This selfless special-education teacher left $1 million to former students in her will

For more than four decades, Genevieve Via Cava devoted her life to caring for students with disabilities. Even after Via Cava retired in 1990, the special-education teacher still stopped by the school district where she worked in Dumont, New Jersey, to lend a helping hand.

Now, seven years after her death, Via Cava is still watching out for her students. In April, the late teacher’s estate sent the Dumont Public Schools an exceptional — and surprising — gift: A check for $1 million to fund scholarships for students with disabilities who want to continue their education.

Learn more about this remarkable teacher in the video below, shared on YouTube by CBS New York:

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Leaving Behind a Legacy

Richard Jablonski, the executor of Via Cava’s will, said the late special education teacher was able to amass such a small fortune by scrimping and saving. Thanks to her generous donation, special education students will be eligible to receive a $25,000 scholarship toward post-secondary education. The school district will award one scholarship per year, starting with the 2019-20 school year.

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


Via Cava’s $1 million donation will stay in a fund that will generate interest. Depending on the fund’s growth, the Dumont Public School District may award additional scholarships in the future.

What Via Cava has done for her students has touched the hearts of millions of people from around the world. After news about Via Cava’s $1 million gift broke, users flooded Twitter to thank the late teacher.

One user, @AlexHarrisJDMBA, even mentioned how the gesture brought tears to his eyes.

But children at Dumont Public Schools are not the only ones who will benefit from Via Cava’s generosity. The late teacher also left $100,000 to each of five different non-profit groups, including the Salvation Army and the New Jersey-based Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge.

Via Cava’s donation will no doubt change the lives of Dumont’s special education students for years to come. And it proves just how devoted teachers are to their students, making them true unsung heroes.