NYSUT Communications |
Friday May 03 2024 4:33 PM

Farmingdale educators memorialized in moving video and musical tributes

In September, two Farmingdale educators were killed en route to band camp when the bus they were traveling in crashed beside I-84. Farmingdale Band Director Gina Pellettiere, 43, and retired social studies teacher Beatrice Ferrari, 77, both members of the Farmingdale Federation of Teachers, were chaperoning hundreds of students on this annual trip when the bus had a blowout and overturned into a ravine. They were the only fatalities.

NYSUT President Melinda Person honored these two educators during today’s RA program and talked about the ways in which educators like Ferrari and Pellettiere impact lives and communities.

“The groundswell of sympathy and support we witnessed in Farmingdale speaks to how significant a teacher’s contributions are. Educators mold minds and build communities. They take individual chords and make music,” Person said.

In a moving video tribute, Farmingdale educators and students described the outpouring of support they witnessed in the days and weeks after the accident. Cards, posters, and care packages streamed in from around the globe. United in grief, people from near and far declared themselves “Dalers for a Day.” RA attendees were then serenaded by the accomplished Farmingdale A Capella and Vocal Jazz chorus.

"Educators give of themselves selflessly and without expectation of admiration or fanfare. Many strive quietly, going beyond the call of duty simply because they know it is the right thing to do," said Person. "They may be unaware of the mark they are making; of the lives they are changing. This tragedy reminds us all just how meaningful these daily acts are and just how profound a teacher’s impact is."

Farmingdale Federation of Teachers members David Abrams, Matthew DeMasi, Erica Hartmann, Philip Scanze and Jennifer Tower, all chaperones on the band trip, were listed on NYSUT’s Lifeline Honor Roll. The initiative honors teachers who assisted in saving lives.