Alves, St. Thomas More CSS
Michael Crow, Bishop Tonnos CSS
Gabriela DeLuca, Cardinal Newman CSS
Chasson McKerracher, Cardinal Newman CSS
Matthew Mossuto, Bishop Ryan CSSArts Awards
Malichi Smith, St. Joseph CES
Nathaniel Tolentino, Bishop Ryan CSSCommunity Service
Michele Pugliese, Bishop Ryan CSS
Rachel Stone, St. Mary CSS
William Tucker, Bishop Ryan CSSTechnology
Sebastian Carrara, St. Teresa of Avila CES
Shekinah Connor, St. Augustine CES
Noah Parchem, St. Thérèse of Lisieux CES
Ralph Ternida, Sacred Heart of Jesus CES
Angelina Younan, St. Michael CESSelf-Advocacy Awards
Nicolas Fricano, Immaculate Conception CES
Aliyah Porcic, St. Ann CES (Hamilton)
Jacob Reeve, St. Eugene
Nino Versace, Sts. Peter and Paul CES
Amo Yaco, St. Teresa of Calcutta CESExtra-Curricular Awards
Sarah Jacobs, St. David CES
Erika Tullo, St. John Paul II CES