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Ground Zero


Amy's Family: Geraldine, Sara, Maura, David and baby David for the first    time at Ground Zero...


Geraldine Davie of Pelham, N.Y., cries after viewing name of her 23-year-old daughter, Amy O'Doherty, on the wall at the Sept. 11 memorial during the 12th anniversary observance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. (Photo: David Handschuh, Pool)

Memorial Ceremony at Amy's Greenhouse

Barnard Early Childhood Center in the New Rochelle City School District held its annual Sept. 11 commemorative ceremony to honor Amy O’Doherty, the daughter of former Barnard teacher Geraldine Davie. Ms. O’Doherty was an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald who perished at the age of 23 on Sept. 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center.

Through an overwhelming show of community support, Amy’s Greenhouse was built in her honor and continues to grow every year.

 Amy’s Greenhouse, which has since evolved into a plaza equipped with a beautiful greenhouse, gazebo and patio comprised of mosaic tile and engraved bricks purchased by supporters, has a new addition this year: an amphitheater.



       Ready for Annual 9-11 Ceremony...



Millie Radonjic

  "The amphitheater was installed over Labor Day weekend.

Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Daniel Ilich and Parkchester Kiwanis Club Foundation for the benches.

We received materials at a wonderful discount thanks to Frank Miceli and Sammarco Stone & Supply.

Peduto Construction Company with President Nick Peduto and son-in-law Greg Pappas donated the labor of a large construction crew, additional material, heavy equipment, knowledge and skills.

Pappas wife is the current Barnard PTA President, Michelle Peduto-Pappas. The couple has three children, Guilianna, who attends Barnard, Evangelina and Nicholas.


I also want to thank Michael Smith, architect, of Pucillo Architects; Carl Calo from Ace Banner; Joanne at Larchmont Nursery; and others."



“Someone better warn the neighbors around Barnard School…they are going to find the greenhouse on their front lawn one day,” joked Ms. Davie, describing how impressively the greenhouse plaza has grown through the years. Benches in the greenhouse plaza were dedicated to retired Barnard teacher Andreana Pizzuti who passed away in June, whom Ms. Davie described as “a strong woman and a gentle fighter who deserved a longer life.” Ms. Pizzuti began as a teaching assistant at Barnard in 1994 and was honored as SEPTA Teacher of the Year in 2009.


The greenhouse was built not only as a living memorial to Amy, but also as an active extension of the        classroom for Barnard students.



Many community leaders, including Superintendent of Schools Richard Organisciak, Board of Education President David Lacher and Barnard Principal Joanna Genovese, joined the supporters on hand as seven new commemorative bricks were unveiled to support the ongoing efforts of the greenhouse. 



       Mr. Lacher spoke on behalf of the school district.

“We know that this project – the greenhouse – and all that we see here arose out of national tragedy, but when we come here now, on the 12th anniversary, we celebrate life here today,” said Mr. Lacher, who commended the community for all of its support through financial donations and volunteerism. “We celebrate rebirth, we celebrate renewal, we celebrate our children, the next generation, the future, their family members, the next generation of family members… that’s really the ultimate legacy of this day. It doesn’t keep us down; it doesn’t keep our families down.”


Mr. Organisciak presented Ms. Davie with a proclamation on behalf of the City of New Rochelle and Mayor Noam Branson.


      Barnard Principal Joanna Genovese 


To further celebrate the memory of Amy and the new amphitheater, two members of the Metropolitan Opera House performed. New Rochelle High School freshman Emmanuel Zogo led off the ceremony by singing the National Anthem.


Karen Hessel (Amys Greenhouse commeetee member), her son Jack, Emmanuel Zogo and David Lacher.


  Youngjoo An- Baritone


   Keli Butler - Soprano



  Barnard nurse Anna Summa reading her poem....




  Nick Peduto and Greg Pappas




 Amy's best friend Liz Gallello - Rossetti with her two children Ella and Lucas.





Dear, Dear Millie,

Thank you for presenting a most beautiful and moving ceremony at Amy's Greenhouse on Wednesday.  We can never thank you enough for all you do for the children of Barnard School and the New Rochelle community.  The new stone benches are beautiful and represent the strength of your dedication to the greenhouse.  They will remain at Barnard forever as a symbol of life and learning.

Thanks to Mr. Peduto and Mr. Pappas, two extraordinary and generous men, for their skill in building the stone benches that circle the Greenhouse plaza.  We are so grateful to them both.

