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Jim Amen Memorial Scholarship Losing Funds

Manager seeks community support

On Saturday, May 21, 2005 the Jim Amen Memorial Garden Dedication Ceremony was held on the football field of Division Avenue High School (DAHS). Jim Amen was a longtime baseball and football coach, and the physical education teacher at Division Avenue High School. Sadly, after just seven years, the scholarship manager, Ralph Boettger says the funds for this award are in danger of being exhausted.

The scholarship in Jim Amen’s name is given each year on the school’s awards night to a deserving Division Avenue High School athlete who has demonstrated excellence not only on the field, but off the field as well.

“I work closely with Beth Thompson of the DAHS Guidance Department to come up with worthy candidates/winners,” Boettger said. “As is the case with the upkeep of the garden, continuous involvement/donations are what keeps Coach Amen’s memory alive.”

Boettger said that Mauro Chiti, the present athletic director at DAHS, and also an alum, planted a peach tree last year that actually grows peaches. He said, “Coach Amen seemed to be chewing on something all the time...and it wasn’t ‘til I was an eighth grader that I realized it was a peach pit—he loved his peaches—so anyone who had him for sports, PE class, etc. always remembers him chewing on a peach pit.” The plaque with a raised peach pit are a tribute to Amen.

“As an athletic director [at Dryden High School in upstate New York], part of my philosophy is to promote the great things my coaches do, whether it be community service or winning records, etc.,” Boettger, a class of 1973 DAHS alum, said. “I have a soft spot in my heart for those coaches who not only win but also who take time to really connect with their kids. Jim Amen did both, won in baseball and was totally committed to the athletes in Levittown.”

Boettger said he made some calls to some members of his graduating class. He paired with another DAHS alum, Gary Gardiner to put the plan into action. Once ground was broken former classmates Debby Stecher McKosky, Tom Leyden, John Habel and Kathy Shade Lynch planted flowers and erected a temporary plaque.

“He [Amen] had the total package as far as how to treat kids, how to coach, how to build a program, etc. You won’t find too many people from back in the day that had anything negative to say about Coach Amen,” Boettger remembered.

Boettger told the Tribune that caretaking of the garden and memorial is needed; community help is always welcome.

Boettger says he has relied on the financial support of Division alumni, staff, students, and community members. While they have always been generous, Boettger says it’s still not enough to sustain the scholarship funding for much longer.

Dedication bricks are still for sale, at $75 each, which line the walkway of the garden. Money generated through the brick inscriptions benefits the scholarship fund.

Checks can be made out to: Jim Amen Fund, c/o Ralph Boettger, 24 Pheasant Walk, Ithaca, NY 14850. Donations go toward the construction of the Memorial Garden plus the development of a scholarship in honor of Jim Amen. For additional information call (607) 342-2373.

News

U.S. Air Force Veteran Mario Dell’aera, 80, of Levittown said he first volunteered for service in 1952, during the Korean War.

 

“They called volunteers ‘regulars,’” he said, reflecting back to when he first enlisted.

 

From 1952-1956, Dell’era called the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev. home. The base, he said, operated 24 hours, 7 days a week, training pilots to fly overseas into Korea.

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.


Sports

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. 

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. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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