IEA honors Debbie Ciciora
The Illinois Education Association has selected Eisenhower High School staff member Debbie Ciciora as the Education Support Staff of the Year.
The award recognizes one person from eligible paraprofessionals, administrative assistants, custodians, bus drivers, and food service workers in Illinois.
IEA will honor Ciciora on March 5 at its Representative Assembly. She also becomes automatically eligible for the National Education Association ESP of the Year.
Ciciora earned this prestigious honor for her service work both at Eisenhower and in the community. She serves as the manager for The Closet, a project providing free clothing, hygiene products and other necessities for students at Eisenhower.
Last year McCready Law Firm selected The Closet for the award for Best Local Youth Organization for 2019. Ciciora received $500 for the award for The Closet.
Ciciora also volunteers at a local animal shelter and assists with the Bremen High School prom dress sale by helping collecting dresses and volunteering on the day of the event.
This year she also helped at the Blue Island trunk and Treat and Kris Kringle Market.
Primarily, however, the award recognizes her commitment to The Closet.
Now in its fourth year, the project helps students and families in need. Students may discreetly complete an on-line form to request a winter coat, new socks, hygiene products, and other items. The Closet also features a washer and dryer for students to use.
Eisenhower staff members founded The Closet for many reasons. Apart from the kindness of helping students in need, The Closet serves academic purposes.
Staff members would see some students wearing the same clothes day after day. They understood that not having clean shirts or jeans, or a variety of clothing to wear, would stand as an obstacle to student attendance.
Rather than feel embarrassed about wearing the same clothing frequently, because they know classmates would notice, students sometimes would stay home.