EnvironmentThe White Plains Examiner

White Plains Couple Honored With Tree Planting at School

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Harry and Rebecca Bright left their mark on the City of White Plains in many ways.

Harry was a high school gym teacher and coach who was the first African American to serve on the White Plains Common Council. He also served as the city’s human rights commissioner and was active with the Rotary Club, Salvation Army and White Plains Historical Society.

Rebecca, known as “Beckie,” was a beloved Eastview Middle School art and music teacher for more than 30 years and an ardent supporter of the White Plains Women’s Club and Chatterton Hill Church.

“We are happy to have known them and be touched by their brilliance,” said Terry Hanson, President of the White Plains Beautification Foundation.

Last Friday, Harry and Rebecca Bright, who were married for 67 years and died within four months of each other in 2023, were honored with the planting of a red maple tree outside Eastview Middle School as part of an Arbor Day/Earth Day celebration.

“They have so many accomplishments,” said Westchester County Legislator Ben Boykin (D/White Plains), who noted his two daughters were taught by Rebecca Bright. “To have this tree planted for these two outstanding citizens, this is a fitting tribute to them.”

Nick Wolff, director of the White Plains Beautification Foundation, said Rebecca Bright was his eighth and ninth grade music teacher.

“She was a really wonderful person,” he said. “They did a tremendous amount for White Plains. They always gave back to the community.”

Others who spoke affectionately of the Brights were Westchester County Executive George Latimer, White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and White Plains Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ricca.

“White Plains is a special place. The Brights, their joy and love continue,” Ricca said. “He brought light and sunshine to everything he did.”

Stefania Mignone, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Works, noted White Plains has been designated as a Tree City USA for 41 years and spends about $200,000 annually on planting and maintaining trees.



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