Alumni Spotlight

Rose Marie Carrollo Falco, Sociology, ‘47, Passionate Educator, Arts Enthusiast

After graduating with a sociology degree in 1947, Rose Marie began a teaching career in the Hickman Mills School district that would last 34 years. “I fell in love with teaching. It was the best of everything.” Falco taught 1st grade in a two-room schoolhouse before moving to Symington Elementary in 1958.

Falco says her years at Avila prepared her for her role in the classroom.  “Avila impacted how I felt about a lot of situations and how I felt about the world. Because of Avila, I had the opportunity to do what I could for the children in my community. I was the children’s first teacher (there wasn’t a preschool or Kindergarten at the time).

In 2019, the school district recognized Falco for her many years of service at Symington Elementary School, before closing permanently.  “I follow many of my old students still today. I stayed in the same district and saw the kids grow for years. It was a wonderful time in my life,” recalls Falco fondly.

While a student at Avila, Falco was passionate about the arts. “I was always in the plays. I got to play the men’s roles because we were an all-girls college back then. I loved being in the theatre.” said Falco. She remains a frequent patron of Avila theatre.

Along with attending theatre performances and annual Heritage Society luncheons, Falco returns to Avila homecoming celebrations every five years and is close with her 3 remaining classmates (including Rosemary Flanigan). Falco has passed her love of Avila down through her family and is proud to be a part of a triple legacy of Avila alumnae: her daughter, Rozanna J. Zaccagnini, ’91, B.A. in Mathematics, and granddaughter, Alexis Thomson, ’14, B.F.A. 

“I hope all alumni have as many happy years at Avila as I had. I graduated 75 years ago. That seems like a long time ago, but it goes by fast.” Falco said. “My education certainly has paid off in so many ways. I’m so grateful.”

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