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Spanish With Miss Lupe

In today’s ever diversifying world, knowing another language can be a huge asset. Lupe Beatriz Urquizo has been teaching Spanish to children at the Hicksville Public Library for the past 14 years. The library offers these free lessons to youngsters ages five to 14 most Saturdays throughout the year.

“I believe all of us remember our good teachers and our bad teachers," said Urquizo. “There have been teachers in my life that have touched my soul. They were an inspiration to me and I want to give that same motivation to the children I teach."  

Urquizo was born in Lima, Peru, the fifth of eight children. After high school, she moved to the United States. She didn’t know any English, but enjoyed living with her cousins in Great Neck so decided to stay in the Long Island. She started doing odd jobs, such as babysitting, cleaning houses, and taking care of elderly people, taking any opportunity that presented itself to her.

Urquizo found good fortune with an abstract artist named Stephanie Brody Lederman. “I worked for her in her home and she began to develop affection for me,” explained Urquizo. “She saw that I myself had an artistic eye and she convinced me to go to the Germain School of Photography. My horizons really expanded after I graduated and I began working as a professional photographer for weddings, birthdays, baptisms and other special events.”

Even though she had a comfortable career, Urquizo still didn’t feel whole.

“There was something missing in my soul,” she explained. “I always wanted to have a college degree. I decided to go back to school after I finally became comfortable with the English language.”

Urquizo attended Queensboro Community College where she received her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. Afterwards she transferred to SUNY Old Westbury to work towards a degree in education.

“In college I was lucky enough to have wonderful professors who really moved me,” said Urquizo. “For example one of my professors named Kate Velsor was very good to me. When I had difficulty with the English language, Professor Velsor was very understanding and patient with me. She really encompasses the type of teacher that I would like to be. I want to touch lives. I don’t like to teach the rude way. I want to be a friendly teacher. I don’t want to be the teacher that people feel afraid of because if you teach in a simple way it is easier for the kids to learn. Lots of teachers are strict and mean and in my opinion that doesn’t help children learn.”

In May of 2000 Urquizo finally received her Bachelor’s Degree in Bilingual Education and Special Education from SUNY Old Westbury, a degree which has special meaning to Urquizo.

“My goddaughter is special needs and her condition made me realize that all children deserve an education,” she said.

In August of 2000 Urquizo became a Spanish teacher at the Hicksville Public Library. She said “the children I teach are incredible. They all come from such a diverse background. Their enthusiasm to learn reminds me every day that I am doing the right thing."

She encourages residents to sign their kids up for the free Spanish program.

“The Spanish language has become very necessary to speak and understand these days,” she said. “If children become fluent in Spanish then there is a wealth of opportunities that are open to them.”

Urquizo holds her next Spanish class for beginners and advanced learners Saturday, March 15. To find out more visit www.hicksvillelibrary.org    

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Spooktacular Halloween

October 17

Fall Festival

October 18

Veterans Casework Seminar

October 21



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com