STATEN ISLAND, NY — Loved ones, family members, local leaders, and the IS 24 community assembled in the rain across the street from the middle school on Friday, May 13, to unveil two new co-naming street signs in honor of two beloved teachers, Sharon Nearby and Melissa Kruppa, of IS 24 who passed away from the coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020.
“There is no more of an iconic location for two teachers who served IS 24 so well than on this corner, which is the hub of dismissal and drop-offs every day,” Councilman Joe Borelli said.
“We want people who come here and pass by long after we’re gone to look up and say, ‘who are these people?’ Now the responsibility goes onto you to remind people about who Melissa and Sharon were, and that’s the commitment we make.”
Melissa Kruppa was 50 when she lost her 80-day battle with the coronavirus (COVID-19) on June 20, 2020, leaving behind a legacy of being an impactful teacher, a beloved wife for 27 years to Kenny Kruppa, and a devoted mother to son Tyler and daughter Camryn.
“I loved being her student. She was a really good teacher, she was really kind to her students, and she always had a goofy personality. I thought of her as a second mom, ”Kalea Cuenca, a freshman in high school, said of her as a 7th-grade teacher as a Miss. Kruppa.
The school has made intentional efforts to remember Kruppa and Nearby by recognizing them in every graduation ceremony since their passing, creating memorial plaques in their name, and growing an everlasting garden on the school’s soil in their memory.
Sharon Nearby was 52 when she died from complications due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) on April 4, 2020. She was married for 17 years to her husband, Jeff, who she has two twin daughters with, Samantha and Rebecca, both juniors at Tottenville High School.
“Being a teacher was not just her job. It was part of who she was. I knew this when on the day I proposed and got on one knee, she said wait a minute, I have to finish grading this paper,” Sharon’s husband, Jeff Nearby said.
“When we had our daughters almost 17 years ago, she started right away in making sure they had the skills they needed to succeed so that they would be strong, independent, beautiful young women they are today.”
Today, more than two years later, the community can honor and remember the two women that inspired many students and deeply touched the lives of those around them. Co-naming the street across IS 24 after Sharon Nearby and Melissa Kruppa leave a special dedication to the timeless impact they left behind.