On Saturday, April 18, hundreds turned out to lay to rest a dedicated Milford Teacher. Amanda Sapp Parisi, a teacher at Milford High School, passed away on Friday, April 10 after a long battle with cancer. She was 39.
“Amanda always had a dream of becoming a teacher,” said Tony Parisi, her husband. “She was adamant that she wanted to help others. She started as an English teacher but became friends with Sharon Benner-Chaffinch, who taught ESL at the district. When Sharon began talking of retirement, Amanda knew that it was her calling. Sharon recommended her for the position and the rest is history.”
Mr. Parisi said that Amanda enjoyed working with the immigrant population. He said that she often talked about how children born here seemed to take their education for granted, but those who had immigrated from lands where education was a privilege had a much stronger desire to learn and do well in school.
“Amanda thrived in that job,” Mr. Parisi said. “Every day when she came home, she had a look on her face of pure job satisfaction. She worked tirelessly to learn new ways to reach students who did not have English as a first language. She sometimes became frustrated because ESL is not as important sometimes as English, math or reading, but for the kids she taught, it was critical to success.”
Mr. Parisi said that he and Amanda perfected the art of long distance relationships. As an ex-Marine, he said the two of them fought to be together. They knew that nothing came easy if it is worthwhile. He said that he will dedicate his life to making sure the couple’s two children, Jonah and Alli, know their mother and will be sure they understand what qualities they have that came from her.
“I will never walk past Room 406 at the high school without seeing Amanda standing there smiling at her students,” said Dr. Phyllis Kohel, Superintendent of Milford School District. “She was an amazing, patient and caring teacher who always put her students first. Even in her last several days, she sent a message to her students saying ‘Always remember the good times we had as a class.’ Her students loved her as I did. I will always miss her and her enduring positive attitude. God bless her and her family.”
Amanda Sapp Parisi was born April 27, 1975 and graduated from Milford High School in 1993. Her father was the late Robert H. Sapp and her mother, Jill Neibert Sapp. She obtained her Master’s degree from Wilmington College and was a member of the Delaware State Education Association. She also acted as Treasurer of the Delta Organization which promotes English as a second language for teachers.
Ms. Parisi was a two-time recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award and enjoyed gardening, sewing, as well as living life to the fullest. She is survived by her husband and two children as well as two brothers, Isaac Henry and Nathan Edward and a grandmother, Jean Neibert.
“I am humbled by all the support my children and I have gotten from everyone who knew Amanda,” said Mr. Parisi. “I want everyone to know that if you loved Amanda, she loved you and will continue to love you. She was an incredible woman.”
Friends have set up a GoFundMe campaign for the Parisi family to offset costs of fighting her illness and funeral expenses. The fund has raised almost $12,000 and donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/tonyandamanda.