Written by Emily Cappiello Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00
At the Island Trees Board of Education that took place on Feb. 13 in Sparks Elementary School, two main topics were on the agenda: The use of breathalyzers as well as preparing for the upcoming budget season.
“In more recent years, we have had some issues with alcohol at the prom,” said Dr. Charles Murphy, Island Trees superintendent. “In fact, we had to ask a number of students to leave the prom because of this. In many cases, we have students and parents who have denied that their child had been drinking – sometimes creating tremendous scenes at these venues.”
To that, the district is looking to have breathalyzers on hand at the event this year to not only combat those students who arrive at the venue already having been drinking, but the Board also hopes that it will prevent students from coming to the prom drunk because of the realization that the breathalyzers don’t lie when it comes to blood alcohol content. “Our new policy will clearly address whether or not the students have been drinking. Of course, we’re only going to test students who we suspect are under the influence. Naturally, our goal is to have an alcohol-free prom by using the Breathalyzer as a deterrent,” he explained.
In addition to the use of breathalyzers at an end of the year event, the Board of Education is already looking towards next year with the up and coming development of a budget that will stay inside of the 2-percent tax levy cap, which was implemented for the 2012-13 budget. However, it seems as if there will be more challenges this year, including pension plans and the fact that one of their schools is looking as if it will be vacant next year, also throwing the District a curveball that may be almost too large to offset any gains made in new New York State Aid to Island Trees. “As far as the budget, the New York State mandated pension contributions have drastically impacted our budget this year,” Murphy said. “In total, this alone is a $1.4 million increase. In addition, we lost our tenant for the Gallow School–Nassau BOCES–and the result is a $500,000 loss to the district. These two item account for almost a $2 million budget swing. Yes, we received about $400,000 in new state educational aid, but this doesn’t help cover the changes noted above,” continued Murphy.
In other board of education news, the Board approved the school calendar for the 2013-14 school year, a contract with the Madonna Heights School, approved entry into a new contract with Plainedge for health services for the 2012-13 school year and approved a high school field trip to Metropolis Studios in New York City.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 00:00
The members of the eighth-grade graduating class at Jonas E. Salk Middle School proceeded down the aisles of the school’s gymnasium in a ceremonial moving-up tradition, as proud parents and family members watched from the bleachers. Class officers led the salute to the flag, after which the eighth-grade chorus, conducted by Lisa Levenberg, sang the national anthem.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
When Msgr. Ralph Sommer was growing up he found inspiration from the example of his uncle, Father Ralph Besendorfer. “He was a Brooklyn priest,” said Msgr. Sommer, who is known to parishioners as “Father Sommer” or “Father Ralph.”
“My uncle was a most powerful and delightful influence, happy, caring, and helpful,” said Father Sommer, outgoing pastor of St. Brigid’s Church, in Westbury. “I would look at him and say, ‘I could do that.’”
For a number of years, Father Besendorfer would come out to St. Bernard’s in Levittown on weekends to assist.
Now, Father Sommer finds himself about to become pastor of St. Bernard’s on June 26, succeeding Msgr. Gerard Ringenback, pastor of St. Bernard’s since 2001.
He doesn’t know if anyone at St. Bernard’s will remember his uncle, Father Sommer said, but “if I meet people who remember him from that time, it will be a nice thing.”
Born in Flushing, Queens, Father Sommer grew up in Garden City, attending St. Anne’s School. He advanced to St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, a high school for young men considering the priesthood.
“It was a caring community,” with priest-instructors and students who shared an interest in exploring the priesthood.
For college, he left the seminary system for Adelphi University near his home. “I walked every day. We didn’t have another car.”
Adelphi offered an opportunity to test his vocation. He majored in psychology, “which I thought would help me if I became a priest.”
After Adelphi, he returned to priestly studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. Upon graduation, he was ordained a priest in 1983.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Senior pitcher Anthony Semonella at Division Avenue High School has received a scholarship from the University of Bridgeport and has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at the collegiate level. He was joined by parents Donna and Ralph Semonella, Principal Dr. Francesco Ianni, Physical Education Chairperson Mauro Chiti and varsity baseball coach Tom Tuttle as he signed a letter confirming his acceptance to the university’s athletic program.
Photo provided by Syntax
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
St. Thomas Aquinas College freshman Robert Naughton, of Levittown, has made his impact known in the NCAA Baseball East Coast Conference. Naughton started out his 2013 campaign not allowing an earned run in the first 19 innings he pitched.
At completion of his first season Naughton pitched 58 innings compiling a record of 6-1, leading the East Coast Athletic Conference with an era of 1.54.