Genevieve Via Cava, a New Jersey teacher who spent 45 years helping students with learning disabilities before her death in 2011, saved her humble salary for years so she could set aside $1 million to fund scholarships for special education students seeking post-secondary schooling. The Dumont Public Schools received the stunning donation from Via Cava’s estate this past April, a gift that school superintendent Emanuele Triggiano hailed as a “blessing.” Via Cava, Trigiano said, had continued to visit the school often following her retirement in 1990, and even hinted to him that she planned on making a contribution to the school.
“One day she quietly told me she accumulated a large sum of money and she planned on donating it,” he recalled, adding that he never would have guessed at the sheer magnitude of the “large sum” to which she had referred.
According to Richard Jablonski, a close friend of the late teacher and the executor of her will, Via Cava had lived a frugal life motivated by her family’s difficult experiences during the Depression.
“Her name will go on forever,” he said. “And rightfully so.”
Her million dollar scholarship fund will be used for years to come, with a maximum of $25,000 given to students who qualify. She also reportedly left $100,000 to five other organizations, including the Ramapo Animal Refuge and the Salvation Army.
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