Amy's spirit and love of children are felt, through you, in every inch of the newly expanded greenhouse.

With Love,

Geraldine Davie, Maura O'Doherty Lee, David Lee, and Baby David Emmett Lee.


May 2013 

Mother's Day Fair & Plant sale

On Saturday, May 11th, 2013, threat of rain did not stop the Mother's Day Fair and Plant Sale from shining bright. Not a drop of rain fell, as many Barnard families and friends trickled and poured through Amy's Greenhouse to enjoy this annual event.


Visitors were greeted by a multitude of colorful blooming flowers and herbs beautifully arranged in pots and baskets, each skillfully pulled together with stunning details by Millie herself. 


In the gazebo, children created special Mother's Day gifts for their moms at the flower potting station. They got to pick their own pot, choose a flower, then pot it by adding soil and water.  The kids beamed with pride as they anticipated giving their exclusive and handmade gifts to Mom.






Meanwhile, parents perused the greenhouse shopping the many gorgeous offerings.

Millie visited with families old and new, while helping them to pick the perfect buds.



One could stay in the greenhouse all day soaking in the warmth and beauty, all perfectly placed by Millie: hanging baskets of Fuschia's, Begonia's and Petunia's; Colorful potted plants and herbs of all kinds.


Flashes of color from whimsical butterflies and delicate paper umbrellas, color coordinated perfectly with the assortment of flowers placed in an array of pots and styles. There was certainly something for everyone to love.


Children followed the path into Barnard School to create the perfect Mother's Day cards and personalized picture frames at the craft station. What a blast they had, using stamps, stickers, glitter glue and colorful markers. They left with lovingly created cards and keepsakes to pair with their potted flower gifts. 


Around the corner, things warmed up with lively music and games.  Kids jumped right in to the excitement of sack races, musical chairs, tug o' war, duck duck goose, egg and spoon races and more.  Even the younger ones enjoyed wading in the pool of balls.


A little farther down, hungry appetites were refreshed by pizza, fruit and beverages in the cafeteria.  This gave everyone a chance to relax and socialize with friends.  Kids were excited to show their parents where they spend lunchtime at school.

Before leaving, many families picked up charming watering cans and delightful buckets with shovels to take home as useful souvenirs perfect for budding gardeners.


The Mother's Day Fair and Plant Sale 2013 was a huge success. All proceeds benefit Amy's Greenhouse where children and families can grow together. A huge thanks to all of you who helped make Saturday's Plant Sale a beautiful day!  Everyone had fun. 

 All your hard work - behind the scenes and on the scene is so much appreciated.  It is the volunteers that make an event successful, and successful it was! Community and friendship came together on this beautiful day.


       With gratitude, Millie Radonjic, Meredith Chamberlain and the PTA


Pumpkin Patch & Costume Parade 2012

On Saturday, October 13th, Barnard staff, students, families and other community members enjoyed the Annual Barnard Pumpkin Patch sponsored by Amy’s Greenhouse and the PTA.  The turnout was terrific!





With Fall in the air and smiles everywhere, crowds of children in costume  accompanied by their families traipsed around the greenhouse picking pumpkin after pumpkin to paint and decorate.


Each pumpkin was an original work of art thanks to a special collaboration between guest artist Gene Pinto and the children themselves. 










While the pumpkins were showcased, the children moved on to decorate seasonal picture frames and enjoy sweet baked treats with cider.         


Another guest artist, Elizabeth Scott elgoodhands@yahoo.com delighted us all by face-painting her dazzling designs on many happy faces.


The excitement of the day indeed culminated with the costume parade. Princesses, mummies, ninjas and knights. Skeletons, fairies and even french fries marched on for all to see. Led by Jackie the Witch and Mara the Ballerina, the costumed children proudly paraded around the Barnard School grounds to show their excitement for all that autumn brings.

The costume parade was great fun for all!











With Millie’s and Suzanne's partnering with local businesses, countless donated baked goods and devoted volunteers, the Pumpkin Patch was a tremendous success.  Families purchased pumpkins to support the school and children enjoyed the event.  While fun was had by all, this Pumpkin Patch tradition affords the Barnard staff and families the chance to show the community why Amy’s Greenhouse is such a special part of our school. The continued learning experiences and memories made will surely be part of us forever.


