EducationThe Examiner

Pleasantville Alumni, School District Retirees Honored at Alumni Plaza Ceremony

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Holly, Will, Rial and Larry Boes hold bricks dedicated in their honor that will be installed at Alumni Plaza at Pleasantville High School. The school held the annual ceremony to honor alumni and staff last Saturday during Homecoming Weekend. Abby Luby photo

Sunny skies provided a perfect day for some 60 people gathered outside Pleasantville High School last Saturday morning to pay tribute to district alumni and retired staff.

The bricklaying ceremony is an annual event that coincides with the school district’s Homecoming Weekend. This year 55 dedicated bricks were engraved with the name of an honoree, to be added to numerous other bricks in the semi-circle known as Alumni Plaza located at the school.

After Saturday’s ceremony about 85 spots in the semicircle remain unfilled.

The four-by-eight-inch bricks cost $100 each, and those with a graphic cost $125. The tax-deductible contribution goes to the Pleasantville Fund for Learning, a nonprofit organization that provides funding to enrich education programs in the Pleasantville School District. Proceeds from bricks sold this year totaled more than $5,000.

Hugs and flowers were exchanged among attendees, as former students were reunited with teachers and other alumni. Hosting the event and announcing the name on each brick were Dodd and LaVern Kittsley. The ceremony wasn’t held last year because of the pandemic.

“We’re thankful to be back here,” said Dodd Kittsley, which was followed by a hearty round of applause.

As he presented each brick, Kittsley would offer a humorous or emotional story if he knew the recipient. One brick had the name of their son Payton who graduated last year. This year the school broke a record with 55 bricks added, he said.

There to honor her father, English teacher and varsity golf coach Robert Delle Bovi who retired two years ago, was Amanda Delle Bovi, a Pleasantville alumnus who has been an eighth-grade special education math teacher at Pleasantville Middle School for six years.

“He doesn’t know I’m here and I want to surprise him,” she said.

Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter shared her memories of Rita Killian whose name is on a brick. Killian worked in the main office at Pleasantville High School in the first days of Fox-Alter’s tenure about 11 years ago.

“You could not walk into the main office without getting Rita’s beaming smile,” Fox-Alter said. “We miss her charm, energy and enthusiasm.”

The Lee family was joined by 10 members of her family, including six who have graduated from Pleasantville High School from 1970 to 2007. Randy Lee graduated in 1970 and his wife,  Regina graduated in 1974, followed by their children Tyler in 2000, Aimee in 2003, David in 2006 and Allison in 2007. Three separate bricks were for former Board of Education president Larry Boes and his children, Rial (Class of 2021) and Will (class of 2020).

“This event has funded the district for years,” said former Pleasantville school board member Louis Conte whose three sons are district graduates. “Alumni Plaza acknowledges the history and the people who contributed to the district’s life. It keeps the spirit alive and kicking.”

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that last year’s Pleasantville High School valedictorian, Carolyn Lee, was a member of the same Lee family where all six family members are school alumni. The Examiner regrets the error.

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