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Previous Awards Recipients

The Allen C. Crocker Award
The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress established the Allen C. Crocker Award of Excellence in recognition of his many years of nurturing individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

Awards Crocker

1994:  Chris Burke (Actor & Self-Advocate)

1995:  Charlie Austin (WBZ television reporter, parent)

1996:  Mark Grainger (MDSC founder)

1997:  Ann Forts (Speaker & Self-Advocate)

1998:  Gretchen Josephson (Poet & Self-Advocate)

1999:  Sara Miranda (Children's Hospital
& Federation for Children with Special Needs)Awards Crocker Sarrah Miranda

2000:  The Rich Robison Family (MDSC, Federation for Children with Special Needs)

2001:  The Tim White Foundation

2002:  Dan & Julie Heffernan (MDSC, Federation for Children with Special Needs)

2003:  Suzanne Siino (Past President MDSC)

2004:  Richard Jonas, M.D., (Chief Cardiovascular Surgeon of Children's Hospital)

2005:  Joanne Maranian
(MDSC Board, Tim White Fund, parent advocate)Awards Crocker Cullen lombardo

2006:  Jo Ann Simons (Past NDSC, MDSC and current NDSS Board, EMARC Executive Director, parent)

2007:  Boston Ballet Adaptive Dance Program

2008:  Sarah Cullen and Angela Lombardo (First Response Services for New Parents)

2009:  Madeleine Will, Director of theNational Policy Center of the National Down Syndrome Society

Awards Elin Howe

2010:  Charlotte Gray, Sharon Randall, Maura Russo – Founders of Morning Travelers, a playgroup whose focus is on children with Down syndrome, their brothers and sisters and entire family.

2011:  Elin Howe, Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services

2012:  Dr. Brian Skotko of Massachusetts General Hospital for his profound impact in the field of Down syndrome studies and in the larger Down syndrome community.

2013:  John Anton, advocate for persons with Down syndrome in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts working with legislators, policy makers, and disability advocates to support legislation that improves the lives and protects the rights of persons with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. 

2014:  Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, a social leader, educator, activist, film producer, and business entrepreneur.

Crocker winners 20152015:  Francisco Zamudio, Shey Jaboin, and Roxanne Hoke Chandler for their work outreaching to families of diverse backgrounds.

2016:  Melanie McLaughlin for her work to advance the Down syndrome movement through mentoring educators in her community and at local colleges; working with prenatal  families through the MDSC First Call program;  advocacy in professional roles; and educating the community at large through various media outlets.

Margaret Van Gelder

2017:  Margaret Van Gelder, Employment & Family Support Director at the MA Department of Developmental Services, for her work with the MDSC and other advocacy organizations to make systematic changes that have dramatically improved the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

2018:  John and Susan Nadworny for their leadership and advocacy for over 27 years on behalf of their son who has Down syndrome as well as the entire community of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Media Award

The Media Award, established in 2000, is presented to a person or company who exemplifies the MDSC's mission to disseminate up-to-date information about Down syndrome.

2001:  Mitchell Zuckoff & Suzanne Kreiter of The Boston Globe

2002:  Irv Shapell on behalf of Woodbine House Publishers

Gene Lavanchy2003:  Cynthia Kidder of Band of Angels Press

2004:  K.C. Myers of The Cape Cod Times

2005:  Gene Lavanchy of Fox 25 News

2006:  Amy Dockser Marcus of The Wall Street Journal

2007:  Beverly Beckham of The Boston Globe

2008:  Pat Bauer, formerly of The Washington PostAwards media Schleider 2011

2009:  Wendy Bulawa Agudelo

2010:  Keri Stedman – Media Specialist from Children’s Hospital Boston who has worked behind the scenes on several important stories on Down syndrome which were covered in the local and national media.

2011:  Sarah Schleider, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the National Down Syndrome Society

2012:  Target - for featuring a child with Down syndrome as a model in one of their weekly circulars, and their commitment to diversity and inclusion in every aspect of their business.

Kyle Gendron2013:  Amy Masters of WCVB-TV for producing an outstanding, comprehensive and balanced Chronicle piece on how the lives of people with Down syndrome have changed through the years.

2014:  Kyle Gendron, MDSC member, friend, advocate and official MDSC photographer for all events.

2015:  Jonathan Elias, WBZ-TV anchor who showed a willingness to go above and beyond to help spread Down syndrome awareness.  Jonathan spent countless volunteer hours planning, filming and editing an awareness video featuring many of his celebrity connections in the Boston area.

Hegedus media award2016:  Heather Hegedus, Fox25 News Anchor who has gone above and beyond to raise awareness about Down syndrome, support MDSC programs, promote MDSC events, and advance the MDSC’s mission.

