By ADAM SWIFT
PEABODY — Donna Costa, Elaine Marshall, June Kessel, Lorraine Benoit, and Sister Christine Gubisch will be honored with George Peabody Legacy Awards for their lasting impact on the education of students during the fifth annual ceremony on Thursday.
“Congratulations to the 2017 George Peabody Legacy Award Recipients,” said Peabody Mayor Edward Bettencourt. “This is a richly deserved honor for a group of outstanding people who have given so much of their time, energy and talent to the great cause of education.”
The city’s namesake, George Peabody, was a successful, self-educated entrepreneur who became the world’s first international philanthropist.
His wish to promote a spirit of harmony and goodwill in society lives on today in the Peabody Education Foundation’s annual awards.
The Peabody Education Foundation is an organization of community members, business leaders, and educators seeking to enhance the quality of public education in the city.
The five winners were selected from among dozens of nominations made by the public and met the criteria of having a lasting impact on education, effecting change for the good of the people over a significant amount of time, being an active member in the Peabody community and a tireless advocate for local students, and living or working in the city.
“These are all great people, and these are all people, who for the last five years, have been recommended and nominated,” said David Gravel, city councilor and Chairman of the Peabody Education Foundation. “We are looking forward to having a great event.”
Bettencourt also praised the role the Peabody Education Foundation has played in supporting the city’s schools.
“The foundation offers excellent programs as well as access to advanced technology which helps our students prepare for the next step in their education and their careers,” the mayor said.
Costa has worked for the city for more than 40 years and is currently a business teacher; Marshall was a psychology teacher at Peabody High School from 1974-2008; Kessel was a special education paraprofessional at the high school and noted volunteer; Benoit was in the school system from 1968-2003 and helped pave the way for women’s sports at the high school; and Gubisch headed the elementary and early childhood programs at the Carmelite for 35 years.
Tickets for the ceremony at the Wiggin Auditorium at City Hall are $35 and can be purchased on the Peabody Education Foundation’s website. The event starts at 6 p.m. and includes a light meal and a cash bar.