|ST. DOROTHY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S LONGEST SERVING TEACHERS REFLECT ON 50 YEARS|
MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 22, 2013 – Silvana Mirachi and Maria Marrazza began their careers at St. Dorothy Elementary School in St. Michel at different times, but with a combined 50 years at the school, being on staff to celebrate St. Dorothy’s 50th anniversary marks much more than a personal milestone, but something special for the school and the local community as well.
While St. Dorothy has reinvented itself many times over the past half-century, two of the most important additions to the institution occurred under the guise of Mirachi and Marrazza.
Beginning in 1985, Silvana Mirachi not only opened up the first daycare at St. Dorothy, but the first one at the then Montreal Catholic School Commission (MCSC). Shortly after, in 1990, Maria Marrazza followed suit by starting the school’s pre-kindergarten program.
As many students have passed through the doors of St. Dorothy over the years, the odds are overwhelming that these dedicated educators have had a significant influence on their children’s lives. It is also safe to say that the school has had a significant influence on their lives as well.
“I’ve grown up with the school,” said Marrazza. “As people, we change and adapt and I have done that with the school. We were always a school on the cutting edge of technology, which was a big part of our growth over the years. We have had a lot of students, administrators and teachers come and go, a lot happens over 22 years!”
“This is a second home. I’m either at school or at home,” added Mirachi. “For me, it’s a place where I keep all my good memories from when my kids were small and I went through some good times and of course, some bad times. It’s a precious school, there are so many fond memories from this building.”
Many St. Dorothy students have their first taste of elementary school in Marrazza’s classroom. While the lessons are the same from year to year, each day provides for new memories, ones that she continues to cherish.
“When you’ve been in a school a long time, it reminds you how many years have gone by. When you see students come back, it makes you think of all the years and all the students who have gone through your classes and are now all grown up,” she added. “A school is a school. At the heart, we’ve stayed the same. We have always been a good school with good parents, teachers and students. I look forward to another 22 years here.”
As the veteran educator at St. Dorothy, Silvana Mirachi echoes the sentiments of Marrazza. Over nearly three decades, she has had the chance to experience the school as both an educator and a parent, further deepening her connection to the building and community.
“My career began because I was so involved with the school as a parent. I was asked if I wanted to run the daycare and then see what would happen in the future. I was trained and eventually grew into my current role. The daycare at St. Dorothy is my third child, after my two girls,” said Mirachi. “I’ve grown with the school. I started not knowing much about daycare but I’ve evolved with everything. Daycare was very new when I started. We were the first daycare in the Montreal Catholic School Commission.”
Beginning at the age of four, students grow up in front of Mirachi’s eyes. It is this deep connection to them which brings her back year after year.
“A couple of weeks before school starts, I begin to look forward to school. It’s always enjoyable to come back and see the new faces. You become a second mother to the kids and their parents; you’re there to reassure everybody,” she added. “What really stands out for me is when I see the kids graduate, to see them move onto their next adventure. I always tell them to be careful out in the world, that they should make only good friends and to study hard. That’s the memories that I’m left with at the end of the year and make me come back year after year.”
St. Dorothy Elementary School in St. Michel has been celebrating their 50th anniversary since September. An event, which will encompass the community and alumni, is being planned for the spring.
Michael J. Cohen