As published in the Record Journal Tuesday March 6, 2012
Photos courtesy of the Record Journal
By Russell Blair
WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Education Foundation is honoring former students who have gone on to make a difference.
This year’s six candidates for the distinguished alumni awards, now in their eighth year, include a nationally recognized farmer, the owner of several local car dealerships and a former school superintendent who is not a Wallingford graduate but will receive an honorary award.
Dale Wilson had a 37-year career in the town’s school system, beginning as a teacher at Lyman Hall and working his way up to superintendent.
“He had such an influence for so many years,” said David Baker, chairman of the Wallingford Education Foundation. “We wanted to do something for him. He knows so many people and we were glad to nominate him.”
Wilson is just the second person to receive an honorary award from the foundation.
The other five honorees are Joseph E. Geremia, John S. Barberino, Michael Kolakowski, Carol P. Wallace and Donald C. Warzocha.
The awards dinner that will honor the five alumni and Wilson is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Wallingford Education Foundation and helps fund its minigrants program, which gives thousands of dollars each year for teachers’ programs that are not included in the school budget.
“We typically raise between $6,000 and $10,000 with the dinner,” Baker said. “We raised $8,000 last year and we’re hoping to do better than that this year.”
Geremia, a 1989 graduate of Sheehan High School, is a third-generation family farmer in Wallingford.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled,” Geremia said. “I’ve never stopped learning.”
Geremia said he was looking forward to seeing some of his former teachers.
“I did a lot of learning in school that made me who I am today,” he said.
Barberino, a 1968 graduate of Lyman Hall High School, is the longtime owner of several automobile dealerships. Kolakowski graduated from Sheehan High School in 1981 and is president and chief executive officer of KBE Building Corp., a $300 million commercial construction firm based in Farmington and Columbia, Md.
Wallace attended Wallingford schools through ninth grade before graduating from Choate Rosemary Hall in 1973. She is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Cooper-Atkins Corp., a Middlefield-based manufacturer of temperature, time and humidity instruments. Warzocha graduated from Lyman Hall High School in 1959 and is a retired commercial pilot and Vietnam Air Force veteran.
“All of the honorees have made significant contributions to the community in their personal or professional lives,” Baker said. “This is a night for the teachers to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
The dinner will be held at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn at 6 p.m. March 23. Tickets are $60, with proceeds to go to the Wallingford Education Foundation.
For more information, call Judi Gallagher at (203) 715-1805; Calcagni Associates at (203) 265-1821; or the foundation voicemail at (203) 949-6532.
Information is also available at www.wallingfordeducationfoundation.org.