BCSD Nurse Celebrates 55 Years of Service

Treasured BCSD Nurse Celebrates 55 Years of Service

She lightheartedly calls herself “the gray-haired witch”, but anyone who’s ever met Joyce DeRitis knows that describing her as a witch couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The sweet, caring school nurse is a staple of the Binghamton City School District. Joyce turns 90 in September and is celebrating 55 years of service to Binghamton schools. Not only has she been caring for students and faculty since she was hired in 1966, but Joyce is a BCSD alumna. She graduated from Binghamton Central High School in 1949.

“When I was graduating, I was talking with my counselor, and I said, I don’t know if I want to be a teacher, or whether I want to be a nurse,” DeRitis said. “And he said to me, you know, you can be both.”

So, DeRitis became exactly that. She first pursued nursing, graduating from the Charles S. Wilson Memorial Hospital of Nursing in 1952, and later went on to SUNY Cortland to become a school nurse teacher. Her first assignment as a BCSD school nurse meant splitting her time between four schools: Washington School, Lincoln School, St. Thomas, and St. Patrick’s. She became the district’s head school nurse in 1983. She enjoyed taking care of the kids when they were sick or hurt, and she loved teaching them whenever she got the chance.

“I loved getting into the classroom. I’d go in and talk about a lot of things,” DeRitis said. “For example, I’d go into a classroom to do head inspections, and talk to the children about lice. The teachers were just wonderful.”

Today, her assignment is at 98 Oak St., where she offers support to other school nurses, works closely with the personnel office, and frequently makes phone calls to check in on faculty members who may be out of work due to injury or illness. DeRitis said that coming into work every day keeps her young. Apart from raising her two sons, Mark and Bruce, with her late husband Armand, DeRitis said that her remarkable tenure in Binghamton schools has been the highlight of her life.

“I’ve been so happy here, and I enjoy what I’m doing. Since I lost my husband, this was my salvation,” DeRitis said. “This district has just been fantastic to me. Anything I’ve needed, they’ve considered. They’ve been very open minded. I’ve been very, very fortunate.”

When she wasn’t working or raising her family, which now includes grandchildren and great grandchildren, DeRitis was an active member of the Binghamton community. She was heavily involved with the Red Cross, Mothers & Babies Perinatal Network, and served on many community committees throughout her career.

We are so grateful for the dedication and nurturing she’s shown to our school community over the years!

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