Written by Chris Boyle Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00
If it’s the merry month of May, than anyone who’s anyone knows that it’s time for the gala event of the year—the annual Island Trees Senior Citizen Prom. Hosted once a year at the Memorial Middle School, the prom is geared towards the community’s elder generation, to give them a chance to get out and shake their booty like it was high school all over again.
Linda Rincon is a life-long member of the Island Trees community. She herself attended school in the district, and her children are currently following in her footsteps. She is currently in charge of running the Senior Citizen Prom, which is sponsored by the Community
Awareness Program of Island Trees (CAPIT)—a 20-plus year-old organization that was formed just for this very purpose.
“CAPIT has been having the Senior Citizen Prom for close to 20 years,” Rincon said. “We have the prom every year in May...the seniors are a big part of our community, and if it wasn’t for the seniors, we wouldn’t have the community that we have. So, we always want to thank them for making Island Trees what it is.”
Held in the Middle School’s cafeteria, Rincon said that the appetites of prom attendees are catered to by Zorns of Bethpage, who supply mounds of delicious chicken, salads, dinner rolls, and more. In addition, CAPIT employs the services of a professional DJ to spin the greatest
hits of yesteryear and keep everyone on the dance floor with their toes tapping. To round out the fun, exciting raffles are also offered for the attendees to vie for, inlcuding several items donated by local businesses or individuals.
Turnout for the prom is always stellar, Rincon said, with each year’s event always seeming to outdo the previous one by a large margin; clearly, word is getting around that this is the place to party come mid-May.
“Last year we had about 103 attend, and this year is was 125,” Rincon said. “It’s definitely a popular event, and it gets bigger every year.”
Hicksville residents Theresa Mayfield and her boyfriend Joe Brancaccio, were both newcomers to the Island Trees Senior Citizen Prom. Both said they plan on returning next year after the ball they had that night.
“This is my first time coming to the prom, and I think that it’s wonderful,” Mayfield said. “The music is great and I love it.”
For Brancaccio, the music selection was on point, he explained while listening to the 1961 classic "Runaraound Sue" by Dion, which had been blaring over the cafeteria PA system.
“This is the only real music in the world, what they’re playing here tonight,” Brancaccio said.
Dominic DeMeo and his companion Linda McKenna, both from Levittown, are regulars to the prom, and were clearly one of the more accomplished dancing duos out on the floors that evening.
“This is how to have a great time. Dancing, music, food...it’s wonderful,” he said. “My lady friend and I make it a point to come every year. It’s a great thing that the community does by putting this on for people like us.”
Hicksville resident Barry McQuillen, along with his date Linda Struass, said he’s been to a few other senior proms in his time, but the Island Trees edition—which he was attending for the first time that evening—puts all the others to shame.
“I’m having a great time,” McQuillen said. “You’ve got a fantastic DJ, the meal is good, and there are a lot of nice people here, all having the time of their lives. I’m loving it.”
With people pitching in from every conceivable angle to make it a success every year, the Senior Citizen Prom is the very epitome of a true community event. Run purely by CAPIT volunteers, it is partially funded by a small cover charge of $10 per attendee; the remainder of the costs involved are subsidized by donations from community members as well as funds generated by other programs run by CAPIT, Rincon said.
“At this point, my parents don’t even live in the district, so I could just say that I don’t really have any part in this and hand over running it to someone else,” Rincon said. “However, I just love watching the seniors come every year...they have such fun, and at the end of the event they always thank us...and that makes all the hard work more than worth the effort.”
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.
All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.
Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.
Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.
In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.
“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”
With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.
Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.
The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.
The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “
At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.
Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.
Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.
The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county.
The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.
In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.
Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games.