MONROE, Conn. — Nancy Zorena has been selected as Monroe’s Citizen of the Year and will be recognized officially at a town council meeting at 8 p.m. May 23, preceded by a reception in the land use area with light refreshments and music at 7:15 p.m.
The public is invited to join. Reservations are not required and there is no charge.
Steve Vavrek, the first selectman whose office administers the award, said Zorena’s volunteerism and commitment to Monroe has been “extraordinarily far-reaching and compelling, setting a standard that is inspirational for all of us.”
Previous recipients since the award was reinstituted in 2011 have been Bernie Sippin, Karen Burnaska, Diane Mellen, Enid Lipeles and Debbie Heim.
Zorena’s 42 years as a volunteer with the historical society cover two terms as president extending for more than 12 years.
She has been pivotal in preserving three iconic buildings that are part of Monroe’s historic legacy — the Bearsdsley Homestead (circa 1780), the Meeting House (circa 1811) and the East Village Schoolhouse (circa 1790) — and conserving the society’s collection of antiquities and artifacts, everything from farm implements to 19th century clothing to native American Indian arrowheads.
A “Hands on History” one-room schoolhouse she helped establish in 1986 to give schoolchildren the learning experience of the Colonial classroom has been replicated by historical societies across Connecticut. In Monroe, the model has evolved into a camp that has continued for 25 summers.
In a teaching career spanning 35 years, Zorena taught at every one of Monroe’s public primary schools and was Monroe’s Public School Teacher of the Year in 1988-89 and the recipient of the Monroe Rotary Club's Service and Self Award in 2012.
She is a member of the Friends of the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, worked with the Monroe Junior Women’s Club to help create the Chalk Hill Nature Trail and served as a mentor to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts dedicated to Eagle Scout recognition and Gold Awards.
Monroe Town Hall is at 7 Fan Hill Road.