Genevieve Via Cava dedicated her entire life to her students – and even though she passed away in 2011, she’s still managing to give back to them.

Shortly after the Dumont school teacher retired roughly 10 years ago, she told the district superintendent that she would one day give $1 million to her students. He laughed it off, thinking that it was a joke, until he received notice that she had bequeathed a small fortune to the school following her death.

A child of the Great Depression, Via Cava refused to indulge in small luxuries. According to, she even abstained from buying herself a hearing aid once she started to go deaf in her later years.

Instead, she skimped and saved whatever she could until she had eventually stashed away $1 million.

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In addition to being a frugal spender, the New Jersey educator was also a loving, outgoing, humorous woman who would go out of her way to help her students years even after they had graduated.

“She was an amazing woman who could light up a room just by walking in,”Richard Jablonski, who is Via Cava’s long-time friend and executor of her will, told

“She had a smile that was unbelievable. She could talk to anybody just to start conversation with them, and by the time they walked away, they would be hugging.”

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Via Cava’s fortune is being used to create a scholarship fund for her special education students. Starting in the 2019 school year, any special education student seeking post-high school education can receive $25,000 in scholarship funding. Thanks to the interest that will be generated by the money, the fund is expected never to run out.

“She’s leaving behind a lasting legacy,” said Jablonski.

Share The Inspiring Story Of Compassion With Your FriendsPhoto by Richard Jablonski

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