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Snapshot: Donna Rahtelli

Occupation: I am a teacher at St Rose Preschool. I’ve been with St Rose School for 11 years. I am so blessed that I am able to get up each morning and work at a job that I so love. The children are a great gift to me.

Family: I’ve been married to Joe for 27 years. Our son Joseph is 24 and an auditor for Ernst & Young in Stamford. Michelle is 21 and just completed her junior year at Marist in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Matthew is 18, and has graduated this year from Fairfield Prep.

Pets: We have a little Bichon Frise named Jasper, and he’s 7 years old.

How long have you lived in Newtown? We have been in Newtown for 23 years this June.

What do you like to do in your free time? I’ve been a Eucharistic minister at St Rose for 18 years, and have taught religious education there for ten years. I volunteer at Ability Beyond Disability. I go to the group homes and work with the residents. I’m in a neighborhood book club, and I enjoy scrapbooking. I love to decorate! I love to shop and find things for my home, whether at tag sales or in the stores. I’m always changing things around. I like to play basketball, and have played with leagues in the past. I’d like to join one again.

Do you have a favorite book? I have two favorite books. One is an old one, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The other is relatively new, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

Do you have a favorite travel destination? I just returned from Italy in November, visiting my daughter who was studying abroad. I’d like to return there. I think my favorite trip ever, though, was one we took with the children about ten years ago. We drove cross-country. In four weeks, we were able to visit 25 states. It was a lot of fun. I’d like to do it again, but this time I’d like to go up Route 66!

What is the best thing about Newtown? There are so many good things about it. I love so much about the town. My first memory of Newtown is the flagpole. We were driving through, and I fell in love with that: a flag in the middle of the road. And I have to say, the people. It’s a great place to raise a family.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My mother, Eileen, who at 88 years young, is my rock and the one I look to for advice. She’s been a widow for over 30 years, but continues to be very active in her community and her church in New Jersey. Our entire family adores her and we remain close to each other because of her great love for us.

Do you have a personal philosophy? I would say I’ve always lived with the idea that tomorrow is another day. Live life to the fullest!

Do you have a guilty pleasure? I have regular manicures and pedicures. And I also love to read magazines, with a bag of Milano cookies at my side!

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