Deborah Mazura, a member of the Patchogue-Medford class of 1972, spent 40 years as an educator who extended her skills and experiences with her students on Long Island to bring life-enriching service and charity to thousands of people living in impoverished or catastrophically damaged communities in many parts of the world. Through her guidance and leadership, her students have helped raise funds that have made an enormously positive impact on the lives of the impoverished residents of a village in the African nation of Tanzania. She and her students have also devoted tireless energies over countless days and months to aid such causes as the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Stony Brook Pediatric AIDS Center. In taking on these missions, Deborah has succeeded greatly in achieving her twin goals of helping all of her students to develop a sense of empathy and responsibility to humanity, while also making a significant difference in the lives of others less fortunate.

As a Pat-Med student, Debi was very involved in a large variety of activities, such as musicals, chorus, cheerleading and Leaders Club. She received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta in 1976, after which she married Francis (Bud) Mazura and began her teaching career. She has long been an active member of Saints Peter and Paul Church, having served as a youth group director and a cantor since 1999. In 2006 she was invited to travel to Africa on a singing mission, and it was that experience which ignited her desire to help the many needy people of Tanzania. Upon her return she established Seeds of Hope Tanzania, a non-profit that focuses on offering food, shelter, medical assistance and educational opportunities for the villagers of Arusha. 

Funds raised enabled such remarkable projects as the construction of a new church, a water tank and well system to provide safe drinking water for an orphanage, the hiring of teachers and purchasing of materials to educate scores of young students, new homes to replace mud huts for many families, a sustainable garden at a center for handicapped children, the painting and repairing of buildings, providing new hospital beds and necessary supplies for a health center, and helping to fund surgeries and treatments for young children suffering from challenging health issues. 

Deborah continues to visit Tanzania every other year, still working to inspire others to join in the quest to make significant differences in the lives of others. The Seeds of Hope website prominently features this quote by the author Robert Louis Stevenson: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” By that measure, Deborah Mazura stands very tall indeed.