Chapel Hill, NC
February 6, 2007
Via email to Bob Casale
Re: Hicksville High School Newsletter Hall of Fame
Dear HixNews Staff:
I am very pleased to nominate my brother, Santo Carfora, Hicksville High School Class of 1964, for the Hicksville High School Newsletter Hall of Fame due to his efforts and accomplishments in the areas of Diversity Education and Humanitarianism.
Santo was the Instructional Manager of the Social Studies Department of Craig High School in Janesville, Wisconsin where he retired after 34 years of teaching in June, 2003; 33 at Craig with 28 of these years as instructional manager. Since retirement, he has opened his own consulting business as a diversity educator and trainer.
Upon obtaining a bachelor of arts degree at Culver-Stockton College, Canton, Missouri in 1969, Santo taught at Hicksville High School for one year. After his marriage to Jeanne Baxter in August, 1970, the couple took teaching positions in the Janesville, Wisconsin school system. They have lived there ever since. They have two grown daughters, Christina who is married and living in Houston, Texas and Sara, who is living and working in Madison, Wisconsin.
During his early years in Janesville, Santo was a social studies teacher and wrestling coach at Craig High. Janesville is a typical upper Midwestern “Main Street, U.S.A.” type of town. The majority of the town and surrounding county is over 90% white, primarily Christian and as such is not demographically diverse, such as our large Eastern and Midwestern cities. Santo was never one to accept the “status quos.” While he could have coasted using the same lesson plans year after year, he spent many summertime hours revising his lesson plans to keep his classes stimulating and interesting for his students. In the mid-1970’s, recognizing the lack of ethnic and racial diversity in Janesville, he developed and taught the first ever Black Studies class in the Janesville School System. Over the years it caught on and became one of the most popular classes within Craig High’s Social Studies Department.
While teaching and coaching during his early Janesville years, Santo was also attending night classes at The University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (UW Whitewater), where he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Teaching in 1974. He has continued to challenge himself intellectually over the years, obtaining an additional 30 credits above his master’s degree.
Santo is also an active leader in his Church and within the Janesville community. His diversity work became even more important to the community and gained added recognition after Janesville withstood a barrage of Klu Klux Klan and neo-Nazi rallies during the 1990’s.
In 1996, in addition to his teaching and instructional management responsibilities, Santo was named as the School District of Janesville’s Staff Development Diversity Trainer in Human Relations. He retained this position until his retirement and has continued the work as part of his consulting business since then. It should be noted here that Janesville is a city of nearly 62,000 residents and the focal point of Rock County. In addition to Craig High, Janesville consists of Parker High School, plus numerous elementary schools. It is also the home of General Motors’ Janesville Assembly Plant, Lab Safety Supply (part of W. W. Grainger Inc.) and the former home of Parker Pen Company.
In his capacity as the school district’s diversity trainer, Santo presented diversity training seminars to over 450 teachers and administrators within the Janesville School District alone. During this period, he was also asked to facilitate the Janesville Gazette’s Associated Press Managing Editors Roundtable on Diversity and Racism.
As an outgrowth of his Black Studies classes and diversity training programs, Santo developed Walking in the Steps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Janesville School District sponsored program where selected high school sophomores and juniors traveled to Atlanta with him in the spring to visit the key sites of Dr. King’s legacy, thereby exposing the students to the history and culture of the Civil Rights Movement, past and present. Trip stops included; The King Center, President Carter’s Library & Center for Human Rights, Breman Jewish Center & Holocaust Museum, Ebenezer Baptist Church, The New Horizon Sanctuary, where Dr. King preached, The Folk Art & Museum Center, The Atlanta History Center and The Atlanta University Center. A highlight of one trip was a private meeting with Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Students were selected through an application process that included approval from their parents and each of their instructors, plus an interview to evaluate their seriousness in the program, maturity and commitment to follow up on what they learned. After each program, the students made presentations on their trip experiences to various community groups, including Rotary and Kiwanis. Trips took place in 2000, 2002 and 2003. The program was postponed after Santo’s retirement from Craig High to train new facilitators and develop a comparable agenda, but is again budgeted and will resume this spring.
Upon retirement, Santo decided to consult, specializing in diversity training and facilitating, with a focus on Human Relations to build bridges for quality relationships in schools, businesses and communities. In this capacity, he has presented successful diversity training programs to Blackhawk Technical College, the Girl Scouts of Rock County, North Boone High School (Illinois), plus the following State of Wisconsin School Districts; Whitewater, Evansville, Edgerton, Clinton, Brodhead and Milton. He has also been invited to address business and community leaders in Janesville, the Cooperative Educational Services Administration, the Canton Rural V District Schools of Canton, Missouri and, in the spring of 2004, facilitated diversity workshops for the staff and students of Univa Prepa in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Along the way, Santo has received numerous honors for his work in Human Relations. These have included:
· The YWCA of Janesville’s Peace Award
· Named to The Janesville Gazette’s 50 Who Matter in January, 2006
· The Wisconsin Education Association Council’s State Humanitarian Award
· Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for 2007, presented by UAW Local 95 in honor of Santo’s work in Civil Rights and his dream of respecting, understanding and encouraging all people to work together in harmony
· Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers
· Links Asset Builder, a local award which recognizes a community member who has made a difference in linking children, families and schools. The award is given by Partners in Prevention, a local group that works with young people on alcohol and substance abuse issues.
Santo’s church and community work, along with his role in the school system, have made him a popular member of the community and well known throughout the city, county and state. His church and community achievements have included:
· A life long member of the Roman Catholic Church and member of the Nativity of Mary Parish, Janesville, Wisconsin, since 1972
· A facilitator of Confirmation retreats at Nativity of Mary Parish, since 1974
· Participated in the Anti-Defamation League’s “Train the Trainers” program
· Facilitated a diversity workshop for the fifty parochial school principals in the Madison, Wisconsin Diocese in November, 2006
· Participated in the Madison Diocese Partnership with the Diocese of Navrongo
Bogatanga, Ghana, traveling to Ghana in July, 2006 as part of the Roman Catholic Church’s Global Solidarity Program
· Involved in the Cursillo Ministry since 1978 as a participant, rector, vice rector and group reunion participant
· Worked with St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church, Beloit, Wisconsin to facilitate student multicultural retreats for a program called The Plunge
· Participated in Cross Roads diversity training. This is a national group within the Lutheran Church, which performs diversity and anti-racist training.
I have the greatest admiration and respect for my brother, Santo; for all that he has accomplished and done to reach out to other people by helping them better understand each other through developing an appreciation for each other’s cultural, ethnic, racial and religious differences. He is a person who makes a difference in this day in age, where a lack of understanding in these areas alone has created and continues to perpetuate World turmoil.
Santo has impacted countless lives both within and outside his community through his work in helping others to recognize, accept and thrive in a diverse atmosphere. I am very proud that he is my brother and it gives me great pleasure to nominate him for The Hicksville High School Newsletter Hall of Fame. Thank you for considering this nomination.
Joe Carfora ‘62