This year’s recipients were Ingrid Ebanks, Physical Education teacher at Curtis High School and teacher at the JCC Beacon Afterschool Program at I.S. 49, and John Fodera, President of St. Peter’s Boys High School. Speakers at the event included Pat Daly, Mr. Daly’s son, and David Pascarella, his nephew. In addition, Korina Toledo and Clare Cranston, who nominated Ms. Ebanks and Mr. Fodera respectively, spoke about the educators’ impact on their lives. At the conclusion of the event, the names of the two winners were unveiled on a plaque that is permanently installed in Borough Hall.
“I’m happy to continue this award to honor Mr. Daly’s legacy, and sacrifice, as well as recognize outstanding educators in our community,” said BP Oddo. “I believe Ingrid Ebanks and John Fodera embody many of the exceptional qualities Mr. Daly had as an educator. Both have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their students and a love of education and their communities. As the Daly family members noted when we selected them, both Ms. Ebanks and Mr. Fodera are following in the footsteps of Mr. Daly through their inspiring work inside and outside of school.”
Lovingly referred to as a “giver and a dream maker,” Ingrid Ebanks has taught and encouraged students for many years as a former Dean and current Physical Education teacher at Curtis High School and at the JCC Beacon Afterschool Program at I.S. 49 in Stapleton for the last 23 years. Her approach to teaching physical education is innovative and designed to keep the students active, engaged, and comfortable; however, she is more than just a teacher. She has taught generations of students how to exhibit respect, integrity, and community spirit. Her students consider her someone they can confide in, knowing she will not judge and will help them navigate their problems in school or at home. She has shown a strong commitment to the St. George and Stapleton communities, fighting to care for and protect these community’s students. Ms. Ebanks has beaten cancer twice and returned each time with a determination to teach her students about the cycles of life and the battles that must be fought. She has earned the reputation as a trusted educator whose will for her students to succeed sometimes surpasses her own needs. Ms. Ebanks teaches her students what it means to take risks—“never give up or settle” is her motto. Through her teaching, she has helped open doors for her students and shown them a different perspective and path for a successful life.
John Fodera, who currently serves as the St. Peter’s Boys High School President, graduated from St. Peter’s in the early 1960s and returned to teach at his beloved alma mater after finishing college. Prior to serving in his current position, he served as Assistant Principal from 1968 until being named Principal in 1990. However, Mr. Fodera is more than just the President of the school—he is a mentor to every boy there. He greets every student by name each morning and throughout the day all year long. He works hard to get to know each student personally and is there for them in times of both crisis and joy. Mr. Fodera has built great relationships with the community, giving back to local businesses who donate their time to the school and ensuring students perform community service by helping out in the local soup kitchen and tutoring at local schools. Throughout his tenure at the school, he was able to raise money for needed repairs as well as a new multimillion dollar gym and state-of-the-art football field to attract more potential students. His vision and hard work successfully reflected in increased enrollment, which continues to expand today. The dedication and unwavering support he has showed the school and its generations of students has ensured its success during a time of continuous Catholic school closures among the Archdiocese of New York. To all who know the school, John Fodera is the face of St. Peter’s.
“My family and I want thank the Borough President and his staff for continuing to honor my father and his legacy through this award. We also would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to this year's award recipients,” said Patrick Daly, son of the fallen educator.
Following the event, light fare was provided by students from the Port Richmond High School Culinary Arts program. Students from Susan Wagner High School performed a musical selection.