By: Sharon Aron Baron
On Friday, a person responsible for making a difference in the lives of countless students in Broward County was struck and killed by a car while jogging in Coral Springs.
Melissa Aiello, 60, of Coconut Creek was jogging on Royal Palm Blvd when she was struck by a 2011 silver Toyota SUV that was traveling southbound on Coral Springs Drive. The driver of the Toyota was identified as Andrew Oscar, 49, of Coral Springs. Oscar was traveling southbound with another vehicle in front of him. When he approached the intersection of Royal Palm Boulevard and had the green light, the vehicle in front of him swerved to avoid striking Aiello, but he was unable to avoid the crash.
Aiello was transported to Broward Health North in critical condition. She passed away from her injuries the following day.
Aiello was a 1972 graduate of Deerfield Beach High School and graduated from Florida State University. Since 1995, she served as President of Junior Achievement in South Florida. Under her leadership, JA programs now span grades K-12, with age appropriate curricula designed to teach elementary students about their roles as individuals, workers, and consumers and to prepare middle school and high school students for key economic and workforce issues they will face.
“This happened so quickly we’re trying to get our head our head around it,” said Junior Achievement Chairman of the Board John Ray III.
Ray said that when Aiello took over as the president in 1995 there were only 16,000 students in Junior Achievement, now there were 50,000. “We’re now trying to take over and help high schools students. This is all because of her great stewardship.”
“This morning, we have a packed house of hundreds of children. While people are sad, Melissa would want the staff to go on and do what we were trained to do.”
A memorial service will be held for her at the Main Sanctuary of Calvary Chapel at 2401 W. Cypress Creek Road, Fort Lauderdale on November 25 at 4pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Junior Achievement of South Florida Foundation – The Melissa Fund. Visit www.jasouthflorida.org/donate.