The Patrick F. Daly Award was established shortly after Mr. Daly’s death to honor his legacy of service to the community, a steadfast commitment to his students, and his leadership. This award goes to two educators who exemplify the values of the fallen principal, who was gunned down 27 years ago in Red Hook, Brooklyn while searching for a student who had left the school building. The award was revived in 2017 by BP Oddo in honor of the 25th anniversary of Mr. Patrick Daly’s death.
“Every problem that exists in society, every challenge that we have, is made better and can be fixed through education when good people step forward and say ‘this is where I’m supposed to be and I’m going to do everything in my power to help these young people,'” noted Borough President Oddo at the ceremony. “Our real top priority at Borough Hall, and what we are known, for is education, because we know educators like these two, and like Patrick Daly, can change lives.”
The evening included an invocation from Father Squire, Pastor at Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Churhc, as well as a reflection from David Pascarella, Patrick Daly’s nephew, and Pat Daly, Patrick Daly’s son, who spoke on this award and the importance of appreciating people while they are still with us. Before the presentation of the awards, Port Richmond High School Principal Andrew Greenfield spoke on John DiMartino’s dedications to his students and PS 23 Principal Paul Proscia spoke on Renee Mazza’s friendly approach to caring for the PS 23 community.
Former honorees, Wilson Mohr, John Fodera, and Ingrid Ebanks, were in attendance to celebrate the honorees John DiMartino and Renee Mazza.
The award ceremony was followed by a reception with light fare in the main hall of the building provided by the Port Richmond High School Culinary Arts program as well as music performed by Port Richmond High School musicians.
Congratulations to two very deserving educators and thank you for the work you do!
After graduating Long Island University on a full baseball scholarship with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education, John DiMartino played two years of Minor League Baseball for the Ohio Valley Redcoats before beginning his teaching career in 1996 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, at Dewey Middle School, MS 136. John spent a year at MS 136 before accepting a teaching and coaching position at New Dorp High School. Mr. DiMartino served as the Junior Varsity Baseball Coach and Girls’ Junior Varsity Basketball Coach for two and a half years until the spring of 1999 when he began working at Port Richmond High School, his home for the last 20 years. During his tenure at PRHS, John has coached various sports, including the Boys’ Varsity Bowling Team, taught as a Health and Physical Education Teacher, in addition to being a vital member of the Deans’ Office, overseeing Morning Entry where he looks forward to greeting each Raider every day. Throughout his 24-year career, John has dedicated his time to helping at-risk teens and their families to improve their lives. He has made it his life’s mission to provide resources, opportunities and support to a diverse body of adolescents and young adults. John has received numerous awards from principals, administrators, staff, students and parents at Port Richmond for his outstanding dedication and willingness to go above and beyond in any situation. John and his wife, Christine, have three children: John Jr., Lauren and Nicky. John loves nothing more than cheering for John Jr. while he pitches at Pace University, Lauren while on the basketball court for St. Joseph Hill, and Nicky while he’s on the baseball field for Farrell High School.
Renee Mazza, referred to as a “selfless and trusted friend to the entire PS 23 School Community,” has served as Assistant Principal to The Richmondtown School for the last 16 years. A graduate of the College of Staten Island with an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and Supervisory Certification, Renee began her teaching career in Brooklyn at PS 192, where she taught as an elementary school teacher for eight years, then as a Literary Coach for two years before her move to PS 23. Each morning at PS 23, Ms. Mazza can be seen opening breakfast items for students, talking to them, and getting to know each and every student. Parents often come to her for advice on how they can help their child learn better. As a result of Renee Mazza’s servant style of leadership, PS 23 has earned many prestigious honors, which include becoming and being recertified as a nationally recognized Leader In Me Lighthouse School with Academic Distinction, being honored as a NYS Reward School, and being recognized as a NYC DOE Respect For All School. In 2019, Renee pioneered PS 23’s Philanthropic Classroom project, where each Pre K-5 class partnered with charitable organizations to help those in need. This project has helped students learn empathy, compassion, kindness, and has enabled students to build relationships with neighboring organizations. She is the proud mother of two children, Gianluca and Maggee Mazza.