The Rotary Clubs of Utica, New Hartford and North Utica/Whitestown honored six area teachers recently at their annual Outstanding Educators Awards Program. The program, presented on-line during Utica Rotary’s weekly zoom meeting, is an annual event of the area Rotary Clubs’ community service committees.

The awards presentation comes at the culmination of a year-long program during which area Rotary clubs hosted students from each of six area high schools at their weekly Rotary meetings. Over the past school year, the students each had an opportunity to introduce themselves to the Rotary members, and to learn about Rotary’s community, regional and international service, which are the fulfillment of the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”

At the end of the school year, the students from each school are asked to select the teacher whom they believe exemplifies the Rotary motto, and the values of Rotary, as exemplified in its Four Way Test:

  • Is it the Truth?
  • Is it Fair to All Concerned?
  • Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
  • Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned?


Utica Rotary Club President Joe Caruso said “This annual awards program is the perfect near-ending to the Rotary year- an afternoon of inspiration, received from both the inspiring educators we celebrate and the accomplished, grateful and enthusiastic students who honor them.”

The six honored teachers include:

Megan Cappadonia of Proctor High School

Elizabeth Cissi of New Hartford High School

Melody Morris of Whitesboro High School

Tim Papienuk of New York Mills High School

Dwight Putnam of Notre Dame Junior/ Senior High School

Kathleen Washburn of Clinton High School


The nominating students from each school introduced and spoke about their choice to the ZOOM meeting, with each teacher addressing the gathering and receiving an engraved plaque form a participating Rotary Club.

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