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Retired Lackawanna teacher pays it forward


LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Whether it’s Little Loop, little league, or varsity, if there’s a game in Lackawanna, that’s where you can find retired teacher and former school board member Mike Sanders.

“He is true blue and gray through and through,” Lackawanna superintendent Keith Lewis, a former student of Sanders, said. “He’s visible, and he’s everywhere in a positive manner.”

Sanders tought in the Lackawanna City School District for 28 years. While he was in the classroom, he always wanted to get his students involved at Steelers games and events. Once he joined the school board, he took things a step further.

“I donated to Lackawanna Little Loop football… and I donated to our Lackawanna Yemen Soccer Club,” Sanders said. “That started it.”

From there, Sanders used both his position on the school board, and his own checkbook, to upgrade schools, playgrounds, fields, and equipment for Lackawanna’s youth. Once he was done with the school board, it still didn’t stop there.

“We did a lot of renovating of the schools. And I’m proud of that,” Sanders said. “I’m proud of the fact that I give two scholarships each year.”

Sanders retired from teaching in 2002. So those recipients aren’t students that he’s had; instead, they’re the children of his former students.

“My parents were always helping others, and I saw they way they lived their life, and I said to myself, that’s the way I wanted to live my life.”

The former teacher and lifelong booster’s impact in Lackawanna has spanned generations. And the “Sandman” simply does it because it’s the right thing to do.



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