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Draft Remarks for the Distinguished Alumni Brunch


Humanitarian Award: Anna M. Saldo-Burke

Anna M. Saldo-Burke is the recipient of the 2010 MCLA Alumni Humanitarian Award.

Anna received a master’s of education degree from MCLA in 1989 and a doctor of education

degree in 2000. Anna is a 27-year veteran teacher and currently teaches third grade at Sullivan

School in North Adams.

Throughout her career, Anna has devoted herself to improving the community and the

world as a whole. She has challenged her students to think globally with her classroom motto,

“Adding to the Good,” and has invested hundreds of hours in these efforts. Anna’s activities

have encouraged the community’s young minds to recognize the importance of community,

thinking of others, and working together to make the world a better place. Anna and her students

have been committed to bringing holiday cheer to our troops since 1999, an effort which began

with the Operation Troop Support effort through the Berkshire County American Red Cross.

Anna turned her class’s involvement into an annual school-wide effort to connect with military

members. She helped all third grade classes to make DVDs expressing greetings for our troops as

part of Circuit City’s “Messages from America” campaign in 2002-2003.

Following the events of September 11th, Anna developed a number of projects to

commemorate victims and their families. One such project involved a school-wide effort to raise

funds for a plaque in memory of American Airlines Flight 11 Pilot John Ogonowski. Students

were able to see the results of their hard work at the plaque dedication ceremony at Berkshire

Humane Society in June 2003. Anna worked with her students to create pro-American video ads

that focused on students’ likes, desires, and hopes in late 2001. The video ads were part of an

effort to portray the universality of youth across cultures and were sent to the Office of the Under
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Secretary, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R), and the United States Department of State

in Washington, D.C.

In 2003 she developed a project to collect food items as part of the “Feinstein Challenge”

Food Drive. She worked with all third grade classes to create student public service

announcements for local radio, TV, newspapers and websites as well as the school newsletter.

Together, Anna and the students involved local supermarkets and the school community to raise

3,705 food items for the Northern Berkshire Community Action Food Pantry. Students and

teachers were awarded with signed certificates from Mayor John Barrett III to recognize their

efforts to feed the hungry at the April 22 North Adams City Council Session. In 2003-2004,

Anna engaged third grade classes in “The Souperbowl of Caring,” a fundraising effort that raised

$300 for the Berkshire County Chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Anna connected the third grade water cycle curriculum to global efforts in 2008-2009 and

developed the Water is Essential! project to help bring safe drinking water to West African

Nations. Her students investigated solutions for bringing portable water to West African villages.

With Anna’s assistance, the students created a PowerPoint presentation and a documentary film

and raised funds by selling Colors of Water paintings and Colors of Water Paper Bead

Necklaces. The donations went to non-governmental organizations working to provide

improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene for those in need. These are just a few of the

projects Anna and her students have been involved in. The list goes on and on.

In May 2010, Anna published the nonfiction book Green Mittens Covered Her Ears—A

Look at Autism, which provides an understanding about autism for youths and adults. (More

about the book?)


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Anna has taught students and community members to raise awareness, take action and

inspire others. Her efforts have been recognized with numerous awards. Her most recent awards

include the Ladies Auxiliary to the Dr. George I. Curran VFW Post 996 Citizenship Award 2010,

the Teaching for Democracy Award in 2008 for outstanding contributions in community service-

learning and the Emily M. West Citizenship Award 2008 for teaching the youth of our

community the true meaning of patriotism and citizenship. She was a time Warner Cable 2008-

2009 National Teacher Awards Finalist for developing and executing projects that represent the

best efforts happening in schools across the country and has been the recipient of the American

Legion Auxiliary Certificate of Appreciation for the past six years.

Anna M. Saldo-Burke, in recognition of your community service and on behalf of the

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts community, I am pleased to present you with MCLA’s

2010 Alumni Humanitarian Award.

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