2012 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
George W. Hewlett High School
"You can make such an impact on students. Just one sentence, one kind word can turn them around and make the day for them," stated Patricia Lally. For more than 20 years, she has been doing just that—sharing her smile, making a student's day brighter and impacting her school and her community in a big way. She embodies the spirit of author William James's quote, "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
Born in Far Rockaway, N.Y., Pat has been making a difference for the past 24 years at her alma mater, George W. Hewlett High School, where she works as a teacher aide.
"Pat models the behavior that speaks volumes about her deeply held beliefs and affections. She is the one who sees leftover food as an opportunity for community service. She is the one who whispers about a needy family and inspires the rest of us to help. She is the one who follows up on the lives of alumni who never got the kudos for high-level academic success. She is the one who celebrates weddings and births. And she is the one who consoles families in times of unthinkable loss. She is a people connector," stated her Education Partner Award nominator.
Known as the "go-to person," Pat never hesitates to advocate in the best interest of her students. She has helped countless numbers of youngsters navigate through their high school careers. She often acts as a liaison with troubled students to assure their needs are met. Many times over the years, students have returned to the school to update Pat on their successes and to say "thank you."
During her tenure at Hewlett High School, Pat was inducted as an honorary member of the school's National Honor Society. Her community service extends beyond the school walls. She is often seen volunteering at soup kitchens, homeless shelters and animal care groups and was recognized for her community service by the Five Towns Community Center.
Pat's mantra is, "Everyone can make a difference, no matter what their title. Everybody can help in their own way."
She currently lives in Valley Stream with her husband, Derek. She has one son, Chris. Pat said, "I wouldn't be able to devote my time to so many things without their loving support."