The Legacy of Mr. Ferraro Lives On


Forever #FerraroStrong presses into the hearts of faculty and staff of GLSH.

On Tuesday Morning, October 20,2020, beloved teacher Mr. Jerry Ferraro of The Greater Latrobe School District peacefully passed from this earthly world, surrounded by family after fighting against one of the hardest battles many face–cancer. 

Mr. Jerry Ferraro was an important community member of the neighborhood of  Greater Latrobe. Among much more, he taught U.S history for grades nine and ten, while teaching the unique European History courses at the high school.  As a former student of Mr. Ferraro and a friend of the family, Jerry held a special place in many students’ hearts.  He took teaching to the next level and would always put a smile on anyone’s face, even if they were having a bad day. 

Cayla Cosner, a recent graduate, idolized Mr.Ferraro and called him, “a father-like figure” to her. Many others thought of him more than just a teacher. As the tragic news spread through the school, present and former students, colleagues, and friends took to social media commemorating the impact he left not only on the students he taught, but also on the whole Latrobe community. 

In his 2018 graduation speech, he quoted Mr.Rogers saying that the community of Latrobe welcomed him and his family when he moved here.  He said Mr.Rogers famous quote “Won’t you be my Neighbor” referring to every citizen of Latrobe as neighbors to him.  

He epitomizes the spirit and values of  Mr.Rogers of this decade.  He was always there for everyone whenever someone needed it, and ended up turning their sadness into happiness and positivity. He did so much in his lifetime and participated in many life-changing activities: playing soccer in the over 40’s team for Loyalhanna United, becoming  a part of Charter Oak Methodist Church, and announcing sports with the most enthusiastic, personality-filled voice Latrobe ever had. 

Naturally he fit right in with the Latrobe Area Historical Society as well as the social studies department who became brothers in spirit. During The Fort Ligonier days, he joined his fellow brothers in the refurbished Kubelwagen that represented Greater Latrobe School District as they brought to life historical characters. He has done more things in his lifetime than someone who has lived to be 100 years old. 

His love for sports was what brought so much excitement to our sports teams. He was the commentator for the boys Latrobe basketball team. The boys soccer team supported the #ferrarostrong shirts on a regular basis because of Ferraro’s love for the game. His love for sports both locally and in the city of Pittsburgh was undeniable.  

He put others in front of him, even when he was sick, and always tried to make the day brighter than it was before. When someone says the word strong, the majority think of how big you are or your body mass. Going through a sickness is one of the worst things to ever happen.  The body becomes weak and brittle but people, but  Mr.Ferraro is one of the strongest people you will ever meet. He, like others, never gave up,  especially because he knew he was going to spend his eternity in heaven with people he loves. He found peace.

Scrolling through the endless hours of social media recently, the majority of  posts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc are pictures of Mr. Ferraro and proof of how he changed each person’s life individually. They posted funny pictures of him and his true patriotic self, beautiful pictures of him and his family, and pictures of him and his friends laughing, sharing a drink, or telling one of his jokes that make others smile. Community members of all ages posted pictures of him honoring his great life and how he helped the lives of others and the legacy that will live on for eternity. 

He lit up every room he walked into and just put smiles on everyone’s face. He made class so enjoyable that students always looked forward to the learning.  He gave pep talks, life lessons and  always made us think about the positive in every situation that we have ever faced. He was more than just a teacher and everyone knew that.  He loved the school so much and loved making it better for everyone.  No one will ever be able to replace this man in any way shape or form.  He left an impact on the community, and even though he is gone, he will never be forgotten. 

From dancing in front of people just to make  laughs to being a cast member of a three-part entertaining series called “The Foghorn”, he made everyone laugh hysterically.  Not only did he make you laugh but his good friends Mr.Snyder, Mr.Wetzel and students he had 10 years ago, made you giggle.  He could rally up a crowd in a heartbeat no matter what the topic. He would help anyone in need and if he needed any help  a million people were offering to help in any way shape or form.

As you walk down the halls of the Greater Latrobe Senior High school, you can see the sadness in everyone’s eyes.  When the Principal Jon Mains, sent out the email about the  heartbreaking news, some couldn’t keep it together.  Teachers read the email to students with a crack in their voice and on the verge of tears.  You can see the pain in anyone’s eyes as they talk about the wonderful Jerry Ferraro. Some students didn’t even have him as a teacher and are still deeply affected. Teachers had a hard time teaching on October 20, 2020 because of how broken they felt hearing the news.  But they remembered his words–”soldier-up”.

The halls of GLSH will never be the same, especially the C-hall on the upstairs floor, his most recent home. You walk into the empty room where one of the greatest teachers ever taught, and you can feel the sadness of not being able to see him anymore. No matter how you were feeling when you walked into the room, you always came out with a smile on your face. Words like smile, positivity, and community  will continue to emanate because of what he did for the microcosm of the Latrobe Community. He made the most out of situations and was always honest with himself and us. He thanked us for welcoming him and his family into the community but now we are thanking him for giving us the best community to ever exist. He brought us all together. He introduced new people and made everyone feel at home and the best part of it was that he moved here and built this legacy for him and his family. 

In his graduation speech in 2018, he thanked the community for “leaning on” him and “lifting him up in his time of weakness”.  As he thanked us, we thank him for giving us the strength to carry on throughout life. We must remain #Ferrarostrong.