Honorary Life Awards for Guercio, Kropman, Traver

Guercio, Kropman & Traver receive PTSA Honorary Life Awards
Posted on 03/10/2021

Honorary Life is the highest honor a Parent Teacher Student Association can bestow on someone. West Irondequoit Central PTSA is proud to honor these three:

  • Jeff Guercio, who retired last June after a 37-year career teaching at Irondequoit High School.
  • Dena Kropman, a longtime Southlawn School teacher who is retiring this year after 20-plus years.
  • Kathy Traver, a dedicated school PTSA and community volunteer who passed away in 2017 after battling cancer.



Guercio taught English but he meant so much more to IHS. He was an educator and mentor woven into the fabric of 260 Cooper Road. From directing spring and fall plays to emceeing Super Quiz and the annual talent show, being a homecoming hallway and float judge, coaching track and serving as Rodequoit advisor, Mr. Guercio was a friend to many.

“Jeff was a teacher students flocked to. His room was never empty,” colleague Kim Bartela wrote in her nomination. “Students sought help on college essays and found his room to be a safe haven during free periods. Visits from alumni were the norm. The influence he had on students was immeasurable.”


In addition to her craft of teaching students in her elementary school, where Principal Kelly Santora affectionately calls her the “Mayor of Southlawn,” Mrs. Kropman is known for her unwavering and tireless spirt toward generosity. Whether as an advocate for the Irondequoit Community Cupboard, organizing Secret Santa gifts for children, saluting Veterans in her classroom or being the head volunteer for “Go Girl Go,” Dena does with boundless energy and spirit.

“If there is ever a family in need,” wrote Southlawn secretary Melissa Vella in her nomination, “Dena goes the extra mile – make that 20 miles.”

“She truly puts all kids first and does what is best for each child,” teaching colleague, Codi Battaglia, conveyed in her nomination. “Dena’s classroom thrives on love, kindness and acceptance.”


As a parent, Traver was the epitome of being a selfless, dedicated and driven PTSA representative involved, at one time or another, at Brookview, Rogers, Dake and IHS as well as leading District-wide initiatives. She organized bake sales, school pictures, field trips, prom/ball parties and Senior Week activities, among other things. She also was involved as a parent in youth hockey and soccer, volunteered at Sunset House to comfort people in hospice. She was active at Christ the King church and with her children’s Boy and Girl Scout troops.

After her children graduated from IHS, she became a school health aide at Monroe High School and mentored many young women who otherwise would not have had much positive guidance, helping them become productive adults.

“Kathy was a true lifelong volunteer not only for (things involving) her own children but for her community,” Sheila Wallenhorst shared in her nomination. “She was a friend to hundreds of people and was a best friend to many. I thought nothing was too big for Kathy to accomplish.”

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