The memory of a mother and longtime member of the Tuckahoe Parent-Teacher Organization will live on, thanks to some new additions to the school’s playground.
This week, a bench adorned with a plaque, along with a rock engraved with a poem, will be installed to memorialize Brenda Taraku of Southampton, a mother, wife and active member of the PTO who died in May from complications with cancer.
Ms. Taraku, who was 47 when she died, was involved with the PTO for about 12 years. Even after being diagnosed, she continued going to the school and working with the organization.
Tanya Luss, the PTO’s co-vice president, said the group wanted to honor Ms. Taraku for her dedication, and thought that donating the bench and boulder, in conjunction with the district’s Teachers’ Association, would be a thoughtful way to do so.
“She was amazing,” Ms. Luss said. “She was just a wonderful person, and a real asset to the PTO for many years. She really gave a lot to the school. She was a friend, just really an amazing person.”
The bench and rock will be placed on a concrete slab that was scheduled to be installed Wednesday by MOE Masonry Inc. at no charge, according to Mitch Sobczyk, head custodian at the school.
Ms. Taraku’s husband, Bujar “Benny” Taraku, said the family was extremely honored to learn about the memorial. “We all kind of cried,” he said. “We do live in an amazing community, so I wasn’t surprised, but very honored.”
“We’re very honored. No words can describe,” added Dorothy Berglin, Ms. Taraku’s mother, who lives in Hampton Bays. “She spent a lot of time at this school. It’s been hard.”
Ms. Taraku’s children—Kasandra, 19, Brandon, 18, Ben, 16, Zakary, 13, and Joshua, 10—agreed.
“It makes me feel good. She was a loving mother who always cared and helped,” Joshua said. “She always saw the positive side of things, really never thought about the negative part.”
“It shows how much the community cares,” Ben added. “Having the bench put there shows how much support we’re getting from the community.”
And considering that Kasandra, who attends New York University, wrote the poem that will be engraved on the rock, Mr. Taraku said he believes it is the perfect way to memorialize his late wife.
“It’s really unbelievable,” he said of the memorial.