Oct. 7, 2021
To the Students, Educators, Staff, Parents and Community of Bellefonte,
A big warm hug and hearty thank you is what Cheryl Porter DeCusati would say to each of you for this honour bestowed on her at Homecoming 2021. Being back here reminds me of fun memories associate with a new school year. Cheryl was a Kindergarten Teacher at Marion Walker Elementary, and one of the first units she did with the children was to bake Gingerbread Man Cookies. They learned to how make Gingerbread Men, and it seemed that always one of those cookies, usually the most mischievous one, seemed to sneak off and hide in the cafeteria, auditorium, library, and principles office, thus causing the new kindergarteners to search out those important to know places to find him. What a fun and delicious time it was when they found him, ate all the cookies, and realized that their new school was not quite so large and scary as they initially thought.
Then there were the Teddy Bear Tea Parties, usually in the classroom with parents and grandparents, but sometimes also at our Victorian Brownstone, Home on Curtin Street. You know, it always amazed me how a simple small cup of tea with friends could teach a rambunctious 5-year-old boy or girl to dress up in white shirt and tie or dress, and then sit patiently in their chair showing respect and good manners to each other for a full hour. A small miracle, I think.
But that was what Cheryl was all about, teaching young ones new skills, good behaviours, and most of all love for one another as well as love for themselves. Cheryl and I never had children. Instead, the students she taught were our children, and she showered love on each one of them as best she could. Were she here today, Cheryl would smile, and be immensely proud of the fine, intelligent, strong, and caring young people we see before you today.