Samuel Amoa and Luis Marino Granted Thomas Sobol Award

PappalardoSteve Pappalardo and Samuel AmoaOn Tuesday February 5th, Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Services held a luncheon to honor this year’s recipients of the Thomas Sobol awards. The heart-warming celebration, held in the Harwood Building (in a space generously donated by President of the Scarsdale Improvement Corporation, Rush Wilson), began with a ceremony where both Samuel Amoa and Luis Marino were presented with awards and honored for their valuable contributions to the Scarsdale community.

First to welcome the crowd was SFCS Board President, David Lee. Mr. Lee started by reminding the audience of what an incredible man Dr. Thomas Sobol was and the contributions he made to the community. Lee detailed Sobol’s accomplished resume including his tenure as Scarsdale’s Superintendent of Schools, New York State Commissioner of Education, and his time as a professor of Education at Columbia’s Teachers’ College. Just as important as the positions he held, were Sobol’s values, passion and his ardent belief in the collaboration between communities and schools to work toward a common goal. Dr. Sobol believed that if we work together, “through education we can close the achievement gap and create a more equitable society.”

Next, Bill Miller, a Scarsdalian also once recognized for his own contributions to our community, expounded upon Dr. Sobol’s legacy of service. Mr. Miller recounted how Sobol believed “that a school day doesn’t end at 3pm when the bell rings. Instead he believed that community matters, families matter, and neighbors matter.” Mr. Miller explained that it was with these tenets in mind that Dr. Sobol worked collaboratively with the Scarsdale Schools and the village to create the Youth Service Project a program administered by SFCS to provide services to middle and high school students. Mr. Miller ended by claiming that this “service award” where one person is recognized from the village and another is recognized from the school district, is a wonderful way to “honor Dr. Sobol and what he wanted to achieve”.

Scarsdale Village Manager Stephen Pappalardo rose to present the first honoree of the day, Samuel “Sammy” Amoa. When Mr. Hagerman MarinoThomas Hagerman and Luis MarinoPappalardo began his introduction, he couldn’t hide his admiration for, and sense of camaraderie with village center caretaker, Amoa. Mr. Pappalardo waxed poetic about how the two first met some 25 years ago and how every day since Mr. Amoa has shown up to work with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. Mr. Pappalardo also expressed how hard Sammy Amoa worked and outlined a list of exhausting jobs that Amoa readily tackled with diligence. What’s more, “Sammy was always available when we needed him, weekends, evenings...from Bicycle Sundays to village hall meetings.” Mr. Pappalardo further described how Sammy Amoa also served as a volunteer firefighter for the Greenville Volunteer Fire Department and once helped “avert a disaster on Garth Road with his quick actions”. Before turning to shake Amoa’s hand, Mr. Pappalardo finished with, “There is no better ambassador for our village than Sammy Amoa.”

In a touching moment, Mr. Amoa choked back tears, and thanked Mr. Pappalardo, saying “Thank you so much for the opportunity to work here.”

There to present the award from the school district to Luis Marino was Dr. Thomas Hagerman, Scarsdale Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Hagerman began by quoting a passage that was written about Sobol and his many admirable traits; “Everyone who worked with Tom, bonded with him.” Dr. Hagerman went on to say, “Luis Marino will no doubt be described in the same way.” Truly living the American dream, Mr. Marino made his way from Lima, Peru to Port Chester in 1981 and in 1994 joined the Scarsdale Schools’ custodial team where each day he brought his “professional attitude, dedication, and high energy.” Hagerman continued his praise of Mr. Marino by detailing how much he cares about the “health, happiness, and wellness of others.” In addition to all he has done for the Scarsdale community, Mr. Marino is also a very productive citizen in his hometown of Port Chester where he is a volunteer firefighter, a village trustee, and currently acting as deputy mayor. Still more, Mr. Marino is an active volunteer for the American Red Cross as well as other international organizations providing aid and relief to those in need. As Dr. Hagerman says, “We should all seek to emulate Luis Marino. Imagine what the world could be, if we were all a little more like Luis.”

In another heartfelt moment, Mr. Marino thanked everyone saying, “It is an honor to be here, thank you. The people I’ve worked with are like family...they become family”.

KrisberghGenovaRachel Krisbergh and Jay GenovaBefore SFCS Executive Director James Genova presented the awards, Mrs. Harriet Sobol spoke briefly about her late husband. “Tom loved this community and these people. He valued the most the people we don’t often ‘see’” Mrs. Sobol remarked. Genova then gave a thoughtful and moving speech saying, “The world needs more good right now and today is a day to celebrate the goodness of members of our is a day to restore faith in people...not to focus on what’s wrong, but what we can do better.” Genova then granted Luis Marino and Samuel Amoa, a plaque and a copy of Dr. Sobol’s book while the audience gave both a standing ovation.

This wonderful luncheon (the kind of event that gives heart to our great community) could not have happened without the tremendous efforts of The Friends of Dr. Sobol and the SFCS planning committee: Racheal Krisberg, Susan Greenberg, Deb Pekarek, and Janice Starr.