Mrs. Manganaro-Thompson Receives Massachusetts VFW Award
Posted On:
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Director Segundo & Mrs. Manganaro-Thompson
Director Segundo & Mrs. Manganaro-Thompson

Mrs. Michele Manganaro-Thompson, 3rd grade teacher at Chapin Street School, was "surprised and honored" when learning that she was the recipient of the 2016-17  Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award K-5 level for the State of Massachusetts Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Manganaro-Thompson’s journey to this well deserved statewide recognition began with a nomination, at the local level, by fellow 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Carrie Joseph.

Director Eric Segundo, Veterans Services for the Town of Ludlow, and member of the VFW in Ludlow, explained that following her 1st place selection from the Sgt. Joshua D. Desforges VFW Post 3236, Manganaro-Thompson’s K-5 level nomination packet was submitted to the District 7 competition, which she also won. Selected winners from each of the twelve districts across the state were then forwarded to the state level competition for review by a committee from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Massachusetts.

“This is the first time a teacher from Ludlow has received this honor at the state level,”  proudly shared Segundo. “She will now represent  Massachusetts as the K-5 teacher recipient and her information will be review by a committee at the VFW National Headquarters for consideration in the national awards contest.”

“It’s always exciting to recognize and say thank you to our educators.  It is our teachers who guide us to be better individuals,” added Segundo.

According to the VFW Auxiliary website the VFW launched the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award in 1999 to recognize classroom teachers for promoting citizenship education. Three teachers, one from grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 are selected as national winners.

In her nomination letter Joseph wrote, “Michele has an indefinite love for her country and the people that defend it, and it truly shows in the classroom and in the school community.”  In addition Joseph discussed how Manganaro-Thompson, when learning of the lack of funds for the  Wreaths Across America program at the Veterans Cemetery in Agawam, she quickly elicited Joseph’s help to coordinate  efforts to raise money by organising a“Pennies for Veterans” event at Chapin Street School and reaching out to  community members for additional donations.  Within little over a week their efforts helped raise a total of $1,343.18; enabling the purchase of an additional ninety wreaths.

When learning that she had been chosen for this recognition Manganaro-Thompson shared, “Everything I do that has to do with teaching my students about love of country and honoring and respecting our military and Veterans is just a part of who I am.  So to be given such an honor for something that is just part of my everyday teaching is amazing to me.”

Manganaro-Thompson will  be recognized and honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Massachusetts at the Massachusetts VFW Convention being held at the Best Western Hotel in Marlborough on June 10th.  Segundo added that she will also be given two signs acknowledging her award- one for her to keep, and one to be displayed at Chapin Street School.


 Director Segundo, Mrs. Manganaro-Thompson & Mrs. Joseph

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