2017:  "Born This Way" television series for bringing a positive message of empowerment and individuality for the Down syndrome community to a mass audience.

2018:  Mark Hunt, co-founder of Disability Images, for his work as a volunteer photographer covering a variety of MDSC events and campaigns, and his unique ability to create an accurate, complex and overwhelmingly positive representation of our Down syndrome community here in Massachusetts.

Educator Award
Established in 2004, this award is presented to a person or persons who exemplify leadership in academics with students with Down syndrome.


2005:  Robert McInnis, Needham High School

2006:  Christine D'Anjou, Director of Pupil Personnel Services for North Reading School District

2007:  Aimee Fredette, Jody Waters & Mary Ann Ruscito - Grade 3 team at Walpole's Fisher School 

2008:  Amy Marx, Principal of The Harbor School in Boston

2009:  Joanne Ethier, Principal of St. Peter-Marian Junior High School in Worcester

2010:  Lauren Segee, North Andover paraprofessional from who played key role in realizing her student’s full potential.

Paul Connelly2011:  William Endslow, Fine and Performing Arts Director at Reading Memorial High School

2012:  Jayme Finstein who ran the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program at Mass Bay Community College from 2009 to 2011.

2013:  Maureen Blazejewski, educator in the Cambridge Public Schools and  Lead Special Educator for the Learning Program Boston (LPB), an early literacy and numeracy program for children with Down syndrome serving the Greater Boston area.

Rosalie and betsy2014:  Paul Connolly, Varsity Basketball Coach from Newton North High School.

2015:  Rosalie Forster and Betsy Pelz for their work on the MDSC education manual, Meaningful Inclusion for Students with Down Syndrome.

2016:  Julie Messina for her outstanding leadership and tireless work to improve the educational outcomes for children with Down syndrome.

2017:  Frani Miceli, general education classroom teacher from Williamstown Elementary School for setting a positive and meaningful example of inclusion for all students.

2018:  Caitlin Burke for her positive spirit and her dedication to her work with high school students with Down syndrome.

Leadership Award 

Sannicandro2012:  Former MDSC Board Chairs Suzanne Shea, for being a visionary and a catalyst for change, taking the MDSC in a new direction; and Charlie Gadbois, for being a tireless champion for individuals with Down syndrome, and a strategic leader for the MDSC.

2013:  State Representative Tom Sannicandro, Parent and lawmaker, who has demononstrated exemplary leadership in advocating for disability causes in Massachusedtts for over 25 years.

Therese Murray Award

2014: Nancy & Richard Donahue for their outstanding public service throughout the years, and their commitment to individuals with Down syndrome; and Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray who has been a chanmpion for creating expanded opportunities for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities.


2015:  Kerri & Jon Tabasky, MDSC Buddy Walk Co-Chairs, helping to make our Buddy Walk one of the largest in the country and enhancing our public awareness through partnerships with the media and by securing celebrities as spokespersons for our mission; and Sohail & Mona Masood, parents and dedicated leaders on the MDSC Honorary Board of Directors who generously covered the full cost of the first MDSC office for five years.

2016Susanna Peyton of Operation House Call and economics expert John Campbell; longtime advocates and supporters Gillian & Fran Callaghan

Louise Borke Award2017:  Louise Borke, a consultant with Executive Service Corps of New England, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the MDSC’s growth to become the nationally recognized organization we are today; Cummings Foundation for their outstanding generosity and support of organizations in the Greater Boston area and beyond. 

2018Scott and Gail Trinque/EchoStor Technologies.  Scott is the President/CTO of EchoStor, one of the MDSC's most supportive business partners, sponsoring many MDSC events over the years and helping to raise awareness trhoughout the community; the Walmart Foundationone of the MDSC's most important corporate partnerships, providing critical support through grants for both longstanding, bedrock organizational programming as well as new, innovative programming.

Employer Award

Market basket award

2016:  Arthur T. DemoulasPresident of the Massachusetts-based supermarket chain Market Basket,  for his commitment to fairness and quality of life for Market Basket employees, including people with disabilities

VERC2017:  VERC Enterprises and CEO Leo Vercollone, for being a role model for other businesses looking to diversify their workforces by including people with disabilities.  Leo encourages other business leaders by sharing his positive experiences at conferences and speaking engagements, and in trade publications and news stories.

2018: Bob Sweeney has served as Executive Director of the Boston Bruins for the last 6 years, and in this leadership role, he has partnered closely with the MDSC to raise awareness about the abilities of people with Down syndrome, especially in the realm of employment.  Bob has been instrumental to the MDSC's Your Next Star employment campaign from its inception in 2014, and has acted as a spokesman for our employment initiative ever since.