We returned to school on January 2, 2019 only to hear that the year had opened with the saddest of news. On January 1, 2019, one of our beloved paraprofessionals, Valerie Moise, passed away from cancer. Parents of children who had Valerie Perez and Marisol Santos in kindergarten last year and the year before will remember Valerie Moise.
Valerie is third from right in the back row.
Krystalyn Maraña was one of those children in that kindergarten class. When Sally (third grade teacher and her mom), told Krystalyn of Valerie’s passing, Krystalyn said, “I will never forget how Valerie’s smile filled my bucket. Even if I was sad, if I saw her smile, I would smile. I’m sad she’s not here anymore, but I am happy she is not sick and she is probably smiling right now with her nice big teeth. She is one of the best Valeries I know and I know a lot of Valeries now. I will miss her hugs a lot.”
Valerie is remembered for her smile, for her sense of style, and for the love that emanated from her very soul. Valerie is remembered for her kindness and her heart. Valerie is remembered for her strength of character, her belief in herself and her belief in our children.
Other parents of older children might remember Valerie too. Valerie first came to the BNS community a number of years ago, not as a paraprofessional, but as a crossing guard. Every morning and afternoon, she would greet the children and their families with a wish and a smile. Every day she made people feel good.
BNS paraprofessional and parent, AnnMarie Matava, recalled, “The thing I remember most about Valerie, besides her beautiful smile, which she would share every time I saw her is from when she was still a crossing guard. At drop off time, VJ (AnnMarie’s son) had a habit of running up in front of me and Nate (AnnMarie’s other son) and crossing Henry & Rapelye on his own. I knew Valerie would keep an eye on him and make sure he crossed safely, so I would let him do it. Each and every time he did it, Valerie would also keep an eye out for me – when she saw me, she would smile and say “Oh, there you are – he crossed already.” It was so lovely that she took the time to say that, giving me the peace of mind of knowing that VJ had arrived safely.”
Valerie brightened the world and brightened all of us. I had the pleasure of checking in with her in the afternoon when I would come downstairs to do bus duty. Valerie made my afternoon just a little bit more special.
It wasn’t long before Valerie and I got talking. Eventually, I was able to nominate Valerie to be a paraprofessional and I am so glad I did. Valerie went from the street corner to room 202. She became someone depended on by the rest of us. She opened up her heart to BNS and BNS opened up its heart to Valerie.
I will miss that smile. I will miss that heart, that love, and that faith. I will miss Valerie.
All for now,
Celebrating a Life
Arrangements for Valerie Moise are this Saturday, January 12 at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church, 1123 Eastern Parkway, between Utica and Schenectady.
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