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10th 'Touchdown for Teachers' grand prizewinner announced


Fri, May 4th 2018 12:25 pm
M&T Bank, Buffalo Bills celebrate record-breaking number of nominations
Selected from a record-setting 750 nominations, an adapted physical education teacher from Villa of Hope in Rochester was chosen as the grand-prizewinner of the annual M&T Bank "Touchdown for Teachers" program. Brianne Blaszak won $2,000 in grant funds payable to her school, and a visit from a Buffalo Bills player.
The Bills and M&T also selected four finalists for the 2018 M&T Bank "Touchdown for Teachers" program, who will each receive $500 in grant funds payable to their school or district to further their impact.
For the 10th year in a row, all five winners were celebrated and awarded their prizes during a draft party event at the ADPRO Sports Training Center at New Era Field.
"This year's M&T Bank 'Touchdown for Teachers' is one for the record books. Not only is the program's 10th anniversary, but we received the most nominations in M&T Bank 'Touchdown for Teachers' history," said Jim Jarosz, M&T Bank group vice president for retail banking in Western New York. "Needless to say, it took some serious deliberating to select only five finalists. Western New York truly has so many outstanding teachers, and we can't thank these deserving educators enough for all that they do for their schools and the community."
Blaszak was nominated for M&T Bank "Touchdown for Teachers" by a co-worker. At Villa of Hope, she breaks barriers for participation in physical education for students with learning disabilities through technology and community partnerships. She also implemented an annual "Hoops for Hearts" fundraiser at the school benefitting the American Heart Association. And within the community, Blaszak supports Footsteps of Western New York, which works to assist local children and adults suffering from cerebral palsy, as well as helps coordinate a 5K for the Wyoming County Girl Scouts.
The four educators who were finalists include:
  • Daniel Travis from East High School in Rochester.
  • Lisa Brosnick from North Collins Junior/Senior High School in North Collins.
  • Lori Mancuso from West Seneca Middle School in West Seneca.
  • Mary Howard, sixth grade teacher at Veronica Connor Middle School on Grand Island.
"We were blown away by the record number of nominations for this year's M&T Bank 'Touchdown for Teachers' program," said Erica Muhleman, Pegula Sports and Entertainment's executive vice president of business development. "It's a testament to the quality of dedicated educators that we have here in Western New York. The Buffalo Bills are proud to join M&T Bank in highlighting some of the great work these men and women do. Congratulations to Ms. Blaszak and each of our finalists!"
Since the program began, the M&T Bank "Touchdown for Teachers" program has recognized 41 outstanding educators with unique game-day and Bills experiences, and awarded a total of $21,400 to local school districts on behalf of the honored teachers.

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