Bernadette Casella was selected as Rotarian of the Year.


In a year that seems to have been an emotional roller coaster for her, Bernadette Casella felt the heartache of losing her teaching position in town due to budget cuts, felt the joy of finding a new job in New Haven despite the poor economy, experienced great joy at the birth of her first grandchild, and experienced great sorrow in mourning the loss of her mother. Nonetheless, the young grandmother called it a “great honor” early this summer when she was surprised to learn that she had been selected by her peers in the North Haven Rotary Club as the 2012- 2013 Rotarian of the Year. 


At the Awards and Installation of Officers Dinner in mid-June, the new club president, Debbie Volain, made it clear that the recognition of the nearly ten year club member was well deserved because the award is based on the cumulative record of the member. She was quick to add, “Bernadette has done so much for the club over the years, and her work with the youth of our community and District 7980 has been exemplary.” Some highlights follow:


  • First involved in Rotary when husband (Guy) was Rotarian in Milford
  • Learned of Rotary’s Interact Program designed for high school students
  • Thought it “would be great to bring one to North Haven High School”
  • Then contacted Rotary President Jim Giulietti and Schools’ Superintendent Sara Querfeld and started a club at NHHS
  • Because of this involvement, was encouraged to join the North Haven Rotary
  • As a NHHS teacher, assumed the role of Interact Faculty and Club Advisor
  • Son, Alexander, a student at the high school, became its first president
  • She received Paul Harris Award for service to youth, including Interact Club
  • Youth Chairperson for numerous programs within the North Haven Rotary  
  • Within a few years, involved in most Youth Programs at the District 7980 level
  • Became Co-Chair for the district’s Next Generation Conference (for youth)
  • Co-founder & Committee Chairperson of Unsung Hero Award at high school
  • Participates in numerous committees: Concerts on the Green, Day of Wine and Roses, Community Clean up, Pancake Breakfast, Four Way Test at NHHS, hosted board meetings and many other meetings during husband’s presidency, etc.

 In regard to her selection, Bernadette Casella said, “I was speechless when receiving this honor. I do things for the good of those things, and don’t expect anything. That’s just who I am.” As for the previous year, she added, “Best of all, was enjoying fine moments with my new grandson, Matteo.”