WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Isabel E. Villar’s 38-years of work as director of El Centro Hispano in White Plains earned her top honors at the 30th annual Senior Citizen Hall of Fame awards lunch Monday in Tarrytown.
The White Plains resident was one of 51 Westchester residents age 60 and older to be inducted into the Senior Citizen Hall of Fame class of 2012. Five of the inductees are age 90 or older.
“I feel very special,” said Villar, who founded El Centro Hispano in 1974. “I never forgot my beginnings. To get such a prestigious award is wonderful. I never thought I’d be in that category. This can only happen in the United States of America.”
Villar, who is also a founder of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, was born in Cuba. As a young adult she moved to the U.S. with her family in 1966 and enrolled in White Plains High School. At the time, there was no English as a second language (ESL) program. When the school began its first ESL program the next year, she enrolled on the advanced level.
Villar went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in political science/Latin American studies from Manhattanville College and several graduate degrees from New York University, Iona College and Long Island University.
El Centro Hispano is a community organization that offers Hispanic students the opportunity to earn college scholarships, bilingual Boy and Girl Scout troops and computer classes for children, adults and seniors at its state-of-the-art Technology Center.
Class Of 2012 (listed by communities) Top Honoree:
- White Plains - Isabel E. Villar
Special Recognition Honorees:
- Mount Vernon - Marleen Dandridge
- Peekskill – The Rev. Jeannette Phillips
- Purdys – John Caralyus
- Scarsdale - Carol Stix
- Somers – Barry Singer
Class of 2012
- Armonk: William Golub
- Briarcliff Manor: Joseph Lalak
- Chappaqua: Dr. William Flank
- Cortlandt Manor: Marie Turner
- Croton-On-Hudson: Laura Seitz, Carol Shanesy
- Dobbs Ferry: Claire Stein
- Eastchester: Robert Moynihan
- Elmsford: Elaine Dixon
- Hartsdale: David Doynow, Yvette Gralla
- Larchmont: Lynn Reichgott
- Mamaroneck: Charles Hessler, Shirley Jones
- Mohegan Lake: Ray Procious
- Mount Kisco: Lenore Safian
- Mount Vernon: Phyllis Rosen, Anne Sweazey, Edithia Tracey
- New Rochelle: Maureen Lundahl, Dorothy Sunshine, Judith Weber
- North White Plains: Lorraine Wuttke
- Pleasantville: Lina Spedaliere
- Rye: Nancy Haneman
- Rye Brook: Allene Berman, Rose Sciandra, Marcia Teschner
- Scarsdale: Philip Feiner
- Tarrytown: Kitty Geissler
- Thornwood: Lee Hart
- White Plains: Janice Beatty-Hudson, Ganel Gibbs, Dickie Kay, Carolyn Rogers, Marge Weaver
- Yonkers: Claudia Brigman, Euphemia Brown, Jacqueline Campanile, Margaret Silby, Barbara Weinbaum; Joyce Wignal
- Yorktown Heights: Salvatore Amuso, Robert Schavrien, Theresa Tinger