After 45 years of teaching, a New Jersey schoolteacher gave the school district a final gift: $1 million

Genevieve Via Cava left her estate, worth $1 million, to the Dumont Public Schools, where she taught for 45 years. (Photo: northjersey.com/Richard Jablonski)

Genevieve Via Cava taught special needs students in Dumont, N.J., for 45 years, and her dedication to them didn’t end when she retired in 1990.

Via Cava often stopped by to visit the classes where she had taught and sometimes visited the superintendent. Ten years ago, during one of those visits with Superintendent Emanuele Triggiano, the special education teacher told him that she would donate a million dollars to the school district.

“I thought it was a joke,” Triggiano told NorthJersey.com. “But then we got the paperwork.”

Via Cava passed away in 2011, but in April this year, the Dumont Public Schools received a check from her estate. Because of the size of her estate, it took seven years to distribute the money, as both the federal and state governments need to approve and finalize estate tax returns.

With no children or immediate family, the schoolteacher was able to save over $1 million, which she donated to fund scholarships for special education students.

Via Cava was always known to take care of her students. She often helped her former students in their 20s and 30s to find jobs in the area through her connections. Now, because of her generous donation, she will continue to help the students.

One special education student who wishes to go to college or a trade school will be eligible for a $25,000 scholarship, starting with the 2020 graduating class. The district is also planning to give out a scholarship to someone in the 2019 class, but it may not be the full $25,000, to help ensure that there will be enough interest generated for the scholarships to continue for many years.

“In the event the scholarship fund grows to the extent that two or more scholarships can be made available, we can then give it to additional students,” Triggiano told CNN.

Via Cava’s attorney, April Savoye, also noted that the teacher left $100,000 each to five other organizations, including the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge and the Salvation Army.

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