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Conshohocken Elementary names Ava Ruggiero as Friend of Education

Conshohocken Elementary names Ava Ruggiero as Friend of Education

Conshohocken Elementary School named Plymouth Whitemarsh High School student Ava Ruggiero as this year’s Friend of Education for her efforts to fight blindness.

Ava, who has a rare genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa, has raised thousands of dollars for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and now has even more to add to her fundraising total. Conshohocken students and families donated $702 to honor Ava and her work to support others who have eye diseases. 

Teacher Lisa Watkins nominated her former student for the award, and introduced her during an assembly held at the conclusion of American Education Week.

“You are not a person who sits back and watches the world go by. You are the one who impacts the world,” she said.

Ms. Watkins presented Ava with a plaque and a check for the money that was raised during the school’s “Pack the Piggies” campaign. Ava, now an 11th-grader, greeted students and remembered her time at Conshohocken fondly, telling her younger peers that they are part of the “best school ever.”

“I am so honored to be named this year’s Friend of Education and I can’t thank you enough for everything you did to support me and all the other people with eye diseases,” she said.

Ava and her family have supported the Foundation Fighting Blindness because 70 percent of the funds donated to the organization go to research. That research may be critical for people like Ava. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disease that is passed down and is caused by a mutation in a gene. Many known mutations can cause the condition and therapies are being developed where the affected gene can be replaced with a good copy. 

Ava and her family were honored last fall for raising approximately $24,000 for Foundation during the Philadelphia VisionWalk. The Foundation also featured Ava on their website. Click here to access the story. Click here to read the Student Spotlight article.

Ava Ruggiero is honored at an assembly
Ava and Joseph Ruggiero at Conshohocken Elementary
Teacher presents Ava with plaque
Ava poses for a picture with her parents.