After caring for special-needs children for 45 years, teacher leaves astounding legacy

Some people consider others first in everything they do, and they are indeed very special human beings. This teacher was one such person, and she devoted her whole life to helping others. Her exceptional legacy will continue for many, many years.

Genevieve Via Cava taught special-needs children for 45 years in Dumont, New Jersey, and she was determined to continue helping them after she passed. Via Cava loved working with special needs students and considered them to be part of her family. Watching, teaching, and mentoring them as they developed was her special joy. Even after she retired in 1990, she would often visit them in class.


According to a CNN report, she often spoke with school superintendent Emanuele Triggiano during these visits. “One day she quietly told me she accumulated a large sum of money and she planned on donating it,” he recalled.

Seven years after her death in 2011, the extent of her sacrifice and devotion came to light. Via Cava had lived a simple, frugal, humble life and saved every penny she could—never taking holidays nor indulging in any extravagance.

In her will, she left an astonishing bequest of $1 million to provide scholarships for special-needs students to further their post-secondary education.

Richard Jablonski, a close friend and executor of Via Cava’s will, said, “She used to come into my store and go to the 70-percent-off rack and that’s all she would buy.”

Jablonski said Via Cava was always talking about how much she loved her work. Now, he said, “her name will go on forever, and rightfully so.”

April Savoye, Via Cava’s attorney, said the late teacher also left $100,000 each to five more organizations, including the Ramapo Animal Refuge and the Salvation Army.

“Because she had no immediate family of her own, and not even many not-so-distant relatives, it made sense for her to make this donation,” Savoye wrote in an email.

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Photos Credit: YouTube Screenshot | CBS New York.

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