A press release from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts:
Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts has honored 10 area teachers with the seventh annual RMHC Local Hero Awards. The selected teachers from Connecticut and Western Massachusetts have all exhibited tremendous dedication to their profession and outstanding efforts in servicing their schools and communities. The recipients were honored by the RMHC Board of Directors at the Connecticut Governor’s Residence in Hartford, Conn., on Tuesday, October 22, and were joined by Superintendents and Principals from their respective districts and schools, as well as other invited guests including local McDonald’s owners and Ronald McDonald himself. Each honoree was presented with a plaque commemorating their award.
Among those honored with the prestigious award include Joan Mastromonaco, who is a former Social Studies Teacher at East Hampton High School. To further recognize Mrs. Mastromonaco for her hard work, RMHC awarded a $1,000 grant to East Hampton High School in her honor.
“Our board of directors is proud to acknowledge these exceptional teachers for their tireless commitment and important service,” said Edward Abraham, President of RMHC of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. “Our RMHC chapter awards grants to local nonprofits that provide a brighter future for children, with a particular focus on supporting education. With the Local Hero Awards, we are able to thank the devoted professionals who help children everyday – our outstanding area teachers.”
There is no application or nomination process for the RMHC Local Hero Awards. Instead, the local charity works closely with partnering organizations, such as the Connecticut Association of Schools, Connecticut State Department of Education and the Massachusetts Department of Education, to identify these "Heroes" throughout the region.
After thirty-five years in the teaching profession, Joan Mastromonaco is enjoying a well-deserved retirement. She had been a social studies teacher at East Hampton High School, where her creative lessons included designing political cartoons and acting out historical scenes in order to create impressionable learning experiences. She also made a point to make history relatable for her students – for example, she recently had students compose a tweet of something that President Lincoln might have said. Mrs. Mastromonaco’s enthusiasm for her profession extended far beyond her engaging lesson plans. She made it a priority to maintain ongoing communication with students, parents and colleagues in need of extra support. She would share her professional expertise and advanced knowledge with peers seeking counsel. She even designed a Model UN program for the students, which she advised since its inception. Based on these efforts, RMHC was pleased to recognize Mrs. Mastromonaco with the Local Hero Award, and East Hampton High School Principal John Fidler notes that the grant money from the award will be put to good use with Mrs. Mastromonaco’s input.