They called her a saint, the “fairy godmother of Riverhead,” and more. So when Theresa Drozd — Riverhead High School’s crisis prevention specialist and an active leader in the school’s Council for Unity, student government, and other programs — announced she would be retiring at the end of this year, school and nonprofit officials prepared their proclamations honoring her.
Even that wasn’t enough, said Robert DeSena, founder of the Council for Unity, a nationwide anti-gang organization for youths. So the organization made an award just for her, the Trailblazer’s Award.
He said Ms. Drozd expanded the program, which started in the schools, into a broader organization that connects district students, community members, police officers and people in jail looking to restart their lives.
“What Theresa has done is to make a four-pronged strategy that makes organized criminal activity almost impossible,” Mr. DeSena said.
Colleagues from Riverhead schools to police and law enforcement all gathered at Calverton Links Monday evening to hold a surprise retirement party for Ms. Drozd, who will retire and move to North Carolina to spend more time with her husband and grandchildren.
High School Principal David Wicks said she is a “priceless” member of the district.
“She’s interwoven into the fabric of the district, of that building,” he said. “There is no replacing her, it’s just a matter of getting by without her.”
For more about Ms. Drozd and her accomplishments during her more than a decade with Riverhead schools, check this week’s Riverhead News-Review.