       9 -11 - 2012 Memorial Ceremony   




Friends, relatives and members of the Barnard Elementary School community gathered Tuesday to pay tribute to those who died as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The annual ceremony was held at Amy's Greenhouse, located at Barnard. It is a living memorial to Amy O'Doherty, the 23-year-old daughter of a retired Barnard teacher, Geraldine Davie. O'Doherty was killed in the World Trade Center attack.






Millie Radonjic, project chairwoman, led the ceremony, introducing speakers including Mayor Noam Bramson, school district Superintendent Richard Organisciak, Barnard Principal Patricia Lambert and Fr. Kevin Devlin.



Davie, her voice breaking toward the end of her speech (see attached video), spoke about the 9/11 Survivor Tree. She brought two books about the tree for the school's library.




Bramson said it was an honor to be invited to the ceremony. He said there was a sense of uncertainly how Americans should respond to Sept. 11.

"It's been 11 years," Bramson said, adding that pre-school children at the time of the attacks are now applying for college.

"No nation should have to live in the shadow of grief," he said. "It's OK to move on, but it's not OK to forget."





   Hello, I am Sam Pekats. I'm a Barnard School graduate and now I am in 7th grade at Albert Leonard Middle School. I have great memories of my years at Barnard, but some of the best are from the time I spent in Amy's Greenhouse during Afterschool activities with Millie.

Here Millie introduced me to plants and gardening, and I still really love that stuff today. This summer I grew tomatoes and cucumbers in my backyard garden at home. And, every Saturday morning I take gardening classes at the NY Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.
I want to thank Millie for introducing me to plants and to everyone else that continues to help make this such a wonderful place.
I will always remember the great times that I had at Amy's Greenhouse.
Thank you.

   Anna Summa


Ladybug, ladybug fly away home;

The twin towers are burning

And your children have gone…

Smokey ring around so rosy-

Firemen running with the hose-ys

Ashes, ashes,

We all fall down.

All the king’s horses

And all Americans

Built a bigger tower

And put it together, again.

Pails of water can’t put out flames of love.

Even though you broke our crown,

Jack and Jill went up the smoldering hill-

Placed a flag so we can remember…

A building fell down

But not our spirits

On the Eleventh of September! 


Dear Millie,  

These photos are incredibly wonderful..I went down to the 911 memorial on Friday with my friends from Sweden who came to visit the USA. My friend Brita knew about Amy since coincidentally Amy[s photo was on the front page of one Swedish newspaper right after 9-11 occurred. So we spent a lot of time there the other day. She was only in NY for two days and we did not have time to come over to the Green house. So I will send her these wonderful photos. Many thanks.


Vicki R.


     Mother's Day Fair 2012


On Saturday, May 12th, 2012, hundreds of visitors were greeted by warm weather and beautiful blossoms at Amy's Greenhouse for the annual Mother's Day Fair and Plant Sale.


Upon entering the patio, guests were surrounded by colorful scenes of spring reminiscent of a classical painting.


Flower Pot Gifts: In the sunshine children created special Mother's Day gifts for their Moms at the flower potting station. They got to pick their own pot, choose a flower, then pot it by adding soil and water, ending with an exclusive and handmade gift.  





Crafts: Children at the craft station had fun creating personalized picture frames and cards for Mom. Lovingly crafted with stickers, crayons and glitter glue, each child left with something unique.





Plant Table/Greenhouse: An array of beautiful flowers were available for purchase in and around the greenhouse. Skillfully designed by Millie, each flower pot for sale told a dazzling story.




Look a little higher and visitors were captivated by the cascading buds from the hanging flower pots for sale. This year's assortment were available for pre-order, as well. Many families walked away happy to take home these beauties.





Gazebo: Families took refuge at the gazebo, where they could grab a slice of pizza, side of fruit and cool beverage. 




      Gardening Tools: A variety of delightful and charming watering cans, buckets and garden tools attracted the interest of many budding gardeners.


Also available was a little school spirit, with Amy's Greenhouse & Barnard t-shirts and magnets for sale.

Games/Music/Lawn: Kids found their way to the lawn where music, energy and games added to the fun. From musical chairs and freeze dance to potato sack races and duck, duck goose, smiles were spotted everywhere.

Open Spaces: Families and children relaxed in the beauty of the day where community and friendship came together.




Ending: The Mother's Day Fair and Plant Sale 2012 was a huge success. All proceeds benefit Amy's Greenhouse where children and families can grow together.


