Rockville Centre Education Foundation hosts annual gala


The Rockville Centre Education Foundation held their 28th annual fundraising gala on April 14 where they honored three members of the community and raised money for classroom grants.

The honorees this year were Rockville Centre Deputy Mayor Kathy Baxley, a former Parent Teacher Association president; Victor Lee, a library media specialist at South Side Middle School; and Viri Pettersen, who retired from the school district after 25 years of teaching.

About 220 guests attended the event, according to Audra Cerruto, president of the Rockville Centre Education Foundation, including local officials. The Education Foundation was founded in 1991 and has raised $700,000 for school programs since its inception.

The South Side High School Jazz Ensemble performed at the event and students from the middle school and Francis F. Wilson Elementary School created videos thanking them for their service.

“I think it was a huge success; we had a great turnout,” Cerruto said, adding that many familiar faces, along with new ones, turned to support the cause. “We had a really great time, and raised a lot of money!”

The foundation is currently reviewing the 21 grant applications it received from the district’s teachers and administrators to determine what initiatives the donated money will support. The funds raised at the event were still being counted at press time on Tuesday. Last year, $68,000 was distributed across 15 different grants.

“Thank you to the community for their amazing support,” Cerruto said.