Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00
America is the land of opportunity. Unfortunately, these opportunities have diminished in recent years; however, with a little hard work they’re still out there for young people. During one of the worst periods in our country’s great history—The Great Depression—opportunities were few and far between for most Americans, much worse than today’s Great Recession.
At this time, my paternal grandfather survived by working his small farm and many odd jobs in New York’s Mohawk Valley. Although he had left school in the eighth grade, he was considered fairly well educated for this time period. Incredibly at this time, only about 10 percent of students graduated high school.
By and large, the Great Depression hit this part of New York State—the Leatherstocking Region—hard. In fact, employment opportunities were non-existent, and as a result, many people began leaving the area looking for new opportunities. My grandfather’s cousin Frank left a few years earlier and wrote to him about a great opportunity with New York City’s Corrections Department.
Cousin Frank was living like a king as a corrections officer—he had an apartment, new clothes, food in the pantry and a little money in his pocket. He told my grandfather that New York was looking for additional guards and all that was required was a good score on their entrance examination. For an impoverished young farmer, my grandfather saw this as “an opportunity.” Sure he had to leave home, but without running water, a bathroom, or electricity, the decision was a rather easy one. After all, he just needed to take a test.
Fortunately, his tiny one room schoolhouse in Herkimer had adeptly prepared him with a well-rounded education and the essential test-taking skills. He found his way down to New York City where he took the Corrections, as well as the police department, exams. Given that he scored well on both and that the police department paid better, he took at job with the NYPD where further opportunities to climb the departmental career ladder were available through additional test taking. Shortly thereafter, he traded his distressed farm for a house in Brooklyn with running water, two bathrooms, and electrical power. With the knowledge gained from that little schoolhouse, he was able to carve out his piece of the American dream. These days opportunities may be challenging, but with an education and the requisite skills, today’s children will be able to find their way.
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
Jessy Davidson, a student at MacArthur High School in Levittown, organized and held a blood drive at the John Theissen Children’s Foundation on Wantagh Ave. this past weekend.
Davidson, a junior, hopes to earn a small college scholarship through the New York Blood Center Bloodstock Scholarship Program by hosting this blood drive. If at least 30 donors come through, she will qualify for the scholarship.
Anyone who is in high school is able to participate in this scholarship, according to Davidson.
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
On Feb. 27, parents in the Levittown, East Meadow, Massapequa and Farmingdale school districts came together for an informal panel discussion on the New York State Education Department and the implementation of the state Common Core Learning Standards.
Panelists included New York State Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, Jeanette Deutermann of the Long Island Opt Out Facebook page, and former public school teacher David Greene, who came to the Farmingdale Public Library to talk with local parents about key concerns and questions with the curriculum.
An outspoken parent and founder of the Long Island Opt Out movement, Deutermann, delved into some of the factors behind what led to the state’s adoption of the Common Core, and how the state education department cites high school graduation rates as its reasoning behind the curriculum.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
The Island Trees track program is pleased to announce that four members of the team will be participating in the New York State tournament. Students honored include:
Alexa Dolgos with a personal best of 1.37 in the 600 meter run; Alyssa Mustafa with a personal best of 17 feet, 3.5 inches in the long jump and a personal best of 36 minutes 1.3 seconds in the triple jump competition; Andrew Zabala with a personal best of 43 feet 5 inches in the triple jump; and Joe Stanco with 47 minutes 10.5 seconds in the shot put.
— Submitted by Varsity Track Coach Joseph Manna
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
The Island Trees Bulldogs Wrestling team finished the 2013-2014 season with an overall record of 18-8. The team defeated Syosset in the Dual Meet Championship playoffs 34-27, and then lost to Plainedge in the second round 48-29. The team had a strong season and was ranked no. 8 in Nassau County. The Bulldogs entered 22 wrestlers in the Nassau County Qualifying Tournament, out of which, eleven of the team’s All-League grapplers qualified for the coveted Nassau County Wrestling Tournament. Six wrestlers also received All-Conference honors, with one wrestler earning a wildcard into the tournament, for a total of 12 Island Trees wrestlers competing.