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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Island Park School District presents 20th annual SOAR awards
Courtesy Island Park Schools
Superintendent Dr. Rosmarie Bovino, left, presented SOAR awards to teachers Kathy Garfield and Christine Chu, as well as receptionist Jamie Varrichio.

At the first Board of Education meeting since the Island Park School District began the new school year, Superintendent Dr. Rosmarie Bovino presented two teachers and a support-staff member with awards for their exemplary performance.

The 20th annual SOAR awards were given to teachers Christine Chu and Kathy Garfield, as well as Jamie Varrichio, receptionist and clerk-typist. These award recipients meet a wide range of criteria, including a display of innovation, support beyond the classroom and participation in volunteer activities and professional development.

According to Bovino, Chu began working in the Island Park School District as a computer teacher at Lincoln Orens Middle School in 2002. Among her many duties, Chu manages two computer labs, facilitates the technology needed for events and programs and organizes an annual trip to the New York Hall of Science.

“Most notable among Mrs. Chu’s accomplishments as a teacher is the Cornell University/National Science Foundation Science Fair’s Virtual World’s program that she brought to Island Park,” Bovino explained. “Through this program, Mrs. Chu teaches complicated concepts and computer programming effectively.”

Chu has had an instrumental role in the implementation of the new iPad program in the middle school, Bovino said, and she has taught courses to her colleagues on the use of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SMARTBoard and Go Green.

“Mrs. Chu’s commitment to showcasing the District and its programs is unparalleled,” Bovino said. “She always has budgetary requests a mile long. It is sometimes a challenge to harness her enthusiasm, despite reductions in revenue.”

Garfield, who has been in the district since 1985, is a special education teacher and has worked in both the middle school and Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School. In addition to teaching for special-needs students, Garfield has served as proctor for New York State Assesments and has been a summer support teacher, a member a number of committees, including the Special Education Committee of the PTA.

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