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.
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.
Under dark cloudy skies, Coach Bob Fehrenbach and the MacArthur Lady Generals, defending Long Island champions, ended their season with a 12-1 loss after forcing a third game in the best of three series from East Meadow.
The Levittown Chamber of Commerce held its general meeting on May 15 at the YES Community Center. Tropical Smoothie catered the food. At this meeting Councilman Gary Hudes spoke to the members on how to build and increase business for the Levittown Chamber of Commerce.
It was an evening filled with nostalgia as senior citizens from the Levittown community danced the night away at the Levittown School District’s annual Senior Citizen Prom. Dressed in cowboy hats and other Western attire, the guests danced to tunes played by the Ron James Orchestra.
The United Veterans Organization of Nassau County (UVONC) recently held their annual Remembrance Service at Eisenhower Park’s Veterans Memorial Plaza to honor the Veterans of Nassau County who have and continue to keep America safe. County Clerk Maureen O’Connell and other area officials joined community residents, veterans and military personnel to honor these men and women for their unparalleled dedication to preserve and protect our freedoms.
Levittowners lined the sides of Hempstead Turnpike on the morning of Memorial Day to pay tribute to those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – in order to protect the principles of the United States. The heavily-attended parade included military vehicles, a motorcade, the Levittown American Legion, as well as the MacArthur High School marching band and color guard.
The Levittown community came out on Tuesday, May 21, to approve the budget for the 2013-14 school year. There were 1,809 votes for and 1,205 votes against the $195,590,207 budget, a $5,593,626 increase from last year. Only $131.9 million of the budget would be coming from taxpayers.
“I would like to thank the central office and the board for putting together a budget that was highly agreeable to the public,” said Mike Pappas, president of the Board of Education.
Finally, after months of meetings and planning, the work that had to be done to restore one of Wantagh/Levittown’s remaining landmarks is complete. The little chapel in the photo that stands on the grounds of the St. John of Jerusalem Cemetery on Wantagh Avenue looks like new.
The small, sturdy, wood-sided former German Methodist-Episcopal Mission, circa 1865, has a new coat of paint. The steeple has been repaired and the roof has new shingles. The glass windows have been replaced and painted.
According to the committee, the next step is to restore the interior and allow civil wedding and church services to be held.
Seventy-three Wisdom Lane Middle School students were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society and 54 into the World Languages Honor Society in a joint ceremony held in the school’s auditorium. Principal John Avena welcomed the parents and explained that their students were being invited into the National Junior Honor Society for having displayed outstanding accomplishments in the areas of scholarship, character, leadership, citizenship and service. Those being inducted into the World Languages Honor Society have not only demonstrated the promotion of cross-cultural acceptance, tolerance and understanding, but have also achieved excellence in the study of Spanish, French and Italian.
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