• Jeanine Stewart Lupisella
    Class of 1983

    Jeanine Stewart, a 1983 Rush-Henrietta graduate, is known locally as a principal in the Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District, but children who live thousands of miles away know and appreciate her for a completely different reason.

    As the principal of Manor Intermediate School in Honeoye Falls, Jeanine is a recognized community leader who supports literacy efforts throughout her district. She works tirelessly to support students and helps to ensure they display the knowledge, skills, and character needed to realize their dreams and succeed in a rapidly changing world.

    While remaining focused on the needs of students at her school, Jeanine also works on behalf of children in Nicaragua. To support educational efforts in a country with limited economic resources and schools that do not compare to our own, Jeanine partnered with the Enlace Group to form a team of volunteers and raise money to build new buildings.

    The group’s work in Central America is done under the name of Linking Hands for Learning, a nonprofit organization she and her husband, Rob co-direct. For the past five years, Jeanine has worked with community members to garner more than $100,000 in financial donations and build a network of volunteers who travel each year to Nicaragua. To be sure they remain near school sites while on a mission, Jeanine, her family, and their fellow volunteers stay with host families in lieu of staying in a comfortable resort. The homes have limited resources, some without or with inconsistent electricity or running water.

    Together, they build replacement schools in remote locations, working alongside Nicaraguans, using only hand-held tools and their ingenuity to make life better for others. The money they have raised has been invested in six different communities, resulting in the construction of seven schools. Jeanine also collects educational resources that are provided to schools to support teaching and learning.

    Her outstanding volunteer work has not gone unnoticed, here or abroad. “This Rush-Henrietta graduate has donated countless hours, significant financial resources, and lots of love and compassion to the children of Nicaragua,” says Jeanine’s sister, Renee Bernhardt. “If not for her efforts, many children would not have a school to attend.”

    Jeanine lives in Mendon with her husband, Rob, and their children - Elise 13, and Caroline 11.  She also has two sons, Jordan Reakes, 25, and Brian Reakes, 24.