It's a bittersweet yet inspiring story for one Fall River School as an educator retires after more than four decades.

Espirito Santo School first-grade teacher Debra Polselli's final day is Thursday, June 15. In 42 years, she has mentored hundreds of students.

The school reached out to give a fond farewell to someone who means a lot to the community.

Here is their message to Polselli, a thanks for all she has done:

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When you think back to elementary school, there is always one teacher that comes to mind. In this case, just about everyone who has attended Espirito Santo School in Fall River, MA in the last 40 years, remembers Ms. Debra Polselli.


Ms. Polselli has devoted her entire life to the school community as well as her church community. She has taught at Espirito Santo School for the last 42 years, touching the lives of thousands of children. On any given day, she is the first one at the school and the last to leave. Preparing lesson plans for children, tutoring them as needed, and meeting with parents, are among the many responsibilities that an educator has. Ms. Polselli truly maintains the Catholic faith in all she does regularly. Ms. Polselli truly invests time into each child and finds ways to reach each student’s needs.


During her time at the school, she has been a mentor to new faculty, coordinator of our Human Development Program, and coordinates the Lenten collection for the Diocesan Food Kitchen. Ms. Polselli has organized the “Gift of Love” program during Advent so that the whole school may participate in giving to those in need. People Incorporated & Marie’s Place are among the recipients of this community outreach. She truly has lived the mission of the school and teaches the students what it means to help the least of our brothers and sisters.


Ms. Polselli coordinates the school choir. The choir, composed of students from 3rd grade to 8th grade, provides music for all church masses and services during the school year. During her time at the school, the choir has also visited adult day cares and nursing homes to afford students an opportunity for community service and to entertain those audiences with songs and dance. Even after her retirement, she intends to continue directing the school choir!


She has also hosted a Thanksgiving play each year with every class and students entertain parents and the school community by recreating the story of the 1st Thanksgiving and singing songs. In addition to teaching at the school, she has also been a Faith Formation teacher for over 30 years at her parish, St. Anthony of Padua in Fall River, teaching the First Communion class. She is an active member of her school community and church community and a recipient of the Marian Medal.


'Not enough can be said of what Ms. Polselli means to the Espirito Santo School community," Principal Andrew J Raposo said. 'As a young principal, I always appreciated how Ms. Polselli worked with me, providing guidance and advice. She did this with everyone… She is a blessing. I can’t say enough of what she has meant to me, and so many others. She will forever be a part of the Espirito Santo School community.'


Overall, she is a caring, selfless, and humble person who deserves recognition for all she has done for the thousands of lives she has touched over the years. She is encouraging and kind and will truly be missed. The end of an era has come, and we need to celebrate her and all she has done. Thank you, Ms. Polselli!

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