Cafeteria named for former Autism aide

Cafeteria named for Cipriano,longtime Autism Aide
Posted on 10/29/2018
KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. – A good educator can change the course of a student’s life. For the great ones, the influence is felt across generations. That’s the legacy left behind by longtime aide Marie Cipriano. Marie, who passed away in June. During her approximately 20-year career with the Jefferson County School system, Marie worked as an aide for children with special needs at Ranson, T.A. Lowery, and North Jefferson Elementary Schools.  
Her memory is being honored now through a partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge West Virginia. Marie’s husband, Dr. Rocco Cipriano, is the first president of the club and one of the founding members. 
Dr. Cipriano remembered many of Marie's stories; and so once the club was chartered, he asked Marie how they could help children specifically at North Jefferson where he felt a partnership with the service organization could do the most good.
"So many of the children at the school need positive adult role models,” Marie answered without hesitation. “Be there for them in whatever and however many ways you possibly can.”
At the suggestion of Dr. Cipriano, club members became involved at North Jefferson. After Marie’s passing, they wanted a way to cement her legacy at the school. The Kiwanis Club is working to start a healthy dining program that focuses on healthy living, table manners, and social skills, all while highlighting academic achievement and creativity. Club members are even volunteering to go to the school every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the school year to serve students in the Cipriano Cafe, named in Marie's memory.  A dedication ceremony took place Friday afternoon.
North Jefferson Elementary School Principal Nyky Johnson said it is a fitting legacy for an amazing educator.
“All of this happened because Marie told our story and someone was listening.”
The Kiwanis Club has already had a tremendous impact on the school, serving as PASS mentors at North. They started working with fourth graders to establish raised bed gardens at the front of the school and have helped create the beautiful Monarch Butterfly Way Station and sitting area to the left of those beds. They even tend both gardens and the way station when the students are not there.    
Since last October, they have been raising funds to construct an outdoor classroom that is now beginning to take shape in the rear of the school.  This year, they are also sponsoring the "True Grit Awards" program and are organizing the North Stars K-Kids Club to help students learn about leadership and community service.  

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