Plaque will honor late Donald Civitello

The Milford Public Schools will honor Donald Civitello with the unveiling of a memorial plaque on Wednesday, Aug. 8, at Foran High School.

The ceremony will be held outdoors at the school, near the walkway between the gymnasium and the auditorium entrances and will begin at 9:15 a.m.  All are welcome to attend.

Civitello, who passed away last year, devoted more than 40 years of his life to the Milford Public Schools, serving as a teacher, administrator and coach at various points of his career.

In 1967, Civitello was hired as a special education teacher in the Milford Public Schools. Early on, it was evident that he was a passionate advocate for students with disabilities. He sought to dignify and celebrate every child, and to ensure that the education and supports each child received were the best that Milford could offer, school officials said in announcing the dedication ceremony.

He became a leader in his department and was chosen to be a special education supervisor. In 1995, he was named Director of Pupil Personnel Services and Special Education, a role he served in until his retirement in 2007.

Civitello may be remembered most for founding Camp Happiness in the 1960s. Camp Happiness is a summer camp for Milford children with special needs in partnership with the Milford Recreation Department. The day camp, located at Foran High School, runs for six weeks during the summer months. It has become a model throughout the state for serving the needs of children with disabilities through fun, recreation and therapy during off-school months, school officials said.

Early in his career, Civitello also served as the football coach at the former Milford High School and was appointed the first football coach at Foran High School in 1973. Many of his former players still refer to him simply and affectionately as “Coach.”