School store named for educator who helped make it happen

Oct 1, 2022

In a voice quivering with emotion, veteran educator Clifford Sylvia told a crowd gathered at the Wareham High School store and in-house credit union Friday, Sept. 30 that “31 years of my happiest years were spent in this school.’’

Although he later worked as a principal at Sandwich High School, among other posts, he said that no matter where his career took him, “my soul will always be in Wareham High.’’

And now his name will as well.

The school store was permanently dedicated in his honor at a ceremony Friday at the school store. A bronze plaque serves as a sign for the newly named Cliff Sylvia School Store. 

The honor reflects his years of service to the Wareham School Department as a teacher, department head and member of the Wareham School Committee. He worked for the district from 1966 to 1997.

Early in his tenure, he helped to develop a Wareham High School chapter of DECA, formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America. The club helps students hone their skills in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

The group still thrives, Wareham High School Principal Scott Palladino said, and is “one of the largest clubs in the student body.’’

DECA students operate the school store that will now bear Dr. Sylvia’s name.

He was also praised for bringing a branch of Plymouth County Teachers Federal Credit Union to the school store in 2015. This reflected his “long-time vision of providing financial education resources to the teachers, staff, and students of Wareham Public Schools,’’ according to information provided by the credit union.

The branch continues to operate and can be used by teachers, staff and students at the school. More recently, an ATM was added at the school.

Dr. Sylvia has a strong connection to the credit union. He has been a credit union member since early in his teaching career and was eventually elected to serve on the Board of Directors. He also volunteers as the director of the Marketing Committee for the credit union.

Having the credit union at the school provides “an awesome opportunity for the school and the community,’’ said Marie Oliva, president and CEO of the Cape Cod Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

As he accepted congratulations from onlookers, Dr. Sylvia expressed thanks for what he described as “an honor’’ and a surprise. He again expressed his  affection for Wareham High School.

He described the Wareham High community as “a bunch of special kids in a special school.’’