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Rochester Education Foundation:  Because every child deserves a great education.

A Toast to REF ...and our Partners 2016

Thanks to all of our friends for supporting "A Toast" this year!

Educator Award winner Bruce Finch accepted his award after a gracious introduction by Dr. Roshon Bradley, principal of Early Childhood School of Rochester No. 57, where Mr. Finch worked for many years. Dr. Bradley noted the dedication and effectiveness of Mr. Finch as a teacher.

Dr. Walter Cooper and Bruce Finch
REF Advisory Board member Dr. Walter Cooper (left) and one of REF's 2016 Educator Award winners, Bruce Finch, pose for a photo during "A Toast to REF." Dr. Cooper accepted REF's 2016 Philanthropy Award on behalf of his lifelong friend, Dr. Everett Williams.

Mr. Finch's comments focused on his love of teaching and of children. He discussed his 28 years of teaching Rochester students, and his belief that you need to listen to children to know how to be an effective educator. He warmly thanked his family for their support.

Educator Award winner Mary Andrecolich-Montesano-Diaz was introduced by her former student, Rupa Thapa, who is now attending Monroe Community College. Ms. Thapa praised Ms. Andrecolich-Montesano-Diaz for her commitment to students and the care she shows to all of her students at Rochester International Academy (RIA).

Adam Chodak
Mary Andrecolich-Montesano-Diaz (1st row, 3rd from left) surrounded by friends and family after receiving one of REF's 2016 Educator Award.

Thanking Ms. Thapa for the introduction, Ms. Andrecolich-Montesano-Diaz noted that she was proud of Ms. Thapa for her amazing success. Ms. Andrecolich-Montesano-Diaz proudly noted her identity as a graduate of Franklin High School in Rochester, and thanked REF for giving her the opportunity to thank her children, her family, and her school community for making RIA successful.

The third award, a Philanthropy Award, was presented posthumously to Dr. Everett Williams. Dr. Walter Cooper, a childhood friend of Dr. Williams, graciously accepted the award. Dr. Cooper talked about his friendship with Dr. Williams, which lasted nearly 75 years. He documented the success of Dr. Williams as an educator (he served as vice superintendent of the Buffalo School District). He also talked about the generous, multi-year support Dr. Williams has given to the Dr. Walter Cooper Fund at REF to encourage the success and literacy of students at Dr. Walter Cooper Academy School Number 10.

Photo album: click here
Click here to see more photos from the event.

Emcee Adam Chodak provided warm and spirited commentary throughout the evening at the Memorial Art Gallery.

Proceeds from the event support Rochester Education Foundation programs for Rochester students, providing support for literacy, music opportunities, college access and more.

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