English teacher Esposito wins state VFW award


Photo via Rick Epstein

Esposito is the first Del Val teacher to win this VFW award.

Feb. 25, 2023, Delaware Valley Regional High School’s English teacher Molly Esposito was presented with the New Jersey state award, The Veterans of Foreign Wars Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award.

Each year, the VFW selects one elementary, middle, and high school staff member to attain a state and national award.

The administration had to choose a staff member who exemplified the standards of patriotism, citizenship, innovation, resources and passion. Esposito was the top contender. 

“She has always been an advocate for the veterans, so that was also part of why she was that first thought,” said Civitillo. “She is always ready to have a conversation with students about how to be the best they can be.”

Esposito’s father was in the Army for 29 years. Esposito was born at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas before her father retired. 

“His influence was always very strong on me, and so then as I got older, I wanted to do things to help veterans and veterans issues,” said Esposito.

Her father and godfather started a school in El Paso to train non-commissioned officers, which would inspire Esposito’s patriotism.

These books document the hard work put in by Esposito’s father and godfather. Her godfather co-wrote the book.(right)

In the past, only the commissioned officers got certain training. Esposito’s dad and godfather helped create a school to train the NCOs. They started with nothing, having to create the entire curriculum from the ground up.

“My father was always a big advocate for NCOs. He always had great respect for them,” said Esposito.

Even though NCOs are high ranks who train others themselves, her father received backlash for proposing that they get training.

Her godmother, Hazel, felt it was important to teach the wives how to entertain and have dinner parties.

The families of NCOs would stay for at least six months until placed elsewhere.

After moving to New Jersey, Esposito began participating in numerous veteran groups. 

Esposito is dedicated to volunteering with organizations such as Rolling Thunder, Wounded Warriors project and Elks organizations, with her father serving as her inspiration. 

Esposito helps to volunteer with any fundraisers such as raising money for veterans and Lyons Veterans Affairs Hospital. Lyons VA hospital had hosted many Christmas parties and picnics where Esposito even plays music in a band. 

“[The NCOs] could have their families with them… they all thought that was very important for these men to have their families along with them, so there was stuff training for the wives as well as for the men and they would have all these social events and gatherings.”

— Molly Esposito

“[I want] to call attention to a lack of veterans benefits or POW/MIA’s issues for covering people who had not come home,” said Esposito.

Esposito took her passion to help out on a national level at Rolling Thunder. Every Memorial Day weekend, about 250,000 motorcycles in D.C. go on a ride from the Pentagon to the Lincoln Memorial.

“One of my jobs, I did media relations for a while and then I did help with the main stage program down at the Lincoln Memorial, Memorial Day weekend,” said Esposito.

This tradition ended in 2019 due to expenses, having to provide for thousands of people.

Esposito enjoys riding her own motorcycle, a Holly Sportster.

Esposito takes her national pride into her classroom including specific lesson plans each year that incorporate units to do with American history and civil rights. Whether this be expressed through writing assignments, poems or fiction in any of her classes, she believes that knowing what rights Americans have is essential knowledge. 

Principal Kays (left) and
Superintendent McKinney (right) honored Esposito at the most recent Board of Education meeting.

The administration is proud that Esposito received the VFW award. First year Superintendent Scott McKinney congratulates Esposito’s high standards and dedication to her country. 

“Having Ms. Esposito receive this [award] just keeps the bar really high for our expectations,” said McKinney. 

 The Del Val community waits to hear if Esposito receives the national VFW award. 

Esposito cherishes her students, fellow staff, veterans as well as anyone else in her life. 

“All of the years I’ve had her, I’ve had different levels of classes, but throughout all of it she’s put in the same amount of effort and time and she really cares about her work and she really cares about her students,” said senior Grace Benthin.