Former special needs teacher Genevieve Via Cava left $1 million in donations to a New Jersey school district, and school officials are stunned.
Cava had no immediate family. When she died in 2011, she left her house and everything in it to long-time friend Richard Jablonski, CBS News Reports. According to People, Jablonski became the executor of her multi-million dollar estate, which took about seven years to settle and distribute.
Jablonski said he didn’t know that she had an estate worth over $1 million. He said Cava was always cutting coupons, wearing the same clothes, and saving money.
Jablonski told People:
“Genevieve was very smart — she knew finances…and I know she’d be thrilled to hear that the interest alone from her $1 million gift to the school district will pay for a scholarship every year. She was a strict teacher, but she loved those kids. They meant the world to her. And now her legacy will live on forever.”
Dumont school district superintendant Emanuele Triggiano said Cava worked as a special needs teacher in the district for her entire career.
A few weeks ago, the district received a check for $1 million from the 88-year-old’s estate attorney. Triggiano said that he “never could have imagined” she was a millionaire. He told People:
“She’d told me once that she planned to leave something to help students, but $1 million? It’s incredible.”
Triggiano told CBS New York that this was the largest donation the school district has ever received:
“The most we have ever seen from any group was in the tens of thousands but never something like this.”
The donation they received will reportedly be invested, and the interest they receive from it will fund scholarships for special needs children each year, according to CBS New York.
Cava also left donations to a couple of New Jersey animal shelters, the Salvation Army, and a hearing center.