Emmanuel College left a lasting impact on Dorothy DeStefano Taraburelli '66. With the recent establishment of the Domenic and Dorothy Taraburelli '66 Endowed Scholarship, a $500,000 estate gift jointly named in honor of her late husband, she hopes that her legacy will benefit future students for many years to come.
"I have the best memories of Emmanuel," Taraburelli said. "The Chapel was the most beautiful place I'd ever been in my entire life. The education I received there really was my saving grace. It carried me through my entire life."
Taraburelli, a sociology major who was a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur during her time as a student, credits the teaching styles, open-mindedness and warmth of faculty such as sociology professor Sr. Marie Augusta Neal, SND, and English professor Sr. Anne Cyril Delaney, SND, as the inspiration for her own four decades of work as an educator.
After leaving the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1969, Taraburelli applied for a position as a reading specialist in Salem, Massachusetts, and was told the hiring manager was in and would review her application with her immediately. "I was so nervous to be put on the spot like that," she said. "But I just wrote down my philosophy on education, everything that I had learned at Emmanuel. I was hired right then and there."
She remained in the position for 20 years before retiring in 1989. But teaching was in her blood, she said, and after relocating to Rochester, New Hampshire, she spent another nearly 20 years helping students learn to read before retiring from the McClelland School in 2008. Taraburelli, or "Mrs. T." as she was referred to by her students, estimates she taught nearly 1,000 kindergarten through eighth grade students over her career.
"We worked very hard, but we had a great time," she said, recalling a time after knee surgery when she rode into the gymnasium for an assembly on a skateboard and with a helmet she'd borrowed from a student. "It made them laugh, and that's all I wanted. You can't learn anything when you're unhappy."
Taraburelli currently lives in Rochester with two golden retrievers, Holly and Jingles, has "the greatest friends and a wonderful church" and feels "happy, grateful and very blessed" for a life well lived. With her and her late husband's endowed scholarship, she hopes to make the cost of higher education easier to manage for future generations of Emmanuel students.
"I spent all my life helping kids who didn't have access to a great education like I did and who had been told 'you can't' for so long," Taraburelli said. "I'm doing it to give back. And I hope to give back just a little bit of what Emmanuel College and the Sisters of Notre Dame gave to me.
"It's an absolute privilege to be able to do something like this," she said. "It really is."