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Borsellino recognized as Woman of the Year

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MASSENA - Ann Borsellino joined the ranks of the women who have a local day named in their honor on Thursday.

Ms. Borsellino, a fifth-grade teacher at Trinity Catholic School, was recognized as Woman of the Year by the St. Lawrence County Chapter New York State Women, Inc., and a proclamation from town and village officials in Massena declared Nov. 8, 2012 as Ann Borsellino, Woman of the Year Day.

She joins 34 other women who have been recognized since 1984, but said it was something that caught her by surprise.

Ms. Borsellino said it was mid-September and the new school year had just started. She and her students were doing an experiment when she was called by school officials.

“They called me and told me you need to come right now,” and they would sent somebody to take over the classroom while she was away, she said.

And that’s when she learned that she was being honored as Woman of the Year, a fete that was celebrated during a dinner Thursday night at the Village Inn restaurant.

And that, Ms. Borsellino said, is when she realized why Larry Boisvert, who had nominated her for the honor, had become so inquisitive about her background.

“He kept asking me questions after school started,” she said.

Ms. Borsellino, a veteran teacher of 35 years at St. Joseph’s and Trinity Catholic schools, was selected from a field of nominations for her strengths and accomplishments in her profession and her volunteerism. And there were many nominations for the honor, according to Committee Chair and Chapter Secretary Susan Bellor.

“Every year we receive several nominations. I’m very, very pleased you were selected this year,” she said.

“She is a doer, a woman of action. She does it so humbly and so beautifully,” the Rev. J. Michael Gaffney, past pastor of St. Marys and St. Joseph’s Church, Massena, said.

Massena town and village outlined Ms. Borsellino’s accomplishments in a proclamation that was read Thursday night.

They noted that she had earned her degrees at Mater Dei College and Potsdam State and in 2004 was the recipient of the “Share the Light of Faith Award” presented by the Diocese of Ogdensburg. That recognition “exemplified her character based on religious education and personal way of life.”

She was recognized again in 2006 with the St. Peter’s School/Father Leo School Memorial Outstanding Alumni Award.

An active volunteer in the community, Ms. Borsellino is an organizer for director of the “All Faith Vacation Bible School” for grades kindergarten through five. She is also a committee member for the St. Mary’s Church bazaar, a volunteer assistant with Catholic Youth Organization, a member of the Spiritual Life Committee, and works with the Gabriels Program.

She has also served as secretary of the Sacred Heart League, is a religious instructor for Catholic school-age children and the faith formation director in grades kindergarten through nine, including confirmation classes.

In addition, Ms. Borsellino is a member of the diocesan committee to revise report cards based on standards, is the teacher representative for Parent-Teacher Connection and coordinator of Labels for Education at Trinity Catholic School, and assists in programs that supply several local food pantries. She has served as coordinator of “Helping Hands” to aid the Massena Neighborhood Center’s Christmas program.

But she has found time to volunteer her efforts in other areas as a Girl Scout aide, Tiger Scout leader and T-ball coach for the girls and boys.

Ms. Borsellino said her service dates back to her time as a child.

“I have to start with my roots,” she said, when as a young child she remembered getting calls asking her to go to the church and help clean candlesticks or to the convent to help the nuns clean.

“My family began my service,” she said.

Today, Ms. Borsellino said, it’s family and friends like those who gathered at the Village Inn on Thursday that keep her going.

“You’re all behind me and you’re all right there. I thank you for supporting me in all of this,” she said.

Past Women of the Year who were on hand to celebrate Ms. Borsellino were Ms. Bellor, Jackie Sheehan and the Rev. Judith Van Kennen.

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