Honorable Stanley R. Chesler, U.S.D.J

United States District Court

Frank R. Lautenberg U.S. Post Office & Courthouse

2 Federal Square

Newark, New Jersey 07102


RE:      United States v. Gary Vitta

            Crim. No. 15-01


Dear Judge Chesler,


I am writing to you today on behalf of my dear friend, Dr. Gary J. Vitta.  Seven years ago, I met Dr. Vitta through a friend of his daughter, Pamela. At the time, I had no idea how much of an impact he would have on my life.


Before meeting Dr. Vitta, I had been working as a copy-editor for insurance magazine and felt that I had become stagnated and unfulfilled with my job. My massive student loans were already about two years into their repayment and with the birth of my beautiful daughter, I had no choice but to take a 3rd job as a waiter on the weekends, in addition to coaching soccer, just to make ends meet. It was certainly a time of great despair and I knew something needed to change.


A friend suggested I should pursue a career as a teacher because I already worked with young people and truly enjoyed coaching and inspiring young people. The idea made sense, but I had no clue how to even step foot in a school as a substitute teacher. So my friend spoke to Pamela and arranged for the superintendent of Rockaway schools to meet me. On that day, I was incredibly nervous and felt very humbled that a superintendent would give me some of his time at his home with his wife. Very quickly after meeting him, I realized I had nothing to worry about. In fact, it was exactly the opposite.


Dr. Vitta opened his family’s home to me with open arms. I didn’t know how to react. After all, I was just a friend of a friend of Pamela’s. The superintendent sat with me and listened to my story. He asked me genuine questions to learn more about me and then told me what we were going to do to help me become a teacher. He took me upstairs to his computer and together we created an account with the state, filled out forms, and searched dates and times to take the exam for alternate route certification. I left Dr. Vitta’s house after the first day of meeting him with a large yellow envelope of documents and information, but more importantly, I left knowing I had a mentor and someone who cared about my future.


I never really had a mentor before Dr. V. He became someone who regularly checked in and helped throughout the process of attaining my alternate route certificates and first job as a permanent substitute teacher at a K-5 school. All the while, I was getting to know the kind of man Dr. V was. My mentor was and still is someone who believes family is the building block of any strong foundation. I learned he was a devoted husband and a father to two successful daughters, a dedicated son and brother, and a guy with a large extended family. He put others before himself with an innate passion for helping those in need of it. He valued the fundamentals of a good education and went out of his way to ensure his students had only the best.


I considered myself uniquely lucky to him as my coach in the first year of my teaching career because it was not easy. Dr. V was there through it all to encourage me, guide me, and ensure I could keep my focus on my career. Once again my finances became a struggle and I found it difficult to keep up with my student loans from the pay cut from working as a permanent substitute teacher the year before. I spoke to Dr. Vitta and he suggested consolidating as much of my $140,000 student loan as possible. He also told me he would be my co-signer to ensure I would get the most out of it. No other person was willing to take a chance on me.  I remember later that day as I watched my daughter sleep thinking about how blessed I was. Here was a man who a short time ago didn’t know who I was and today he offered me a gift, an opportunity to take control of my financial life.


Throughout my seven years of teaching and 8 years of coaching soccer, I have always modeled my approach and philosophy after Gary’s approach to helping others. This was the name he had been trying to get me to call him. He had brought me into his family and this was his way of letting me know. Fortunately, while going through other personal difficulties, he was there for me yet again like a father to guide through the hardship. With the help of my second father, Gary, I earned a successful career and am on the road to becoming financially secure.


Before his prosecution, Gary was a man with a zeal for life, family, and friends. He was a little bit of life in everyone who he has accepted in his extended family. Lately, Gary hasn’t been the same. He made a mistake and knows in the bottom of his heart that it was a stupid mistake. It was out of character and this fact coupled with taking full responsibility and owning up to it has been a heavy burden for him and his family. I wish to ask you, your Honor, to grant him leniency. Gary has a special gift that helps those around him become better people. He could continue to teach, help others, and give his time to create a better world.


Your Honor, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude for taking the time to read this letter on behalf of Dr. Gary J. Vitta.




Mr. Andres Diaz

English Teacher

Morris Hills High School