Follansbee chamber supports local education through mini-grants

SUPPORTING EDUCATION — Members of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee include Suzanne Davidson, committee chair; Deborah Puskarich, chamber president; Pat Accettolo, committee member; Anthony Paesano, committee member; and Carmel Esposito, committee member. -- Contributed

FOLLANSBEE — The Follansbee Chamber of Commerce supports innovative learning through its annual mini-grants for educational projects.

The grants were initiated more than 18 years ago by Anthony Paesano, a past chamber president. Paesano has been a local educator, principal at Brooke High School, a Brooke County school board member and mayor of Follansbee.

Being a classroom teacher for 18 years, Paesano said he understood the importance of the extra projects needed to enhance the education of students. Noting teachers often spend their own money for projects, the mini-grant was created as a way to support educators.

A committee assists with the selection of each year’s educational grant recipients.

Retired educators serving on the committee include Pat Accettolo, Carmel Esposito and Suzanne Davidson.

Accettolo taught first grade in Brooke County for 35 years, serves on the Follansbee chamber board and has been a member of the education committee for several years.

She is a past recipient of the Follansbee chamber Citizen of the Year award. She and her husband, Lou, donate money to support the mini-grants.

Esposito served as a former intensive and coronary care nurse before teaching nursing at Trinity Health System and the former Ohio Valley Hospital for 30 years. She holds an EDD in education from West Virginia University, along with her BSN from West Liberty and MSN from WVU. Esposito also serves as a Follansbee chamber board member.

Davidson, the committee’s newest member, is a former middle school and elementary teacher. She was recognized with the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award from the Follansbee Chamber in 2016. Before joining the chamber in 2017, she was the recipient of several chamber mini-grants with many involving STEM education.

The education committee also wants to recognize Lorraine Durante, a former Brooke County educator who served for several years.

This year’s grant recipients will be recognized at the Follansbee chamber’s award dinner on Oct. 16.