Paul Rasso, an office equipment technician for Colton schools and member of Colton Chapter 244, was honored in Washington D.C. as one of the 2017 Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award winners. The award was given to five individuals from across the country who are doing extraordinary and inspirational things in their schools and communities to promote quality education, foster positive learning environments, and ensure student success.
Rasso joined four other award recipients, along with distinguished guests including Sen. Al Franken and Congressman Pete Aguilar, at a ceremony in Washington D.C. at the United States Botanic Garden on May 3.
“I’m so pleased to be receiving the RISE Award,” Rasso said. “Receiving this is such an amazing honor. Not just for me but for the people and organizations who supported me throughout the years. It makes me proud to be an inspiration to others.”
For nearly 20 years, Rasso has been providing excellent service to the staff and students at Colton Unified. He is responsible for maintaining the district copiers, delivering parts and assisting their pupil personnel services department. A longtime activist with his chapter and leader in his community, Rasso is known for going the extra mile to help others.
“Paul Rasso is known throughout CSEA for his dedication to our union and devotion to his community,” said Association President Ben Valdepeña. “His selflessness is an inspiration to students, co-workers and all of our union. We all should be so lucky to know somebody like Paul.”
Rasso was raised in a union home. His father was a member of the laborers’ union for 44 years. Born with a heart defect, Rasso said as a small child he needed blood donors to provide life-saving transfusions. His father’s union brothers and sisters spread the word, and the donors lined up to help.
“So I feel that I have union blood in me,” he said. “And here I am, nearly 40 years later, giving back.”
The National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions (NCCESEU), a coalition of state and national unions that together represent a million school support employees, gives the award. The award highlights the individual contributions of school staff and recognizes the essential role that all education professionals play in shaping our public schools.