2010 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Donna J. Donahue

Donna J. Donahue

Fine and Performing Arts Department, Island Trees UFSD

When Donna J. Donahue received the call telling her that she was one of this year's "Education Partner" honorees, she responded with silence. And then in a quiet voice inquired, "Me?"

That's the response of a true, unsung hero — a support staff member who goes way beyond the call of duty because she wants to.

For 15 years, Donahue has been the secretary for Island Trees UFSD's Fine and Performing Arts Department. During that time, she has taken advantage of every opportunity to support, promote and enhance the futures of the district's high school students.

When students come to her with concerns about financing college, Donahue always tells them to apply to the school of their choice. Together, they will find a way to pay for it.

To make this happen, Donahue, an alumna of the school, is relentless in fundraising endeavors for the students. One of her biggest efforts was founding the Island Trees Alumni Heroes Scholarship Fund in memory of two high school alumni who perished during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

In addition, she raises funds for other causes, including the prevention of drunk driving, and sending sick children and their families to summer camp. Her motto is, "Together, we can make a difference."

Donahue also coordinated the high school's Stuff a Showcase event in 2009, which benefited several organizations that cater to needy youth.

She has been awarded the PTA Jenkins Life Membership Award, a Tri-M International Music Honor Society Life Membership Award, and a Nassau County Proclamation for her volunteerism.

Donahue lives in Wading River, N.Y., with her husband, Jerome, and their two daughters, Caitlin and Erin. She says she is able to devote so much of her time to children because of the tremendous support of her husband; daughters; Peter Gibbons, Island Trees Director of Fine and Performing Arts; and her sister, Kathleen, a survivor, to whom she dedicates this award.