PERU - If you mention the name Mary Lou Zaferakis to anyone who has been employed with the Peru Central School District in the past 40 years, chances are they'll know who you're talking about.
The retired educator and administrator was honored for her years of service as she was inducted into the Peru Central School District Hall of Fame June 11, during the annual student academic awards banquet.
High school principal Christopher J. Mazzella presented Zaferakis with the award, which he said was a special honor for him. Zaferakis hired Mazzella nearly 20 years ago, forming a bond that has lasted ever since.
"I've got a special place in my heart for Mary Lou," said Mazzella. "She was the epitome of what an educator is. She worked her tail off every day, she always smiled, she loved children and inspired them. She gave them a pat on the back and redirected them when they needed redirecting. She was just a wonderful educator. She's a great lady."
Zaferakis was taken back when she walked on stage to receive a plaque from Mazzella, taking a moment to hug her friend and former colleague. Having her photo on the Hall of Fame wall in the high school was a form of recognition she said was very proud to receive.
"I've worked with everyone who's on the wall, so this is really an honor to join such a prestigious group," said Zaferakis. "I'm very humbled and pleased that I've been recognized by my peers."
Zaferakis, affectionately known to many as "Z," began her career with the district in 1968 as an 8th grade math and computer literacy/programming teacher. Though she later became principal of Peru Junior High School and eventually retired as principal of Peru High School in 1999, it was her time spent teaching which she truly enjoyed most.