The Niskayuna Community Foundation, an affiliate of The Community Foundation for
the Greater Capital Region, surprised two Niskayuna High School teachers today
by presenting them with the 11th annual Murray Award for Excellence in
Education. The awards were presented to Laura Favata, a Math teacher, and Meghan
Miller, a Latin teacher. A crowd of students, parents and teachers stunned Mrs.
Favata and Mrs. Miller as they were in the middle of teaching their classes, by
walking in with plaques and balloons. Each teacher will receive $2,500 for use
in a professional development activity of their choice.
This annual award was begun in 2004 by Kathy Murray Crowe and Jeanne Murray Veasey, the daughters of Edwards and Sally Murray, to honor their parents' involvement in the formation of the Niskayuna High School and their belief that educators in the high school would be the foundation of the "uncompromising excellence" that is typical of the education throughout the school district. The award is also given in memory of Jeanne Murray Veasey, who has since passed away.
A committee representing students, parents and peers chose the recipients and the Niskayuna Community Foundation facilitated the selection process and award presentation. Criteria included outstanding classroom practices as well as growth potential and a school presence that inspires and positively impacts students, colleagues and the community. At the request of the Murray family, this award is not competitive, but is intended to be an annual opportunity to select educators who represent the overall excellence of the high school staff and educational program.
Mrs. Favata has been described by students as a hardworking, dedicated and accommodating teacher who always takes extra time to make herself available. One student spoke of how math had always been a difficult subject for them. "Mrs. Favata helped me to understand the subject and actually helped me feel more confidence about my learning. I always felt welcomed by her." Yet another student referred to her as a truly "one of a kind teacher." Active in the Niskayuna community and a regular presence at school events, Mrs. Favata gives much of herself both in and out of the classroom.
A highly regarded Latin teacher, Mrs. Miller is described as energetic and engaging. One student enthusiastically described how Latin had become their favorite class. "Mrs. Miller was one of the most engaging teachers I have ever had and offered almost unlimited extra credit opportunities. Her goal was not just that everyone pass the class, but that they do well and really learn the material. She made it impossible not to love Latin!" Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Miller leads overseas trips and acts as a faculty advisor for the school Latin Club. Her passion for her subject is evident and her students excel as a result.
The mission of the Niskayuna Community Foundation is to enhance and improve the community through organized philanthropy. NCF benefits current and future residents through support in such areas as cultural, town beautification, scholarship, social service, recreation, and many more. Further information may be obtained by calling 374-0326 or by writing to NCF, PO Box 9711, Niskayuna, 12309.
Please scroll down for more photos from the June 2 award presentation.
Since 1968, The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region has
provided an effective means for people who care about this community to be part
of shaping its future. The Community Foundation offers donors a complete toolkit
for charitable giving, expert assistance in learning more about the causes they
care about, and the opportunity to join others with similar interests to learn
and give together.
The Community Foundation distributed more than $4.87 million in 2013 to hundreds of not-for-profit organizations in the Capital Region and beyond. With assets of $63 million, the Foundation is comprised of more than 380 charitable funds created by a diverse group of individuals, families, and corporations. In addition, two local independent foundations, the Bender Family Foundation and the Equinox Foundation, contract with the Community Foundation for grantmaking assistance.
Through flexible donor services, strategic grantmaking, and community leadership, the Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come. For more information, please visit us online at www.cfgcr.org or call 518-446-9638.