Even when she found herself in the midst of pain that wouldn’t forget, Christine Amodeo Palmer was able to summon enough strength to smile and laugh for her students and colleagues. The Huntington School District librarian was a fighter and she battled breast cancer with every shred of energy she could muster before passing away on June 13, 2015. She was just 41.
The Associated Teachers of Huntington, the professional organization of the district’s teaching corps vowed to present an annual scholarship to a graduating senior in honor of Mrs. Palmer’s career and service to the community. The ATH intends to sponsor the $1,000 award for a ten year period.
Jorge Parada Cisneros will study for an undergraduate degree at Colgate University.
The 2021 scholarship was presented to senior Jorge Parada Cisneros, an exceptional young man who plans to study health at Colgate University.
ATH Vice President Joseph Cohen presented the highly regarded award to Mr. Parada Cisneros during the high school’s senior scholarships night ceremony in the auditorium.
Named a Distinguished Senior last spring after compiling a spectacular academic record over the past four years, Mr. Parada Cisneros said the keys to his success have been “taking things step by step and having amazing people around me every day.”
The teenager said he has “most enjoyed how Huntington High School is like a big family and everyone shows how much they care about each other. Having this support has made high school so enjoyable.”
A member of six different academic honor societies, Mr. Parada Cisneros said it was through his participation in the Blue Devil marching band that he was able to learn who he truly is.
Similar to Mr. Parada Cisneros, Mrs. Palmer was equally cherished by her faculty and staff colleagues. A 1991 graduate of John H. Glenn High School, she earned a BA in English at SUNY Oswego in 1995 and a Master of Library Science at SUNY Albany in 2000. She also obtained a professional certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in 2004 and engaged in substantial post-graduate studies.
Mrs. Palmer came to Huntington in 1998 when she was hired as a teacher aide. She returned as a substitute librarian in March 2001 and was appointed to a full time position at Woodhull School in September 2001. She later split time between Flower Hill and Washington Primary Schools.
The happy librarian was a smiling and positive force around school and was viewed as the consummate professional. “Her love for literature, reading and her children were apparent when you walked into her library classes,” said one longtime colleague. “She ran a tight ship, expected a lot from her students and gave more back to each and every one of those lucky enough to have her as a teacher.”
Mrs. Palmer’s mother, Jacqueline Amodeo worked in the district as a special education case aide for 15 years. Many still remember her for the dedication she displayed to her students and her devilish sense of humor and fun loving ways.
Always interested in how she could improve the library experience for her students, Mrs. Palmer secured a Huntington Foundation Star grant in the amount of $11,400 in 2007. Science Connections provided monies to acquire two polycoms and lab sessions for fifth and sixth graders via videoconferencing with New York Hall of Science instructors. It was state of the art stuff and could be intimidating for a person unfamiliar with this type of technology.
While faculty members knew that Mrs. Palmer’s condition was extremely serious, they were nevertheless devastated to learn she had passed away. The veteran educator had a loyal group of faculty colleagues who are determined to keep her memory alive and who consider themselves blessed to have called her their close friend.
Mrs. Palmer left behind her husband, Jim, a New York City police officer and her bright and beautiful son, RJ (short for Robert James), who she was fond of calling her “little man.” He’s 9½ years old now.
Christine Amodeo Palmer Memorial Scholarship Recipients
2021 Jorge Parada Cisnero
2020 Abigail Holmes, Sadie Walters
2019 Mackenzie Joseph
2018 Emma Franznick
2017 Tara Wilson
2016 Santos Garcia Avelar