I want to commend a great man, teacher, principal, friend and mentor, Mr. Joe DeGenova. I had the privilege to be a student during his years as a principal and I could not know a better person. I remember when I was in second grade at the school’s Christmas show and Mr. D. wanted me to say the opening prayer (as was the custom). I thought nothing of it, but did not realize until afterwards that I had spoken at 8 years old in front of over 2,000 people. I have enjoyed and excelled in public speaking since that day. In fact, my life has been rather blessed since knowing Mr. D. and I attribute such blessings to him and his staff at St. John Central Grade School.
Now at 18 years old, I see the building blocks laid down there to mold and guide young people to be upstanding citizens upon graduation. Mr. DeGenova, however, was the key to unlocking his student’s potential. Everyone, not just I, was bettered by his presence. His unending support, and unquestioning love for all of his students, past and present, truly helped us excel. Wherever my future guides me, I hope to be as supportive and caring as Mr. D.
From me personally, to all of your students past and present, thank you, Mr. D for your service, love, and care. Your friendship will continue to be a highlight of my life, and I hope to see you in Washington in the years to come. Regardless, thank you for all you have done for me, I will never forget it.
Finally, to all of you reading, here is a great man, Mr. Joe DeGenova. May your retirement be as joyful as mine while being one of your students.
Conor T. Craig