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Mary McAfee (NM ’98), passed away on June 22, the day after her 69th birthday. At the time of her Milken Award, Mary was a principal at Zuni Elementary Magnet School in Albuquerque, where she created and ran the Zuni After-school Program (ZAP), serving half the student population. She motivated students to read through the Principal's Reading Club and Book Exchange Program, which rewarded students with books to take home. When Mary received the Milken Award in 1998, she was able to purchase her dream car, a convertible.
Mary created a school environment that was positive, cohesive, and uplifting for students, teachers, staff, and families. A former student, Kimberly Blaine, shared, “Ms. McAfee was my very favorite teacher and led me to a passion for math. She showed me grace and compassion and pushed me to work hard, even when I didn’t think I could do any more than what I had. I was blessed to know her into adulthood. Same smile, same laugh, same hugs. She brought joy to her students and showed them she truly was fighting for their success.”