A huge thanks to all of you who helped make Saturday's Plant Sale a beautiful day!  Everyone had fun.  All your hard work - behind the scenes and on the scene is so much appreciated.  Thanks especially to those of you who went above and beyond.  It is the volunteers that make an event successful, and successful it was!




 With gratitude, Millie Radonjic, Meredith Chaberlain and the PTA.


Patricia Lambert, Principal wrote: 

There are not enough words of thanks to give to Millie for the enormous amount of work that she put in to making this weekend’s Mother’s Day Fair & plant sale the success that it was.  Most of the plants that were purchased were repotted by Millie herself and made to look beautiful.  She spends countless hours making this event appear effortless however it takes a tremendous amount of work to get it done.  Thanks also to the PTA and Barnard parents who contributed their time to the plant.  And a special thank you to the staff who were able to stop by on Saturday.  A job extremely well done!


Amy's mom and sister visited Amy's Greenhouse  two days before   Mother's Day Fair.


Dear Millie, 

Happy Mother's Day!! I was so happy to see how healthy you looked last week.  It was great spending time with you and seeing how Amy's Greenhouse has grown thanks to you. Thank you & Barnard PTA for all you do. Congratulations on the article in the "Loop."  Such a fabulous event for New Rochelle mothers and their children.  I'm sure it was a hugh success. As always, thanks for all you do in remembering Amy.

Fondly, Geraldine Davie


Pumpkin Patch 2011


 On Saturday, October 15th hundreds of Barnard families attended the 4th annual Pumpkin Patch event at Amy’s Greenhouse.  Under sunny skies and with warm fall weather, children arrived in Halloween costumes and selected pumpkins from the green sloping front lawn at Barnard Elementary School. 


 After picking their pumpkins, they decorated them with colorful paints at long picnic tables, with the help of friendly Barnard PTA members, including Nadine Southwell and Tricia Olmo.


 Local artist, Gene Pinto, drew faces on pumpkins for children.  The children could easily select a face to paint or recommend features on their own.  Artist Pinto is an accomplished oil painter that specializes in outdoor landscapes, portraiture and still life. 







 After painting their pumpkins, children lined them up to dry on paper plates along the low stone wall surrounding the patio at Amy’s Greenhouse.



Behind Amy’s Greenhouse other picnic tables were manned by more PTA members, including Christa Lauri and Wendy Portnoff and Teresa Maldonado, who helped children do fall crafts including Halloween picture frames.  The children enjoyed practicing their creativity and dexterity with the materials.  Parents wandered throughout the greenhouse admiring different projects and plants, learning more about Amy’s Greenhouse and the mission of Amy’s Greenhouse.  Children could be seen eagerly leading their parents to their class pumpkin and explaining how they weighed and measured it.


  In front of the gazebo on the patio, Barnard PTA co-president Liz Smith and her family sold apple cider and cinnamon donuts to happy crowds.


Our other enthusiastic co-president, Jen McFarland, could be seen wearing a dramatic black witch costume and leading a very large costume parade around Barnard School at 10:30am. 












All in all it was a wonderful event.  Thank you Michelle, Liz and Millie who organized another great Pumpkin patch!! Thanks to those who arrived early to arrange the pumpkins on the lawn.  Thanks to "the volunteers" who made early morning runs to Stew Leonards for the cider and donuts.  Thank you for our PTA crafters, who assisted children throughout the event.  Thanks to painter who shared his skills with our community for the third year in a row.  Thanks to Ms. Paradot who helped "drew" faces on pumpkins. Thanks to our staff and faculty who could be seen with their families.  Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy Autumn season.




     9-11-11 - 10th Memorial Ceremony


A large crowd of family, friends and the Barnard community attended Sunday's 9-11 ceremony at Amy's Greenhouse at Barnard Elementary in New Rochelle, New York.  New Rochelle firemen arrived in two shiny red fire engines and attended the ceremony.  Numerous Barnard students, past and present, dressed in red, white and blue were seated on the patio, in the audience and on the hill that overlooked the event.

         Amy's Greenhouse 9-11 ceremony - 10th anniversary



Amy's Greenhouse is a greenhouse at Barnard Elementary School.  The greenhouse is a living memorial to Amy O'Doherty, a 23 year old daughter to a since-retired Barnard teacher.  Tragically Amy O'Doherty was killed in the 9-11 Twin Towers terrorist attack on New York City in 2001. 

Millie Radonjic, project chairwoman, led the ceremony, introducing speakers including Mayor Bramson, Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll, School Superintendent Richard Organisciak, Barnard Principal  Patricia Lambert and, Brother Kevin Devlin.

       Superintendent Organisciak speaks at Amy's Greenhouse to Geraldine Davie, Amy's mother

In full dress uniform, Iraq veteran and United States Marine reservist, Corporal David Patrick Mahoney (Infantry Unit, Fox Company 2/25), led a group of children in the pledge of allegiance. 



Young singer, Rachel Rossello, sang four songs including God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner. 


School nurse, Anna Summa, read an original poem.  Millie thanked all who have supported the Amy's Greenhouse since its inception.  She acknowledged many in the audience who made the greenhouse possible; include Amy O'Doherty's close friends who raised money for the greenhouse ten years ago.  Now close friends Elizabeth Gallello, Maria Gallello-Costa,  Melissa Vigue, Carla Caccavale-Reynolds and Claudia Trevor-Wright are married with children and serve as a reminder of where Amy's life could have been, had it not ended so young.


Some of the children of Amy's friends now attend Barnard school. Millie reflected that this brought the story 'full circle'.

Geraldine Davie, Amy O'Doherty's mother, spoke at length at the ceremony.  She described her day at Ground Zero and at the new memorial downtown.  When she read her daughter's name during the downtown ceremony, she added "God Bless Amy's Greenhouse and Millie" for the entire world to hear.  She showed a red, white and blue quilt that she received and thanked all that made Amy's Greenhouse possible and who continue to provide activities within the greenhouse.

          Geraldine Davie, Amy's mother, speaks audience with Millie Radonjic, Amy's Greenhouse chairman

At times Geraldine Davie almost cried, at other times she seemed exuberant.  She acknowledged the many family members in the audience including sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors and more.  She introduced with pride her other daughter Maura and her new husband and happily hoped, publicly, for grandchildren.  She laughed and related happy memories of Amy and how she would have liked the greenhouse herself.  Ms. Davie held up a pencil etching she made of Amy O'Doherty's engraving on the new monument downtown. 

                Geraldine Davie, Amy's mother, holds up etching of daughter's engraved name from NYC monument


Millie invited her "Kiwanis Family’ to the Memorial Ceremony.  Daniel Ilich past Lt. Governor and president of Parkchester Kiwanis Foundation presented an oversized check in the amount of $1000 to Barnard PTA co-president Liz Smith.  Through the years the Kiwanis Club has been a generous supporter of Amy’s Greenhouse  and the Barnard community is grateful.

           Daniel Ilich of the Kiwanis giving PTA co-president Liz Smith check for $1000 for Amy's Greenhouse

Many people were thanked publicly, including those who provided signage, plant material and services.  Millie personally thanked former School Superintendent, Linda Kelly, for her support of Amy's Greenhouse, even during the formative and questionable viability of the project.  Frank Miceli of Sammarco Stone & Supply was thanked for donating the large and beautiful patio surrounding the greenhouse and Carl Calo for all the banners.

She also recognized Elizabeth and Paul Scarpelli for their beautiful plant donations, plus benches, plant stands and other gardening supplies from his mother's (Dr. Bella Scarpelli) Greenhouse after she retired and moved away.



As is the custom at this annual event, new engraved bricks were unveiled on the patio  http://www.amysgreenhouse.com/GreenhouseFundRaising.asp  then the guests were invited into the greenhouse for refreshments, including fresh raspberries, black and white cookies, chicken appetizers and Italian delicacies, courtesy of Baldor Specialty  Foods and Galito’s restaurant from Mt. Vernon.  Faculty and PTA parents also thoughtfully donated baked goods. 

                    Attendees enjoying refreshments inside Amy's Greenhouse at Barnard Elementary


The PTA-sponsored collection of care items was a huge success at this event!   

"Operation Support our Troops" collected enough care items to fill over 25 packages for our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and we also collected over $400 in funds to help pay for shipping.  A big thank you to Millie for allowing us to be a part of this special event and also to all the generous people in our community who donated yesterday.  Our collection box will be in the front foyer of the school for the rest of this week if people would still like to make donations.


After the event and as the adults mingled pleasantly, the children dashed to the playgrounds and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.

News 12 covered the event.  For more information about Amy's Greenhouse visit amysgreenhouse.com. 

Here is a slideshow for more photos --


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